• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

4 UNR professors elected as American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows | News


Mar 19, 2023

4 professors at the University of Nevada, Reno have been elected to the 2022 class of American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, one particular of the most distinguished honors inside the scientific neighborhood. Mae Gustin and John Cushman are professors in the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology &amp All-natural Sources, and Ana de Bettencourt-Dias and Lee Dyer are professors in the University’s College of Science.

With members in far more than 91 nations across the globe, the AAAS is the world’s biggest multidisciplinary scientific society and a top publisher of cutting-edge analysis by way of its Science household of journals. Collectively, the 4 professors getting the AAAS Fellowship honor have 83 years of operate at the University of Nevada, Reno, and quite a few internationally recognized scientific accomplishments.

“Mae and John are definitely prime-notch researchers, not just at this University or in this State, but internationally,” stated Bill Payne, dean of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology &amp All-natural Sources, who himself is an AAAS Fellow. “Mae’s analysis on atmospheric contaminants like mercury is essential to the study and mitigation of air pollution worldwide. And John’s efforts to enhance tolerance of plants to difficult circumstances have the possible to turn presently underutilized land into land that can be made use of to present meals and fuel for the planet. I could assume of no two professors far more deserving of the prestigious AAAS Fellowship honor.” 

Katherine McCall, interim dean of the College of Science, likewise says de Bettencourt-Dias and Dyer have earned the honor with their noteworthy accomplishments.

“Ana and Lee are outstanding examples of the transformative analysis taking location at the University,” McCall stated. “Ana’s operate studying light emission from inner transition metals applies to the seemingly disparate regions of power conservation and cancer therapeutics. Lee’s collaborative leadership in chemical ecology brings with each other a selection of disciplines and communities to address essential concerns in tropical biodiversity. Their operate is not only groundbreaking scientifically but has basic advantage to society and the atmosphere.” 

The 4 researchers every have established their personal niche in the scientific neighborhood, for which they are getting honored by the AAAS.

Lee Dyer

Lee Dyer is in the Division of Biology and was awarded the honor in the biological sciences category for his operate in chemical ecology and tropical biodiversity. His analysis interests lie in the difficult interactions that take location in between plants and herbivores as a outcome of the chemical compositions of plants. He has also had a certain interest in the decline of insect populations due to international alterations, such as caterpillars in the tropical eastern Andes in Ecuador, exactly where they are essential components of ecosystem.

“I am most excited about the potential to combine all-natural history information collected more than decades with higher-good quality chemistry and genetics information employing new approaches in mathematical models and statistical evaluation,” Dyer stated. “The collaborative atmosphere right here at the University of Nevada, Reno enables for these integrative approaches that had been not doable at other institutions exactly where I’ve had faculty positions.”

Dyer joined the University in 2008 and stated that the interdisciplinary collaborations at the University have been beneficial to his operate.

“This award is meaningful since it demonstrates that the supportive, collaborative atmosphere right here at the University has contributed to a analysis profession that is getting recognized by respected scientific associations,” he stated. 

Considering the fact that 1997, Dyer has been involved with the Earthwatch Institute, a nonprofit that gets citizen science volunteers involved in ongoing scientific analysis, which includes Dyer’s operate in chemical ecology and biodiversity. In 2011, Dyer received the University’s Hyung K. Shin Outstanding Investigation Award, and in 2014, Dyer was named a Foundation Professor. He has authored or co-authored more than 130 peer-reviewed analysis articles.

Ana de Bettencourt-Dias

Ana de Bettencourt-Dias is in the Division of Chemistry and was awarded the honor in the chemistry category for her numerous analysis projects, numerous of which concentrate on the “f elements” of the periodic table. Though not properly recognized, she says they are abundant in our day-to-day lives. 

“The f components, discovered at the bottom of the periodic table, have the potential to emit light and are actually ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives — from cellphones to automobiles,” she stated. 

De Bettencourt-Dias is interested in studying their light emission for far more power-effective lighting, but also for use in the healthcare applications. 

“My students and I are creating these molecules that will go into the cells preferentially,” de Bettencourt-Dias stated. “Based on the intensity of the light emissions from the cells, researchers will be in a position to ascertain the temperature of the cells. This has applications for cancer analysis and therapeutics since cancer cells have diverse temperatures than healthful cells.”

De Bettencourt-Dias joined the University in 2007 and final year was named a Foundation Professor. She also served for 4 years as the University’s associate vice president for analysis. In 2006, she received the Science &amp Technologies Award of the Technologies Alliance of Central New York, and in 2021 was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. De Bettencourt-Dias has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed analysis articles and book chapters. She is excited about the AAAS Fellowship and for the chance to continue to advocate for science.

“I’m ecstatic,” she stated. “I assume these awards actually make the University a greater location and also enhance our potential to be recognized in the national arena as an institution exactly where fantastic analysis is accomplished. We all want to make a distinction with the analysis we do, proper?”

Mae Gustin

Mae Gustin is in the Division of All-natural Sources &amp Environmental Science and also conducts analysis as aspect of the College’s Experiment Station unit. She was awarded the honor for her distinguished contributions to the field of biogeochemistry, specifically for understanding the fate and transport of mercury in the atmosphere. She was elected a Fellow in the atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences category.

Gustin joined the University in 1994. Though her operate initial focused on mercury contaminating soil and wildlife, her interest increasingly became focused on how that mercury then evaporates into gaseous elemental and oxidized mercury and becomes an atmospheric contaminant. She now identifies her key analysis interest as the study of inorganic contaminants in the atmosphere, with a certain interest in regional and extended-variety transport of air pollution, and how air moves in complicated terrains. More than her profession, she has published far more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. 

The University named Gustin a Foundation Professor in 2009 and Outstanding Researcher of the Year in 2016. The Nevada Technique of Greater Education Regents named her Researcher of the Year in 2018. In 2015, her analysis on the release, measurement and influence of mercury in the atmosphere was viewed as by scientists and scholars functioning to create a United Nations treaty made to guard human overall health and the atmosphere from the release of damaging mercury compounds.

Gustin has worked in her lab and with colleagues at the University, nationally and internationally to create newer technologies that far more accurately measure airborne mercury and show that older technologies had been undermeasuring the contaminant by as a lot as 80%. Most lately, they completed analysis to prove newer technologies created at the University of Nevada Reno and Utah State University has enhanced accuracy.

“It requires a lot of operate to adjust dogma and type a new paradigm,” Gustin says. “This is how science evolves. You create one thing and, if it is fantastic, other people attempt it and get on board. I’m honored that AAAS has recognized the significance of my analysis on mercury in the atmosphere. Fellows are singled out since of meritorious contributions to the advance of science.”

John Cushman

John Cushman is in the Division of Biochemistry &amp Molecular Biology, and also conducts analysis as aspect of the College’s Experiment Station unit. He was awarded the honor for his distinguished contributions to the field of plant science, specifically for his analysis on plant response to abiotic stresses, which includes salinity, drought and cold, and how to increase plant tolerance to these stresses. He was elected a Fellow in the agriculture, meals and renewable sources category.

Cushman joined the University in 2000 and served as the biochemistry graduate system director 2005-2022. The overarching theme of his scholarly contributions is understanding plant responses to abiotic stresses and producing novel approaches for enhancing plant tolerance to these stresses. By carrying out so in model plant species, Cushman hopes to move these water-conserving adaptations into meals, feed and biofuel crops, enabling production on agricultural lands with difficult soils or in difficult climates. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed analysis articles and book chapters and holds two patents.

Cushman has grow to be one particular of the world’s top researchers on the molecular genetics of a specialized kind of photosynthesis, recognized as “crassulacean acid metabolism” or CAM photosynthesis. Making use of this kind of photosynthesis, some of the most water-effective plants take up carbon dioxide at evening alternatively of throughout the warmer daytime, which improves efficiency of water use and adaption to arid climates. In his lab, he has made use of CAM to engineer plants with improved tolerance to difficult circumstances. Cushman has worked with arid-land crops such as cactus pear, camelina, teff and Saharan mustard.

“CAM made use of to be believed of as a curiosity: a weird, esoteric issue that a handful of desert plants do,” Cushman stated. “It was a biological curiosity, but would not you want to have this biochemical adaptation apply to far more plants to increase water-use efficiency, specially when numerous agricultural regions all through the planet are facing hotter and far more arid circumstances? There was tiny inkling early on that this would have the influence it is obtaining. Now, numerous researchers are realizing the significance of this,” he stated. 

The University named Cushman a Foundation Professor in 2011 and Outstanding Investigation of the Year in 2013. The Nevada Technique of Greater Education Regents named him Researcher of the Year in 2017. 

“I am definitely humbled and honored to be elected as an AAAS Fellow by my scientific peers,” Cushman stated. I assume this kind of recognition also highlights the higher caliber of analysis getting carried out at UNR.”

(University of Nevada, Reno)