Vaupel Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

James W. Vaupel, research professor at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, is one of two Duke University professors elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the academy announced Monday.

The academy ( is an honorary society and independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Its elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs

Vaupel, who directs the Duke Population Research Institute and is founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany was elected to the academy along with Huntington F. Willard, Nanaline H. Duke Professor of Genome Sciences and founding director of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.

Vaupel’s demography work has affected national policy discussions on topics including aging, life expectancy and mortality rates. His research has concluded that the lifespans of people in developed nations are increasing at a remarkably constant rate, suggesting that there is no natural limit on life expectancy. Vaupel founded the where he has focused on the new field of evolutionary demography.

Willard, the founding director of the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific publications, including co-author of the widely used textbook Genetics in Medicine. His research interests include genome sciences and their broad implications for medicine and society, human genome structure and function, X chromosome inactivation and epigenetic mechanisms of gene silencing.

Vaupel and Willard are among 212 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders from 20 states and 15 countries elected to this year’s class. The new members will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 11 at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

The academy was founded by John Adams, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots. Members have included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.