Three LAS faculty members honored for advancing science

Alison Bell, Carl Bernacchi, and Prashant Jain are named AAAS Fellows
Alison Bell, Carl Bernacchi, and Prashant Jain
From left: Alison Bell, Carl Bernacchi, and Prashant Jain

Six professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Evolution, ecology and behavior professor Alison Bell; plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi; and and chemistry professor Prashant Jain are among the 489 scientists to be awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year. Also at the U of I, bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava; materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun; and materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos were also named AAAS Fellows. 

Bell studies the evolution of behavior in the three-spined stickleback, a fish species adapted to diverse habitats. She is a pioneer in the study of animal personality, using genomics and other tools to understand the causes and consequences of individual behavior differences. She is a member of the Animal Behavior Society, the International Society for Behavioral Ecology and the American Society of Naturalists. She was a recipient of the 2012 Young Investigator Award from the Animal Behavior Society.  She is the leader of the Gene Networks in Neural and Developmental Plasticity theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; the Lowell Getz Scholar in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior; a Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar; and a professor in the Beckman Institute; the Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation; and the Neuroscience Program.

Bernacchi is a professor and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service scientist. He investigates the impacts of climate change on crop physiology, energy fluxes between the atmosphere and plant canopies, carbon sequestration and crop canopy responses to stress. He is a member of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation and the Genomic Ecology of Global Change research theme at the IGB. Bernacchi also serves on the editorial board for three journals and led the development of the American Society of Plant Biologists’ Ecological and Environmental Plant Physiology section.

Jain is a professor, Alumni Scholar, and the Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar in chemistry at Illinois. He investigates the unique behavior of electrons, photons and atoms in nanoscale materials and applies this understanding to the conversion of sunlight to fuels and the design of new solid-state catalysts. His group has developed particles with special optical resonances that can be switched on and off. These “plasmonic quantum dots” can act as optical switches – key components for computers that could use light instead of electricity to transmit data at ultra-high speeds. Jain is a professor in the Materials Research Laboratory and the Beckman Institute at Illinois, and a faculty affiliate of physics. He also is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Bhargava is the Founder Professor in Bioengineering and the director of the Cancer Center at Illinois, with a research home in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and affiliate appointments in several departments across the campus. His lab works to develop new chemical-imaging tools and artificial intelligence technologies that will aid in detecting, diagnosing and understanding cancer.

Braun is the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering and the director of the Materials Research Laboratory at the U of I, with appointments in other departments and institutes, including the Beckman Institute. His research group focuses on the synthesis of materials with carefully crafted 3D nano- and mesoscale architectures that have useful optical, electrochemical and thermal properties.

Sottos is the head of materials science and engineering. She also is a Center for Advanced Study Professor and a Swanlund Chair at Illinois. She leads the Autonomous Materials Systems group at the Beckman Institute, and is affiliated with the Materials Research Laboratory, mechanical science and engineering and aerospace engineering.

News Source

Diana Yates, Illinois News Bureau