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November 2003 Issue

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AAAS Names Fellows

Published November 2003

Fred D. Finkelman, MD, director of the Division of Immunology within the Department of Internal Medicine at UC, has been awarded the distinction of American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Fellow. 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 were announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on October 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 promoting worm 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. Many of these processes also cause the symptoms that we associate with allergic disease.

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. SuFounded 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 is the world's largest general federation of scientists. Its journal, Science, is an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed weekly that ranks among the world's most prestigious scientific journals.

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