Five researchers at The University of Texas at Austin were recently nominated as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a recognition awarded annually to honor scientists’ significant contributions to advancing their respective fields. The group of five awardees from UT Austin include a neuroscientist, chemical engineer, mechanical engineer, molecular biologist, and pharmaceutical researcher — all of whom were selected by their peers and will be officially awarded the recognition during the AAAS Fellows Forum at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.
The AAAS Council awarded Richard Warren Aldrich, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Natural Sciences, for his outstanding contributions to expanding knowledge of gated conformational changes in ion channels. The neuroscientist is also the Karl Folkers Chair in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research II, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Roger T. Bonnecaze, a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering, was also recognized for his work on computational engineering, particularly in the development of theoretical models, complex fluids, and nanomanufacturing systems. In addition, Bonnecaze also holds the position of co-director of Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Energy Technologies (NASCENT), which is a research center based at UT Austin and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Stanley Roux, a professor of molecular biosciences in the College of Natural Sciences, was recognized this year for his innovative experiments on the key role of extracellular nucleotides and apyrase enzymes in regulating plant growth and development. The Distinguished Teaching Professor has already been supported by funding grants from the NSF and NASA to develop his studies on environmental stimuli of light and gravity alter patterns in plants.
In addition, Karen Vasquez, a professor in the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of Pharmacy, was honored for her advancements in noncanonical DNA structures, and being able to demonstrate its mutagenic and new roles within DNA repair factors. The pharmaceutical researcher is also the James T. Doluisio Regents Professor in Pharmacy.
The five researchers will now join 69 other members of The University of Texas at Austin who have been previously honored. In addition, several other researchers from facilities in Texas have contributed to advancements in the scientific field, including three University of Texas at San Antonio College of Sciences faculty members.