Five Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced their 2023 Fellows, including five scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ÜBerkeley Lab). This lifetime honor, which follows a nomination and review process, recognizes scientists, engineers, and innovators for their distinguished achievements toward the advancement or applications of science.

AAAS, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society. The 2023 Fellows class includes 502 scientists, engineers, and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

The Berkeley Lab honorees are:

Michael Levi, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and Director of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), has been recognized for his "distinguished contributions to experimental particle physics and for directing the design and construction of a major new instrument for obtaining millions of high resolution spectra of distant galaxies."

Levi was appointed project director for DESI in 2012. In this position, he built an international collaboration of more than 1000 scientists and successfully oversaw the project’s $75M construction creating the world’s most powerful multi-fiber spectrometer. For delivering the instrument on time and under budget, the DESI project team received Doe’s prestigious Project Management Excellence Award in 2020. DESI will measure the impact of Dark Energy over 11 billion years of cosmic history. Levi was elected fellow of the American Physical Society in 2000.

Jian-Hua Mao, a senior scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering Division, has been recognized for his "distinguished contributions to the field of cancer genetics, particularly the identification of tumor-susceptibility genes."

Mao uses mouse models specially designed to mimic the genetic complexity of human populations, as well as human genome databases, to study genes that lead to the development of cancer. He leads work focused on advancing our understanding of how different variants of genes - both inherited variants and those that spontaneously develop in our bodies - interact with environmental exposures, such as tobacco smoke, to mediate the formation of tumors. This research is continually improving scientists’ and clinicians’ ability to predict an individual’s risk of cancer, how it can be prevented, and how they might respond to treatment, based on their unique genetic profile and lifestyle factors. Mao is also co-founder and co-director of the Berkeley Biomedical Data Science Center, a research hub focused on data-driven biomedical investigations.

Trent Northen , Science Deputy for the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division, has been elected for his distinguished contributions to the field of systems biology, pioneering technologies for studies integrating functional environmental genomics, microbiomes, ecology, and computational biology.

Northen currently leads several Doe projects including the multi-institute Microbial Community Analysis & Functional Evaluation in Soils (m-CAFEs) Scientific Focus Area, and plays key roles in other projects that study the genomes and metabolic products of microbial communities. His lab has developed key technologies, including metabolomic and fabricated ecosystem technologies, for studying the functional genomics of microbes, plants, and their interactions at a molecular level. This has provided novel insights into soil carbon cycling with important implications in soil carbon sequestration and sustainable bioenergy. Northen founded and leads the Metabolomics Program at the Doe Joint Genome Institute, where users from across the world can apply these advanced approaches to their own research.

Alan Poon, a senior physicist and head of the Neutrinos Program in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division, has been recognized for his "important contributions towards the understanding of neutrino properties in search of physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics."

Internationally recognized for his pioneering work in astroparticle physics and underground science, Poon is known for his contributions to the award-winning Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) and KamLAND experiments that demonstrated neutrino oscillations in solar and reactor neutrinos. He and his colleagues explore the mass properties of neutrinos in the MAJORANA, LEGEND, KATRIN, and Project 8 experiments, as well as the implementation of radiation detection technologies. His current research focuses on the search for a rare nuclear decay that may prove that neutrinos are their own antiparticles, measuring the mass of the neutrinos, and developing advanced instrumentation using nanomaterials for astroparticle physics experiments. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a co-recipient of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Sayeef Salahuddin , a faculty senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, has been recognized for distinguished contributions to electronic device science and engineering, in particular for inventing negative capacitance devices with potential for dramatic increase in energy efficiency in computing.

Salahuddin is widely recognized for his pioneering work in the conceptualization and exploration of novel device physics for low-power electronic and spintronic devices. He was one of the first to champion the concept of using "interacting systems" for switching, showing fundamental advantage of such systems over conventional devices in reducing power consumption. Salahuddin has received multiple recognitions for his work, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). He is currently the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Electron Devices Letters, the flagship journal for electron devices. He also served as the chair of the IEEE Electron Devices Society committee on Nanotechnology. Salahuddin is a fellow of the IEEE and APS.

In addition, Ravi Prasher , an affiliate faculty scientist and former Associate Lab Director of the Energy Technologies Area, has been recognized for fundamental contributions to energy science and engineering and the translation of knowledge into technologies for modern computing and decarbonization of the global energy system.