UW News

November 30, 2006

Nine named AAAS Fellows

Eight UW professors and one recently departed professor have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The nine are among 449 AAAS members elevated this year to honor their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

Charles Chavkin (AAAS Section on Pharmaceutical Sciences) is UW professor of pharmacology and director of the UW Center for Drug Addiction Research, Section on Pharmaceutical Sciences: He was recognized for distinguished contributions to the understanding of opioid peptide pharmacology including the role of the dynorphins and kappa opioid receptors in pain and stress. He studies molecular mechanisms responsible for regulating signal transduction events leading to the response to opiate analgesic drugs such as morphine and heroin, using a combination of molecular, electrophysiological, anatomical and behavioral methods to study the process.

Chavkin is the UW’s first Allan and Phyllis Treuer Professor of Pharmacology. He received his doctorate from Stanford University in 1982 and was appointed professor at the UW in 1985.

Susan Eggers (AAAS Section on Information, Computing and Communication) is the Microsoft Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and was elected in 2006 to the National Academy of Engineering. She worked in the high-tech industry before earning her doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and joining the UW in 1989. Eggers co-invented a technology in 1995 that revolutionized commercial processor design. “Simultaneous multithreading” allows a single computer chip to juggle several tasks at the same time, boosting computer speeds by as much as 400 percent. Eggers’ current research is developing a “spatial dataflow computer” that executes instructions based on the data available, rather than simply following their order in a program. She was cited for her contributions designing and evaluating advanced processor architectures.

Evan Eichler (Section on Biological Sciences) UW associate professor of genome sciences, received the honor for groundbreaking research on the structure, function, and evolution of mammalian genomes, particularly the significance of duplicated regions within the human genome. Eichler studies duplications within and genetics of the human genome, as well as genome variations between humans and other primates. He researches diseases, such as Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes that are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. He was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2005.

Eichler received a doctorate from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, in 1995. He joined the UW faculty in 2004.

Philip D. Greenberg (Section on Medical Sciences) is a UW professor of medicine and immunology. He was named an AAAS Fellow for his outstanding contributions pioneering the development of T-cell immunotherapy of cancer and fundamental contributions to understanding the regulation of T-cell immunity. Greenberg studies the immunobiology immunobiology of host T-cell responses to infectious viruses and transformed cells.

He received his medical degree from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, in 1971. He joined the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Division of Oncology at the UW in 1976. He is currently the co-director of the immunology program of the UW Center for AIDS research and head of the immunology program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Michael Gregg (Section on Astronomy), a principal oceanographer with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, was recognized for pioneering measurements of ocean microstructure and for outstanding scientific contributions to the field of mixing processes in the ocean. The mixing of the layers of water in the world’s oceans can affect circulation, upwelling of nutrients and the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The group Gregg leads also designs and builds many of the profilers and other instruments they need. His doctorate is from the University of California, San Diego. He joined the Applied Physics Laboratory in 1974 and also holds the title of professor in the School of Oceanography.

Buddy Ratner (Section on Chemistry) is professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering. Since 1996 he has directed the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB) program, a federal research center funded by the National Science Foundation. Ratner earned his doctorate in polymer chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and joined the UW as a postdoctoral fellow in 1972. His 35-year career has focused on synthesizing, fabricating and testing biomaterials for medical devices and implants. A particular emphasis is on biomaterial surfaces, where the device comes into contact with the body. More recent research aims to mimic living tissues. Ratner was cited for pioneering research and administrative leadership in the field of biomedical engineering, particularly in biomaterials and surface analysis.

Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh (Section on Biological Sciences) is a professor of biology who studies plant growth, movements and how plants use growth responses to adapt to their environment. The central focus is the physiological mechanisms cells use to regulate cell expansion and growth of leaves. The questions involved range from how leaves grow to whether plants have “nervous systems.” AAAS says she was named a fellow for identifying the physiological mechanism driving light-stimulated leaf expansion. Van Volkenburgh earned her doctorate from the UW and later joined UW as a faculty member in 1987. She has an adjunct appointment in forest resources and, until just recently, was divisional dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Barbara Wakimoto (Section on Biological Sciences) is a professor of biology who uses genetic, cytogenetic and molecular tools to understand chromosome organization and its relationship to gene expression, for which she is being recognized by AAAS. She also is being recognized for her major contributions toward identifying and understanding molecules important for sperm function. Wakimoto earned her doctorate at Indiana University. She joined the UW in 1985 and currently has an adjunct appointment in genome sciences. She was director of the UW’s biology program before it was enfolded into the Department of Biology in recent years.

Also honored was Henry Kautz, who left UW in September to join the faculty at the University of Rochester. Kautz was a professor of computer science and engineering at UW from 2000 to 2006. He was cited for his contributions to many areas of artificial intelligence, including user modeling, context-aware computing, software agents, and planning.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. Founded in 1848, it includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals and is the publisher of the journal Science. For more information about the organization, see www.aaas.org