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American Association for the Advancement of Science honors 12 UF faculty as Lifetime Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected 12 faculty from the University of Florida to its newest class.

The honor, which includes alumni such as Thomas Edison and W.E.B. DuBois, is among the most distinguished in the scientific community and recognizes extraordinary impact and achievement across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

AAAS has awarded the following faculty from UF:

John Davis, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is the interim dean for Research and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Before his 100% administrative appointment in the Dean for Research office, Davis investigated the function of genes involved in ecologically important traits of cottonwood and pine trees. Other professional achievements include serving on the scientific advisory boards for Genome Canada and the Forest Health Initiative, 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and 45 technical reports, and securing $13 million in extramural funding.

Kai Lorenzen, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a professor in the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences and associate director of the Integrative Fisheries Science program. Lorenzen’s research integrates quantitative ecology and human systems with a particular focus on assessing and improving the use of enhancement and restoration measures in fisheries management. He also has experience as a fisheries development consultant in southeast Asia and his expertise has been solicited by international United Nations initiatives.

Lynn Sollenberger, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is a distinguished professor and graduate coordinator in UF/IFAS Agronomy. Sollenberger’s research program develops new knowledge of plant-animal- environment interactions focusing on the ecosystem services of grasslands. His professional accolades include over $6 million in funding, more than 750 publications, and election as Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.

Phoebe Stubblefield, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a renowned forensic anthropologist. Stubblefield has advanced the field with pioneering research in human skeletal variation, identification, and paleopathology. Since 1990, she has led efforts to recover and analyze human remains as part of the ongoing investigation into the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Her commitment to uncovering historical truths and preserving the memories of the victims is evident in her work. Stubblefield also serves as the interim director of the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory.

Pierre Sikivie, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a distinguished professor of physics, is celebrated for his groundbreaking work on axions and their cosmological implications. He has made significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics, inventing both the axion haloscope and axion helioscope. Sikivie’s research has been instrumental in advancing the field, particularly in the development of the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment (ADMX) and laying the theoretical groundwork for detecting dark matter axions. Sikivie’s work has earned him prestigious honors, including the 2020 Sakurai Prize, a fellowship in the American Physical Society, and the Jesse W. Beams Medal.

Karen A. Bjorndal, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a distinguished professor of biology and director of UF’s Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in understanding the biology and conservation of sea turtles. Specializing in nutritional ecology and sea turtle biology, her research explores the crucial role of nutrition in influencing the growth and reproductive output of these vertebrate herbivores. Through field programs across multiple countries, Bjorndal has provided invaluable insights into sea turtle populations’ connectivity in the Atlantic and their broader impact on marine ecosystems. Additionally, her mentorship nurtures the next generation of researchers in marine conservation.

Daniel Ferris, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is a Robert W. Adenbaum Professor in Engineering Innovation and the director of the Human Neuromechanics Laboratory. His research focuses on the biomechanics and neural control of human locomotion. His pioneering work revolves around human-machine interactions, encompassing both mechanical and electrical aspects. His projects involve mobile brain imaging, robotic lower limb exoskeletons, and bionic lower limb prostheses. His overarching goal is to unravel the principles governing human movement control and learning, aiming to optimize the design of robotic devices that can seamlessly assist human walking and running. Ferris has published extensively and has been invited to present his work at many conferences and institutes worldwide.

Mark E. Orazem, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering who joined UF in 1988. His primary research areas are electrochemical engineering and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and he has collaborated with scientists and engineers internationally on this work. To date, he has directed 34 doctoral students, written more than 190 papers, co-authored several books, co-patented seven systems and devices, and delivered multiple invited international plenary lectures. His appointment recognizes his distinguished contributions to the field of electrochemical engineering, particularly establishing a rigorous foundation for electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and advancing its application to complex engineering problems.

Linda B. Cottler, College of Public Health and Health Professions, is a dean’s professor of epidemiology at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine. She has developed reliable, widely used assessments for substance use and other psychiatric disorders in the general population and has contributed to the classification of substance abuse and dependence disorders. The director of community engagement for the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Cottler is founding director of HealthStreet, a community engagement program designed to improve access to research and medical and social services. She has published more than 350 articles and chapters, has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1988, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her research and mentoring.

Dr. Jonathan Licht, College of Medicine, is the director of the UF Health Cancer Center, holding the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Chair, and a professor in the UF College of Medicine. A visionary physician-scientist, his lab studies aberrant gene regulation as a cause of blood cancers and develops treatment strategies to reverse abnormal, cancer-causing gene functions. His cancer career spans more than three decades, and his research program is distinguished by more than 30 years of continuous NCI and national foundation funding. He leads a Specialized Center of Research program from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and has authored more than 220 publications with nearly 34,000 citations. Dr. Licht has mentored more than 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and 20 faculty members.

David Blackburn, Florida Museum of Natural History, is a biologist and curator of amphibians and reptiles. He specializes in the biodiversity and evolutionary history of frogs. To date, he’s co-authored more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and conducted collaborative research in numerous countries, including Libya, Angola, Brazil, Chile, Cameroon, Gabon and Columbia. He’s placed a special emphasis on the widespread accessibility of museum specimens for researchers and the public. He recently spearheaded openVertebrate, a six-year NSF-funded initiative to CT scan thousands of museum specimens across the country and make them freely available online.

Robert Guralnick, Florida Museum of Natural History, is curator of biodiversity informatics and focuses on the development of digital tools to analyze the increasingly massive amounts of data available to biologists. In his own research, he uses data from various sources to understand how climate change affects plant and animal populations. He’s co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and has been instrumental in the development of biodiversity monitoring platforms, including Notes From Nature, ButterflyNet and ZooArchNet.

The 2023 class of AAAS Fellows comprises 502 scientists, engineers and innovators across 24 AAAS disciplinary sections.

For more information on AAAS, visit aaas.org.


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