Four on faculty elected fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science

University Communications

Four University of Chicago faculty members were elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organization announced on Nov. 29.

The UChicago fellows are: Anthony Kossiakoff, the Otho S.A. Sprague Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics; Angela Olinto, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics; Steven Shevell, the Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and Ophthalmology & Visual Science; and Melvyn Shochet, Professor in Physics.

In all this year, 702 scholars were named AAAS fellows for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate and pin at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS annual meeting in Boston. The AAAS is an international organization that promotes scientific understanding through many programs, including publication of the prestigious journal Science.

Kossiakoff is being recognized for his “distinguished contributions to developing novel methods to characterize the molecular recognition principles governing biological processes, including the energetics of hormone-induced receptor activation and regulation in cytokine-receptor systems.”

Additionally, Kossiakoff’s lab has contributed to the development of a high-throughput technology platform to generate synthetic antibodies that have properties far more powerful and versatile than natural antibodies. These synthetic antibodies have significantly impacted the field of structural biology, and they make possible higher-level proteomic studies and new types of functional analysis.

Olinto is being recognized for her distinguished contributions to the field of astrophysics, particularly exotic states of matter and extremely high-energy cosmic ray studies at the Auger Observatory.

Olinto’s research interests span theoretical astrophysics, particle and nuclear astrophysics, and cosmology. She has focused much of her work on understanding the origins of the highest energy cosmic rays and the ultra-compressed core of matter in neutron stars. Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays enter the atmosphere with so much energy that they produce a giant cascade of many tens of billions of secondary particles, which can be observed by large detectors such as the Auger Observatory.

Olinto now leads the Japanese Experiment Module-Extreme Universe Space Observatory mission to observe these ultra-energy particles from the International Space Station.

Shevell is being recognized for his seminal contributions to the scientific study of color vision, from the earliest stages of chromatic sensitivity to the role of context in color perception. In his lab, Shevell and his students investigate the processes of the eye and brain that serve vision. Most of the research focuses on visual pathways that mediate color and brightness perception.

Shevell has published extensively on subjects ranging from genes that mediate abnormal color vision, the neural processes that determine color appearance and the human ability to discount spectral illumination in the service of maintaining constant object colors.

Shochet is being recognized for his distinguished contributions to high-energy physics at the Collider Detector at Fermilab and for his service as chair of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel.

Shochet was scientific co-spokesman for the 439-member Collider Detector at Fermilab collaboration that obtained the first direct experimental evidence for the top quark in 1994. He later joined the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider, part of CERN, the European particle physics laboratory. Earlier this year CERN made international headlines with its discovery of a new particle sporting a mass that falls within the predicted range of the long-sought Higgs boson.