Jennifer K. Lodge, PhD, and Ernst Zinner, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis faculty members, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
Members are given the rank of fellow, the highest honor awarded by AAAS, by their peers in recognition of scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
Lodge and Zinner are among 539 new fellows who will be acknowledged in the Dec. 23 issue of Science magazine. The 2011 AAAS Fellows also will be honored at a Feb. 18 ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
Lodge, associate dean for research at Washington University School of Medicine, was elected to the Section on Biological Sciences for elucidating molecular and genetic principles of virulence in pathogenic fungi, contributions to genomics and administrative service as associate dean for research at the university.
Lodge, also a professor of molecular microbiology, focuses her research on the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes meningitis in immune-compromised individuals and infects more than 1 million people annually. Her laboratory has identified biochemical processes essential for fungal survival that are being targeted for novel antifungal therapies. Areas of research include cell wall biosynthesis, signal transduction and resistance to oxidative and nitrosative stress.
Lodge is principal investigator of three National Institutes of Health-funded grants. She has published more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed journals, holds a U.S. Patent for virus-resistant potato plants and continues to serve on study sections.
As associate dean for research, Lodge coordinates efforts to advance research at the school, focusing particularly on projects that involve multiple departments, multiple disciplines and core facilities that can serve a wide variety of researchers. She assists faculty in identifying potential funding opportunities and maximizing the benefits of school-wide investments in research.
Lodge earned a doctorate in microbiology at Washington University in 1988 and was a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology from 1991-93. She also was a research instructor and research assistant professor at the School of Medicine from 1993-97.
Zinner, research professor of physics and of earth and planetary sciences, both in Arts & Sciences, was elected to the Section on Astronomy for his “pioneering cosmochemical work in discovering and characterizing presolar grains, particles formed in the outflows of evolved stars and found inside primitive meteorites.”
Zinner has studied meteorites and lunar samples, but for the past 24 years he has concentrated on presolar grains — literally tiny bits of stars that existed billions of years ago, before the formation of the solar system — that hitch a ride to Earth in meteorites.
The work to extract information from presolar grains was largely driven by Zinner’s efforts to develop new micro-analytical methods and to improve the usefulness of an instrument called an ion microprobe, a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) that achieves high spatial resolution by using a finely focused ion beam. He was honored for these efforts by a symposium titled “SIMS in the Space Sciences: The Zinner Impact” held at WUSTL in 2007.
Zinner has made important contributions to a broad range of investigations addressed by ion probe analysis, but especially to nucleosynthesis, or the creation of new elements by nuclear fusion in the bellies of stars. The August 2007 issue of Meteoritics & Planetary Science was dedicated to him and to the research he pioneered.
Zinner is currently working to isolate large grains of silicon carbide from supernovae explosions that were carried to Earth in the Murchison meteorite. He hopes the large grains, from which more information can be obtained, will yield a clearer picture of what exactly went on in the fires of those long-vanished nuclear furnaces.
Zinner studied physics at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, obtaining a Diplom-Ingenieur in 1960. He earned a doctorate at Washington University in experimental particle physics in 1972.