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Five Named AAAS Fellows

Professors recognized by international science society

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January 17, 2011 | by Jasmine Rangel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Five Northwestern faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The five professors were nominated for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will be honored at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in February.

The faculty members are:

• Vinayak Dravid, professor of materials science and engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He was honored for pioneering research on nanotechnology, nanometrology and the structural response properties of materials.

Dravid is the director of the NU Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental (NUANCE) Center and is a member of several interdisciplinary center and institutes at Northwestern. He also serves as the coordinator for global program development for McCormick and many research centers. His research and educational activities focus on nanoscale phenomena in materials.

He previously was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society. Some of his other awards include being named to the inaugural class of Microscopy Society of America (MSA) fellows, the Richard M. Fulrath Award from the American Ceramic Society and a McCormick Faculty Excellence Award, among others.

• Dedre Gentner, the Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor of cognitive psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of education in the School of Education and Social Policy. She was honored for distinguished contributions to the field of cognitive psychology and cognitive development, particularly for her influential structure-mapping theory of analogy.

Gentner is the director of the Cognitive Science Program and co-principal investigator of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center. Her research interests include learning and reasoning and their development; language and cognition; mental models; and lexical acquisition.

Gentner is a member of several professional societies, including AAAS, and has co-authored three books. She has served on the National Science Foundation review panel and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development review panel, among other service appointments.

• William Muller, professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Muller’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis for homing of leukocytes to sites of inflammation. Muller serves on the Councils of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the North American Vascular Biology Organization, of which he is a former president. He has authored numerous book chapters and articles in high profile journals such as Science, Nature, The Journal of Experimental Medicine and Nature Immunology. He was the recipient of an AHA Established Investigator Award and holds a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He has served as an editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine since 1993.

Muller serves as the chairman of the pathology department at Feinberg. His research group identified and cloned PECAM-1, a molecule that is required for transendothelial migration of leukocytes, among other discoveries.

• Robert Vassar, professor of cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Vassar researches the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. He was one of three recipients of the American Academy of Neurology's 2009 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's and Related Diseases for his research. He also won the 2008 MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease and has published in major scientific journals, including Science, Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron and PNAS.

Ten years ago, in the course of his Alzheimer’s disease research, Vassar discovered the enzyme BACE1, which is responsible for making sticky clumps of toxic amyloid protein form outside neurons and disrupt their ability to send messages.

• Sandra Waxman, professor of cognitive psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She was honored for distinguished contributions to the field of psychology and for academic service to psychological journals and societies.

Waxman’s research focuses on conceptual and language development in infancy and early childhood. She previously was named a fellow of the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association, and is the recipient of several awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, the Ann L. Brown Award for Excellent in Developmental Research and the James McKeen Cattell Award from the American Psychological Society. She has served on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development review panel, among other service appointments and is currently serving as editor on the journals Cognitive Psychology and Frontiers in Language Sciences.

AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. It publishes the journal Science, as well as other newsletters, books and reports. In 2011, AAAS elected 503 of its members as fellows.

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