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Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado elected to the National Academy of Sciences

01 May 2018

KANSAS CITY, MOThe Stowers Institute for Medical Research is pleased to announce that Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D., a Stowers and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, has been elected a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research.

NAS announced the selection of Sánchez Alvarado on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Membership in the NAS is considered one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States. The Stowers investigator will be inducted into the NAS at its 156th annual meeting in 2019 in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1863, the NAS includes more than 200 living Nobel laureates and such historic figures as Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Barbara McClintock, and Orville Wright.

A pioneering regeneration expert, Sánchez Alvarado transformed the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea – famous for its capacity to regrow complete individuals from miniscule body parts – from an unassuming, freshwater-dwelling oddity into a powerful model system for the study of regeneration.

Sánchez Alvarado and his trainees identified and characterized dozens of genes and genetic programs that drive regeneration and ensure the anatomical and functional integration of newly made parts into older, pre-existing tissues. He and his students showed that adult somatic stem cells are the only proliferating cell type participating in regeneration and generate the many different cell types found in an adult flatworm.

"The Stowers Institute is proud of Alejandro’s pioneering work in establishing the flatworm as a model system and building an international community devoted to its study," said David Chao, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Stowers Institute. "We are delighted and privileged to count such an innovative and inspirational scientist as a colleague and friend."

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Sánchez Alvarado received a B.S. degree in molecular biology and chemistry from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a PhD in pharmacology and cell biophysics from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sánchez Alvarado is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Latin American Academy of Sciences.

About the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, non-profit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. The NAS has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government. For more information, or for the full list of newly elected members, visit

About the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, basic biomedical research organization dedicated to improving human health by studying the fundamental processes of life. Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife Virginia opened the Institute in 2000. Currently the Institute is home to nearly 500 researchers and support personnel, over 20 independent research programs, and more than a dozen technology development and core facilities. Learn more about the Institute at and about its graduate program at

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