UMMS RESEARCH ELECTED AAAS FELLOW FOR HIV WORK

November 8, 2004

WORCESTER  , Mass. — Mario Stevenson, PhD, the David J. Freelander Professor of AIDS Research and a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon him by his AAAS peers.

As part of the Section on Medical Sciences, Dr. Stevenson was elected an AAAS Fellow for his work in fundamental studies on the biology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), particularly for his studies on the mechanisms by which the virus persists and accesses the host cell nucleus.

Stevenson serves as director of the

UMass Center for AIDS Research.  He and his lab were the first to demonstrate that HIV is fundamentally different from other types of retroviruses due to its ability to infect non-cycling cells, specifically the macrophage which is a sentinel of the immune system.  A major focus of Stevenson’s current work is to investigate how HIV exploits the macrophage cell. Through that work, Stevenson hopes to identify more effective strategies to eradicate HIV.  Because of Stevenson’s work, and the depth of AIDS- related research ongoing in several of its departments, UMMS was awarded funding as one of 16 Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) across the United States , sharing $20 million awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and five other National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes.

A graduate of Glasgow College of Technology, Stevenson earned his doctoral degree from the

University of Strathclyde in Glasgow , and completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  After more than a decade at the University of Nebraska , where he held the David Purtilo Professorship in Pathology and Microbiology, Stevenson came to UMMS in 1995.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Fellows are elected in recognition of their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the Steering Groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (provided two of those three Fellows are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution) or by the Chief Executive Officer.

Each Steering Group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list. The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS President and consisting of members of the Board of Directors, the Retiring Section Chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

The 308 new Fellows elected this year will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin—the colors signifying science and engineering, respectively—at the Fellows Forum during the AAAS Annual Meeting February 19, 2005 in

Washington , DC

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science ( www.sciencemag.org ). The AAAS was founded in 1848 and served nearly 10 million individuals and 262 affiliated societies and academies of science. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS ( www.aaas.org ) is open to all and fulfills its mission “to advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log on to www.eurekalert.org , the premier science-news webs site, a service of AAAS.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country and has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The

Medical School attracts more than $167 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources.  Research funding enables UMMS scientists to explore human disease from the molecular level to large-scale clinical trials.  See www.umassmed.edu for additional information.

Contact:Alison Duffy, alison.duffy@umassmed.edu