Three faculty members elected AAAS fellows

Three Cornell faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The association elected 502 new fellows in 2023, honoring their efforts to advance research and its applications in scientifically or socially distinguished ways. New fellows, representing all 24 of AAAS’s disciplinary sections, will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin of gold and blue, representing science and engineering, respectively.

The annual Fellows Forum is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C., at which a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows program will take place.

Cornell’s 2023 AAAS fellows:

Ailong Ke, the Robert J. Appel Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (College of Arts and Sciences), was honored for distinguished contributions to the field of biochemistry and structural biology, particularly for the mechanistic dissection of RNA-guided processes in CRISPR-Cas gene editing and the structure and function of RNA in general. The Ke lab also studies CRISPR interference in prokaryotes, as well as riboswitches – structured RNAs that recognize specific small molecules and “switch” on or off gene expression at either transcription or translation level.

David Shmoys, the Laibe/Acheson Professor of Business Management and Leadership Studies in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (Cornell Engineering) and in the Department of Computer Science (by courtesy), was honored for distinguished contributions to combinatorial optimization, approximation algorithms and the theory and applications of data science, and for leadership. Shmoys, also the director of the Center for Data Science for Enterprise and Society, studies the design and analysis of effective data-driven models and efficient algorithms that leverage tools from discrete optimization problems, with applications to the sharing economy (such as for bike- and ride-sharing), epidemiological models, IoT network design and computing congressional districts.

Martin T. Wells, the Charles A. Alexander Professor of Statistical Sciences and chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Science (ILR School, Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, CALS), was honored for distinguished contributions in the field of statistics, particularly the development of tools applicable to important medical and biological problems, many with big datasets. Wells is also professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, and an elected member of the Cornell Law School faculty.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS comprises more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The first AAAS fellows were elected in 1874.

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Becka Bowyer