Three Biological Sciences Professors Named AAAS Fellows

Updated January 15th, 2009

Three biology professors are among six faculty members from the University of California, San Diego to be awarded the distinction of "fellow" by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science. "We are proud to have more than 75 UC San Diego faculty members who have been named AAAS fellows," said Marye Anne Fox, chancellor for UC San Diego. "I want to congratulate these outstanding researchers for the significant contributions they've made to science and to humankind."

Darwin Berg
Darwin Berg, a professor of neurobiology, was honored "for distinguished contributions to the field of molecular and cellular neurobiology, particularly for synapse formation and the role of nicotinic cholinergic signaling." Berg and his group currently study how signaling between nerve cells influences the development of the nervous system, by identifying the molecular players and investigating how they work. They are interested in how connections between cells in the nervous system form and are regulated, and how they contribute to complex systems. Thinking and the formation of memories depend on nicotinic cholinergic signaling, and defects in this biochemical system contribute to common pathologies including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and addiction.

Therese Markow
Therese Markow, professor of evolutionary biology and ecology, was honored "for distinguished scholarly contributions to behavior, ecology, and evolution; and as Editor for Evolution and Director of the Drosophila Species Stock Center." Markow and her group study speciation and adaptation among fruit flies, particularly a handful of species of Drosophila that live in specialized niches-giant cacti that grow in the Sonoran Desert and are toxic to many other organisms. She also studies the evolution of mating systems and the genomics of fruit flies. The stock center Markow directs serves as a resource for researchers worldwide by providing a variety of species and strains of fruit flies for genetic studies. The center moved to UC San Diego when Markow joined the faculty in Fall 2008.

Immo Erich Scheffler
Immo Erich Scheffler, professor of molecular biology, was recognized "for distinguished contributions to the field of mitochondrial physiology, particularly for investigations on the signaling pathways from mitochondria to cytoplasm and nucleus." Scheffler's work has focused on the biochemical processes by which mitochondria produce energy for cells. Working with colleagues in California and Australia, he is also currently seeking to identify genes responsible for diseases caused by mitochondrial malfunction. UC San Diego's Academic Senate, Chancellor's Associates and Alumni Association have all recognized Scheffler's excellent teaching. A new, updated edition of his book, Mitochondria, was published this year.

Chosen by their peers, association fellows are recognized for their distinguished efforts to advance science and for significant contributions in areas such as research, teaching, technology or administration.

The new fellows will be recognized on Feb. 14, 2009, at the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago.