Two BCB Faculty Named AAAS Fellows

November 29, 2016

AAAS honors six Iowa State researchers for distinguished work advancing science - Two are BCB faculty members...

AMES, Iowa – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is recognizing six Iowa State University researchers for their contributions to statistics, bioinformatics, plant biology, crop improvement, astrophysics and plant pathology.

The researchers are among this year’s class of 391 new AAAS fellows, the association announced today. The recognition is bestowed on association members by their peers and recognizes scientifically or socially distinguished work to advance science or its applications.

Iowa State’s new AAAS fellows include these two BCB faculty members:

Xun Gu, professor of genetics, development and cell biology, “For distinguished contributions to the field of computational molecular evolution and bioinformatics, particularly for developing statistical theory and methods for comparative genomics and evolution.”

Gu’s current research is to integrate genome big data, high throughput computing and principles of genome evolution into a unified framework. That may have broad applications in various biological fields, including plant and animal domestication, evolutionary medicine and certain cancer mutations.

Steven Whitham, professor of plant pathology and microbiology, “For distinguished contributions to the field of plant pathology, namely for plant-microbial interactions in soybean and corn and for the isolation of the N resistance gene.”

Whitham’s research group studies the networks of plant and pathogen genes that determine whether a plant becomes diseased or successfully defends itself. The group is particularly interested in viral and fungal pathogens that cause diseases in soybeans and corn. The group also develops new technologies based on plant viruses that enable researchers to more rapidly assess the functions of genes in corn and soybean plants.

The new AAAS fellows will be announced in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Science and honored on Feb. 18 at the AAAS meeting in Boston. AAAS members can be nominated for the honor by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, by any three fellows or by the association’s chief executive officer.

Other Fellows of AAAS who are BCB Faculty members include:

  • Robert Jernigan, BBMB
  • Marit Nilsen-Hamilton, BBMB
  • James Reecy, Animal Science
  • Patrick Schnable, Agronomy
  • Chris Tuggle, Animal Science
  • Jonathan Wendel, EEOB
  • Roger Wise, Plant Pathology and Microbiology
  • Edward Yu, Physics and Astronomy

The tradition of AAAS fellows dates back to 1874.

The AAAS was founded in 1848 and is the world’s largest general scientific society. The association publishes the journal Science and several other scientific journals.

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