Five UT professors elected as fellows for science organization

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Five University professors have been elected to become members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an international nonprofit organization, for their contributions to various areas of scientific research.

Neuroscience professor Richard Aldrich, chemical engineering professor Roger Bonnecaze, mechanical engineering professor Arumugam Manthiram, molecular biology professor Stanley Roux and pharmacy professor Karen Vasquez will all be honored by the AAAS in February 2015.

“I think the 21st century has enormous challenges,” said Gerald Fink, AAAS president and genetics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “There are issues like climate warming, water usage, agriculture and food energy. Everyone talks about these, but the solutions are scientific solutions.”

The professors’ research will aim to provide some solutions to these important issues in the international scientific community.

Aldrich has discovered more about gated conformation changes in ion channels, whereas Roux has provided a clearer understanding about the role of environmental stimuli in regulating plant growth and development. According to the University, Vasquez has clarified that structures of the DNA can act as mutagens by changing the DNA and causing a high frequency of mutations as a result. 

Bonnecaze said he has created theoretical models and designs of complex fluids and nanomanufacturing systems.  

“Most of my research is focused on developing computational techniques and simulations of concentrated suspensions of particles in order to predict their rheology and self-assembly behavior,” Bonnecaze said. “The rheology simulations allow the design of fluids with the desired flow properties for advanced coatings, drilling fluids and personal care products. The self-assembly simulations will enable the design of solution-based processes to make memory and photonics for next generation electronic devices.”   

Through this research, Bonnecaze has studied how these particles flow and how to ensure the behavior of these particles. 

Manthiram said his research intends to create cheaper, more efficient batteries, 

“My research focuses on new materials which can lower the costs and enhance the operational life,” Manthiram said. “[These] new materials can lower the cost of the [car] battery and increase the life of the battery.”

Manthiram’s research also concentrates on novel synthesis methods and the relationship between properties and performance of materials in order to address the cost and efficiency of energy sources.

“This kind of research is happening all over the world,” Manthiram said. “I’m humbled and honored to receive this recognition, and I’ll continue [the research] I’m doing.”

Editor's Note: This article has been updated from its original version.