Fred D. Finkelman, MD, director of the Division of Immunology within the UC Department of Internal Medicine, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS). Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers.
Individuals receiving this award have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts to advance science or applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. The 348 new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin Saturday, February 14, at the Fellows Forum during the 2004 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. This year's AAAS Fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal, Science on Friday, Oct. 31.
Dr. Finkelman was elected AAAS Fellow for his fundamental studies of how cytokines regulate host responses to infectious agents, particularly the mechanisms by which interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) terminate gastrointestinal nematode infections by simulating several processes that promote worm parasite expulsion from the gut. Dr. Finkelman and his colleagues discovered that the same immunological mechanisms that cause allergic diseases, such as hayfever and asthma, also allow humans and other animals to defend themselves against worm parasites that infect the intestines. Intestinal worm infections are relatively rare in the U.S., but infect approximately one billion people worldwide and are responsible for approximately one million deaths a year.
Dr. Finkelman’s observations paved the way for studies that caused several pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop agents that block IL-4 and/or IL-13 as treatments for asthma and other allergic diseases. Additional studies that pinpoint the mechanisms by which IL-4 and IL-13 promote immunity against worms may help in the design of vaccines against these infections. Such vaccines, if they prove feasible, would be of great value in the prevention of disease in less developed nations.
Dharma Prakash Agrawal, DSc, Ohio Board of Regents Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science at UC, has also been named an AAAS Fellow. Dr. Agrawal was named Fellow for his contributions to the field of wireless and mobile systems, parallel processing, and computer architecture.
Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has worked to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs, and publications, in the areas of science policy, science education and international scientific cooperation. AAAS and its journal, Science, report nearly 140,000 individual and institutional subscribers, plus 272 affiliated organizations in more than 130 countries, serving a total of 10 million individuals. Thus, AAAS is the world's largest general federation of scientists. Science is an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed weekly that ranks among the world's most prestigious scientific journals.