AMHERST, Mass. – Three University of Massachusetts researchers have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for their distinguished efforts to advance science or its application. Current AAAS members bestowed the honor on Deputy Chancellor Robert S. Feldman and Jeffrey D. Blaustein, both professors of psychological and brain sciences, and Derek R. Lovley, distinguished professor of microbiology.
Blaustein was recognized for “distinguished research in behavioral neuroendocrinology, with exceptional contributions toward understanding the cellular processes by which steroid hormones act in neurons, particularly with respect to reproductive behavior.”
He said, “I am extremely honored and pleasantly surprised to have been elected a fellow of AAAS. Being elected to a group of individuals with such distinguished careers is a truly humbling experience. I was elected based on the work of my research group over the past 35 years on the mechanisms by which hormones act in the brain to influence behavior and mental health. As the head of a research group at UMass Amherst for over 30 years, I have been fortunate to have bright, talented students and postdocs to work with, so I am accepting this distinction on their behalf. I can’t imagine a more rewarding career than being a scientist.”
Feldman was recognized for “distinguished contributions to the field of social behavior (particularly the nature of deception), teaching psychology and promoting student success.” He responded by saying, “I am thrilled to receive this honor from AAAS, particularly because it recognizes not only my psychological research but also my efforts to advocate for student success.”
Lovley received the recognition for “a career of studies elucidating the energy yield and competition between microbes oxidizing carbon in suboxic conditions.” Upon hearing of the honor, the discoverer of the soil-dwelling bacterium Geobacter and its many remarkable qualities quipped, “I am very grateful for this recognition and for all the fantastic collaborators that have been the key to my lab’s success. Who would have thought you could become a AAAS fellow by playing with mud?”
This year AAAS awarded this honor to 401 members. They will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 28. New fellows will also be honored with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 14 at the Fellows Forum during the association’s annual meeting in San Jose, Calif.
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 them are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution, or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals.