Melody Swartz elected to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium

Melody Swartz, William B. Ogden Professor at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), has been elected a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium for her pioneering work in lymphatic vascular biology, immunology, and immunotherapy.

The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium was founded in 1841 as a scientific institution dedicated to advising the Belgian government on matters pertaining to public health. For 175 years, the Academy has been a center of work, reflection, and exchange for scientific ideas.

“It’s a great honor that scientists from the Royal Academy would recognize me and my work,” said Swartz. “In particular, there are several Belgian scientists engaged in lymphatic research whom I hold in high esteem, and so it is that much more of an honor to be welcomed as a member of the Academy.”

Swartz, who also holds a joint appointment in UChicago’s Ben May Department for Cancer Research, investigates the regulatory roles of lymphatic vessels — maintaining fluid balance, shaping local inflammatory environments, and managing adaptive immune responses. Her efforts support the emerging view that lymphatic vessels play critical roles in fine-tuning immune responses that are critical for resolving inflammation and preventing autoimmunity while also promoting immunological memory.

Swartz’s induction took place on Saturday, January 28, at the Palace of the Academies in Brussels, where she delivered a lecture titled “Lymphatic vessels in cancer, inflammation and immunity.”

Among her many honors, Swartz was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018, and named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

She is also a co-founder of the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center (CIIC).