Massachusetts Academy of Sciences Names 2012 Fellows

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst alumna and astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman is among the new class of Fellows of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (MAS) elected by their peers to its prestigious community of scientists, engineers, research physicians and others who are deeply concerned about science and science education in the Commonwealth.
University of Massachusetts Amherst biology professor Peg Riley, president and founder of MAS, announced the academy’s latest fellows. In addition to Coleman, they include Irving Epstein of Brandeis University, Robert Dorit of Smith College, Ward Watt of Stanford University, Mandana Sassanfar of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Junior Academy of Sciences, Megan Rokop of the Broad Institute, James Hamilton and Paul Trunfio of Boston University and Riley of UMass Amherst.
Riley says, “Each year, the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences honors distinguished individuals through its fellowship awards. They join an elite group of professional scientists and science educators who are recognized for extraordinary scientific accomplishments and service to the science community and the public. The academy is thrilled to welcome these stellar individuals to its elite group. They are crucial to the future success of the academy and it is an honor to announce their commitment and involvement.”
The new fellows bring varied expertise the MAS:
  • Coleman joined NASA in 1992. Among many other duties, she helped to ensure that payloads can operate successfully in the microgravity of low Earth orbit.

  • Riley’s research interests range from experimental evolution of microbes to developing novel antimicrobials and redefining the microbial species concept.

  • Dorit is interested in experimental, retrospective and computational approaches to molecular evolution.

  • Sassanfar is an instructor and director of diversity and science outreach for the biology department at MIT.

  • Hamilton’s research provides molecular insight into disease related to fatty acid metabolism and lipid accumulation such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

  • Rokop is director of educational outreach at the Broad Institute, organizing summer internships for high school seniors, teacher forumsand semester-long research projects.

  • Epstein studies oscillatory chemical reactions both experimentally and theoretically, with spatial pattern formation, dynamical systems and neurobiology.

  • Trunfio, director of a science education group at a science and mathematics education center, focuses on enhancing undergraduate and K-12 science education.