Four Tufts Researchers Named to Prestigious Scientific Society

Professors are new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Four Tufts faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society. The researchers have shown “great efforts to advance science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished,” according to the AAAS.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS publishes Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, and other journals. The nonprofit seeks to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.

This year’s fellows from Tufts are Kathleen Fisher, David Hammer, Karen Panetta, and Charles Sykes, whose fields range across physics, engineering, computer science, and chemistry. They join 11 other current Tufts faculty as fellows of the AAAS.

“We celebrate these distinguished individuals for their invaluable contributions to the scientific enterprise,” said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer.

Kathleen Fisher is an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science and served as department chair in 2016-2021. Her research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages and on applying ideas from the programming language community to the problem of ad hoc data management.

She also explores synergies between machine learning and programming languages, studying how to apply advances in programming languages to the problem of building more secure systems. In addition, Fisher does research in program synthesis, which uses search techniques to generate programs from high-level specifications.

David Hammer is a professor in the Department of Education and the Department of Physics and Astronomy and co-director of the Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction. His research focuses on learning and teaching in STEM fields, especially physics, across ages from young children through adults. Much of his work focuses on how instructors interpret and respond to student thinking, and on resource-based models of knowledge and reasoning.

Karen Panetta is a professor of electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering, and dean of graduate education for the School of Engineering. She is the co-founder of Tessera Intelligence and founder of the Nerd Girls program. She is the director of the Visualization, Sensing and Simulation Laboratory, conducting research in the areas of image and signal processing for safety, security, biomedical, and conservation applications using artificial intelligence.

Her most current research focuses on image enhancement for robot vision for use in underwater search and rescue; utilization of machine learning and artificial intelligence for detection and recognition systems; and use of artificial intelligence for human health and nutrition. She currently serves on the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics and is the vice president of the society.

She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring from U.S. President Barack Obama, the Norm Augustine Award and the Anita Borg Institute, Women of Vision Award for Social Impact. She is also a fellow of the IEEE, NASA JOVE, National Academy of Inventors, and AAIA, and editor-in-chief of the IEEE’s Women in Engineering magazine.

Charles Sykes, the John Wade Professor in the Department of Chemistry, specializes in physical chemistry, surface science, and nanoscience. His research group utilizes state of the art scanning probes and surface science instrumentation to study technologically important systems, such as visualization of geometric and electronic properties of catalytically relevant metal alloy surfaces at the nanoscale.

His research group has also developed various molecular motor systems that are enabling us to study many important fundamental aspects of molecular rotation and translation with unprecedented resolution.

Back to Top