Eight UCLA scholars have been selected as fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science. Members are chosen for their distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The selection of fellows has been an AAAS tradition since 1874.
UCLA's new fellows are among 702 scholars selected this year. The new fellows will be honored Feb. 16, 2013, at the annual AAAS meeting in Boston, and they will be announced in the "AAAS News and Notes" section of the journal Science this Nov. 30. UCLA's fellows are:
Cheng, a professor in the department of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, was honored for "distinguished contributions to the field of immunology, particularly for elucidating mechanisms of host innate immune responses to microbial infections and associated diseases." Cheng's research focuses on understanding the process of innate and adaptive immune responses against bacterial and viral infections, as well as increasing the understanding of tumors. His goal is to develop novel strategies to enhance the human immune system's protection against pathogen infections and tumors while preventing or inhibiting inflammatory and metabolic diseases.
Christofides, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of electrical engineering at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, was honored for "the development of rigorous methods for analysis and control of nonlinear, hybrid and distributed parameter processes." His research interests are in the areas of control, dynamics and optimization, including both theory and applications; computational process modeling and simulation; and applied mathematics. His laboratory seeks to develop new methods for the systematic and rigorous solution of complex process-control and systems-engineering problems.
Miller, professor and chair of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at UCLA, was honored for "distinguished contributions to the fields of microbial pathogenesis and genetics, particularly for the discovery of diversity-generating retro-elements which accelerate the evolution of adaptive traits." Miller, who holds UCLA's M. Philip Davis Chair in Microbiology and Immunology, studies the molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and anti-microbial immunity and seeks to uncover the fundamental mechanisms of the cell biology of bacterial pathogens and how they cause disease.
Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry, is a distinguished professor of dentistry and a distinguished professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He was honored "for distinguished contributions to the field of oral cancer and dental education, particularly for oral carcinogenesis, viral infection and cell aging."
Sayed, a professor and former chair of electrical engineering at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, was honored for "distinguished contributions to adaptation, learning, and statistical signal processing." The author of more than 400 scholarly publications and five books, Sayed focuses on research in several areas, including adaptation and learning, network science, biologically inspired designs and information-processing theories.
Silva, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was honored for "pioneering research in the field of molecular and cellular cognition, including seminal discoveries in the molecular basis of memory and cognitive disorders." He founded and became the first president of the Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society, an international organization with more than 4,000 members. He heads the Center for Genetic Studies of Cortical Plasticity, and serves as the co-director of the Integrative Center for Learning and Memory.
Wong, a professor of biostatistics at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, was honored for "unique and valuable contributions to understanding mini-max optimal designs and optimal designs for heteroscedastic models and their practical applications to biomedical fields." His research expertise is in the construction and application of model-based optimal designs in the biological sciences, including multiple-objective optimal designs that provide maximum statistical efficiency at minimum cost.
Zipursky, a distinguished professor of biological chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, studies the molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal connections, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Drosophila has some 250,000 neurons that are precisely interconnected by millions of synaptic connections to form neural circuits. Zipursky's research has clarified how these circuits form during development and has identified the specific molecular labels on the surface of different neurons that provide the basis for connection specificity. He was honored for "distinguished contributions to the field of developmental neurobiology, particularly for discovering molecular mechanisms underlying the assembly of neural circuits."
The AAAS, founded in 1848, is a nonprofit organization that includes 261 affiliated societies and science academies and serves 10 million people. The association's mission is to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs and science education, including its website devoted to science news, EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org).
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
An earlier version understated the number of new fellows from UCLA.