Perspectives Online

Four CALS professors named AAAS Fellows

Four faculty members from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are among seven N.C. State University scientists to have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Robert R.H. Anholt, professor of zoology and genetics; Dr. Gregory Gibson, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Genetics; and Dr. Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Professor of Entomology; and Dr. Marie Davidian, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Statistics, all of CALS, were elected along with Dr. Vincent L. Chiang, professor of plant biochemistry ; Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; and Dr. Robert M. Kelly, Alcoa Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. They are among 449 scientists to be honored by AAAS.

From top to bottom: Gregory Gibson, Robert Anholt, Coby Schal, Marie Davidian.
The director of N.C. State's W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, Anholt uses Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, as a model to study the genetic architecture of behavior and the genetics of human diseases. He also uses zebra-fish and mice as models to investigate the functions of olfactomedins - a group of extracellular and membrane-associated proteins - on development of the nervous system.

Gibson was selected for important contributions to the understanding of evolutionary genetics and genomics, especially evolution of gene expression patterns.

Gibson's work on quantitative genetics of development and behavior explores interesting sets of genes and their association with candidate traits. It emphasizes the role of environmental and background genetic influences on behavior and is designed to provide a model system for the genetic dissection of complex multifactorial diseases. His quantitative gene expression profiling work partitions out the effects of factors like sex, genotype, environmental treatment and tissue-type on gene expression.

Schal was selected for distinguished contributions to the advancement of science and their application to agriculture, applying fundamental discoveries in lipid physiology and biochemistry to control of insects. He was also cited for many distinguished contributions to the understanding of many aspects of insect physiology and behavior, particularly through the study of cockroaches.

In recent years, Schal and academic colleagues described the chemical composition of sex pheromone in German cockroaches, a finding that could lead to more efficient pest-control traps, baits and sprays. He also was part of a team that discovered that interference in moth pheromone communication between closely related species could be a strong enough selection force to alter those signals.

Davidian was selected for her outstanding contributions to statistical methodology and applications, excellence as a teacher and mentor, and editorial and professional leadership of statistical societies.

Davidian's research in the field of biostatistics has led her to develop statistical methods for the analysis of data from clinical trials and epidemiological investigations studying treatments for cancer, HIV, and cardiovascular diseases. She is closely involved with biostatistical training programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Most recently, Davidian was part of a team that received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to develop mathematical and statistical models that will help physicians design new treatment strategies for HIV-infected patients.

The seven N.C. State faculty members were recognized at the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco in February 2007.

- NCSU News Services