Dr. Kevin Morano
Dr. Kevin Morano, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, has been elected as a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

Morano was one of 388 AAAS members awarded this honor in 2013 and will be recognized Feb. 15 at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Elected by their AAAS peers, fellows are chosen based on their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Morano was recognized for his investigations into mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. His research focuses on how proteins achieve their properly folded structure, which allows them to perform their functions and maintain cells in a healthy state.

Much like the intricate and precise way paper is folded in origami, proteins have to be accurately folded inside cells. Many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease, are caused when proteins are not folded correctly. Morano’s work contributes to understanding how this may be corrected.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for the work my students and I have been doing here at UTHealth Medical School. Most importantly, it’s recognition from fellow scientists in our field, which is pretty cool,” Morano said.

Morano is the director of the New Investigator Development Program at UTHealth Medical School and faculty president at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. He received his doctorate degree at the University of California, Davis, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Barry Davis, holder of the Guy S. Parcel Chair in Public Health and director of the Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials at The University of Texas School of Public Health, also was selected as an AAAS fellow this year.

Other UTHealth faculty members elected as AAAS fellows include: Drs. L. Maximilian Buja, John Byrne, John DeMoss, Carmen Dessauer, Frank Moody, Kathleen Gibson, Irma Gigli, Sam Kaplan, James Willerson, Bruce Kone, and Jerry Wolinsky.

AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million.

-Rob Cahill, Office of Public Affairs, Media Relations