Five Texas A&M Faculty Elected 2022 Fellows Of American Association For The Advancement Of Science
Five professors in the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas A&M University have been elected as 2022 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the most distinguished honors within the scientific community.
Lane A. Baker (chemistry), Richard H. Gomer (biology), Wendy E. Jepson (geography), Xiaohong Liu (atmospheric Sciences) and Michael R. Waters (anthropology) are among the 505 AAAS members honored this year by their peers for their efforts to advance science or its applications.
In addition to being formally announced in the February 2023 AAAS News & Notes section of AAAS’ flagship journal Science, the 2022 AAAS Fellows class will be celebrated in Washington, D.C. this summer. The new fellows will receive a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) to commemorate their election.
“AAAS is proud to elevate these standout individuals and recognize the many ways in which they’ve advanced scientific excellence, tackled complex societal challenges and pushed boundaries that will reap benefits for years to come,” said Sudip S. Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.
Baker is cited by the Chemistry section of the AAAS “for distinguished contributions to the field of electrochemistry, particularly pioneering the field of scanning ion conductance microscopy for spatially-resolved quantitative measurements at the nanoscale.”
Gomer is cited by the Biological Sciences section of the AAAS “for elucidating control of cell group size and differentiation in social amoebae and fibrosing human diseases.”
Jepson is cited by the Geology and Geography section of the AAAS “for leading and impactful research on the complex social and political-economic factors that cause water insecurity at multiple scales — from the household to the urban region.”
Liu is cited by the Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences section of the AAAS “for exceptional, sustained contributions to developing aerosol and aerosol-cloud interaction representations in Earth system models and understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aerosol impacts on clouds and climate.”
Waters is cited by the Anthropology section of the AAAS “for distinguished contributions to the study of the early peopling of the Americas and geoarchaeology (the application of the geosciences to archaeological research).”
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members — so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution — or by the AAAS chief executive officer. The AAAS Fellow honor comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.
To date, the Texas A&M College of Arts and Sciences features 26 current or former faculty members who have earned the prestigious honor, according to combined college and AAAS records, in addition to several who hold joint appointments within Texas A&M Arts and Sciences.
Brief biographies for each of Texas A&M’s 2022 AAAS Fellows are included below:
Lane Baker, who is renowned as one of the world’s preeminent analytical chemists, joined the Department of Chemistry in January 2022 after 16 years on faculty at the University of Indiana. A 2001 Texas A&M chemistry Ph.D. graduate, he is the inaugural holder of the Dr. Carl D. McAfee ’90 Endowed Chair in Analytical Chemistry at Texas A&M, where his research focuses on nanoscale electrochemical methods for analysis and imaging, with specific emphasis on new routes to high-throughput electrochemical analysis useful in studying phenomena at biological interfaces as well as both materials and environmental science. He had been the James F. Jackson Professor of Chemistry in the Indiana Department of Chemistry since 2014. A fellow of both the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry, Baker already has received numerous accolades in his relatively young academic career, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (2009), a Cottrell Scholar Award (2009), the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry’s Charles N. Reilley Award (2023) and Royce W. Murray Young Investigator Award (2012), the highly prestigious ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Electrochemistry (2021) and a special creativity award from the NSF.
Richard Gomer, a member of the Department of Biology since 2010 and holder of a Thomas W. Powell ’62 Chair in Science, is globally renowned as a prolific researcher and pioneering inventor with a strong track record of translating his research findings into societal benefit. He is a world leader in fundamental research in cell differentiation and the molecular mechanisms of cell density sensing using the single-celled amoebae Dictyostelium, considered one of the primary model systems by the National Institutes of Health and widely used to address problems in evolutionary, cell and developmental biology. In a trailblazing combination of fundamental-meets-applied contributions, he and fellow Biology faculty member Darrell Pilling found that the blood protein serum amyloid P (SAP) regulates key aspects of the immune system and then deciphered its roles and applications in fibrotic diseases, which account for up to 40 percent of deaths in the developed world. A former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, he previously has been recognized as a 2011 Texas Inventor of the Year by the State Bar of Texas, a 2013-2014 National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences and a 2016 finalist for NPR’s Golden Mole Award for Accidental Brilliance for discovering SAP. In 2019, Gomer was named to the inaugural class of National Academy of Inventors Senior Members in recognition of his worldwide achievements and contributions, which include 14 patents to date and several more pending. A fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, he was appointed as a distinguished professor in 2020 and has received the Texas A&M Sigma Xi Chapter’s Outstanding Distinguished Scientist Award (2017), a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (2016) and a Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization Excellence in Innovation Award (2016).
Wendy Jepson, an internationally recognized leader in water security issues, joined the Department of Geography in 2003, where she is a University Professor and a 2022 Chancellor’s EDGES Fellow. She also serves as an associate director for the Texas Water Resources Institute and the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas. A Fulbright Scholar (Brazil, 2016-2017) and fellow of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), she has led several international research projects to examine water governance, water security and environmental justice for the benefit of advancing community and human wellbeing. Her individual research focuses on water insecurity in the United States and Latin America — principally Brazil and Mexico — with emerging research interests in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the director of the NSF-funded Household Water Insecurity Experiences – Research Coordination Network, Jepson has helped the network develop a cross-cultural indicator for household water security. She also is a recipient of several NSF grants that focus on water security. As TWRI associate director, Jepson works to develop and champion initiatives that address pressing water security and resource issues facing Texans, as well as research related to those efforts. In addition to serving as AAG National Councilor, Jepson has been awarded the AAG Enhancing Diversity Award and contributed to the Enhancing Diversity Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women in Geography and the AAG Climate Action Task Force.
Xiaohong Liu joined the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in 2019, where he holds the Reta A. Haynes Chair in Geosciences. His research focuses on atmospheric aerosols and chemistry; cloud microphysics, particularly aerosol-cloud interactions; model development and evaluation; and climate modeling. Prior to coming to Texas A&M, Liu spent six years as a tenured professor and Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science at the University of Wyoming (2013-2019) and seven years as a senior research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2006-2013). He also held previous research appointments at the University of Michigan and University of Washington. Since 2006, Liu has played a key role in developing the Modal Aerosol Module (MAM) in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) and National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Earth System Model (CESM). A five-time member of the “Highly Cited Researchers” list by Thomson-Reuters (now Clarivate Analytics) and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, Liu has twice been recognized with the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR)–Atmospheres Editors’ Citation For Excellence in Refereeing (2017 and 2018). He also has received the World Meteorology Organization’s Young Scientist Award (2000) as well as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Exceptional Contribution Program Award (2012) and Fundamental and Computational Science Directorate Outstanding Performance Award (2010).
Michael Waters, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology since 1986, is a distinguished professor of anthropology known for his expertise in First American studies and geoarchaeology. In addition to serving as director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans and holder of the Chair in First Americans Studies at Texas A&M, he is executive director of the North Star Archaeological Research Program. Waters’ research focuses on understanding when the first people arrived to the New World during the last ice age, where they came from, how they adapted to the environments they encountered and how they ended up in the Americas. He is involved in the study of Clovis and Pre-Clovis archaeological sites across the country and the author of multiple books, including “Principles of Geoarchaeology: A North American Perspective.” A fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Waters has received the GSA’s Rip Rapp Archaeological Geology Award (2004) and Kirk Bryan Award (2003) as well as Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards for both Research (university-level, 2012) and Teaching (college-level, 1998). His research has been highlighted in cover stories in Scientific American (2011), Smithsonian Magazine (2013) and National Geographic (2015), in addition to being honored with a resolution by the State of Texas House of Representatives. The same work has been ranked by various prominent media outlets as among the Top 10 Hominid Discoveries of 2011 (Smithsonian) and the Top 100 Discoveries of 2014 (Time and Discover).
For more on the American Association for the Advancement of Science, visit www.aaas.org.