The National Academy of Sciences is a highly prestigious, independent scientific society. The Act of Congress establishing the Academy was signed in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. In April 2020, the NAS elected 120 new members, along with 26 international members, of whom Bernards was the only Dutch national. The NAS has a total of 501 international members. Twelve of these scientists are Dutch, including NKI researchers Anton Berns and Piet Borst.
Prof. Bernards investigates biological mechanisms in cancer cells, with the aim of exploiting their vulnerabilities and finding clues for developing new, precision drugs and combination therapies. He is an acclaimed pioneer in this line of research, having received many awards. For example, in the Netherlands he received the Spinoza Prize and the Dutch Cancer Society Queen Wilhelmina Prize. He received a major grant from the European Research Council in 2018 for his investigations into new combination therapies. Bernards is a member and Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He has been a featured guest many times on the popular Dutch television talk show 'De Wereld Draait Door', making him well-known throughout the country.
This is not Rene Bernards' first membership of a renowned and influential American scientific society. In April 2019 he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), and in April 2018 as a fellow of the AACR Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research. He was also awarded important American grants to transfer his scientific discoveries to clinical practice. For example, his team was the only non-US research group to receive two grants in a row to bring new pancreatic cancer therapy to the clinical setting.
Read the NAS press release.