Six Northwestern University faculty members named AAAS fellows

Six Northwestern University faculty members have been chosen as 2020 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general scientific society in the world.

Shi-Yuan Cheng, André de Gouvêa, William Dichtel, Kenneth Forbus, Jiaxing Huang and Michael Jewett have been elected in recognition of their distinguished efforts to advance science. They will be honored virtually on Feb. 13, 2021, in an induction ceremony for new fellows.

Cheng is a professor of neurology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. He is recognized for his outstanding contributions in molecular and translational cancer research, specifically for developing and exploiting cellular and preclinical models for human tumor biology and therapy.

As an investigator in research, Cheng seeks to improve our understanding of molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways in cancer. By understanding these pathways, Cheng develops approaches for anti-cancer therapies that target the molecular development of tumors. Cheng looks at cell culture and animal model systems particularly in human glioblastoma, the most malignant form of cancer in the brain.

de Gouvêa is a professor of physics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He is recognized for his contributions to our understanding of the physics of neutrinos and their role in the extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics.

de Gouvêa concentrates research efforts within the department of physics and astronomy on theoretical high-energy physics. He looks at established theories about neutrinos and dark matter and seeks deeper understanding of the mechanisms that control these processes.

Dichtel is the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry in Weinberg. He is recognized for distinguished contributions to the fields of organic and polymer chemistry. In particular, he works on synthesis and applications of two-dimensional polymers and porous polymer networks.

Dichtel’s lab focuses on creating and testing newly discovered materials that apply organic and polymer energy. His work has implications in water purification, energy storage, explosives detection and polymer design.

Forbus is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering. He is recognized for distinguished contributions to artificial intelligence (A.I.). He uses qualitative reasoning, machine learning and natural language understanding to advance A.I. technology.

Forbus’ research expands across a wide range of subject matter, from intelligent educational software to sketch understanding to use of A.I. in interactive environments such as game design. He advances the idea in cognitive science that analogies are at the core of how humans process information.

Huang is a professor of materials science and engineering in McCormick. Huang’s contributions to the field of materials include work on synthesis and processing of colloidal nanomaterials and their new applications for better living.

His research group aims to create new materials, make them more readily processable and apply them in creative ways. His work has implications in catalysis and energy, corrosion and friction control, manufacturing, personal care, and public health preparedness to infectious respiratory diseases.

Jewett is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in McCormick and director of the Center for Synthetic Biology. His distinguished contributions to the field of engineering include his use of synthetic biology and cell-free systems to enable new applications that transform the bioeconomy.

Jewett’s research focuses on making biology more accessible to engineering. His work has implications in point-of-care manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics, field-deployable detection of water contaminants for global health, development of equitable K-12 experiential learning kits, and sustainability.

Founded in 1874, the tradition of AAAS fellows has continued each year and this year honors 489 members. The AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million people. It publishes the journal Science, the largest-circulating peer-reviewed general journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.