Rutgers-New Brunswick, RBHS faculty honored by peers for scientific contributions
November 26, 2018
Five Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – a distinction awarded by association members.
The AAAS today announced 416 new fellows, citing their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The honorees will be presented an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 16 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The new AAAS fellows at Rutgers are:
Professor Girsh Blumberg
Blumberg’s research interests embrace optical spectroscopy in solids, optics at nano-scale and development of spectroscopic instrumentation. He is probably best known for his contribution to electronic Raman scattering in strongly correlated electron systems, superconductors and quantum spin systems. He and collaborators made the first observation of the Leggett mode in multiband superconductors, discovered Wigner crystallization in strongly interacting quantum spin systems, explained the longstanding puzzle of the “Hidden Order” in heavy fermion compounds, and discovered chiral spin waves on the surface of topological insulators, to name a few.
He has co-authored more than 100 publications and has more than 30 patents for inventions in the fields of electronic and optical devices, spectroscopy and nano-plasmonics. Blumberg’s students have won highly regarded awards including the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Louis Bevier Dissertation Fellowship, to name a few. Several of his former graduate students are scientists at internationally recognized labs and faculties at universities.
The association cited Blumberg for “distinguished contributions to the field of spectroscopy of electron systems with strong correlations, particularly for Raman spectroscopy of superconductors and quantum magnets.”
Professor Masayori Inouye
Inouye has done pioneering research in a number of new fields in biochemistry and molecular biology. In particular, his group discovered gene regulation by antisense RNA in 1984 in E. coli and showed its application in artificially regulating a specific gene expression. He coined mRNA-interfering complimentary RNA for the antisense RNA. His discovery and application of antisense RNA were 14 years earlier than the 1998 demonstration of the antisense RNA regulation or RNA interference in Caenorhabditis elegans by Fire and Mello, which led to a 2006 Nobel Prize. In 2003, his group discovered another mechanism for RNA interference by highly RNA-sequence specific endoribonulceases or mRNA interferases up to a 7-specific RNA sequence, which involves the regulation of ATP production in an archaeon. The finding of RNA interferase led him to create a protein expression system in which only a protein of interest can be produced in living cells. This system allows one to isotope-label a specific protein in living cells. Another significant area of study has focused on the elucidation of the toxin-antitoxin systems in Staphylococcus aureus and Escheria coli, which play important roles in regulating cell growth and cell death.
The association cited Inouye for “seminal contributions to understanding the biology of E. coli, particularly the functions of microRNAs and roles of toxin/antitoxin systems in cellular regulation.”
Professor Megerditch (Mike) Kiledjian
Kiledjian’s research focuses on the mechanistic understanding of mRNA turnover and its consequence on human disorders. His lab’s primary emphasis has been on a key regulatory step involving the removal of the protective 5´end cap, termed decapping. The lab has identified all known mRNA decapping enzymes and has made significant contributions to our understanding of how decapping contributes to the physiology of the innate immune response, cell migration and cognitive function. The lab’s most recent focus has been on the link between RNA metabolism and cellular metabolism. The lab identified a novel mRNA 5´end cap consisting of nicotinamide adenine diphosphate (NAD). The presence of an NAD cap on mRNAs demonstrates an important correlation between mRNA decay and cellular energetics and new avenues to modulate gene expression in human cells.
The association cited Kiledjian for “distinguished contributions to advancements in the life sciences, particularly in understanding the molecular mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.”
Professor Athina Petropulu
With growing consumer demand for wireless technologies, significant investments have been made in commercial wireless networks. The viability of these investments depends on overcoming the challenges introduced by the broadcast nature of the wireless medium, such as interference, fading and eavesdropping. Petropulu and her students developed novel signaling schemes that use the concept of network node cooperation to overcome these challenges and achieve high quality, secure wireless communications. Her highly cited work on physical layer security exploits the physical characteristics of the wireless medium to prevent eavesdropping without requiring encryption. She also introduced novel radar systems that rely on advanced signal processing techniques to match the resolution of state-of-art radar while requiring significantly fewer measurements, thus enabling faster target tracking and detection.
The association cited Petropulu for “distinguished contributions to the field of signal processing with applications to wireless communications and networking, physical layer security and radar signal processing.”
Professor Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas, Distinguished Professor of theoretical high energy physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and member of the Rutgers New High Energy Theory Center (NHETC).
Thomas’s recent research focuses on phenomenology, the branch of theoretical physics concerned with the observable consequences of fundamental particles and their interactions. His work includes interpreting data obtained at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and identifying possible observable phenomena for experimentalists to consider in the pursuit of new physics beyond the Standard Model. He joined Rutgers–New Brunswick in 2005, after working at Stanford University’s physics department, where his research interests included supersymmetric gauge theories, among other topics.
The association cited Thomas for “contributions to the field of particle physics, particularly theories with supersymmetry and searches for physics beyond the Standard Model at the Large Hadron Collider.”
The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) along with Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. The nonprofit association was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org.
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