Eleven University of Washington researchers are among 702 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 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:
Robert Houze, professor of atmospheric sciences, was named for his contributions to the understanding of cloud dynamics. He has more than 200 scientific publications, is an Institute of Science Information highly cited researcher, a recipient of the highest research medal of the American Meteorological Society and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Current areas of research include tropical clouds, hurricanes, mountain weather and recent floods in Pakistan and India. Houze helped lead a 2011 campaign in the Maldives to study clouds over the Indian Ocean and a 2012 NASA project flying drones over hurricanes. He joined the UW faculty in 1972 after receiving his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Keiko Torii, endowed distinguished professor of biology, was honored for contributions to the field of plant development, specifically the molecular-genetic bases of cell-cell communication, specifying organ shape and stomatal patterning and differentiation. Plants adjust the number of stomata in response to drought and other environmental conditions so work led by Torii to understand the underlying processes may help predict how well crops and other plants cope with climate change and other threats. In 2011 she was among 15 plant scientists nationally to share $75 million for fundamental plant science research from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Her degrees are from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and she’s been at the UW since 1999.
Thomas Daniel, professor of biology, was recognized for distinguished contributions as an international leader in research and teaching of integrative biology of complex systems using computational approaches, and for serving as a source of inspiration to colleagues and students, according to AAAS. Since coming to the UW in 1984, for example, he’s won both a UW Distinguished Teaching Award and the UW Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship, often called a genius award. Daniel studies the physics and engineering of movement in biology. Understanding animal locomotion may improve designs of robotic systems. His doctorate is from Duke University.
David Ginger Jr., a UW chemistry professor, was honored for advances in the physical chemistry of nanoscale materials relevant to optoelectronics, particularly photovoltaics, and innovation in surface microscopy techniques for probing such materials. His research focuses on nanostructured materials with potential applications in low-cost solar cells, energy efficient light-emitting diodes and novel biosensors. He earned a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 2001 and came to the UW in 2003 after working as a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University.
D. Michael Heinekey, a UW chemistry professor, was recognized for contributions to the field of organometallic chemistry, particularly for pioneering studies of dihydrogen and polyhydride complexes. His research focuses on various aspects of transition metal organometallic chemistry. Major areas of investigation include synthetic, structural and mechanistic problems. He earned a doctorate in 1982 from the University of Alberta and was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. He served on the faculty of Yale University and came to UW in 1992.
Sarah Keller, a UW chemistry professor, was recognized as a leader in the field inhomogeneous distributions of lipids within membranes that model cell membranes. She and members of her laboratory use quantitative tools of physics and chemistry to address questions inspired by biology. She has won a UW Distinguished Teaching Award and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. She earned a doctorate from Princeton University in 1995 and came to the UW in 2000 after holding postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Stanford University.
František Tureček, a UW professor of chemistry, was honored for contributions to mass spectrometry in explaining the structures, stereochemistry, and dissociation mechanisms of gas-phase ions, and applying these principles to chemistry, biology, and medicine. His research, using mass spectrometry as the core technique, focuses on new methods of peptide and protein sequencing using special mass spectrometric techniques based on ion-electron recombination. He earned a doctorate from Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, in 1977 and came to the UW in 1990.
Breck E. Byers, professor of medicine and genome sciences and former chair of the UW Department of Genetics, was selected for his contributions to cellular and molecular biology. He is noted for his work on the yeast cell cycle as a model for understanding cell division in a wide variety of organisms. Most significantly, he has pioneered work on how dividing cells split and transmit their genetic material during proliferation and during the creation of gametes, or reproductive cells. He also expanded the use of electron microscopy to capture fine details of cellular structures. He was one of the leaders in establishing the UW Department of Genome Sciences in 2001.
Trish Davis, professor and acting chair of biochemistry, studies the molecular machines and motors that move chromosomes inside of cells. When operating with clockwork precision during cell division, they assure that chromosomes are evenly divided as the pairs are pulled apart. Errors can lead to birth defects, cancer, or cell death. Davis’ lab is working to understand the cell structures and activities that organize the accurate segregation of chromosomes during cell duplication, and the quality control measures that detect and correct mistakes. She is applying these findings to analyze the chromosome division abnormalities that occur in human cancer cells.
John Stamatoyannopoulos, associate professor of genome sciences, recently made several major contributions to Project Encode, an international effort to understand the regulatory elements of the human genome. He developed powerful techniques for mapping these complex control networks, which turns out have patterns similar to primitive brains. He is helping to uncover the operating instructions for the human genome. Through a greater understanding of the role of genome regulators generated in his lab, new ways of looking at the causes and progression of disease are likely to emerge.
Elton “Ted” Young, professor of biochemistry and genome sciences, studies the DNA and protein factors that control how yeast genes produce their products. His lab is interested in the genes that encode a family of enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism. Young and his team have identified the DNA sequences that mediate the expression of these genes. His discoveries have advanced knowledge about transcription regulation – how sections of the DNA code are transcribed to RNA. His group is making “designer” DNA binding proteins to target specific sequences in complex genomes and activate transcription.