Seven Penn State faculty named AAAS Fellows

American Association for the Advancement of Science lifetime award honors extraordinary achievements in advancing science


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Seven Penn State faculty members in areas ranging from atmospheric science and engineering to medicine and computer science have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. This year a total of 489 individuals are being recognized with this lifetime honor, bestowed by their peers, for their extraordinary achievements in advancing science.

A virtual Fellows Forum — an induction ceremony for the new fellows — will be held on Feb. 13, 2021. Those from Penn State are:

  • Elizabeth W. Boyer, professor of water resources – for significant advances in ecohydrology, water quality, and the scientific underpinning for water management.
  • Keith Cheng, distinguished professor of pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and pharmacology – for distinguished contributions to functional genomics and imaging, particularly related to zebrafish as a model organism for human disease and skin pigmentation genetics.
  • Kenneth Knappenberger, professor of chemistry – for distinguished contributions to the understanding of the electronic and optical properties of metal nanostructures through the use of ultrafast spectroscopy.
  • Patrick McDaniel, William L. Weiss Professor of Information and Communications Technology and director of the Institute for Networking and Security Research – for distinguished contributions to the field of computational security and privacy, particularly for advancing algorithms for the formal analysis of mobile devices and applications.
  • Katsuhiko Murakami, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology – for outstanding contributions in the field of structural biology, particularly the role of RNA polymerase in prokaryotic gene regulation.
  • Joan Richtsmeier, distinguished professor of anthropology – for development of imaging and genetic approaches that have elucidated contributions of growth pattern to morphology, with an emphasis on craniofacial growth patterns.
  • Qing Wang, professor of materials science and engineering – for distinguished contributions to the field of polymers and composites, particularly for the development of ferroelectric polymers and dielectric materials for energy storage and conversion.

With over $1 billion in annual research expenditures, Penn State ranks among the top 25 U.S. research universities and is one of only two institutions in the nation accorded land-grant, sea-grant, sun-grant and space-grant status. This year’s fellows represent the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts. Also represented are the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Materials Research Institute, and the Penn State Cancer Institute.


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Megan Lakatos