AAAS Honors Two Tufts University faculty members as Fellows

Two faculty members at Tufts University have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. John M. Coffin and planetary scientist Samuel P. Kounaves are among 388 new Fellows recognized by AAAS based on their distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

This year's AAAS Fellows were announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 29. New Fellows will be honored during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago on February 15.

John M. Coffin, American Cancer Society professor of microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the genetics and molecular microbiology program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts, was recognized for his contributions to retrovirus biology, including his leading role in understanding the development of drug resistance in HIV. He studies the molecular biology and evolution of retroviruses, especially the interaction of retroviruses with their host cells and organisms.

Coffin is past director of and advisor to the highly successful HIV Drug Resistance Program for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which he established in 1997. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and is currently a member of the PNAS Editorial Board. He has served with a number of government review and oversight committees relevant to the AIDS problem, and has contributed extensively to the scientific literature, largely on the pathogenesis, evolution, and replication of HIV and other retroviruses.

Samuel P. Kounaves, professor of chemistry and adjunct professor in the department of earth and ocean sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, and an affiliate scientist at the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is being recognized for his outstanding work in chemistry. He has made distinguished contributions to the fields of analytical chemistry and planetary science, particularly for studies of Martian geochemistry and its potential for supporting life.

Kounaves' research is aimed at analyzing fundamental questions in planetary science using modern analytical techniques with a focus on extreme environments on Mars, Earth, and other planets for better understanding the global history of water, life, and climate. He was a co-investigator for the Phoenix Mars mission in 2008 and lead scientist for the wet chemistry experiment, which performed the first chemical analysis of Martian soil. This experiment revealed a variety of soluble minerals that have altered how scientists view Mars' chemistry and its potential to support life. It also led to investigations in the Antarctic Dry Valleys, home to the oldest ice on Earth, which provided the first discovery of a naturally occurring and manmade contaminant called perchlorate on Earth.

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