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Release: Nov. 24, 1999

Coleman, Keller and Welsh elected AAAS Fellows

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman, Associate Dean of the Graduate College John Charles Keller, and Professor of Internal Medicine Michael J. Welsh have been elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The rank of Fellow will be formally recognized at a Feb. 19 presentation during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The AAAS states that it bestows the rank upon members " … because of their efforts toward advancing science or fostering applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished."

Coleman, who became the 18th President of the University of Iowa in 1995, holds academic appointments as professor of biochemistry in the College of Medicine and professor of biological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts. She was nominated in the field of chemistry "For exemplary research and teaching and for outstanding administration that has fostered research interactions, health sciences development, and inclusive scientific and medical education." As UI President, Coleman has focused on implementing the University's strategic plan, articulating core values and indicators of progress, and setting targets for advancing the University's position among the nation's leading public universities.

Coleman served as provost and vice president for academic affairs (1993-1995) at the University of New Mexico and as vice chancellor for graduate studies and research (1992-1993) and associate provost and dean of research (1990-1992) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served 19 years as a member of the biochemistry faculty and as a Cancer Center administrator at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Her research focused on the immune system and malignancies. The National Institutes of Health continuously funded her laboratories for over twenty years.

Coleman was elected to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in 1997. She has been a member or chair of scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, and the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. She served on the Presidents Leadership Group of The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and on the Governor's ACCESS Education Commission, which evaluated new delivery methods for higher education in the next century. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, the Board of Trustees of Grinnell College, and several corporate boards. She was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University Research Association.

After earning her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, Coleman conducted postdoctoral work at North Carolina and at the University of Texas, Austin.

Dr. Keller, who joined the UI College of Dentistry in 1988, was nominated for AAAS Fellow in the field of dentistry "For important contributions to the field of implant research and its application to clinical dental implantology." He is professor in the UI department of oral and maxillofacial surgery and the Dows Institute for Dental Research, and director of the implant Biomaterials Research Program. In the fall of 1998, he was appointed associate dean of the University of Iowa Graduate College.

Keller is director of the student honors research program and teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in dental materials science, pathophysiology of the bone, and research methodology. His research focuses on cellular and systemic tissue interactions with dental implant materials, including analysis of bone and soft tissue response to titanium implants. He is also involved in several studies investigating synthetic apatites as bone substitute materials, surface characteristics of biomaterials and their effects on tissue reactions, and mechanisms of biomedical implant fixation.

Keller is former president of the American Association for Dental Research (1997-98); current member of the AADR Board of Directors (1995-99); former member of the Norton M. Ross Award Selection Committee (1997); current program committee chair for the International Congress on Oral Biology, Oral Biology and Implants section (1996-98); former secretary (1993-94) and vice president (1995-96) for the Academy for Dental Materials; reviewer for the Medical Research Council of Canada, consultant to the American Dental Association Council on Dental Materials, Instruments and Equipment; editorial consultant of the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, a reviewer for Dental Materials, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Journal of Biomechanics, Journal of Dental Research, and Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. Memberships include the American and International Associations for Dental Research, Society for Biomaterials, the Materials Research Society, and the Academy of Osseointegration.

Keller, who earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1974 and his master's and doctorate from Northwestern University in 1978 and 1982, respectively, holds a Fellowship position in the Academy for Dental Materials.

Dr. Welsh, who joined the UI College of Medicine in 1981, was nominated for AAAS Fellow in the field of the medical sciences "For contributing to understanding the biology of cystic fibrosis and for innovative approaches to its therapy." He is professor in the department of internal medicine and holds the nationally prestigious position of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Welsh's clinical interests include the diagnosis and therapy of lung diseases, especially airway diseases. His research interest focuses in three main areas. First is a focus on cystic fibrosis, with a major emphasis on how the gene product functions, how mutations cause disruptions of function, and how the loss of the gene product causes chronic airway infections in cystic fibrosis. Second, his laboratory is working to develop gene therapy for cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases. Third, he is studying a new family of ion channels that are involved in control of the blood pressure and may play an important role in mechanosensation, proprioception, and pain sensation.

His many awards, memberships and honors include: member, Association of American Physicians; Cecile Lehman Mayer Research Award, 1978; American Society for Clinical Investigation, Award Finalist; member, American Society of Cell Biology; National Pulmonary Faculty Training Award; Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association; Doris F. Tulcin Cystic Fibrosis Research Award; Paul di Sant'Agnese Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award; J. Burns Amberson Award, American Thoracic Society; president, American Society for Clinical Investigation; member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; and Associate Editor, "Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians."

He is a member of the editorial boards of "American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology," "Genetic Medicine," "Physiological Genomics," and "Journal of Gene Medicine." He earned his bachelor's degree and his M.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1970 and 1974, respectively.

The three UI inductees join 280 other AAAS members elected to the rank of Fellow in 1999. Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies, with more than 276 affiliates and 143,000 individual members.