Croatian scientist Ivan Djikic elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Croatian scientist Ivan Djikic elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Croatian scientist Ivan Djikic elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Izvor: (ilustracija), Dusko Marusic/PIXSELL

Croatian molecular biologist Ivan Djikic, who heads the Institute of Biochemistry II at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, has been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Goethe University said on Wednesday.

The Academy, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States, having been founded in 1780. Every year, the Academy recognises outstanding achievements and body of works by selecting 200 new members from 1,300 nominations in recognition of outstanding achievements in the world of science, arts, business, and public affairs, the Goethe University said in a press release.

This year, Djikic has been elected as one of 23 international honorary members in the field of biological sciences. He is being honoured for his work in deciphering the role of ubiquitination - a biological process which destroys molecules of protein - and autophagy as quality control pathways in cells.

Founded in 1780, the Academy’s former members include Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), the anthropologist Margaret Mead (1948), the economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966) and actor John Lithgow (2010).

Djikic is only the second scientist from Frankfurt's Goethe University to become a member of the Academy, after the famous German philosopher and sociologist Juergen Habermas was accepted in 1984.

The 2019 class also includes gender theorist Judith Butler, journalist James Fallows from The Atlantic magazine, author Jonathan Franzen, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I am deeply honoured to join this circle of distinguished personalities,” Dikic said. “My gratitude goes to all past and present members of my lab, my mentors, and colleagues at Goethe University and to my family for their enduring support and friendship. I also wish to send a message to new generations stressing that science is an amazing profession where we can explore new ideas freely, enrich our creativity by curiosity, benefit society and have fun by sharing knowledge and working together with students and colleagues around the world,” Djikic added.

Born in Zagreb, Djikic graduated from the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Medicine in 1991, after which he earned a PhD in molecular biology at the New York University School of Medicine in 1997. He started working at the Goethe University in 2002, where he heads an acclaimed research institute which studies proteins and cancer cells.

The Academy will induct new members in a formal ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts in October.

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