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AAAS, University of New Mexico Announce 2012 Fellows

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Four professors from the University of New Mexico have been named 2012 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. The Fellows include: Vince Calhoun, Donald Natvig, Laurel Sillerud and Bridget S. Wilson. They are among a prestigious group of 702 new members awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Vince Calhoun


Vince Calhoun
Calhoun, who is currently a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was selected for pioneering work in methods for identifying intrinsic brain networks from brain imaging data and for multimodal fusion of imaging and genetic data. Calhoun also holds appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry, Computer Science and Neuroscience. Calhoun is also executive science officer and director, Image Analysis and Magnetic Resonance Research Professor of Translational Neuroscience for The Mind Research Network.

He has developed advanced algorithms for identifying how brain regions ‘talk' to one another (called functional connectivity) either during a specific task or at rest. He has also studied how these connections are impaired during mental illness.

Calhoun has also been a pioneer in the field of "data fusion" which emphasizes the fact that each type of imaging data we collect gives only a limited view of the brain and by combining multiple complementary types of information (like brain function, brain structure, and genetics) we can learn more about the healthy and diseased human brain.

Donald Natvig


Donald Natvig
Natvig, a professor in the Department of Biology, was selected for significant contributions to mycological research, ecological and comparative genomics and for initiating the Neurospora Genome Project as an undergraduate-training project. He was also recognized as editor of Mycologia, a journal that publishes papers on all aspects of fungi, including lichens.

Some of Natvig's latest research ranges from genome evolution in mushrooms to insights from the genome and assembled chromosomes of Coprinopsis cinerea; the effect of precipitation variability on net primary production and soil respiration in a Chihuahuan desert grassland; diversity and distribution of soil fungal communities in a semiarid grassland; and precipitation variability and fire influence the temporal dynamics of soil CO2 efflux in arid grasslands.

Lau­rel Sillerud


Laurel Owen Sillerud
Sillerud, a research professor with UNM's School of Medicine and MRI core director at UNM's BRaIN Imaging Center, was elected for his distinguished contributions to non-invasive technologies, especially Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) analysis of living organisms, isotope-directed NMR, and polarization transfer NMR.

Sillerud began developing a handheld Magnetic Resonance device about eight years ago to detect dangerous pathogens and bacteria. This miniaturized nuclear magnetic resonance device attaches magnetic beads to a broad spectrum of pathogen and bacteria targets. The detected targets then can be isolated for further investigation.

Bridget Wilson


Bridget Wilson
Wilson, who is the Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Professor in the UNM Department of Pathology, was recognized for distinguished contributions to discovery research, particularly for new insights into the spatial regulation of cell signaling pathways and the composition of signaling complexes.

She is one of four program leaders at UNM's NCI-designated Cancer Center. A cell biologist, Wilson specializes in cell-cell communication and membrane biology. In addition to using innovative imaging approaches to study cellular events in real time, the Wilson Laboratory has developed novel electron microscopy methods to map the changing landscape of the cell membrane during cell signaling. Wilson also is a strong proponent of interdisciplinary, cross-campus research initiatives, reflected by her role as the Scientific Director of the New Mexico's only NIH-funded Systems Biology Center.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association's 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

Media contact: Steve Carr (505) 277-1821; email: scarr@unm.edu

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