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Albert elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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02 June 2016

Reka AlbertReka Albert, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biology at Penn State University, has been elected as an external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. New members are elected by the General Assembly of the Academy -- the main governing body of the Academy that consists of academy members and 200 elected non-academy members. Scientists living outside of Hungary who identify as Hungarian are elected as external members. Albert was elected to the Section of Biological Sciences of the Academy and is being honored for her work applying network models to complex biological systems. Founded in 1825, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is the oldest scientific institution in Hungary. Its main functions are to cultivate and to promote scientific research in Hungary and by Hungarian scientists.

Albert's research concerns the organization and dynamics of complex biological systems. Her research group develops computational representations called network models to investigate a broad range of questions in biological systems. Experimental measurements guide the development of the network models, which in turn are used to make predictions about the dynamics of a system and to guide further experiments. Using this collaborative approach with experimental and theoretical components, Albert's research investigates areas such as the response of plants to environmental change, the genetic and signaling pathways used by cancer cells to hijack the body's developmental processes, the interactions between plants and pollinating insects, and the body's immune response to invading pathogens. Her papers have been published in physics journals as well as in journals devoted to molecular biology, genetics, and network theory.

Albert's research accomplishments have been recognized with many previous awards. She was given a Distinguished Alumna Award by the University of Notre Dame Graduate School in 2016 and was honored with the title of Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biology by Penn State in 2015. She received the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award from the American Physical Society in 2011. She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2010 and she received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007, a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2004, and the Shaheen Graduate School Award from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Society for Mathematical Biology. Albert sits on more than ten editorial and advisory boards. She serves as a reviewer for more than 20 journals and several foundations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to joining Penn State in June of 2003, Albert was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota from 2001 to 2003. She received a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame in 2001, and master's and bachelor's degrees in physics from the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania in 1996 and 1995, respectively.

[ S J S ]

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