Ben Hsiao, Lorna Role, Peter Stephens and George Sterman have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and will be honored for their contributions to science at the February 18 Fellows Forum during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. They are among 539 AAAS members elected for the prestigious honor by the AAAS Council and will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of their distinguished accomplishments.
“Stony Brook University is extremely proud to have four esteemed professors joining the ranks of the 2011 AAAS Fellows,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Lorna Role, Peter Stephens, Ben Hsiao and George Sterman are truly deserving of this distinction. It is a credit to the quality of their research, leadership, dedication and professionalism, and their vast contributions to Stony Brook University and their respective fields.”
Benjamin S. Hsiao, chair of the Department of Chemistry, has achieved international prominence in the field of polymer science. He was cited for his contributions to the fields of polymer sciences and water purification, as well as to chemical research and education.
Hsiao’s research involves the production of filters on a nanoscale using cellulose from plants and trees. Using enzymes to partially digest non-crystalline portions of the cellulose, the process leaves behind indigestible portions that can be collected and used to filter dirty water. These natural filters are so small and contain so much surface area that they are capable of trapping bacteria and viruses. The practical application of these nanofilters is in water purification systems in poor countries in areas without access to larger water purification systems.
Lorna Role, chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and member of the Central Nervous System Disorders Center in the Centers for Molecular Medicine at Stony Brook, was elected for her distinguished contributions in neuroscience, particularly in understanding the mechanisms underlying presynaptic modulation of synaptic transmission and long-term regulation of CNS circuits.
Role’s research goal is to find ways to activate neurons that are among those lost in diseases involving cognitive decline, such as with Alzheimer’s. In 2010 Role was named a winner of the prestigious Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health for her proposal for light-induced deep brain stimulation of cholinergic neurons that are involved in degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Peter W. Stephens, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was elected for his distinguished contributions in developing and promoting high-resolution powder x-ray diffraction as a technique in solid-state physics and chemistry.
Stephens’ current research is mostly on crystallography, namely determining the atomic structure of various materials using X-rays, based at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Stephens employs techniques that can be applied to minerals, magnets, superconductors, batteries and pharmaceuticals.
George Sterman, director of the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook, was cited for his advances in quantum field theory that helped establish our current understanding of strong interactions and which facilitate the analysis of high-energy particle experiments.
Sterman is widely known for his contributions to our understanding of the forces shared by the elementary particles known as quarks and gluons. He is author of the graduate-level textbook, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.