Three researchers named AAAS Fellows
Blossom Damania, Marcey Waters and Mark Zylka have been named fellows by the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society.
The three Carolina researchers are among 396 new fellows being recognized by their peers for their distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications.
Damania was honored for landmark discoveries and contributions to biomedical sciences in the fields of virology, cancer biology and immunology, involving both basic science and translational research. Damania is the Boshamer Distinguished Professor in the department of microbiology and immunology and serves as vice dean for research at the UNC School of Medicine. She co-founded the Global Oncology Program at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and is also a Kavli fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, an American Academy of Microbiology fellow, an American Association for Cancer Research Gertrude Elion scholar, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society scholar and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund investigator.
Waters was honored for fundamental studies of molecular recognition in water and its role in biomolecular recognition, with application to epigenetic regulation, which encompasses the factors that control gene expression. Waters is the Glen H. Elder Jr. Distinguished Professor of chemistry and vice chair for education, as well as the current president of the American Peptide Society. She was the principal investigator on a study, backed by a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, of protein methylation, which is a mechanism of epigenetic regulation implicated in many diseases, including cancer.
Zylka is being honored for distinguished contributions to the field of neuroscience, particularly for the study of autism-related genes and risk factors using high-throughput approaches. Zylka is the W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of cell biology and physiology and director of the UNC Neuroscience Center. He won a Hettleman Prize for his work in autism and chronic pain and has also received a five-year, $3.8 million Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health to study the role that genetic and environmental factors play in autism.
Carolina now boasts 83 AAAS fellows in its faculty.