News Release

Six University of South Florida professors elected AAAS Fellows

USF tied for fourth place worldwide with 6 Fellows named this year

Grant and Award Announcement

University of South Florida

AAAS Fellows Dixon, Dixon, Murawski, Daly from University of South Florida

image: Timothy H. Dixon, Jacqueline E. Dixon, Steven A. Murawski, Kendra L. Daly are pictured. view more 

Credit: Photo: Jay Novitzke

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 2, 2015) - Six faculty members from the University of South Florida in Tampa were recently elected as 2015 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

With six Fellows, USF is ranked fourth worldwide for organizations with the most AAAS Fellows named this year, tied with the University of California, San Diego and the University of Michigan.

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society, publisher of the journal, Science, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Election as an AAAS Fellow is a high honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

This year, 347 members were awarded this prestigious honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Other top ranked organizations include Stanford University in first place with nine Fellows; University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Vanderbilt University tied for second place with eight Fellows each. Tied for third place with seven Fellows each are Duke University and Pennsylvania State University.

USF also had the highest number of Fellows named this year among organizations in Florida, and now has a total of 52 faculty who are AAAS Fellows.

"We are delighted that these six exceptional professors have been honored by election to fellowship in AAAS," said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, AAAS Fellow and senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at USF. "Their commitment to discovery and scholarship in their areas of expertise has helped the University of South Florida be increasingly recognized as a global research university."

AAAS Fellows from the University of South Florida

Venkat R. Bhethanabotla, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, is being honored as part of the Engineering Section, for his distinguished contributions to the fields of chemical and biomedical engineering, particularly for the modeling and development of acoustic wave chemical and biological sensors. Bhethanabotla obtained his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and associate editor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Sensors Journal. His current research is in the areas of chemical and biological sensors, plasmonics and computational catalysis. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and books on these topics, has seven issued patents with one licensed and has received over 50 grants in his career to date, most from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Department of Energy, and industrial sources.

Kendra L. Daly, Ph.D., professor, College of Marine Science, is being honored as part of the Biological Sciences Section for her distinguished contributions to the field of ocean science, particularly for advancing knowledge of Antarctic marine food webs and ecosystem dynamics in ice covered seas. She has worked in polar regions for more than 35 years, including more than 20 research expeditions to the Antarctic. Daly obtained her B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Washington, with a focus on Antarctic marine research. She continued working in polar systems for her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee and as a Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Energy.

Daly has served as a program manager in Biological Oceanography, Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation, as interim director of the NSF's Ocean Observatories Initiative (Washington, D.C.), and as chair of the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Science Steering Committee. Her research interests include plankton dynamics, marine biogeochemical cycles, development of sensor technologies, and assessing the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystem.

Jacqueline Eaby Dixon, Ph.D., professor and dean, College of Marine Science, is being honored as part of the Geology and Geography Section for her distinguished contributions to the fields of marine science and geology. Dixon received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Geology from Stanford University in 1981 and 1983, and her Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1992. She is an internationally recognized leader in igneous geochemistry with emphasis on the origin and evolution of oceanic volcanoes, the role of volatiles in magmatic processes, and water and carbon dioxide budgets for the deep Earth.

From 1992 through 2010, Dixon was at the University of Miami, where she received a National Science Foundation Early Career award (1997) for excellence in research and education and served as director of the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy's undergraduate program, senior associate dean for the life and physical sciences, and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She joined USF in 2011. She serves on the Executive Board of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and is a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board.

Timothy H. Dixon, Ph.D., professor, School of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences, is being honored as part of the Geology and Geography Section for his distinguished contributions to the field of space geodesy. Dixon received his B.Sc. degree in 1974 from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and his Ph.D. in 1979 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. From 1979-1992, he worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. From1992-2010, he was a professor at the University of Miami, where he co-founded the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS). He joined USF in 2011.

Dixon was a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2006-2007), is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Geological Society of America (GSA), received a GSA "Best Paper" award in 2006, and received GSA's Woollard award in 2010 for excellence in Geophysics. He was president of AGU's Geodesy section from 2012-2014. His research uses remote sensing data and satellite and ground-based geodesy to study Earth surface and sub-surface processes, including earthquakes and volcano deformation, coastal subsidence, ground water extraction and glacier motion.

Dennis Edward Kyle, Ph.D., Distinguished Health Professor, Department of Global Health, College of Public Health, USF Health, is being honored as part of the Biological Sciences Section for his distinguished contributions and innovations in the field of global health, especially tropical and infectious diseases. Kyle majored in Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (B.A., 1979) and completed a Ph.D. in Zoology at Clemson University (1984). Following a postdoctoral position at the University of Georgia, he began a 21 year association with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). During this time he led key efforts with the U.S. Army's Drug and Vaccine Development Programs, eventually serving as deputy director of the Division of Experimental Therapeutics. During this period he also served as the chief, Department of Immunology and Parasitology at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand (1991-94) and was a senior scientist in the malaria drug program at the Australian Army Malaria Institute (AMI) from 2002-04.

Kyle's research interests include elucidation of mechanisms of antimalarial drug resistance and discovery of new anti-parasitic drugs for diverse disease including malaria, visceral leishmaniasis, and primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Kyle has more than175 publications in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, serves on peer review panels for the National Institutes of Health and chaired the Genomics and Discovery Research Steering Committee and the Compound Evaluation Network for the World Health Organization. He is a fellow of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. His lab is supported by research funding from National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Steven A. Murawski, Ph.D., professor and St. Petersburg Partnership-Peter Betzer Endowed Chair of Biological Oceanography, College of Marine Science, is being honored as part of the Biological Sciences Section for his distinguished contributions to the fields of fisheries and marine ecosystem science, particularly for theoretical and empirical contributions to understanding the dynamics of exploited ecosystems. He is a fishery biologist with 40 years of professional experience and worked at NOAA for 35 years, retiring as director of scientific programs and chief science advisor for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Since coming to the Gulf of Mexico region, he has been actively involved in assessing the environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and its implications for fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Murawski serves as principal investigator for the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE) funded through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

In addition to research on oil spill impacts, Murawski and his graduate students have an active program ongoing to assess the status of fishery stocks in the Gulf of Mexico, with particular emphasis on reef fish stocks. This includes a program to develop new technologies focusing on the use of towed video camera systems. He continues to be involved in international fisheries and marine science activities, recently serving a term as vice president and current USA delegate to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). He is a member of the National Academy of Science's Ocean Studies Board and the recipient of the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Service Award, conferred by President Obama, and the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, among other professional awards. His Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology was conferred in 1984 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The AAAS Fellows Program

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. 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 (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group 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 the 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.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 13, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.


The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, and a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. See

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