November 26, 2013
AAAS names five UW researchers as fellows
Five University of Washington researchers are among 388 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.
François Baneyx, professor of chemical engineering and adjunct professor of bioengineering, is honored for his contributions in biotechnology and biological nanotechnology. Baneyx studies protein folding and manipulates cellular pathways to make protein production simple, efficient and inexpensive. He also designs proteins that can make and assemble inorganic structures for applications ranging from vaccine production to bio-sensing and next-generation electronics. Baneyx served as director of the UW’s Center for Nanotechnology from 2005 to 2013. He earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has taught at the UW since 1992.
Ann Bostrom, professor of public affairs, was honored for distinguished contributions to the study of risk and risk-sensitive decisions, with particular attention to the understanding of risk perception and communication. Bostrom has authored or contributed to numerous publications, including “Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach” (Cambridge University Press, 2002), “Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support: Strategic Directions” (Berlin: Springer, 2008). She serves on the editorial board for Risk Analysis, as associate or risk communication area editor for the publications “Journal of Risk Research” and “Human and Ecological Risk Assessment” and reviews for numerous technical journals. Bostrom is a past president of the Society for Risk Analysis and a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Environmental Information Services Working Group, among other boards and committees. Here degrees are from Carnegie Mellon University, Western Washington University and UW. She came to the UW in 2007.
Ferric Fang, professor of laboratory medicine and microbiology, was chosen for his contributions as a microbiologist studying phagocyte-microbial interactions and bacterial stress responses, and as editor-in-chief of Infection and Immunity. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, did his residency at University of California San Diego and has been a UW faculty member since 2001. His lab studies how the bacteria Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus cause disease, the immune response the body initiates, including the production of antimicrobials, and how the bacteria in turn resist the body’s attempts to kill them or fight them off. His lab is particularly interested in how bacteria become superbugs and resistant to treatment. His lab recently discovered how disease bacteria in the gut can incorporate foreign DNA into their gene-regulatory networks. Fang also is a public advocate for reducing scientific fraud and misconduct through cultural changes in how research is taught, performed and rewarded.
Wim Hol, professor of biochemistry and biological structure and head of the Biomolecular Structure Center, was recognized for his contributions to understanding protein structures and their roles in infectious disease. Hol attended college and graduate school in The Netherlands. His interest in neglected tropical diseases arose during his two years with UNESCO’s Field Science Office for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. Today he applies protein crystallography to study molecular structures, proteins and protein complexes from malaria, leshmania and sleeping sickness parasites, as well as from bacteria that cause cholera and tuberculosis, and life-threatening diarrhea in children. One area his team has explored is the molecular machinery that cholera bacteria use to transfer toxin across the cell membrane. His group also explores how genes shape the structure of important pathogenic elements of disease protozoa. From this information, he and his colleagues hope to foster structure-based drug design to develop new therapeutics against these diseases.
Charles Murry, professor of pathology, bioengineering and medicine, was selected for his distinguished contributions to the field of cardiovascular pathobiology, and for national leadership in the fields of heart regeneration and repair and cardiac stem cell research. He received a doctorate and medical degree from Duke University and did his residency at the UW. His lab studies the biology of heart attacks and how the heart is damaged by and heals after a heart attack. His team at the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine and the Center for Cardiovascular Biology works with tissue engineering. His group is testing patches, grown from stem cells, to reconstruct injured heart muscle and prevent complications such as rhythm disturbances. In a “disease in a lab dish” approach, he also studies stem cells carrying genetic cardiac disorders to better understand inherited tendencies. In addition to his research, Murry is a pathologist at UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center.