Jan. 31, 2023
Contact: Eric Stann, 573-882-3346, StannE@missouri.edu
Today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named five University of Missouri professors as 2022 Fellows for their distinguished efforts in advancing various fields of science.
The recipients are:
- Shubhra Gangopadhyay, Cramer W. LaPierre Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the MU College of Engineering
- Chris Lorson, associate vice chancellor for research and strategic initiatives in the MU Division of Research, Innovation and Impact; associate dean for research and graduate studies and Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine; and principal investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center
- Xiu-Feng “Henry” Wan, director of the NextGen Center for Influenza and Emerging Infectious Diseases; professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the MU College of Engineering; professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the MU School of Medicine; professor of veterinary pathobiology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine; and principal investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center
- Bing Yang, professor of plant science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; principal investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center; and principal investigator in the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
- Xiaoqin Zou, professor of physics in the MU College of Arts and Science; professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; principal investigator in the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center; and core faculty member in the MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics
Gangopadhyay is being recognized for her “distinguished contributions in bioengineering for the development of plasmonic gratings and nanoelectronic device-based biosensor systems for ultrasensitive detection of biomarkers.”
Gangopadhyay has spent more than 40 years involved with several areas of research related to the energy, defense, health and security sectors. Her research, which focuses on saving and improving the quality of human life, and the need for such biosensor systems in resource-limited countries around the world, has received support from numerous organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.
“AAAS is a well-regarded and global scientific society,” Gangopadhyay said. “This is an honor bestowed by the peers and therefore, I am honored to be an AAAS fellow. Throughout my research and teaching career, I have focused on fundamental and applied research leading to numerous applications and product development. The success of my students in academia and industries is a measure of my achievements.”
Lorson is being recognized for his “distinguished contributions to the field of molecular and translational neuroscience, particularly for understanding SMN pre-mRNA splicing to develop therapeutics for spinal muscular atrophy.”
Lorson’s laboratory has evolved from a molecular biology lab to a translational science lab, studying neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders including spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare pediatric disease. His efforts for nearly two decades have contributed to the development of reagents that were used to develop drugs to help treat patients with SMA.
“It’s an honor to be named an AAAS Fellow when you consider the accomplished faculty across campus that have been elected,” Lorson said. “I always tell my students and trainees in the lab that we are not just pipetting clear, colorless liquids, but we are making an impactful difference in patients’ lives as well as their families. It makes the work we do each day very meaningful and fulfilling.”
Xiu-Feng “Henry” Wan
Wan is being recognized for his “distinguished contributions to the fields of virology, systems biology, and engineering, particularly for studies of highly pathogenic influenza with a focus on transmission, ecology, diversity and vaccine development.”
Wan has spent most of his career studying influenza in animals and humans to help improve vaccination efficacy for people. He has made contributions to the study of virus transmission in and between animals and humans as his overall goal to better understand the natural history of influenza viruses, and to develop effective vaccines and measures for influenza prevention and control.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by AAAS,” Wan said. “I have spent most of my career looking at how influenza viruses evolve and spread in both animals and humans and how the influenza vaccine can work better. I feel an obligation to keep continuing this line of research for the betterment of society.”
Yang is being recognized for his “distinguished contributions to understanding plant disease resistance and plant gene editing.”
Yang’s research seeks a molecular understanding of host-disease susceptibility and resistance to pathogenic microbes by using bacterial blight of rice as a disease model. His efforts have helped develop and apply technologies for gene and trait discovery and for engineering improved traits such as disease resistance in crop plants.
“It is a great honor and pleasure to be nominated and elected to be an AAAS Fellow, and I am so grateful for the great works by my current and former lab members as well as collaborators worldwide,” Yang said. “Hopefully, our research to better understand crop biology and develop a genome editing toolbox will make our crops more resilient and productive as well as make food more nutritious.”
Zou is being recognized for her “distinguished contributions to the field of computational and theoretical biophysics, particularly for developing novel physics-based algorithms for modeling protein interactions with applications to structure-based drug design.”
Zou’s laboratory focuses on the development of novel computational methods to model protein interactions, such as protein-ligand, protein-protein, and protein-nucleic acids interactions, to better understand how the underlying protein functions impact the design of therapeutic interventions. The interdisciplinary research integrates physics-based methods with bioinformatic-based methods and collaborates with drug developers for the treatment of cardiovascular arrythmias, antibiotic resistance and cancer.
“I am honored to be elected as an AAAS Fellow and to join this prestigious team of scientists,” Zou said. “It is a milestone in my research career and a recognition of my team’s hard work over the past 20 years. We will continue to endeavor for better science, innovative methods and therapeutic design that can improve quality of life.”
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Founded in 1848, the nonprofit fulfills its mission to “advance science and service society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and public engagement.