February 1, 2023

Melinda Beck, PhD, interim department chair and professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is among four Carolina faculty members who have been selected as 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the academic journal Science. The selection is one of the most distinguished honors in the scientific community.

“I am delighted that our colleagues have been recognized for their remarkable scientific contributions: Fellowship in the AAAS is an honor of the highest order. Professors Arnosti, Beck, Crimmins and Fredrickson have joined the ranks of Maria Mitchell, W.E.B. Dubois and Thomas Edison and a litany of other luminaries as AAAS fellows,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer J. Christopher Clemens. “It is an amazing accomplishment that we should all celebrate. As a scientist, I believe that it is a career-defining achievement to be recognized by the Academy. As Provost, I am profoundly grateful to see the brilliant work by our faculty be so richly rewarded. And, as Tar Heels, I hope we are all deeply proud to have four new AAAS fellows as members of our community.”

Since 1874, fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council in recognition of exceptional achievements in their discipline. This year’s class of 508 scientists, engineers and innovators spans 24 scientific disciplines and is made up of AAAS members whose work is scientifically or socially distinguished, according to AAAS.

The new Carolina fellows are:

Carol Arnosti
A professor in the department of earth, marine and environmental sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, Arnosti joined Carolina’s marine sciences faculty in 1995. She and members of her lab investigate microbially driven carbon cycling in the ocean. Arnosti was recognized for discovering new patterns and pathways of microbial degradation of complex carbon in marine environments through groundbreaking development of novel methods to measure extracellular enzyme activities involved in carbon cycling.

Melinda Beck
A professor and interim chair in the department of nutrition at the Gillings School, Beck has been a faculty member at Carolina for more than 30 years. She joined the department of nutrition faculty in 1996 and currently serves as the interim chair. In the Beck Laboratory, researchers study the relationship between host nutrition and the immune response to infectious disease, including an ongoing clinical study of the mechanisms that impair flu vaccine response in obese adults compared with healthy-weight adults.

Michael Crimmins
A professor emeritus of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, Crimmins was recognized for important contributions to complex natural products synthesis through the development of photocycloadditions, asymmetric aldol reactions and olefin metathesis reactions, as well as for innovation in chemical education. Crimmins, who joined Carolina’s faculty in 1981, served as chair of the chemistry department and senior associate dean for natural sciences and was also executive director of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program. He was also the co-leader of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education pilot program, which jump-started the movement toward active learning in science and math courses in the College.

Barbara Fredrickson
A Kenan Distinguished Professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences, Fredrickson studies emotions, well-being and positive psychology in her Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory. Fredrickson was recognized for her seminal research demonstrating the adaptive value of positive emotions, extraordinary dissemination of this knowledge to general audiences and exceptional service establishing positive psychology within affective science.

The new fellows will be celebrated later this year at the AAAS annual meeting, where they will receive a certificate and blue and gold rosette. The names of newly elected fellows are also published in Science and on the AAAS website.

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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