Six University faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Faculty recently elected to the society are Internal Medicine Prof. John Carethers, chair of the department; James Dalton, dean of the College of Pharmacy; William Giannobile, professor of dentistry and biomedical engineering; Peter Green, professor of materials science and engineering; Physics Prof. Timothy McKay; and Edward Stuenkel, professor of molecular and integrative physiology.
The six join an overall class of 347 newly elected AAAS fellows. Last year, eight faculty members were elected.
As the world’s largest general scientific society, the AAAS aims to promote research in science and engineering by increasing communication among scientists and the public, providing a scientific voice on broader societal issues and fostering education in science and technology.
In an interview Saturday, Green, who works on research projects focusing on polymers — large molecules characterized by their chain-like structure — said an election to the society aims to recognize an individual’s contributions to science.
Green said applications of his own work include organic solar cells, membranes and sensors.
“If you look around you, you see a lot of application involving polymers,” he said. “The big technological drive nowadays is you want to make things smaller and smarter. What it means then, is that you’re now processing and producing materials at very, very small dimensions.”
Dalton wrote in an e-mail interview that he has been a general member of the AAAS for more than 25 years and was honored to be elected as a fellow.
“Fellows are elected based on their scientific accomplishments to advance the science in their field,” Dalton said. “It’s rewarding for my work and efforts to be recognized by my peers.”
Dalton said he has published about 160 peer-reviewed scientific papers in the areas of drug discovery and development, pharmacology, endocrinology and cancer, and is also listed as a co-inventor on more than 200 U.S. and international patents in these fields of study.
“My major scientific contributions have been in the discovery and development of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), a new class of drugs that is being developed as potential treatments for breast cancer and muscle wasting diseases,” Dalton wrote.
McKay, another elected fellow, wrote in an e-mail interview that he hoped to increase his involvement in the society going forward.
“I have always looked to the AAAS for leadership in science education, policy, and exchange, and look forward to taking my involvement with the AAAS to a higher level as a new fellow,” he wrote.
At the University, McKay is a data scientist with experience drawing inferences from large data sets in astrophysics. He also works on education research to understand and improve classroom outcomes for students in higher education.
He said his array of experiences played a role in his selection to be an AAAS fellow.
“Perhaps more than many scientists, my career has explored a changing array of topics,” McKay wrote. “I find myself working on something new every five to 10 years, each time adapting knowledge and skills for earlier endeavors to new ones.”
Carethers oversees the Department of Internal Medicine, the largest department at the University. Within the department, he operates a National Institutes of Health research laboratory in the Medical School where faculty and students perform experiments to benefit colorectal cancer patients.
“I think I was a good nominee for the honor because of the success of my research and research funding along with its national and international recognition among peers,” Carethers wrote. “This is through my publications, as well as national and international presentations regarding the field of my research, and my reputation for high quality data. I also think my role in managing a very large department of 760 faculty paid an additional role while maintaining a research program.”
Overall, McKay said academic honors like the AAAS fellowship are an important way to support scholarly work.
“Faculty members often give their ideas away, sharing openly what they learn to advance human knowledge,” McKay wrote. “The main rewards for this work are impact — we might hope to change the world — and reputation — we all hope to be recognized for what we do. Being selected for fellowship in the AAAS is exactly the kind of reputational reward that keeps scholars working away.”