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Four NYU science professors receive distinction from AAAS

Posted on December 5, 2012 | by Tatiana Baez

The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently named four NYU professors the international organization’s fellows.

Last week, the group recognized the four for their extensive work in the sciences: Laurence Maloney, a professor of psychology and neural science; Xiao-Jing Wang, a professor of neural science; Jane Carlton, a professor of biology; and Nicholas Geacintov, a professor of chemistry.

AAAS is the world’s largest scientific community and the publisher of journals, such as Science, Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. Fellows are selected by their peers and other AAAS members, in science-related categories, including anthropology, dentistry, physics and psychology. This year, 702 members of AAAS were awarded this honor by the community. These newest members will be honored in February 2013 at the AAAS Annual Meeting.

Maloney was chosen for his contributions to the studies of decision-making, motor control and visual perception. He shared the honor with his colleagues who contributed to his work.

“Most of my work is in collaboration with students,” Maloney said. “The fellowship honors their contributions, not just mine. It’s a validation of our work and ideas and our approaches to studying human cognition, perception and action.”

CAS sophomore Daniel Chen, who had Maloney as a professor, praised him: “[Maloney] can guide you to valuable resource. He has a causal but genius quality [that] really helps promote the creativity at the lab.”

Wang, who was recently named provost of NYU Shanghai and came to NYU’s Center for Neural Science from Yale University, was recognized for his work in understanding neural processes behind short-term memory.

He said receiving the honor from AAAS was a welcome recognition because fellows are elected by peers in respective fields.

“Pioneering work in investigations of the neural circuit mechanisms of decision-
making and working memory,” Wang said. “This kind of research, carried out by many scholars, is beginning to uncover the detailed brain mechanisms of higher cognition.”

Carlton, also named a 2012 Fellow, focused in the field of genomics, which involved
analysis of eukaryotic parasites and their effect on human health. She said she was thrilled to learn that she was selected

“I have led or been involved in several large projects that have sequenced the DNA of microbes that cause devastating diseases in the developing world, such as malaria,” Carlton said.

“It’s a lovely honor to have bestowed, and I am very chuffed,” she said. “It means that some of my scientific peers think that the research that I do is of value to the scientific community. It is always good to have validation from other scientists.”

The final NYU faculty member who was honored as this year’s fellow is Geacintov, who was selected for his contributions to the field of chemical carcinogenesis.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Dec. 5 print edition. Tatiana Baez is deputy university editor. Email her at 


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