Seyfarth and Tishkoff elected to National Academy of Sciences

June 26, 2017

Penn Arts and Sciences faculty Robert Seyfarth and Sarah Tishkoff have been elected members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Seyfarth, a professor of psychology who has retired but remains an active researcher, is a specialist in animal behavior and communication. With his wife, Dorothy Cheney, a professor of biology who was elected to the NAS in 2015 and who also recently retired, Seyfarth has conducted field studies of monkeys and apes in their natural habitats. Focusing on a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, he has worked to clarify how nonhuman primate relationships, communication, and cognition differ from humans and to explore how and why these animals form close social bonds.

Tishkoff, David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology, is a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine and Penn Arts and Sciences. She studies human genetic diversity, specifically that of African populations, blending field, lab, and computational approaches. Her work has elucidated not only African population history but also how genetic variation affects traits such as disease susceptibility or ability to metabolize drugs.

Seyfarth and Tishkoff are part of the 2017 Academy class, consisting of 84 members and 21 foreign associates. NAS election is considered one of the highest honors accorded an engineer or scientist in the United States.