Provost Coleman Named AAAS Fellow

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Innovating for a Resilient and Sustainable Future, Research News

Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of biological sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

Chosen by their peers, AAAS Fellows are selected based on “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.” Coleman was selected in the area of biological sciences for “distinguished contributions in plant physiological ecology, and for facilitating the development of increased research capacity for institutions of higher learning across the United States.”

A highly regarded plant physiological ecologist, Coleman’s research has focused on four themes:

  • How leaf and plant development affect their biochemistry and susceptibility to insects and diseases.
  • How plants allocate carbon and nutrients to roots, shoots, storage and reproduction in response to environmental stress.
  • The role of certain heat shock proteins in protecting plants from heat stress, and how the production of those proteins vary among different plant species.
  • How plants and ecosystems respond to rising carbon dioxide levels along with changing precipitation and deposition of nutrients and pollutants associated with climate change.

Additionally, Coleman has served as a chief institutional research officer at several universities and institutions, including Rice University, the University of Missouri, and the Desert Research Institute, where he helped facilitate significant growth in research and technology commercialization. He also has been in engaged in the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which is designed to build research capacity at both state and institutional levels. Coleman directed Nevada’s EPSCoR program and served as an advisor on the EPSCoR programs of several other states, including Arkansas, Nevada, Maine, Rhode Island, Kansas, Nebraska, Vermont, South Carolina and Kentucky.

“It’s an honor to be named an AAAS Fellow for my research into plant physiological ecology and my work as a higher education administrator,” Coleman said. “I have been so lucky to pursue two true passions – to work with outstanding colleagues and students to try and understand the amazing process of evolution in shaping the extraordinarily cool ways that plants have adopted physiological processes to deal with stressful environments, and to help major research institutions and entire states build a vibrant research enterprise leading to advancement of science and the commercialization of innovation.”

Coleman earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Maine and master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford University and Harvard University.

Coleman and other new AAAS Fellows will be honored Saturday, Feb. 15, during the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

In addition to Coleman, current U of A faculty who are AAAS Fellows are:

  • William McComas, Distinguished Professor, curriculum and instruction, 2016
  • Ingrid Fritsch, professor, chemistry and biochemistry, 2015
  • David Stahle, Distinguished Professor, geosciences, 2015
  • Peter Ungar, Distinguished Professor; anthropology, 2012
  • Joseph Steinmetz, chancellor, Distinguished Professor; psychological science, 2011
  • Frank Millett, Distinguished Professor, chemistry and biochemistry, 2009
  • Michael Plavcan, professor, anthropology, 2008
  • Karen Moldenhauer, professor; crop, soil and environmental sciences, 2006
  • Peter Pulay, emeritus professor; chemistry and biochemistry, 2005
  • Charles Wilkins, Distinguished Professor; chemistry and biochemistry, 1996

About The Author

Matt McGowan writes about research in the College of Engineering, Sam M. Walton College of Business, School of Law and other areas. He is the editor of Short Talks From the Hill, a podcast of the University of Arkansas. Reach him at 479-575-4246 or dmcgowa@uark.edu.

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