Meeting the global challenges of 2050 will require unprecedented focus and investment in scientific and medical research. Iowa State University experts will help guide the national effort with the election of two accomplished Iowa State University professors to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. The academies provide independent, objective analysis and advice to solve complex problems and inform public policy makers.

Catherine Kling, professor of agriculture and life sciences and director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development at Iowa State, is among 84 newly elected members and 15 foreign associates selected to the National Academy of Sciences. Diane Birt, Distinguished Professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State, is among 70 newly elected members and 10 international members selected to the National Academy of Medicine.

“Election to a national academy is a tremendous professional achievement, and Drs. Kling and Birt have certainly earned these high honors through their exceptional work,” said Iowa State University President Steven Leath.

Kling was elected to the 2,250-member National Academy of Sciences for her achievements in original research, particularly studies that have focused on the water quality impacts of agricultural production and incentive programs that may reduce non-point source contamination of lakes and streams. She becomes the eleventh Iowa State University faculty member elected to the academy since 1945.

Birt was selected to the 1,826-member National Academy of Medicine for her achievements in human nutrition research. Her work includes investigating plant components and dietary practices that help prevent cancer.

Kling’s expertise in examining strategies to prevent water pollution and Birt’s work to reduce diseases through improved nutrition will be vital as scientists tackle challenges of feeding a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050. Scientists predict meeting those challenges will require a 70 percent increase in food production, improving life expectancy through better nutrition and doing so with half as much fresh water as there is today.