Published: May 15, 2023

The study of very small things is the theme this year as two CU Boulder faculty become members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Earlier this month, the NAS announced that it had elected Ana Maria Rey and Gia Voeltz, along with 141 more scientists, to join its ranks in 2023. This non-profit society was formed by the U.S. Congress in 1863 and is "charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.” Selection to the academy is considered one of the highest that scientists can receive during their careers.

Both researchers have spent their careers studying phenomena far too small for humans to see with the naked eye.

Ana Maria Rey is a fellow of JILA, a joint research institute between CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and a fellow of NIST. A theoretical physicist, she has helped to develop, among other things, the “most accurate atomic clock ever developed,” according to NIST.

Voeltz, professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, plumbs the depths of cells, including the ones that make up human bodies. In particular, she studies a structure in cells called the endoplasmic reticulum. This “organelle,” which is shaped like a stack of pancakes, produces fats and proteins and could help researchers to understand a number of diseases, including neurdegenerative diseases.