American Association for the Advancement of Science honors 19 UF faculty as Lifetime Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected 19 faculty from the University of Florida to its newest class, breaking previous records for the number of faculty awarded in a single year. The honor, which includes alumni such as Thomas Edison and W.E.B. DuBois, is among the most distinctive in academia and recognizes extraordinary impact and achievement across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

AAAS has awarded the following faculty from UF:

Emilio M. Bruna, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor and distinguished teaching scholar in the UF/IFAS department of wildlife ecology and conservation and UF’s Center for Latin American studies. He is the past-president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation and secretary of the Ecological Society of America. His research focuses on the ecological consequences of deforestation and other human activities on the Amazon rainforest and other tropical ecosystems. Bruna, along with his students and collaborators, has received over $5.5 million in support of research and training programs; his students’ research has been honored by several national and international organizations.

Valérie de Crécy-Lagard, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the UF/IFAS department of microbiology and cell science. In her research, de Crécy-Lagard works to discover the function of various bacterial genes, many of which are also found in humans. With the aid of bioinformatic tools, she and her team analyze available genomic and post-genomic data to make predictions about genes that can be tested in the laboratory. Over the last twenty years, her work has uncovered the function of over sixty-five protein families covering several hundred thousand individual genes, mainly in the areas of nucleic acid modification and vitamin metabolism.

Ageliki (Lily) Elefteriadou, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is a professor of civil engineering and director of the UF Transportation Institute. Her research focuses on traffic flow theory, highway capacity analysis, traffic simulation, autonomous and connected vehicles, signal control optimization, freeway management, traffic data collection and analysis, and intelligent transportation systems. Elefteriadou has developed several methods and analysis tools that have been published in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), the major traffic operations publication used by most highway transportation agencies in the U.S. and widely used and referenced internationally. She has led a series of research projects with funding from NSF and FDOT to develop algorithms for a smart intersection that would control autonomous vehicle trajectories to optimize movement. Elefteriadou has published extensively and has been invited to present her work at many conferences and institutes worldwide.

Gerrit Hoogenboom, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor and preeminent scholar in the UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering department and a member of the Global Food Systems Institute. Over the last three decades, Hoogenboom’s research on developing computer models to predict crop yields has had wide-ranging applications, including crop variety selection, water resource management and projecting the impact of climate change on crop production. Hoogenboom currently coordinates the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT), a computer application that is used by scientists, educators, decision makers and others around the world.

Prabhat Mishra, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is a professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering and a UF Research Foundation Professor. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. He is also the Director of CISE Embedded Systems Lab. Mishra’s research interests include embedded and cyber-physical systems, hardware security and trust, computer architecture, energy-aware computing, machine learning, and quantum computing. His research enabled automated and scalable hardware validation using an effective combination of formal verification, test generation, and side-channel analysis to design secure and energy-efficient systems.

Cheryl Palm, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor emerita in the UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering department and former associate director of the UF/IFAS Global Food Systems Institute. Her research focuses on ecosystem processes in tropical agricultural landscapes under land-use change, degradation and rehabilitation. Palm’s accomplishments include leading a major effort quantifying carbon stocks, losses and net greenhouse gas emissions following slash and burn and alternative land-use systems in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, Indonesia and Cameroon. She is currently leading efforts to quantify and compare the potential for sustainable intensification of different cropping systems in East and Southern Africa.

Anna-Lisa Paul, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a research professor in the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department and the director of the UF Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research. She also co-leads the UF Space Plants Lab. Her research focuses on how plants respond to environmental change at the molecular and genetic level, with emphasis on spaceflight environments, extraterrestrial materials and planetary analogs. In 2022, Paul and UF collaborators Rob Ferl and Stephen Elardo marked a milestone in the science of plants in space, publishing the first study to show that plants can grow in lunar soil and how plants react to this novel environment.

Peihua Qiu, College of Public Health and Health Professions, is a dean’s professor and founding chair in the Department of Biostatistics. Qiu has made substantial contributions in the research areas of jump regression analysis, image processing, statistical process control, survival analysis, dynamic disease screening, spatio-temporal disease surveillance, and various statistical applications in public health, medicine, manufacturing industry, and more. He has published two research monographs and more than 150 research papers in refereed journals in these areas. He is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected fellow of the American Society for Quality, an elected fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Bala Rathinasabapathi, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department and is a member of the American Society of Horticultural Science and the National Association of Plant Breeders. His research investigates plant adaptations to various abiotic stress factors. He has developed a research program for the genetic improvement of peppers in which students gain competency in plant biology and cultivar development. Rathinasabapathi has served on more than 60 master’s and Ph.D. advisory committees and is known for innovative and effective teaching. In 2021, he was named the Graduate Educator of the Year by the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Czerne Reid, College of Medicine, is a senior lecturer in psychiatry and affiliate faculty in journalism at UF. She was cited by AAAS for “distinguished contributions to the communication of science, especially through sustained leadership of programs to develop future generations of science writers.” As co-chair of the education committee of the National Association of Science Writers, she co-coordinates a stable of mentoring and career development programs that have helped hundreds of science and journalism students from across the U.S and around the world find their footing in science communication. An environmental chemist-turned-science journalist, she is principal investigator of The Science to SciCom Study, which examines the experiences of STEM Ph.D.-level-trained individuals who switch career paths from science research to science communication.

Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is the chair and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is an international leader in the fields of ferrohydrodynamics, biomedical applications of magnetic nanoparticles, and diffusion of nanoparticles in complex and biological fluids. In the field of nanomedicine, Rinaldi-Ramos has made outstanding contributions to harnessing localized nanoscale heating for magnetic nanoparticle thermal cancer therapy.

José Eduardo P. Santos, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences and coordinates extension programs in dairy cattle nutrition and reproduction. His research seeks to develop technologies that enhance efficiency of dairy production, in particular improvements in peripartum health and reproduction. The research is highly integrative, combining components of basic cellular biology, whole animal physiology and applied interventions that are adopted by dairy producers worldwide. He is a fellow of the American Dairy Science Association and a member of the Brazilian Society for Embryo Technology and founder of the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council.

Matthew Smith, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is an associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of plant pathology and the curator of the UF Fungal Herbarium at the Florida Museum of Natural History. He is responsible for identifying unknown fungi for a variety of Florida stakeholders, including the UF Plant Disease Clinic, UF/IFAS Extension and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on fungal ecology, evolution and systematics, and he has worked extensively on truffles and ectomycorrhizal fungi.

Pam Soltis, Florida Museum of Natural History, is a botanist and curator of molecular systematics and evolutionary genetics and director of the UF Biodiversity Institute. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, her research focuses on plant diversity and evolution. Soltis is widely known for her recognition of the importance of polyploid evolution — having more than two sets of chromosomes — in flowering plants. Soltis uses genomic methods and computational modeling to understand patterns and processes of plant evolution and to identify conservation priorities. Much of her current work focuses on plant diversity and conservation in Florida, but her research has taken her throughout the U.S. and Canada and to Costa Rica, New Caledonia, Spain, China and Brazil.

Lukasz Stelinski, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the UF/IFAS department of entomology and nematology based at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. He specializes in applied chemical ecology, vector-pathogen interactions and insect toxicology. Stelinski has conducted research and Extension programs on pest management in subtropical fruit crops and is a recognized expert on controlling pests by applying insect pheromones that disrupt mating. His work develops management strategies to moderate the impact of arthropod-pathogen interactions limiting citrus production while maintaining established biological controls.

Maurice Swanson, College of Medicine, is a professor in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology and associate program director of the UF Center for NeuroGenetics. His research focuses on understanding how RNA processing is controlled during mammalian development and the role of DNA repeat expansion mutations in causing inherited neurological diseases. His lab demonstrated that repeat expansion RNAs cause the neuromuscular disease myotonic dystrophy by inhibiting the activities of specific RNA processing factors.

Nan-Yao Su, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a distinguished professor in the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department. His research focuses on urban entomology, specifically termite biology and control. Su developed the Sentricon system, a bait system for termite control. The Sentricon helped reduce pesticide use by over 9,000 metric tons and received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the U.S. EPA. He has also served as a technical adviser relating to termite issues for foreign governments such as China, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Nian Wang, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the department of microbiology and cell science based at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. His research uses molecular genetics techniques such as CRISPR to understand and manage citrus greening disease and citrus canker. In 2022, Wang's work on citrus greening earned him UF’s Invention of the Year award. Wang was also recently awarded an $8.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to establish a center of excellence for the development and delivery of citrus greening disease management approaches.

Marta L. Wayne, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the dean and associate provost of the UF International Center and professor of biology. She specializes in the evolution and ecology of infectious disease and evolutionary genetics. Wayne has made significant research contributions in sex-specific genomics of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and the role of RNA editing in viral and host genome evolution and fitness.

The 2022 class of AAAS Fellows are among 505 scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

“An important measure of the university’s prowess is the accolades its faculty members receive from national and international organizations,” said David Norton, vice president for UF Research. “The awarding of Fellow from AAAS to so many UF researchers this year is the result of the remarkable achievements of these individuals and reflects very positively on UF as we strive to become the best public research university in the country.”

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UF News January 31, 2023