Six Washington University professors named AAAS fellows

Six faculty members from Washington University in St. Louis have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. The highest honor awarded by AAAS, the rank of fellow is bestowed upon members by their peers in recognition of scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Of the Washington University honorees, five are from the School of Medicine and one is from the College of Arts and Sciences. They are:

  • Charles F. Hildebolt, Ph.D., professor of radiology, was elected to the Section on Anthropology for his contributions to the scientific study of dental and skeletal evolution in early hominids and for the training of health professionals and scholars.
  • Daniel S. Ory, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, was elected to the Section on Medical Sciences for his contributions to understanding basic molecular mechanisms in regulation of cholesterol homeostasis with a special focus on the human Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, an Alzheimer’s disease-like disorder that affects children.
  • Craig S. Pikaard, Ph.D., professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, was elected to the Section on Biological Sciences for his contributions to the understanding of plant gene silencing, chromatin modifying complexes and the role of two plant specific RNA polymerases in the biogenesis and functioning of producing siRNAs.
  • Jean E. Schaffer, M.D., the Virginia Minnich Distinguished Professor of Medicine and professor of developmental biology, was elected to the Section on Medical Sciences for her contributions in increasing the understanding of fat metabolism and diabetes.
  • George M. Weinstock, Ph.D., professor of genetics, was elected to the Section on Biological Sciences for his contributions to microbial and infectious-disease genomics, large-scale DNA sequencing and bioinformatics analyses and analyses of the genome and evolution of man and metazoans.
  • Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D., professor of genetics and of molecular microbiology, was elected to the Section on Biological Sciences for his contributions to the fields of molecular biology and genomics, particularly for the development of methods and approaches for large-scale genome analysis.

This year’s fellows are announced in the Dec. 19 issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS. Fellows will be recognized in February 2009 at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

An international non-profit organization, AAAS is dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. Founded in 1848, the association includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.