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Release: Immediate

UI's Nair Elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Vasu Nair, University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The rank of Fellow, which will be formally recognized by a Jan. 23 presentation of a certificate and gold and blue (for science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin during the AAAS annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., is bestowed upon members "because of their efforts toward advancing science or fostering applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished."

Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts, said, "I'm delighted that Professor Nair's contributions to science have been recognized by his peers in the AAAS. This is an important honor for both Professor Nair and the University of Iowa."

Nair, who came to the UI in 1969, is internationally known for his work on antiviral compounds and has developed and patented antiviral compounds that may help slow the growth of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Commenting on the award, Nair said, "I feel honored that the steering committee of the AAAS nominated me for this recognition, and I am grateful for its role and also that of the AAAS Council in including me in their final selection."

A native of the Fiji Islands, Nair became a U.S. citizen in 1975 after receiving his bachelor of science degree with high honors from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1963 and, under an Australian Commonwealth Fellowship, his doctorate from the University of Adelaide in 1966. He later studied with the world-renowned organic chemist Nelson Leonard at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1967 and, in 1968, was a research fellow at Harvard University where he worked with Nobel Laureate R.B. Woodward.

Nair was named UI Foundation Distinguished Professor in 1993 and has also been honored through the receipt of various patents, research awards and grants and major consultantships, as well as a science medal, distinguished scholar award and a prestigious doctor of science degree -- which, in the British academic tradition is an award senior to the doctorate -- "for outstanding research" from the University of Adelaide. He has published numerous scientific articles in professional journals.

Nair joins his UI colleague Dr. Nancy Andreasen, UI professor of psychiatry, as one of 283 AAAS members elected to the rank of Fellow in 1998.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies, with more than 282 affiliates and 144,000 individual members.