UW News

November 26, 2019

Six UW faculty members named AAAS fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named six faculty members from the University of Washington as AAAS Fellows, according to a Nov. 26 announcement. They are part of a cohort of 443 new fellows for 2019, all chosen by their peers for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

The six UW faculty members who have been named as fellows are:

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Karl Banse

Karl Banse, professor emeritus in the School of Oceanography, is honored for his continuing work on the ecology of the plankton, the very small algae and animals that float with the currents. His career has focused on how plankton interact with light, temperature, oxygen, bound nitrogen, iron and other nutrients. At sea, Banse worked in the Baltic, the North Sea and Puget Sound, but especially the Arabian Sea. In other work, using an early color global satellite, he investigated the offshore seasonality of phytoplankton chlorophyll. With former students he also studied bottom-living polychaetous annelid worms and published identification keys for the nearly 500 species of these worms found between Oregon and southeast Alaska, between the shore and about 200 meters depth. Banse joined the UW faculty in 1960. The 90-year-old researcher became emeritus in 1995 and remains scientifically active.

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Simon Hay

Simon Hay, a professor of health metrics sciences and director of the Local Burden of Disease group at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, was selected for his research resolving infectious diseases in space and time in order to expose inequalities in health metrics and improve intervention strategies. He currently leads an international collaboration of researchers from a wide variety of academic disciplines to create even better maps of infectious disease. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles and other contributions, including two major, in-depth research papers published independently. His published works are cited more than 18,000 times each year, leading to more than 82,000 lifetime citations. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hay has embarked on a project to expand this research to a much wider range of diseases to ultimately harmonize this mapping with the Global Burden of Disease Study, IHME’s signature project.

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Michael Lagunoff

Michael Lagunoff, a professor of microbiology, studies Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus, a virus that alters the cells lining blood and lymphatic vessels. Those changes can cause Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer that commonly affects AIDS patients worldwide and people in parts of central Africa. Lagunoff’s lab has studied how the Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus interferes with endothelial cell signaling, gene expression and metabolism to promote the formation of tumors containing numerous blood vessels. His lab used RNA-sequencing, metabolomics, proteomics and other techniques to determine global changes in host-cell gene expression and signaling. This information has helped to identify key cellular pathways induced by the virus. His team is studying how the virus alters the host cell metabolism to mimic cancer cell metabolism, and is searching for novel therapeutic targets for Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

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Raymond Monnat, Jr.

Raymond Monnat, Jr., a professor of pathology and genome sciences and an investigator at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, studies DNA damage and repair mechanisms, genome instability, and its role in cancer and other conditions. He is noted for his work on Werner, Bloom and Rothman-Thomson syndromes. These inherited disorders cause distinctive physical characteristics, such as premature aging in Werner’s, and predispose to cancer. Monnat’s team explores how the loss of key proteins important to DNA metabolism may underlie these rare syndromes. Aberrant expression of those proteins may be common in some adult cancers and affect response to chemotherapy. Monnat and his group use certain genome engineering techniques to try to correct disease-causing mutations in patient-derived stem cells. His lab has also identified “safe-harbor sites” in the human genome where new genetic elements might be inserted without disrupting the expression of nearby genes.

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Julia Parrish

Julia Parrish, professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the Department of Biology, is elected for her work in marine ecology. Her research focuses on seabird ecology, marine conservation and public science. A committed advocate of citizen science, she founded and directs the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, which for two decades has enlisted coastal residents from California to Alaska to monitor West Coast beaches for dead birds and marine debris. Parrish spoke at the White House in 2013 about public engagement in science and scientific literacy. She holds the Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield endowed professorship, and is associate dean for academic affairs in the UW College of the Environment.

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Eric Steig

Eric Steig, a professor of Earth and space sciences, is honored for his work in glaciology and climate science. Steig uses ice cores and other records to study climate variability over thousands of years. He works on the climate history and dynamics of polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers, and develops new tools to extract the chemical clues in samples of ice and other material. Steig was among the leaders of a project to drill the first deep ice core at South Pole, and was on the team that drilled a 2-mile-deep ice core in West Antarctica. His recent research has focused on the links between large-scale climate conditions and changes in West Antarctica, where glaciers are rapidly retreating. In addition to his research and teaching, he is committed to fostering greater public understanding of climate change, and is a founding contributor to RealClimate.org.

In addition, Harmit Malik, an investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an affiliate professor of genome sciences at the UW, was selected for his research on genetic conflict.