Columbia Professors Elected Fellows of Prestigious Science Society

Dec. 19, 2008Bookmark and Share

Seven Columbia University professors have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world's oldest, largest and most prestigious scientific societies.

"The continued recognition of our faculty by the AAAS is a tribute to the talent and diversity of scholarship at Columbia," said Nick Dirks, vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. "We are tremendously proud of our faculty and their achievements."
The new fellows—who represent a range of medical specialties and departments, including cellular biophysics, microbiology and neurology—join 479 additional inductees from across the nation. Last year the AAAS recognized five Columbia professors as new fellows.
"Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers," said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, which has five new fellows. "This distinction underscores the significance and influence of the research that takes place within our institution."
The faculty selected as AAAS fellows include:
Laurence Abbott, the William Bloor Professor of Theoretical Neuroscience, is a professor in the department of physiology and cellular biophysics and co-director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience. He was selected for distinguished work on the computational modeling and mathematical analysis of neurons and neural networks and the implications for sensory processing and learning. 
Gerald Fischbach is the John E. Borne Professor of Medical and Surgical Research, as well as the Scientific Director of The Simons Foundation. Former Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences at Columbia University, and former Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, Fischbach was selected for his pioneering work on the formation and maintenance of synapses, for outstanding mentoring of neuroscientists and for exemplary leadership within the scientific community.
Michael Goldberg is the David Mahoney Professor of Brain and Behavior in the departments of neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry and ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center. He was selected for his groundbreaking contributions to understanding brain mechanisms of cognition, including the basis of visual attention, the perception of space and the generation of movement.
James L. Manley is the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of the Life Sciences in the department of biological sciences. He was selected for his distinguished contributions to the field of gene regulation, particularly for mechanistic analysis of transcriptional regulation and RNA processing and elucidating novel links between them. 
Rodney Rothstein is a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Center. He was selected for fundamental innovations in gene targeting and replacement, elucidating important aspects of homologous recombination, the DNA damage response and discovering genes involved in genome stability.
Howard Shuman is a professor of microbiology in the department of microbiology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was selected for distinguished contributions to the field of microbiology, particularly for pioneering the use of gene fusions and for studies of membrane proteins and host-pathogen interactions.

James J. Valentini is a professor of chemistry. He served as Chemistry Department Chair from 2005 to 2008 and is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies. Valentini was selected for his distinguished contributions to physical chemistry, in the development and application of coherent and resonance Raman spectroscopy for the study of photochemistry and reaction dynamics.

Fellows—selected by the greater AAAS membership from among its own ranks—are awarded this special honor because of their efforts to advance scientific applications that are deemed especially promising or socially distinguished. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate, and gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pins, on Saturday, Feb. 14 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Fellows Forum during the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. This year's AAAS Fellows also will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Dec. 19.

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