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University of Texas at Austin Experts Elected To American Association for the Advancement of Science

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Six faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The honor recognizes important contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — including pioneering research, leadership within a given field, fostering collaborations, and advancing public understanding of science.

The new fellows join more than 49 colleagues at the university who have earned the lifetime distinction. Nationally, AAAS elected 505 new fellows this year.

“I am tremendously proud of our newly elected AAAS fellows,” said Daniel Jaffe, vice president for research. “They join an exclusive group of scientists and engineers nationwide, based on their significant contributions to STEM research. Having so many high-performing scholars at UT Austin underlines the impact of the institution and enriches the quality of both the research and our teaching.”

This year’s AAAS fellows hail from the College of Natural Sciences, the Cockrell School of Engineering and the School of Information.

Scott Aaronson is a professor and the Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. His research interests center around the capabilities and limits of quantum computers, and computational complexity theory more generally. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, most recently the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery Prize for groundbreaking contributions to quantum computing.

Valeri Roxanne Bogucka is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Information. She is active in science communication and public engagement efforts and the convener of the UT Science Communication Interest Group. Her most recent research includes academic librarians’ participation in nonlibrary conferences and organizations, such as AAAS, and validation of bibliographic database search strategies. She retired from her position as the STEM liaison librarian for health sciences. While in that position she produced the UT Libraries’ outreach programs, Research Speed-Dating and Research + Pizza.

Catherine A. Calder is the chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences. Her research focuses on the development of statistical methodology for spatial and relational data. Much of her current work is motivated by and applied to problems that fall under the umbrella of exposure/contextual effects analysis, with applications in the social, environmental and health sciences.

Diana Marculescu is the department chair and holds the Cockrell Family Chair for Engineering Leadership and the Motorola Regents Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is the founding director of the Intelligent Machine Engineering Consortium at UT, an industry-university partnership in the area of machine learning and systems, and leads the Energy-Aware Computing Group, a group whose goal is bringing computational efficiency to applications with high societal impact. Her work encompasses energy- and reliability-aware computing, hardware-aware machine learning, and computing for sustainability and natural science applications.

Pengyu Ren is a biomedical engineering professor and holds the E.C.H. Bantel Professorship for Professional Practice. His work uses computational biology and molecular modeling that integrates scientific computing, chemistry, physics and biology for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. His work seeks to engineer novel molecules, from small organic molecules to proteins and nucleic acids, with controlled structure and function for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.

Claus O. Wilke is a professor of integrative biology and holds the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professorship in Molecular Evolution. In 2019, Wilke published the book “Fundamentals of Data Visualization,” which provides a concise introduction to effectively visualizing many different types of data sets. He has published extensively in the areas of computational biology, molecular evolution, protein biochemistry and virology and created several popular computational packages used for data visualization.

The new fellows will be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of the February issue of Science and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer.