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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 5, 2010

AAAS names Donelson and Fritzsch fellows

Two University of Iowa faculty members -- one from the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and one from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences -- have been awarded the distinction of 2009 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

The two new AAAS Fellows, recognized by the AAAS section on biological sciences, are John E. Donelson (photo, left), Ph.D., UI professor of biochemistry and former head of the department of biochemistry from 1998 to 2008; and Bernd Fritzsch (photo, right), Ph.D., UI professor of biology, Iowa Entrepreneur Professor and head of the department of biology from 2008 to present.

The two UI recipients are among 531 members awarded the honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The new Fellows will be honored in February at the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Donelson was recognized for distinguished contributions to understanding how parasitic protozoa that cause major tropical diseases evade the human immune system. Donelson, who received his doctorate in biochemistry from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1971, joined the UI in 1974. His research focuses on understanding gene expression in organisms such as Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness; Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas' disease; and Leishmania chagasi, which causes visceral leishmaniasis. For more information see

Fritzsch was recognized for influential research on cranial evolution and development -- particularly neurosensory elements of the inner ear -- that has yielded insights into the genetic basis of hearing loss. Fritzsch, who received his doctorate from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, in 1978, joined the UI faculty in 2008. His research remains focused on understanding the evolution of the sensory neurons of the inner ear, as well as translating laboratory discoveries into new therapeutics for those suffering from hearing loss. For more information see

The nonprofit AAAS ( was founded in 1848 and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its journal, Science (, has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. AAAS hosts a Web site, EurekAlert!, at

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