Emory Report
January 20, 2009
Volume 61, Number 16



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January 20
, 2009
AAAS elects three faculty for their advancement of science

By Holly Korschun

Jocelyne Bachevalier, Dale E. Edmondson and Barry D. Shur have been awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

They were elected to this honor by their peers because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be recognized at a Feb. 14 forum during the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Bachevalier, behavioral and cognitive neuroscientist, was honored for her “exemplary work on the role of specific brain structures in the regulation of social and cognitive behaviors in humans and in animal models.” Bachevalier is Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of developmental cognitive neuroscience and a faculty member in the psychology department and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Her research has focused on neural substrates underlying the development, maturation and decline of learning and memory functions in nonhuman primates. Her lab also studies the nature of the memory decline in monkeys that accompanies normal aging. She has made a persistent effort to relate her basic research findings to normal and abnormal human behavior, such as autism and schizophrenia, and the development of memory processes.

Edmondson, professor of biochemistry in the School of Medicine and adjunct professor of chemistry, was honored for his “distinguished contributions to the field of physical biochemistry, particularly research that furthers our understanding of structures and mechanisms of flavins and flavoproteins.” In 2002, Edmondson reported on the discovery, along with colleagues at the University of Pavia, Italy, of the three-dimensional structure of human MAO B, an enzyme important in age-related neurological disorders. These discoveries are considered to be major advances in understanding of target enzymes, the subject of numerous studies aimed at developing new drugs for treatment of and protection from neurological diseases.

Shur, professor and chair of the department of cell biology in the School of Medicine, was honored for his “pioneering work on adhesion interactions in fertilization and early development with a focus on the role of cell surface glycosyltransferases.” Shur has been credited with opening up a new area of research with his work in the biology of adhesion and cell surface interactions. His research focuses particularly on the molecular basis of cellular interactions during mammalian fertilization and development. He and his colleagues identified a receptor on the sperm surface called galactosyltransferase that allows the sperm to bind to the egg coat and fertilize the egg.