UW Today

December 14, 2011

Nine UW researchers named Fellows of AAAS

Nine UW-affiliated researchers are among 539 new Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.

The UW Fellows are:

Virginia Armbrust, professor and director of oceanography, was named a fellow for innovative and fundamental applications of molecular approaches to address the roles of phytoplankton in marine ecosystems. Phytoplankton generate about half the oxygen humans breathe, form the base of the food web in the seas and remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Armbrust, UW faculty member since 1996, also is co-director of the Pacific Northwest Center for Human Health and Ocean Studies. Her bachelors degree is from Stanford, 1980, her doctorate is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,1990, and her postdoctoral work was at Washington University, 1990 to 1995.

UW Fellows are, from left, top: Bruce Robinson, Jashvant Unadkat, Michael Schick; middle: Virginia Armbrust, Daniel Gamelin, Danny Shen; bottom: Neil Nathanson, Daniel Chiu, Karen Goldberg.

UW Fellows are, from left, top: Bruce Robinson, Jashvant Unadkat, Michael Schick; middle: Virginia Armbrust, Daniel Gamelin, Danny Shen; bottom: Neil Nathanson, Daniel Chiu, Karen Goldberg.

Daniel Chiu, the A. Bruce Montgomery endowed professor of chemistry, earned a doctorate from Stanford University in 1998 and joined the UW in 2000. His research group focuses on developing tools to interface with biological systems at the scale of a nanometer (about one ten-millionth of an inch). The group is developing single-molecule methods for probing complex biological systems and has worked to use microfluid systems as platforms for rapid biological and chemical analyses. His AAAS citation is for contributions to the development of new methodologies in optics, microfluidics and nanomaterials and for their application in solving biomedical problems.

Daniel Gamelin, the Harry and Catherine Jaynne Boand endowed professor of chemistry, earned a doctorate at Stanford University in 1998 came to the UW in 2000. His research aims to develop new forms of matter, particularly at nanometer length scales, for use in energy conversion technologies, technologies using luminescent materials, and spintronics, an emerging technology that uses the spins of electrons for information processing. His AAAS citation is for distinguished contributions to the field of physical inorganic chemistry, in particular for advances in synthesis, spectroscopy and photophysics of magnetic semiconductors.

Karen Goldberg, the Nicole A. Boand endowed professor of chemistry, earned a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and joined the UW faculty in 1995. Her groups research focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of reactions that can be used in creating more efficient and environmentally friendly methods for producing chemicals, fuels and pharmaceuticals. Her AAAS citation is for distinguished contributions to the field of organometallic chemistry, particularly for comprehensive studies of bond-making and bond-breaking reactions.

Neil M. Nathanson, a UW professor of pharmacology since 1990, has improved the understanding of how excitable cells, such those in the brain and heart, relay signals and activate responses in other cells.  His lab is interested in signal receivers called muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. When activated, these receptors can slow the heart rate, constrict breathing, and cause sweating and cramping. In the brain they underlie learning, memory, arousal, and movement control. Nathanson has advanced knowledge of many aspects of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and their subtypes, from the genes that code for them, to their molecular structure and function, to the factors that regulate their development, location and survival.  His work is important in medical science due to the serious diseases, including neurological  disorders, that result from missing or malfunctioning receptors of this type.  Nathanson earned his doctorate from Brandeis University

Bruce Robinson, a UW chemistry professor, earned a doctorate at Vanderbilt University in 1975 and came to the UW in 1980. His group uses a variety of techniques to explore the dynamics of DNA binding as part of the process of DNA recognition, interactions between proteins and RNA, the interaction of signaling proteins with interfaces and membranes, and the organization of organic color producing-chemicals in polymer matrices. His AAAS citation is for distinguished contributions in theoretical modeling and predictions with impacts in fields from magnetic resonance to biological materials to nonlinear optical materials.

Michael Schick, a UW physics professor, earned a doctorate from Stanford University in 1967 and joined the UW faculty in 1969. He worked for many years on the physics of adsorbed gases and their phase transitions, and then studied how these two-dimensional systems grew to three-dimensional ones. This led to the study of amphiphiles, molecules such as fatty acids, biological lipids and block copolymers that have a strong affinity for two completely different things at the same time. His AAAS citation is for distinguished contributions to two-dimensional surface physics ranging from hard-core Bose gas to polymers and lipids.

Danny Shen is professor of pharmacy and pharmaceutics, and former chair of the Department of Pharmacy, at the UW School of Pharmacy. He received this fellowship for his contributions to research related to drug transport across the blood-brain and blood-spinal cord, and pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of neuroactive agents, in particular anticonvulsants and opioid analgesics. Shen received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Iowa and his doctorate in pharmaceutics from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He held faculty appointments at the University of Kansas Medical Center and State University of New York at Buffalo prior to joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 1984.

Jashvant Unadkat is professor of pharmaceutics at the School of Pharmacy. He is receiving this AAAS honor for distinguished contributions to the field of pharmaceutics, particularly for elucidating mechanisms of transport, metabolism, and interactions of drugs used in the treatment of AIDS and cancer. Unadkat received his bachelors degree in pharmacy from the University of London and his doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Manchester. He joined the UW School of Pharmacy in 1985 after his postdoctoral training in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of California – San Francisco.

AAAS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.

The new Fellows will be recognized for their contributions during the AAAS Annual Meeting in February. They will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of their accomplishments.