University of South Florida


Graphic includes headshots of six individual AAAS Fellows

Six USF faculty members earn national recognition for research achievements

By Kevin Watler, University Communications and Marketing

Six University of South Florida researchers have been named as new Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the world’s most prestigious honors for academic research.  

The group from USF is among more than 500 scientists, engineers and innovators earning the recognition for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements by the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

The new USF AAAS Fellows span multiple colleges and disciplines, bringing the total number of AAAS Fellows at USF to 95. 

"We are proud to have six University of South Florida faculty members named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science," USF President Rhea Law said. "These six researchers are relentlessly pursuing new knowledge and solving global problems, and I congratulate them for making such impactful contributions in their respective fields of study."

The new AAAS Fellows from USF are listed below, with their citations.

Jennifer Collilns

Jennifer M. Collins, professor (Atmospheric & Hydrospheric Sciences) – For distinguished contributions to the field of geography, particularly for advancing understanding of tropical cyclone activity and illuminating linkages between tropical storms and climatology.

Richard Dembo

Richard Dembo, professor (Social, Economic & Political Sciences) – For pioneering contributions in advancing criminology theory/practice, substance abuse, mental health, and STD services, especially the design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative screening and intervention services for justice-involved youth.

David Himmelgreen

David Himmelgreen, professor (Anthropology) – For distinguished contributions to the field of anthropology, particularly for research and programs mitigating global food insecurity, especially for marginalized populations, and in relation to HIV/AIDS and nutritionally related diseases.

James Leahy

James W. Leahy, professor and chair, of the Department of Chemistry (Chemistry) – For distinguished achievements in chemistry, particularly advancements in drug discovery for cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, synthesis and optimization of small-molecule leads, and novel synthetic methodology.

Donna Petersen

Donna J. Petersen, senior associate vice president and dean (Public Health) – For distinguished contributions to the field of public health, particularly for advancing public health practice, pedagogy and curriculum, and for public health leadership at both national and community levels.

Christina Richards

Christina Richards, associate professor (Biological Sciences) – For distinguished contributions to the field of integrative biology, particularly for advancing understanding of ecological and evolutionary genomics, and the roles of phenotypic plasticity and epigenetic variation in evolution.

The new Fellows will be formally recognized at the AAAS Fellows Forum in Washington, D.C., in June. 

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