By Robert Perkins

Four scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of USC have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), selected for the honor by their academic peers.

AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science, began the tradition of selecting fellows in 1874. The nonprofit organization has been around since 1848.

Fellows are selected from among the society’s membership through nomination by a steering group within the association, by three fellows who are currently AAAS members or by the association’s CEO.

This year, 388 AAAS members will be made fellows. Four of the six honorees from USC come from the Keck School:

  • Frank Gilliland, MS, MD, MPH, PhD, professor of environmental health at the Keck School, for outstanding contributions to the scientific understanding of how genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors contribute to asthma and other diseases of public health importance.
  • Robert Maxson Jr., PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School, for distinguished contributions to the field of developmental biology, particularly mechanisms of skull growth, craniofacial birth defects and neural crest cell migration in organogenesis.
  • Rob McConnell, MD, professor of environmental health at the Keck School, for meritorious contributions to advancing public health through the conduct of landmark epidemiological studies of effects of ambient air pollution in children.
  • Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School, for distinguished contributions toward a comprehensive understanding of the role of CNS microcirculation and blood-brain barrier in the pathogenesis of chronic neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The new fellows will be presented with a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin symbolizing science and engineering on Feb. 15, 2014, at the annual AAAS meeting in Chicago.