Six from Penn Elected 2024 AAAS Fellows

Penn’s new AAAS Fellows for 2024, clockwise from top left: Dolores Albarracín, T. Tony Cai, Noam A. Cohen, Shu Yang, Edward A. Stadtmauer, and Michael Lampson.
Penn’s new AAAS Fellows for 2024, clockwise from top left: Dolores Albarracín, T. Tony Cai, Noam A. Cohen, Shu Yang, Edward A. Stadtmauer, and Michael Lampson.

Six faculty researchers representing six University of Pennsylvania schools have been elected 2024 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows. They are among more than 500 researchers honored for their “scientifically and socially distinguished achievements,” according to the AAAS.

Since 1874, the scientific society aimed at advancing science, engineering, and innovation has annually named a class of fellows.

Penn’s new AAAS fellows are:

Shu Yang is a Joseph Bordogna Professor of Engineering and Applied Science in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Yang is interested in the synthesis, fabrication, and assembly of soft and hybrid materials; dynamic tuning of their sizes, shapes, and assembled structures; and use of geometry to create highly flexible, super-conformable, shape-changing, and energy-efficient materials. She worked at Bell Laboratories and at Lucent Technologies as a technical staff member before joining Penn. She is a recipient of the American Chemical Society Langmuir lectureship, the Inventor of the Year award from the Penn Center for Innovation, and the George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research from Penn Engineering. Yang is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Materials Research Society, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, and National Academy of Inventors. Yang is being recognized by the AAAS for contributions to soft materials, particularly for developing novel approaches to the synthesis and assembly of multi-functional soft composite materials.

Dolores Albarracín is the Alexandra Heyman Nash University Professor, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in the Annenberg School for CommunicationSchool of Arts & SciencesSchool of Nursing, and Wharton School, and the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Communication Science Division. As a social psychologist who studies social cognition, attitudes, and behavioral change, Albarracín has published six books and nearly 200 journal articles. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and American Academy of Political and Social Science and the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition. The Society of Social and Personality Psychology, of which Albarracín is past president, recognized her with the Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions to Research on Attitudes and Social Influence in 2018 and the Diener Award in Social Psychology in 2020. She is being recognized by the AAAS for her contributions to social psychology, public health, and particularly the spread of infectious diseases worldwide and for the effective communication of science to the public.

Tony Cai is the Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Statistics and Data Science at Wharton and president-elect of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He has made significant and groundbreaking contributions to advancing comprehensive theory and methodologies for nonparametric function estimation, high-dimensional statistics, and statistical machine learning. These include the development of block thresholding methodologies for wavelet regression, novel adaptation theory and methodologies for estimation and confidence intervals in a broad class of nonparametric and high-dimensional problems, as well as innovative methodologies and optimality theories for statistical estimation under privacy, communication, and computational constraints. His work has a wide range of applications in the analysis of high-dimensional data. Such data lies at the core of many contemporary big data applications, and his work paves important paths toward practical solutions. He is a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Statistical Association, and International Chinese Statistical Association. Among many honors, Cai also received the COPSS Award in 2008. The AAAS Fellowship is in recognition of Cai’s contributions to the field of mathematical statistics, particularly for developing novel methodologies and optimality theories in high-dimensional statistics and statistical machine learning.

Noam A. Cohen is the Ralph Butler Professor for Medical Research and the director of rhinology research in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the Perelman School of Medicine. He is also an adjunct member of The Monell Chemical Senses Center and a staff surgeon at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. His research interests include host-microbe interactions in the upper airway with a focus on sinonasal innate defenses focusing on airway taste receptors and mucociliary clearance, microbial biofilms, solitary chemosensory cells, and the development of novel sinonasal topical antimicrobial therapies. His current efforts focus on correlating the genetics of bitter taste receptor functionality in the context of chronic rhinosinusitis and the therapeutic implications of stimulating sinonasal bitter taste receptors to activate production of local nitric oxide or release of antimicrobial peptides as alternatives for conventional antibiotics in the management of acute and chronic sinus infections. He has written more than 200 publications, given multiple presentations worldwide, and has been principal investigator on NIH and VA grants and industry-sponsored studies. Cohen is being recognized for his contributions to mucosal immunology in the context of human upper airway diseases.

Michael Lampson, a professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences, studies cell division and more specifically the cell biology of meiotic drive—how certain genetic elements “cheat” to increase their representation—as well centromere inheritance through the germline, optogenetic tools for cell biology, and the mechanics of cell division. He has published in Nature Cell Biology, the Journal of Cell BiologyCellCurrent BiologyJournal of the American Chemical Society, and many other academic journals. He joined Penn’s faculty in 2007 and in 2008 was named a Searle Scholar, a program that makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. Lampson is being recognized by the AAAS for contributions to cell biology in the biological sciences, particularly for advancing scientists’ understanding of chromosome segregation in cell division and inheritance through the germline.

Edward A. Stadtmauer is the Roseman, Tarte, Harrow, and Shaffer Families’ President’s Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of Hematologic Malignancies Research in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine. His research focuses on finding new treatment approaches to improve the long-term survival of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma and those undergoing bone marrow transplants. He has been the principal investigator of the Penn Medicine Core Center of the NIH-sponsored Blood and Marrow Clinical Trials Network for 23 years and is the chair of the steering committee. His research has appeared in premier peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of MedicineJournal of Clinical OncologyScienceJAMANature MedicineLancet OncologyScience Translational Medicine, and Blood. His work has ranged from conducting the definitive study of autologous bone marrow transplant for breast cancer to pioneering clinical trials with cellular immunotherapy, CRISPR genetic engineering, and vaccination for blood cancers. Stadtmauer is being recognized for contributions to medical oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies for malignant diseases.

This story was written by Nathi Magubane and originally appeared in Penn Today.