Six University of California, San Diego professors have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. They are among 347 members selected this year by colleagues in their disciplines to be honored for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”
Shu Chien, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine and bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego. He was cited for “continuing outstanding contributions to vascular physiology and vascular cell and molecular biology, which have greatly increased our understanding of vascular pathologies including atherosclerosis.” His work, which focuses on the study of how blood flow and pressure affect vessels, earned him a National Medal of Science in 2011. He is one of only 11 scholars in the United States to be a member of all three national academies: Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Gen-Sheng Feng, PhD, professor of pathology in the US San Diego School of Medicine, was cited for “distinguished contributions to the field of biomedical science, particularly for understanding cell signaling pathways in cancer, metabolism and stem cells.” This year, Feng and colleagues published findings explaining why anemia is a common side effect of anti-cancer drugs that target enzymes involved in tumor growth.
Stephen Howell, MD, is a professor of medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and a founding member of the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, where he is associate director for research education and training, directs the Cancer Therapeutics Program and co-leads the Tumor Growth, Invasion and Metastasis Program. He was cited for “contributions to the field of cancer chemotherapy, particularly the development of novel drug delivery systems and intraperitoneal chemotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer.”
Edward H. Koo, MD, is professor in the Department of Neurosciences in the School of Medicine, cited for “distinguished contributions to the field of neuroscience, particularly for work in basic and translational studies related to Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology and therapeutics.” In particular, Koo and colleagues are investigating fundamental cellular changes, such as the biology and buildup of amyloid precursor protein, that are linked to development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Paul Mischel, MD, is a professor in the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine and member of the San Diego branch of Ludwig Cancer Research, based at UC San Diego. He was cited for his “distinguished contributions to molecular neurobiology by defining the signal transduction and metabolic networks that promote brain tumor growth and progression.” Specifically, Mischel and his lab focus on the biology and treatment of glioblastomas, the most common form of brain cancer.
Tariq Rana, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, member of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. He was cited for “distinguished contributions to the field of chemical biology, particularly using chemistry to study RNA regulation and gene silencing to treat human disease.” Earlier this year, Rana received a $2.5 million Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to create stem cell-derived “mini-brains” to study neurological disorders caused by HIV and methamphetamine use.
The AAAS, founded in 1848 in Philadelphia, encompasses 254 affiliated societies and academies serving 10 million individuals worldwide. The non-profit organization advocates scientific progress, freedom, education and cooperation. The new Fellows will be presented with a certificate and rosette pin at the 2016 AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.