(COLUMBUS, Ohio, and WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to the newest class of AAAS Fellows, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community.
The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
“Dr. Bakaletz has been an exemplary investigator and leader at Nationwide Children’s since her arrival in 1998,” said Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE, chief scientific officer at AWRI. “Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over 25 years, and she has established herself as an international thought leader in mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.”
Dr. Bakaletz and her team study the molecular mechanisms that underlie polymicrobial biofilm-mediated chronic and recurrent infections of the respiratory tract, including otitis media, or middle ear infections. Otitis media affects more than 90% of children by the age of 3 years. Dr. Bakaletz’s research has also led to 43 patents and two biotechnology startups.
“AAAS is proud to bestow the honor of AAAS Fellow to some of today’s brightest minds who are integral to forging our path into the future,” said Dr. Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We celebrate these distinguished individuals for their invaluable contributions to the scientific enterprise.”
This tradition stretches back to 1874. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry, and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.
Members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections representing each scientific discipline, by 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 CEO of AAAS. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. The AAAS Fellow honor comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.
Dr. Bakaletz is also the 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research, the Tillie E. Coleman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research and vice president for basic sciences research at Nationwide Children’s, as well as a professor of pediatrics and otolaryngology at The Ohio State University. She is a scientific founder of Scioto Biosciences and Scientific Advisory Board co-chair for Clarametyx Biosciences. She was named an Ohio State University College of Medicine Distinguished Professor in 2013, a lifelong honorific distinction. In 2020, she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
About The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit free-standing pediatric health care systems providing unique expertise in pediatric population health, behavioral health, genomics and health equity as the next frontiers in pediatric medicine, leading to best outcomes for the health of the whole child. Integrated clinical and research programs are part of what allows Nationwide Children’s to advance its unique model of care. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s faculty train the next generation of pediatricians, scientists and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded free-standing pediatric research facilities in the U.S., supporting basic, clinical, translational, behavioral and population health research. The AWRI is comprised of multidisciplinary Centers of Emphasis paired with advanced infrastructure supporting capabilities such as technology commercialization for discoveries; gene- and cell-based therapies; and genome sequencing and analysis. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org/Research.
About The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
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; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit 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 additional information about AAAS, visit www.aaas.org.