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Seven Faculty Members Named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Seven faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

AAAS fellows are chosen annually by their peers to recognize their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

This year’s fellows from The University of Texas at Austin are:

John Ekerdt, associate dean for research and professor of chemical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Ekerdt was recognized for his contributions to kinetics and reaction engineering and for pioneering and groundbreaking contributions to the reaction chemistry of electronic materials and ways to apply the reaction kinetics in the production of electronic materials. Ekerdt and collaborators are exploring monolithic integration of oxides with silicon to enable faster computers that use less power.

Andrew Ellington, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Natural Sciences. Ellington was recognized for his contributions to nucleic acid aptamer and ribozyme discovery, evolutionary biology and the development of numerous biological diagnostics technologies. Ellington coined the terms “aptamer” and “aptazyme” to reflect new classes of molecules that he helped invent, and he has helped to both define and break down the boundaries between living and nonliving systems.

Neal Evans II, professor of astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences. Evans was recognized for his major contributions to our knowledge of star and planet formation and meritorious service to the field of astronomy. Evans led a team of 60 astronomers in a Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Science Program focused on star formation, one of six major Spitzer surveys that have generated a huge amount of open-access data for astronomers and led to more than 50 scientific papers.

Brian Korgel, professor of chemical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Korgel was recognized for pioneering contributions to nanomaterials science and engineering. Korgel and fellow researchers are working on a new approach to solar cells that they hope will result in cheaper, more efficient photovoltaic technology.

Robert Krug, professor and chairman of molecular genetics and microbiology in the College of Natural Sciences. Krug was recognized for his seminal research in virology, especially the understanding of host-virus interactions in influenza, and contributions to public health and education. Krug has discovered various molecular targets that could lead to antiviral treatments for influenza.

Rodney Ruoff, professor of mechanical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Ruoff was recognized for his distinguished contributions to the field of materials science and engineering, particularly for experimental studies of carbon materials and carbon-based composites. One goal of Ruoff’s work is to enable the large-scale production of graphene-based materials, which could eventually enable faster computers, more energy efficient mobile devices, or stronger and lighter vehicles.

Christine Schmidt, professor of biomedical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Schmidt was recognized for her leading contributions to biomaterials science and tissue engineering. Schmidt developed a technique that preserves the delicate micro-architecture of the nerve, resulting in the creation of a transplant tissue called Avance®, which has been used in more than 3,000 patients.

The new fellows will be honored during the AAAS Fellows Forum at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston on Feb. 16. They join 59 previously honored AAAS fellows at The University of Texas at Austin.

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