Five MD Anderson researchers elected AAAS Fellows

Award recognizes contributions to cancer research and the scientific community

In recognition of their achievements in advancing cancer research, five faculty members from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS Fellows are elected by their peers, a tradition that began in 1874, in honor of their invaluable contributions to science and technology. MD Anderson’s faculty now includes 49 AAAS Fellows.

“Selection as AAAS Fellows highlights these scientists’ outstanding effort and innovation within their cancer research specialties,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “This year’s fellows from MD Anderson exemplify our ongoing commitment to advancements in cancer biology, diagnosis and treatment.”

MD Anderson’s newly elected AAAS Fellows are:

  • Swathi Arur, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics, for discovery of Dicer1 phosphorylation by RAS/ERK signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans and implications for human fertility and cancer metastasis.
  • George Calin, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Experimental Therapeutics and Translational Molecular Pathology, for his landmark discovery linking human diseases and microRNAs (miRNAs), specifically downregulation of miRNAs in patients with leukemias, and for pioneering the concept of miRNAs involvement in neurogenesis.
  • Han Liang, Ph.D., professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, for his pioneering integrative analysis of cancer genomic data and development of related bioinformatic tools to improve delivery of precision cancer medicine.
  •  Sendurai Mani, Ph.D., professor of Translational Molecular Pathology, for demonstrating that cancer can make its own cancer stem cells and promote plasticity, resulting in metastasis and chemoresistance by activating latent embryonic epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
  • Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics, for seminal contributions to understanding clonal evolution in breast cancer, and for inventing the first single-cell DNA sequencing methods, establishing the field of single cell genomics.

The 489 newly elected AAAS Fellows were chosen this year due to their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The honor recognizes diverse accomplishments, including pioneering research, leading within a given field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.

The 2020 AAAS Fellows will be formally announced in Science on Nov. 27, 2020. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin to commemorate their election. A virtual Fellows Forum – an induction ceremony for the new fellows – will be held on Feb. 13, 2021.