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UNC School of Medicine Professors Elected as AAAS Fellows

Blossom Damania and Mark Zylka have been recognized by the world’s largest general scientific society for their contributions to the fields of biological and medical sciences.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named two UNC School of Medicine professors as Fellows.

Blossom A. Damania, PhD, is the Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Dean for Research in UNC School of Medicine. As part of the Section on Medical Sciences, Damania — a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center — was elected an AAAS Fellow for landmark discoveries and contributions to biomedical sciences in the fields of virology, cancer biology, and immunology, involving both basic science and translational research. 

Mark J. Zylka, PhD, is the W.R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Cell biology and Physiology and director of the UNC Neuroscience Center. As part of the Section on Biological Sciences, Zylka was elected an AAAS Fellow for his distinguished contributions to the field of neuroscience, particularly for the study of autism-related genes and risk factors using high-throughput approaches. 

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year 396 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year’s AAAS Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 24, 2017. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on February 17.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Marcey L. Waters, PhD, was also named an AAAS Fellow. Waters is a professor and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Chemistry in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. As part of the Section on Chemistry, Waters was elected for fundamental studies of molecular recognition in water and its role in biomolecular recognition, with application to epigenetic regulation.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science. 



The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. 



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