The American Association for the Advancement of Science elects 6 faculty members

AUSTIN, Texas — Six University of Texas at Austin faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general science society.

The honor recognizes important contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – including pioneering research, leadership in a given field, fostering collaborations and promoting public understanding of science.

The new fellows join more than 49 colleagues at the university who have earned the lifetime honor. Nationally, AAAS has chosen 505 new fellows this year.

“I am tremendously proud of our newly elected AAAS Fellows,” said Daniel Jaffe, vice president for research. “They join an exclusive group of scientists and engineers nationwide, based on their significant contributions to STEM research. Having so many high-performing researchers at UT Austin underscores the institution’s impact and enriches the quality of both the research and our teaching.”

This year’s AAAS Fellows come from the College of Natural Sciences, the Cockrell School of Engineering, and the School of Information.

Scott Aaronson is professor and Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. His research interests are centered around the possibilities and limits of quantum computers and computational complexity theory more generally. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, most recently the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery Prize for pioneering contributions to quantum computing.

Valery Roxanne Bogucka is an adjunct assistant professor at the Information School. She is active in science communication and public engagement and convenes the UT Science Communication Interest Group. Her recent research includes academic librarians’ participation in non-library conferences and organizations, such as AAAS, and validation of bibliographic database search strategies. She retired from her position as STEM Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences. While in that position, she produced UT Libraries’ outreach programs, Research Speed-Dating and Research + Pizza.

Catherine A. Calder is chairman of the Department of Statistics and Data Science. Her research focuses on the development of statistical methodology for spatial and relational data. Much of her current work is motivated by and applied to problems that fall under the umbrella of exposure/contextual effects analyses, with applications in the social, environmental and health sciences.

Diana Marcolescu is department chair and holds the Cockrell Family Chair for Engineering Leadership and the Motorola Regents Chair for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is the founding director of the Intelligent Machine Engineering Consortium at UT, an industry-university partnership in machine learning and systems, and leads the Energy-Aware Computing Group, a group whose goal is to bring computational efficiency to applications with high societal impact. Her work includes energy- and reliability-aware computing, hardware-aware machine learning, and computing for sustainability and science applications.

Pengyu Ren is a biomedical engineering professor and holds the ECH Bantel Professorship for Professional Practice. His work uses computational biology and molecular modeling that integrates scientific computing, chemistry, physics and biology for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. His work seeks to engineer new molecules, from small organic molecules to proteins and nucleic acids, with controlled structure and function for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.

Claus O. Wilke is Professor of Integrative Biology and holds the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professorship in Molecular Evolution. In 2019, Wilke published the book “Fundamentals of Data Visualization”, which provides a concise introduction to effectively visualizing many different types of data sets. He has published extensively in the fields of computational biology, molecular evolution, protein biochemistry, and virology and created several popular computational packages used for data visualization.

The new fellows will be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of the February issue of Science and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, this summer.

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