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Two Rochester scientists named AAAS fellows

November 26, 2019

Two University of Rochester faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Todd Krauss, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Benjamin Miller, Dean’s Professor of Dermatology, are among 443 members of the association being recognized this year for their “efforts toward advancing scientific applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”

portrait of Todd Kraus in his lab.

Todd Krauss, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Todd Krauss studies the fundamental physical properties of nanomaterials. Such materials are larger in size than individual molecules but smaller than macroscopic crystals. Krauss researches how nanomaterials interact with light and how nanomaterials can convert energy from light into the formation of chemical bonds. Solar energy, for example, can be converted to clean-burning chemical fuels, such as hydrogen, using colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals as the light-harvesting element. The research has important implications for the future development of alternative and renewable energy sources.

“I am truly honored to be selected as an AAAS fellow, as it represents joining an exceptional group of scholars both here at Rochester and also worldwide,” Krauss says. “I want to recognize that while this distinction is for me personally, it really was enabled though the efforts of dozens of extremely talented undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars who have worked in our research group at the University of Rochester over the past 20 years.”

Krauss joined the Rochester chemistry faculty in 2000 and received a joint appointment with the Institute of Optics in 2008. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America. He received the University’s Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching in 2009; was honored with the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2005; and was named an Alfred P. Sloan Award winner in 2004.

portrait of Benjamin Miller.

Benjamin Miller, Dean’s Professor of Dermatology. (University of Rochester Medical Center photo)

Benjamin Miller is focused on two areas of research: how various molecules recognize RNA sequences; and how the optical properties of nanomaterials might aid in the development of new biosensors for biological investigations and clinical screenings.

In the realm of RNA recognition, Miller and the members of his lab have applied techniques of molecular design and a novel method of small-molecule evolution called Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry, which allows researchers to rapidly “prototype” RNA binding molecules. The Miller lab uses these methods to develop new RNA-targeted drugs to treat diseases such as Myotonic Dystrophy and HIV. In investigating the optical properties of nanomaterials, Miller hopes to pave the way toward compact, inexpensive biosensors that could replace current floor-standing clinical diagnostic systems with a cell phone-sized device.

“I’m honored to join the ranks of AAAS fellows and view it as recognition of the quality of work my research group members have done over the years,” he says.

Miller joined the Rochester faculty in 1996 and has joint appointments in biomedical engineering, biochemistry and biophysics, and optics, as well as in the chemistry and materials science graduate programs. He received the Future of Health Technology Award in 2010 and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award in 2001.

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Category: University News