Three KU professors of chemistry, economics and engineering named AAAS fellows

LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas professors have been elected as 2023 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows, a distinct honor within the scientific community.

This year’s fellows:

  • Kristin Bowman-James, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and former project director of the Kansas National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Kansas NSF EPSCoR).
  • Donna Ginther, Roy A. Roberts and Regents Distinguished Professor of Economics and director of the Institute for Policy & Social Research.
  • Bala Subramaniam, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering and director of the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

The 2023 class of AAAS fellows includes 502 scientists, engineers and researchers across many disciplines. The fellows are recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

"I want to congratulate Professor Bowman-James, Professor Ginther and Professor Subramaniam on this prestigious honor,” Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said. “These three researchers have demonstrated true excellence in their fields and have done so in a way that reflects well on our entire university. As one of the nation’s leading research institutions, KU strives to make discoveries that change the world — and these three scholars are helping us fulfill that mission every day.”

Kristin Bowman-James

Bowman-James was recognized for significant contributions to supramolecular anion coordination chemistry, advancing diversity and inclusion in the chemical sciences, and service to the research enterprise in Kansas.

Her research involves the strategic design of organized molecular frameworks as selective receptors for anions, as well as potential ligands for transition metal ions — work with the potential to meet challenges like nuclear waste site cleanup and depletion of the world’s available phosphorus reserves.

Bowman-James joined KU's chemistry department in 1975 after earning a bachelor's degree and doctorate from Temple University and completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Ohio State University.

Donna Ginther

Ginther was recognized for distinguished contributions to the understanding of scientific labor markets and gender differences in employment, particularly in academia, and children's educational outcomes.

She is best known for studying gender, race and ethnicity differences in the sciences and academia. In 2011 and 2018, Ginther published papers showing significant racial disparities in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which later became known as the “Ginther gap.” This led to the creation of a task force and mentoring program at the agency to address these disparities. 

Ginther earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining KU in 2002, she served as a research economist and associate policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and taught at Washington University and Southern Methodist University.

Bala Subramaniam

Subramaniam was recognized for seminal contributions in sustainable catalysis and engineering research via publications of high impact, licensed technologies and professional leadership, including the founding of KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

Subramaniam has invented technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of chemical processes used to make products for everyday life, such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, detergents and adhesives. Many of these technologies employ plant-based biomass and end-of-life plastics as feedstocks to promote a circular economy. Several chemical companies collaborate with Subramaniam and CEBC to implement sustainable technologies that minimize adverse impacts on the environment and human health. 

Subramaniam earned a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the A.C. College of Technology, Chennai, India, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He also has held visiting professorships at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and Institute of Process Engineering, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Including the three new honorees, KU now has 31 AAAS fellows as active faculty members across all its campuses.

To become a fellow, a researcher must be nominated by either one of the AAAS’s 24 steering groups, the organization’s CEO or three previously elected fellows, so long as two of those three fellows are not from the nominee’s institution. The nomination is referred to a relevant steering committee, which sends a list of finalists to the AAAS Council for selection.

Thu, 04/18/2024


Vince Munoz

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Vince Munoz

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