Campus News

Two Keck School of Medicine Faculty Named 2022 AAAS Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science recognizes the achievements of faculty members in the fields of radiology and public health

Hope Hamashige January 31, 2023
Carolyn C Meltzer, MD – Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC – May S. and John H. Hooval, M.D., Dean's Chair – Professor of Radiology (Photo: Richard Carrasco)

Watanabe’s research focuses on the abnormal physiological processes and genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Over the course of his career, Watanabe has developed mathematical models to quantify insulin secretion in living organisms. In the area of complex disease genetics, he also employs novel strategies to identify genetic alterations that make people more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related traits and understanding the genes and gene expression and how they are impacted by environmental exposures. Watanabe is also the medical school’s Associate Dean for Health and Population Science Programs.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the AAAS and to join the ranks of those who were previously named fellows. The accomplishments for which I am being recognized would not have been possible without the support of my mentors, research team, and numerous colleagues. This honor is equally theirs as it is mine.”

AAAS Fellows are chosen for their notable accomplishments in research, technology, industry and government, teaching, communication and interpreting science to the public. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Since then, the honor has been bestowed on thousands of distinguished scientists, including inventor Thomas Edison, sociologist W.E.B. DuBois, anthropologist Margaret Mead, computer scientist Grace Hopper, physicist Steven Chu and astronaut Ellen Ochoa.

Efforts to improve access to and understanding of science are also important considerations in electing AAAS Fellows.

At Emory University, where Meltzer headed the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences prior to being named dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, she launched a training program to give mid-career health professionals the tools they need to advance in their field, notably women and people from underrepresented backgrounds. When she discovered pay inequities in the radiology department, she established new salary guidelines that eliminated the pay gap between men and women.

Watanabe has worked to improve student diversity at the Keck School of Medicine through his co-leadership of the NIH/NIDDK-funded Summer Program In Diabetes and Obesity Research (SPIDOR) and participation in the USC Bridging the Gaps summer program and the NIH/NHLBI-funded LA’s Biostatistical Education Summer Training program.

AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit is open to all and fulfills its mission to advance science and serve society through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.