Fink, who served as director of the Whitehead Institute from 1990 to 2001, is a pioneering researcher in the field of yeast molecular biology. His discovery of transformation in yeast permitted the genetic engineering of this organism, which paved the way for advances in basic science and the development of novel pharmaceuticals. He has also been active in science policy, including his work as chair of the 2003 National Academy of Sciences committee that offered critical national guidance on how to meet the threat of bioterrorism without jeopardizing scientific progress.
He received his PhD in genetics from Yale University. A past president of the Genetics Society of America, he is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
At the close of the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, MIT Insitute Professor Phillip A. Sharp will begin his term as AAAS president. Sharp is a 1983 Nobel Prize winner and professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.