Institute of Medicine recognition goes to Gordon, Holtzman

Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D., and David M. Holtzman, M.D., have been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors medical scientists in the United States can receive.

Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Genome Sciences, and Holtzman is the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology.


Gordon is internationally known for his research on gut development and how gut microbes affect normal intestinal function and predisposition to certain diseases. By sequencing the genes present in gut microbial communities of obese and lean mice and by observing the effects of transplanting these communities into germ-free mice, he has shown that microbial communities from obese mice have an increased capacity to harvest calories from the diet. His work in humans focuses on lean, obese and malnourished twins to obtain a deeper understanding of how we acquire our gut microbes, the genomic and metabolic underpinnings of their beneficial relationships with us and how they help shape the nutritional needs of humans worldwide.

Gordon earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a medical degree from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health. He has been on the faculty since 1981 and has mentored about 100 doctoral and M.D./Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has published 400 research papers and holds 23 U.S. patents.

Holtzman is known as one of the leading experts in researching the underlying mechanisms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease in an effort to improve diagnosis and treatment. In addition to seeing patients at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Memory Diagnostic Center, Holtzman leads a research team working with animal models of Alzheimer’s and works closely with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. His group has been instrumental in revealing mechanisms underlying how dangerous amounts of a protein called amyloid-beta (Abeta) begin to accumulate in the brain many years before symptoms arise.

These basic science investigations have evolved over the years and are bridging the gap into the clinic.


Holtzman earned bachelor’s and medical degrees from Northwestern University. He completed an internship, residency and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, where he established the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Clinic and was assistant professor of neurology from 1991-94 before joining the faculty at WUSTL.

Past honors include the MetLife Foundation award for research on Alzheimer’s disease, a MERIT award from the National Institute on Aging and being selected as one of the Scientific American 50.

He has published hundreds of papers, teaches medical students and supervises postdoctoral trainees.

Gordon and Holtzman are among 65 members whose elections to the Institute of Medicine were announced by the National Academy of Sciences Oct. 13.