Three Stanford scholars elected to the American Philosophical Society

Helen M. Blau, Karen Cook and Margaret Levi are among 35 scholars elected to the oldest learned society in the United States.

Three Stanford scholars have been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States.

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge,” the American Philosophical Society has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life.

Helen Blau, left, Karen Cook and Margaret Levi

Stanford professors Helen Blau, left, Karen Cook and Margaret Levi have been elected to the American Philosophical Society (Image credit: Courtesy Helen Blau; L. A. Cicero)

Among the 35 scholars elected to the 2018 class of the American Philosophical Society are:

Helen M. Blau, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor, the director of Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology and a professor of microbiology and immunology, whose research area is regenerative medicine with a focus on stem cells. She is known for her work on nuclear reprogramming and the demonstration of the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion. These studies provided the scientific underpinnings for mammalian cloning and induced pluripotent stem cells.

Blau also led the field with novel approaches to treating muscle damaged due to disease, injury or aging. Her lab pioneered the design of biomaterials to mimic key features of the in vivo microenvironment, or niche, and direct stem cell fate. A major focus of her current work is the rejuvenation of muscle stem cell function to enhance muscle repair in the aged. Her research has enhanced muscle stem cell-based therapies and has led to the discovery of novel molecules and strategies for targeting stem cells in situ for the treatment of muscle wasting in disease and aging.

Karen S. Cook, the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, the founding director for the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, who conducts research on social interaction, social networks, social exchange and trust. She is also member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cook has published numerous journal articles and edited a number of books in the Russell Sage Foundation Trust Series, including Trust in Society (2001), Trust and Distrust in Organizations: Emerging Perspectives (with R. Kramer, 2004), eTrust: Forming Relations in the Online World (with C. Snijders, V. Buskens, and Coye Cheshire, 2009), Whom Can We Trust? (with Margaret Levi – who is also elected into the 2018 class – and R. Hardin, 2009) and Cooperation without Trust? (2006), which is also co-authored with Levi and Hardin.

Margaret Levi, the Sara Miller McCune Director at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a professor of political science in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, whose recent research investigates the conditions under which people come to believe their governments are legitimate and the consequences of those beliefs for compliance, consent and the rule of law.

Levi is the author or co-author of numerous articles and six books, including Of Rule and Revenue (University of California Press, 1988); Consent, Dissent, and Patriotism (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Analytic Narratives (Princeton University Press, 1998); and Cooperation Without Trust? (Russell Sage, 2005). One of her most recent books, In the Interest of Others (Princeton, 2013), co-authored with John Ahlquist, explores how organizations provoke member willingness to act beyond material interest.