Six University faculty members selected as Advancement of Science fellows

By Yuri Ozeki

The American Association for the Advancement of Science announced their newly elected members in September. Out of the 376 newly elected members, six distinguished individuals are University faculty members.

The distinct honor of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow is awarded to a select few. Current members of the Association nominate researchers who have made a significant contribution to the scientific world.

University professor Lawrence Schook was recognized in the category of Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources. University professor Evan Delucia was elected in the category of Biological Sciences. In chemistry, two University professors, Dana Dlott and Deborah Leckband, were selected. In Information, Computing, and Communication, University professor Ravishankar Iyer was acknowledged for his work. University professor David Clayton was recognized for his work in the category of Neuroscience.

Clayton, a University professor of cell and structural biology, was distinguished for his research at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

“My research involves how genes influence the function of the brain,” Clayton said. “Specifically, I have been working in a model system of songbirds. I have found that when birds hear songs it activates certain genes.”

Notified of his nomination in the spring, Clayton only recently heard about winning the award.

“It’s cool,” Clayton said. “It’s great to be recognized by your peers. To know that they think what you’ve done has been worthwhile is very satisfying.”

Delucia, head of the plant biology department, was selected for making contributions to understanding the impact of global climate change on ecosystems.

“Humans are altering our climate in very dramatic ways by changing the chemistry of the atmosphere,” Delucia said. “Several years ago, I got together a group of colleagues initiating an experiment where we simulated these changes.”

Delucia is also excited about the honor.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized,” Delucia said. “It’s always an honor and privilege to have your research recognized. There are a core of graduates and many other colleagues that help with the research, so it’s unfortunate that you can’t recognize all of them.”

Leckband, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor, has carried out research that may lead to discoveries about diseases and health conditions.

“What my group has done has pioneered a new way to study proteins and we’re using this to understand how cells fit together in the body,” Leckband said. “My research is relevant to cancer, immune response, womb healing, and a number of other important health-related issues.”

Leckband spoke very highly of newly elected members.

“I think they are all great colleagues,” Leckband said. “And they certainly deserve to be honored for their work as well.”

Leckband plans to continue her research, using new techniques to specifically look at proteins vital to developing brains and embryonic development.

On Feb. 18, 2006, the group will be awarded a certificate along with a blue and gold rosette pin at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows Forum in St. Louis.