Professors Named Fellows of AAAS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the world’s largest federations of scientists, has elected four Rochester scientists as fellows.
John Jaenike, professor and chair of the Department of Biology, was elected for “distinguished contributions to the field of ecological genetics, particularly the ecology of genetics of parasite-host interactions.”
Lynne Maquat, the Dean’s Endowed Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was cited “for discovery and characterization of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay.”
Michael Tanenhaus, professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, was honored for “his remarkable demonstrations of the highly interactive nature of language processing, and for his innovations in methods of studying language processing that have altered the field.”
And Henry Kautz, who joined the Department of Computer Science in 2006, was recognized for his research in the field of computational cognition science.
Rochester Work Noted Among 2006’s Best
Three University achievements have made Discover magazine’s Top 100 Science Stories of 2006.
At Number 44 is Steven Goldman, professor of neurology, with his discovery that brain cells derived from human embryonic stem cells improved the condition of rats with Parkinson’s-like symptoms dramatically.
At Number 87 is Robert Boyd, M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics, who slowed light down so far it went backward. A few years ago, Boyd showed how he can slow down a pulse of light to slower than an airplane, or speed it up faster than its breakneck pace, using exotic techniques and materials. But in the spring of 2006 he took what was once just a mathematical oddity—negative speed—and showed it working in the real world.
Number 27 on the Discover magazine list is the FDA approval of the vaccine for cervical cancer. Though the article doesn’t mention the University by name, research done more than a decade ago by a trio of University virologists—Richard Reichman, William Bonnez, and Robert Rose ’94M (MD)—is integral to the vaccine.
The journal Science released its top ten breakthroughs of 2006, and two University biology projects on evolution made the list at number seven.
H. Allen Orr, professor of biology who was named the Shirley Cox Kearns Professor this winter, along with graduate student J. P. Masly, were cited for their September Science paper on how gene transposition can cause sterility in certain fruit fly species hybrids, and Daven Presgraves, assistant professor of biology, was noted for his research in Molecular Biology and Evolution about a similar gene that causes hybrid lethality and promotes speciation. According to the journal, the results speak to the power of genomics in helping evolutionary biologists understand one of biology’s most fundamental questions: how biodiversity comes about.