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Faculty join elite scientific society

November 26, 2007

Five ASU faculty members are among the 471 newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a prestigious international scientific society. Election as a AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Ronald Greeley, Devens Gust, Ann Kinzig and Jianguo “Jingle” Wu will be recognized Feb. 16 at the Fellows Forum during the 2008 AAAS annual meeting.

This year’s election brings the total number of AAAS fellows at ASU to 43.

“These colleagues have distinguished themselves at ASU and around the globe through their teaching and their research,” says Quentin Wheeler, ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which headquarters all five professors. “They bring deserved recognition to their achievements and contribute significantly to the challenging learning environment in liberal arts and sciences.”

Becoming a AAAS fellow is in recognition of efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Within that general framework, each awardee is honored for contributions to a specific field.

Castillo-Chavez, a mathematical theoretical biologist, is cited for “outstanding research, and for exceptional efforts to train, mentor, and motivate minority scientists.” As a Regents’ Professor and the Joaquin Bustoz Jr. Professor of Mathematical Biology in ASU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Castillo-Chavez specializes in the study of disease evolution. He is the executive director of two programs that provide research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in mathematics and their applications: The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute and the Institute for Strengthening the Understanding of Mathematics and Science. Castillo-Chavez joined ASU in 2004.

Greeley, a planetary geologist, is cited for “distinguished contributions to our understanding of the geological history of the planets and surface processes that occur in solar system environments.” Greeley, a Regents’ Professor, got his start in the emerging field of planetary geology in 1967 and heads the planetary geology group in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. He’s been a member of the ASU faculty since 1977. Greeley’s planetary mission involvement includes science team membership on the Galileo Jupiter mission, Mars Exploration Rovers, and the European Space Agency Mars Express mission. Greeley chairs the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Management Operations Working Group, and co-chairs the NASA Science Definition Team for the Europa Explorer flagship-class mission to the outer solar system.

Gust, a physical-organic chemist and inventor, is cited for “pioneering contributions to photochemistry and nanotechnology, and for the design and development of novel intramolecular electron transfer devices and related biomimetic schemes.” As a professor of organic chemistry in ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Gust focuses his research on renewable energy. His research team is investigating applications of biomimetic materials to solar energy conversion and biophotonic molecular electronic devices. Gust has been with ASU since 1975.

Kinzig, an ecologist, is honored for “her exceptional ability to combine outstanding basic science and policy analysis, and for her role as an international leader in uniting ecology and socioeconomics.” As an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences, Kinzig is carving out a niche in interdisciplinary research that explores the dynamics of coupled social and ecological systems. Her major project includes understanding the trade-offs that emerge among conservation goals and other social goals in managing the world’s biodiversity, and how those trade-offs can best be reconciled. Kinzig arrived at ASU in 1998.

Wu, a landscape ecologist, is cited for “outstanding research, for leadership in the United States and international communities in landscape ecology, and for brilliant efforts to build links to Chinese landscape ecology.” Wu, a professor of ecology and sustainability science in the School of Life Sciences, also is a core member of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Additionally, Wu is the director of the Sino-U.S. Collaboration for Conservation, Energy and Sustainability Science in Inner Mongolia, a recently established joint research center between ASU and Inner Mongolia University. Wu has been at ASU since 1995.