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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 500-502
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6170.500

31 January 2014

Edited by Kathy Wren


Gerald Fink: Global Challenges Require Sustained Support


Gerald Fink has learned to love a good experiment. And while the geneticist doesn't expect everyone to share his passion for elegant experimental designs or effective controls, he believes the general public does respect and depend on the solutions that science provides.

"Most Americans are very practical people, and they are also kind of amateur scientists," Fink said in a recent interview. "They want these problems like energy and global warming solved and know that they can only be solved by scientists."

As the incoming AAAS president, Fink believes that the organization is a vital "connection between the wishes of the American people, for solutions to these problems, and the policymakers. AAAS is the voice of American science to the world, and it's not just scientists who listen to this voice."

Climate warming, communicable diseases, and food and energy demand are among the enormous challenges facing the global community, he noted. "Everyone talks about these, but the solutions to these problems demand an investment in science. And I think in the 21st century, we need to listen to scientists and support them to attack these very difficult problems."

There "probably isn't a ‘eureka experiment' that can solve them," he added, "but they require dedication, a long-term dedication, to their solution."

This long-term, sustained support of science is one that Fink hopes AAAS can continue to foster in Washington, D.C., with programs such as the R&D Budget and Policy Program and the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. But he also cautioned that the recent battles over sequestration have had "a very damaging effect on science, particularly on young scientists."

"When I was a student, I didn't worry that I wouldn't be able to get a grant or have my education supported. The government was forthcoming at every point," he said. "I don't know that we can look forward to that commitment, and more importantly, without it our young scientists cannot be optimistic about a career in science. The challenge is to reinvigorate our economy by investing in education and science so that the best minds of the next generation will have the support of their nation."

Fink turned to science in high school after reading Paul de Kruif's Microbe Hunters, about pioneering scientists like Louis Pasteur and Walter Reed, who built the germ theory of disease and developed the first vaccinations. "It was so exciting to me," he recalled, "but I went to a public high school that was not particularly good, and most people were interested in sports instead." So he and his best friend — now a mathematician — thought mostly about winning their next basketball game.

The successful launching of the Sputnik satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957 changed everything, however. Like many scientists his age, Fink remembers Sputnik as the impetus for an entirely new and exciting emphasis on science education. Spurred by this challenge, engineers and scientists began visiting schools to teach classes and to encourage students to choose a career in research.

Inspired by these examples, Fink went on to receive his Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University. His 1977 discovery of a technique to introduce DNA into living yeast cells paved the way for genetic engineering in this organism and others and helped establish yeast as "factories" for producing new vaccines and other medicines. Now, as a professor of biology and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute at MIT, Fink has focused his research on the molecular underpinnings of fungal infections.

His work with infectious agents also led to a stint as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Research Standards and Practices to Prevent the Destructive Application of Biotechnology, from 2002 to 2003. The committee's 2004 report has yielded a "very good public discourse" on the potential for misuse of scientific findings, one that has guided policies at Science and other research journals, Fink said.

Fink will succeed Phillip A. Sharp as president at the close of the 180th AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago on 18 February. Sharp will become chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors.


Call for Nomination of 2014 Fellows

AAAS Fellows who are current members of the Association are invited to nominate members for election as Fellows. A member whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished, and who has been a continuous member for the 4-year period leading up to the year of nomination, may by virtue of such meritorious contribution be elected a Fellow by the AAAS Council.

A nomination must be sponsored by three previously elected AAAS Fellows (who are current in their membership), two of whom must have no affiliation with the nominee's institution.

Nominations undergo review by the steering groups of the Association's sections (the chair, chair-elect, retiring chair, secretary, and four members-at-large of each section). Each steering group reviews only those nominations designated for its section.

Names of Fellow nominees who are approved by the steering groups are presented to the Council in the fall for election.

Nominations with complete documentation must be received by 16 April 2014. Nominations received after that date or nominations that are incomplete as of the deadline will not move forward.

Complete instructions and a copy of the nomination form are available at Questions may be directed to fellownomination{at}

Results of the 2013 Election of AAAS Offi cers

Following are the results of the 2013 election. Terms begin on 18 February 2014.

General Election
President-Elect: Geraldine (Geri) Richmond, Univ. of Oregon
Board of Directors: Carlos J. Bustamante, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Laura H. Greene, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Committee on Nominations: Sylvia T. Ceyer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Susan M. Fitzpatrick, James S. McDonnell Foundation; Alice Petry Gast, Lehigh Univ.; Susan Gottesman, National Cancer Institute/NIH
Section Elections
Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources
Chair Elect: Michael F. Thomashow, Michigan State Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Elizabeth E. Hood, Arkansas State Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Sheila McCormick, USDA-ARS; Esther van der Knaap, Ohio State Univ.
Chair Elect: Robert W. Sussman, Washington Univ. in St. Louis
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Margaret C. Nelson, Arizona State Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Patricia M. Lambert, Utah State Univ.; Lisa J. Lucero, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Chair Elect: Stefi Alison Baum, Rochester Institute of Technology
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Jean L. Turner, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Electorate Nominating Committee: Neil Gehrels, NASA/Univ. of Maryland; Michael Werner, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech
Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences
Chair Elect: Michael J. Prather, Univ. of California, Irvine
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Soroosh Sorooshian, Univ. of California, Irvine
Electorate Nominating Committee:Anthony J. Broccoli, Rutgers Univ.; James A. Yoder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Council Delegate: David Halpern, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Biological Sciences
Chair Elect: Steve Henikoff, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Susan R. Wente, Vanderbilt Univ. School of Medicine
Electorate Nominating Committee: Vicki L. Chandler, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Claire M. Fraser, Univ. of Maryland School of Medicin
Chair Elect: Bruce E. Bursten, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Mark Thompson, Univ. of Southern California
Electorate Nominating Committee: Katrina M. Miranda, Univ. of Arizona; Galen D. Stucky, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences
Chair Elect: Mina Mina, Univ. of Connecticut Health Center
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Van P. Thompson, King's College London Dental Institute (UK)
Electorate Nominating Committee: Pamela K. Den Besten, UC San Francisco School of Dentistry; Mark C. Herzberg, Univ. of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Council Delegate: Linda C. Niessen, Nova Southeastern Univ.
Chair Elect: Jay B. Labov, National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Tamara Shapiro Ledley, TERC
Electorate Nominating Committee: Margaret R. Caldwell, Center for Ocean Solutions/Stanford Law School; Kristin P. Jenkins, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison/BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Council Delegate: Elizabeth K. Stage, UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science
Chair Elect: W. Kent Fuchs, Cornell Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Nicholas L. Abbott, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
Electorate Nominating Committee: Linda Broadbelt, Northwestern Univ.; David B. Williams, Ohio State Univ.
General Interest in Science and Engineering
Chair Elect: Dominique Brossard, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Carol Lynn Alpert, Museum of Science, Boston
Electorate Nominating Committee: Robert Lee Hotz, Wall Street Journal; Lisa M. Van Pay, George Washington Univ.
Council Delegate: Sharon M. Friedman, Lehigh Univ.
Geology and Geography
Chair Elect: Maureen E. Raymo, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Dennis V. Kent, Rutgers Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Jennifer R. Marlon, Yale Univ.; Konrad (Koni) Steffen, Swiss Federal Research Institute/ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
History and Philosophy of Science
Chair Elect: Elliott Sober, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Roberta L. Millstein, Univ. of California, Davis
Electorate Nominating Committee: Heather Douglas, Univ. of Waterloo (Canada); Kristine C. Harper, Florida State Univ.
Industrial Science and Technology
Chair Elect: Sharon C. Glotzer, Univ. of Michigan
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Harold H. Kung, Northwestern Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Isaac Cann, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael Tsapatsis, Univ. of Minnesota
Information, Computing, and Communication
Chair Elect: Carla P. Gomes, Cornell Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Justine Cassell, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: T Bonnie C. Carroll, Information International Associates (IIa)/CENDI; Susan Landau, Google
Council Delegate: Karen R. Sollins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Language Science
Chair Elect: Keren Rice, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: David Poeppel, New York Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Cecile McKee, Univ. of Arizona; Shari R. Speer, Ohio State Univ.
Council Delegate: Joan Maling, National Science Foundation
Chair Elect: Martin Golubitsky, Ohio State Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Irene Fonseca, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Harvey Thomas Banks, North Carolina State Univ.; James (Mac) Hyman, Tulane Univ.
Medical Sciences
Chair Elect: Pamela B. Davis, Case Western Reserve Univ. School of Medicine
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: David M. Sabatini, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electorate Nominating Committee: Lisa M. Coussens, Oregon Health & Science Univ.; Jules L. Dienstag, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Chair Elect: Marie-Françoise Chesselet, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Allan Basbaum, Univ. of California, San Francisco
Electorate Nominating Committee: Diane O'Dowd, Univ. of California, Irvine; Phyllis M. Wise, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Pharmaceutical Sciences
Chair Elect: Jeanette C. Roberts, Univ. of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Donald P. McDonnell, Duke Univ. School of Medicine
Electorate Nominating Committee: Barbara S. Beckman, Tulane Univ. School of Medicine; Melanie S. Joy, Univ. of Colorado School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy
Council Delegate: Barbara N. Timmermann, Univ. of Kansas
Chair Elect: Eva Andrei, Rutgers Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Lene Vestergaard Hau, Harvard Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Marcela Carena, Univ. of Chicago/Fermilab; John M. Tranquada, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Chair Elect: Susan Goldin-Meadow, Univ. of Chicago
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Barbara A. (Bobbie) Spellman, Univ. of Virginia/Univ. of Virginia School of Law
Electorate Nominating Committee: Charles A. Nelson III, Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital; Elizabeth Phelps, New York Univ.
Social, Economic, and Political Sciences
Chair Elect: Maryann P. Feldman, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Paula Stephan, Georgia State Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Stephanie Shipp, Virginia Tech; Howard J. Silver, Consortium of Social Science Associations
Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering
Chair Elect: Francesca T. Grifo, Union of Concerned Scientists
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Gerald L. Epstein, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Electorate Nominating Committee: Maryann P. Feldman, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Tobin L. Smith, Association of American Universities
Council Delegate: Susan Sauer Sloan, National Academies
Chair Elect: Sallie Ann Keller, Virginia Tech
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Karen Kafadar, Indiana Univ.
Electorate Nominating Committee: Michael Boehnke, Univ. of Michigan; M. Elizabeth (Betz) Halloran, Univ. of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Council Delegate: Linda J. Young, Univ. of Florida/USDA-NASS

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