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Faculty elected fellows to prestigious scientific society


February 07, 2010

Five faculty members of Arizona State University are among the 531 newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a prestigious international scientific society. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society.

Metin Akay, Manfred Laubichler, Jerry Y.S. Lin, Julie Luft and Willem F.J. Vermaas will be recognized Feb. 20 at the Fellows forum, during the 2010 AAAS annual meeting in San Diego.

This year’s election brings the total number of AAAS Fellows at Arizona State University to 59.

Becoming a 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.

Metin Akay was elected as an AAAS Fellow for “contributions to biomedical engineering research and education, particularly his work in neural engineering and informatics.” Akay, a professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, recently was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering – one of the highest recognitions in the biological and biomedical sciences. His research spans a wide range of biomedical interests, including cardiovascular and rehabilitation engineering.

Manfred Laubichler is recognized by AAAS for his work in the history and philosophy of science, especially in developmental and evolutionary biology.  Understanding complexity has been a central theme of 20th century biology and the catalyst for Laubichler’s research. A professor in the School of Life Sciences, co-director of Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity and a member of the Center for Biology and Society in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Laubichler is specifically cited for his distinguished teaching and advancement of science in society and explorations of the philosophical and historical roots of modern biology. His group has collaborative relationships worldwide and Laubichler himself has published more than 85 articles and six books, the most recent of which examines the field of EvoDevo: “Form and Function in Developmental Evolution,” in 2009.

Jerry Y.S. Lin was cited by AAAS for leading advancements in chemical engineering technologies, particularly those used in many industrial processes, including processes to produce hydrogen as an alternative fuel for cars, to prevent pollution from industrial systems and to purify water supplies. Lin is a professor in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. His achievements in inorganic membrane science and technology for chemical separation and membrane reactor applications also earned him a prestigious Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2009.

Julie Luft is a professor of secondary science education with ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education. She is cited by AAAS for “distinguished service to K-12 science teacher education through national leadership, and for renowned research contributions in science teacher education for both teachers and researchers.” Luft’s service to the science education community has been extensive, and includes serving as the President of the Association of Science Teacher Educators, director of research of the National Science Teachers Association and associate editor of leading science education research journals. Luft’s research has focused on understanding how teachers develop throughout their careers. Her early work explored the design of teacher education and professional development programs including how teachers learned to enact inquiry based instruction through collaboration and by working with students. Recently, Luft has focused on understanding the role of teacher induction programs in increasing the longevity and success of secondary school science teachers. The work is impacting how researchers and educators study and view the first years of teaching among content specialists.

Willem F.J. Vermaas thrives on alternatives, in green energy and in teaching. A professor in the School of Life Sciences and researcher in the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Vermaas was selected as an AAAS Fellow for his “distinguished contributions to the study of molecular physiology of cyanobacteria photosynthesis, translation of that knowledge to development of bioenergy solutions and the training of future biologists.” Vermaas has pioneered institutional changes that advanced degree programs and research support at ASU. His adept manipulations of the genetic machinery of the microbe Synechocystis have advanced discovery and generated significant strides toward sustainable biofuel production. His efforts have attracted millions of dollars in funding to these critical areas of research and led to his designation as 2007 “Innovator of the Year” from Arizona Technology Enterprises.

Media contact:
Skip Derra
480-965-4823
skip.derra@asu.edu