Nine IU faculty selected as AAAS fellows


Nine IU faculty members were commended as 2019 fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, including IU President Michael McRobbie. Courtesy Photo

Nine IU faculty members were commended as 2019 fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, including IU President Michael McRobbie. 

The scientific association, known as AAAS, is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and is the publisher of the research journal “Science.” The fellow status is a high honor among members of the scientific community, according to an email from Tiffany Lohwater, AAAS chief communications officer. 

“Elected AAAS Fellows have been recognized for their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished,” Lohwater said. “The AAAS Fellow designation is an honorific that comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.”

Susan Elrod, chancellor of IU-South Bend, received fellow status for her work in undergraduate STEM education. 

Elrod said she has worked to promote access to STEM programs by creating assessment tools to change how undergraduate research programs work with students. She has worked with universities across the country, recently accepting the IU-South Bend chancellor position on July 1. 

“We live in a technologically driven society, and so it’s important for everyone to have an understanding of how the world works, what science is, how we create evidence, how we draw conclusions,” Elrod said.

James Klaunig, professor in the IU School of Public Health, also received the fellow distinction acknowledging his career in toxicology and pathology. 

Klaunig said his research focuses on identifying how toxic different compounds are to humansand determining if certain compounds are more likely to cause cancer. After publishing this research, Klaunig worked with the Food and Drug Administration and EnvironmentalProtection Agency to provide scientific insight to legal policies regulating toxic compounds.

Klaunig has also worked in higher education, including starting the program of environmental health within the IU School of Public Health, revitalizing IU's doctoral program in toxicology and staring its doctoral program in environmental health. 

“Anytime you get these selective honors, especially from your peers, that’s a big deal,” Klaunig said.

Lynda Bonewald, professor at the IU School of Medicine, received the AAAS fellow status to commend her work starting the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health and her research on a bone cell called an osteocyte. 

Bonewald said the center is different because previously, muscular biology and bone biology were separate disciplines, and her work involves multidisciplinary research that combines these areas of study. 

“When you combine individuals with different expertise, you can make progress much more quickly,” Bonewald said. “The members of the center now are great scientists.They’re open to collaboration;they’re willing to share their ideas. That’s what makes all the difference in the world.” 

In addition to Bonewald, Klaunig, Elrod and McRobbie, biology professors Brian Calvi and Justin Kumar, chemistry professors Krishnan Raghavachari and Michael VanNieuwenhze and mathematics professor Kevin Zumbrun were commended as AAAS fellows. 

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