Iowa State geneticist, computer engineer honored for scientific advances

AMES, Iowa – Two Iowa State University researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The association is honoring 702 new fellows from around the world “because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Iowa State’s new AAAS Fellows are:

Thomas Peterson

Thomas Peterson

Thomas Peterson, Pioneer Chair in Maize Molecular Genetics and professor of genetics, development and cell biology, “For advances in understanding of transposable elements and their roles in altering genome evolution, and application of that knowledge to genome engineering.”

Peterson is leading studies of “jumping genes” – DNA sequences called transposable elements that move within a genome – and how they can affect gene expression and rearrange genomes. His research group recently found that two or more of the elements located near each other result in reactions that can cause major genome changes such as deletions, duplications and chromosome rearrangements.

Arun Somani

Arun Somani

Arun Somani, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering from the department of electrical and computer engineering, “For distinguished contributions to the theory and practice of dependable computing and networking systems, including design, development, implementation, and building experimentation platforms.”

Somani’s current research includes work in processor design to increase performance, power and reliability; dependable networking using optical fiber technologies; and visual- and sensor- based asset monitoring of computer systems.

The new class of AAAS Fellows will be honored next February during the association’s annual meeting in Boston.

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The association includes 261 affiliated societies or academies of science and serves 10 million people.