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October 25, 2007

Six JHU Researchers Named 2007 AAAS Fellows

Six Johns Hopkins University researchers have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by their peers. Jef Boeke, PhD, ScD, Paul D. Feldman, PhD, Nirbhay Kumar, PhD, Thomas C. Quinn, MD, Theresa A.B. Shapiro, MD, PhD, and David Valle, MD, are among 471 new fellows around the world. Election as a fellow honors their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

This year’s fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Oct. 26. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 16 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Fellows Forum during the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

Jef Boeke

Jef Boeke

As part of the section on biological sciences, Jef Boeke was elected for distinguished contributions to the field of molecular genetics, particularly for elucidating how mobile yeast and human transposons move via reverse transcription of DNA. Boeke, a professor of molecular biology and genetics, is the founding director of the High Throughput Biology Center, the first interdisciplinary center in Hopkins’ Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.  He holds a joint appointment in the Kimmel Cancer Center and an adjunct appointment in biology at the School of Arts and Sciences. Boeke has served as principal investigator of a National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group, renewing a National Cancer Institute program project grant currently in its 32nd year, and leading a National Institutes of Health Roadmap Technology Center aimed at developing new technologies for dissecting networks and pathways of lysine modification.  He has also been active in technology transfer, serving as a founder of Avigen, as well as executing various licensing deals. He has given numerous keynote addresses and major lectures.  He has served as organizer and or co-organizer of several international meetings on transposition and on many advisory and editorial boards.

As part of the section on astronomy, Paul D. Feldman was elected for distinguished contributions to the field of space ultraviolet astronomy and spectroscopy, and to our understanding of planetary atmospheres and comets. A professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins’ Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and principal investigator of a NASA-supported sounding rocket program, Feldman has been responsible for more than three dozen sounding rocket launches aimed at studying the Earth’s upper atmosphere and the atmospheres of planets and comets. He also was a co-investigator on NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys and on the team that developed the Space Shuttle-borne Hopkins ultraviolet telescope for far ultraviolet astronomy. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society and the American Geophysical Union. Feldman has authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles.

Nirbhay Kumar

Nirbhay Kumar

As part of the section on medical sciences, Nirbhay Kumar was elected for distinguished contributions to the field of parasitology, particularly for studies of malaria parasite development and identification of proteins for a transmission-blocking vaccine. A professor in the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kumar focuses on the parasitic disease that affects hundreds of millions of lives annually in the world and kills a child every 30 seconds. He and colleagues are working to develop a human malaria transmission-blocking vaccine, which would interfere with the development of sexual stages in mosquitoes and could significantly reduce malaria transmission. Several antigens have been identified as targets for the development of such a vaccine. Kumar also has employed targeted gene disruption to investigate molecular mechanisms involved in the differentiation and development of sexual stages of the parasite, which are crucial for malaria transmission. In other collaborative projects, Kumar is also looking at the interactions between malaria-helminths, detection of malaria by mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis of mosquito midgut and salivary glands. He has served as primary investigator of a Fogarty International Center-funded malaria research and training program since 2004. Kumar has published over 120 scientific papers, is a member of several national and international review committees, and is a member of the American Society for MicroBiology, the American Society of Parasitologists and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and serves as a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals.

Thomas Quinn

Thomas C.Quinn

As part of the section on biological sciences, Thomas C. Quinn was elected for significant contributions to the epidemiology of HIV and to international health, particularly for work relating to immunodiagnostics and molecular amplification assays for infectious agents. Quinn is associate director for international research and senior investigator in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is a professor of medicine and pathology and has adjunct appointments in international health, epidemiology and molecular microbiology and immunology in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2006 he became the inaugural director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, coordinating all international research at the allied medical institutions of Johns Hopkins University.  He also directs the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine P3 HIV/AIDS Research Facility and the International STD/HIV Research Laboratory. Quinn's investigations have involved the study of the epidemiologic, virologic and immunologic features of HIV infection in Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Asia. In October 2004, Quinn was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and a member of the American Association of Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is an advisor/consultant on HIV and STDs to the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He served on the board of directors for the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He is a founding member of the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa and helped design the Infectious Diseases Institute of Makerere University School of Medicine in Uganda where he also holds an adjunct appointment in medicine. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors and is an author of more than 700 publications on HIV, STDs and infectious diseases.

Theresa Shapiro

Theresa A.B. Shapio

As part of the section on medical sciences, Theresa A.B. Shapiro was elected for outstanding contributions to the field of parasitology, particularly elucidating the role of trypanosomal topoisomerases and development of therapeutic agents for trypanosomiasis and malaria. Shapiro is the Wellcome Professor and director of clinical pharmacology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research spans the entire range of pharmacology, with a focus on much needed new therapies for parasitic infections.  She is regarded as a leading expert on the DNA topoisomerases in African trypanosomes, having described several new enzymes in this class, defined their role in DNA metabolism, and demonstrated their essential nature and suitability as drug targets. Her longstanding collaboration with synthetic organic chemist Gary Posner has led to the identification of compounds that are curative after a single oral dose in mice and are now in scale-up synthesis for preclinical and clinical trials. She launched a successful new training program in which MD fellows conduct translational and hands-on clinical studies for their thesis research toward a PhD in clinical investigation. Shapiro is a member of the Association of American Physicians, is an associate editor of Pharmacological Reviews, has served on numerous NIH study sections, and is an expert consultant on antiparasitic drugs to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

David Valle

David Valle

As part of the section on medical sciences, David Valle was elected for pioneering contributions to the field of medical genetics, particularly for identification of the genetic and biological bases of disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis. Valle is a professor of pediatrics, molecular biology and genetics and the Henry J. Knott Professor and director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Board of Medical Genetics, and past president of the American Society of Human Genetics. Valle also is director of the Johns Hopkins Predoctoral Program in Human Genetics, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Inherited Disease Research, co-director of the Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics at The Jackson Laboratory, editor of The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease and a member of the advisory board of the NHGRI Research Network for Sequencing the Human Genome. He serves on the board of scientific overseers of the Jackson Laboratory and the advisory council of the National Human Genome Research Institute and on a number of scientific editorial boards.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 262 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, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit 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; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.
Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: Audrey Huang at  410-614-5105 or audrey@jhmi.edu.
Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins University: Lisa De Nike at 443-287-9906 or LDE@jhu.edu.