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Seven Vanderbilt faculty members named fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science 

Posted by on Thursday, April 25, 2024 in News.

After a rigorous nomination and review process, seven distinguished Vanderbilt University professors were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The class of 2023, announced on April 18, included 502 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning all 24 of the AAAS disciplinary sections who were recognized for their scientific achievements.  “At Vanderbilt, we’re thrilled to celebrate the election of our faculty members as AAAS fellows. It not only highlights our dedication to groundbreaking research and societal impact, but also showcases the inspiration they provide to future generations of scholars,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. 

“This year’s class embodies scientific excellence, fosters trust in science throughout the communities they serve, and leads the next generation of scientists while advancing scientific achievements,” said Sudip S. Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

This year, seven Vanderbilt faculty representing three schools and colleges were selected as fellows:


  • Jada Benn Torres, associate professor of anthropology, was one of 10 faculty nationwide to be honored in the section on anthropology. AAAS cited Benn Torres’ distinguished contributions to the field of biocultural anthropology, particularly using genetic anthropology and community-engaged anthropology to illuminate the history of the Caribbean and develop the “racial experience” paradigm as their reason for electing her a fellow.
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Chemistry David Cliffel was named a fellow in the section on chemistry for his distinguished contributions to the field of analytical chemistry, particularly for innovations in electroanalytical methods and sensors for multianalyte microphysiometry, microclinical analyzers and biohybrid energy conversion using photosystem/photochemistry.
  • Janet Macdonald, associate professor of chemistry and associate director of the interdisciplinary materials science program, was named a fellow in the section on chemistry. The AAAS cited Macdonald’s contributions to advancing the discipline of chemistry by addressing challenges related to the synthesis of nanoscale materials for solar energy capture as a reason for the election.

“Jada Benn Torres, David Cliffel and Janet Macdonald are making a groundbreaking impact on their scientific communities,” said Timothy P. McNamara, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science. “From Jada’s exploration of genetic anthropology to David’s innovations in electroanalytical methods to Janet’s discoveries in the synthesis of nanoscale materials, these accomplished scholars are leading their respective fields and elevating the portfolio of innovative research happening across the college. This acknowledgement by the AAAS is highly deserved.”


  • Volker Haase, the Krick-Brooks Chair in Nephrology and professor of medicine, is the principal investigator in the Haase Lab, which studies hypoxia responses in physiology and pathogenesis, particularly hypoxia response pathways and their therapeutic applications. AAAS cited his work and named him a fellow for his distinguished contributions to the field of experimental and translational medicine, particularly for the development and use of mouse models to study mammalian oxygen sensing in health and disease.

“Professor Volker Haase’s election as an AAAS fellow is a tremendous accomplishment that underscores his groundbreaking research in molecular oxygen-sensing,” Dean John Kuriyan said. “As a leading expert in the field of molecular physiology and biophysics, Haase has been recognized by the AAAS for his distinguished contributions to experimental and translational medicine, particularly through his innovative development and application of mouse models to study mammalian oxygen sensing in both healthy and diseased states. This prestigious fellowship is a well-deserved honor that reflects Haase’s impactful work and dedication.”


  • Ingram Professor of Cancer Research Xiao-Ou Shu investigates the epidemiology of cancer and chronic disease in large population-based, cohort studies and was elected as an AAAS fellow for her distinguished contributions to the field of cancer etiology and survivorship by conducting nutritional, genetic and molecular epidemiological studies to discover risk and protective factors as well as biomarkers.
  • Keith Wilson, Thomas F. Frist Sr. Chair in Medicine and professor of medicine, studies gastrointestinal mucosal inflammation and how that leads to cancer development. AAAS cited his distinguished contributions to the field of biomedical research, particularly using cellular and animal model systems, and conducting translational research to understand gastrointestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis as the reasons he was elected as a fellow.
  • Wei Zheng, chief of the division of epidemiology, director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and professor of medicine, was named a fellow for his distinguished contributions to the field of epidemiology and public health, particularly for large population-based multidisciplinary research leading to the discovery of genetic and lifestyle risk factors for cancer.

“Recognition as 2023 AAAS fellows highlights the remarkable impact and innovation of Drs. Xiao-Ou Shu, Keith Wilson and Wei Zheng in their respective fields,” said Donald Brady, executive vice dean for academic affairs at the School of Medicine. “This esteemed honor not only underscores their commitment to advancing medical science but also reaffirms our School of Medicine’s role at the forefront of global health research and education.”

This 150th class of fellows in the Association for the Advancement of Science joined distinguished scientists such as Thomas Edison, Mae Jemison, Anthony Fauci and Ellen Ochoa.

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