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Rensselaer Professors Gilbert and Hendler Selected as 2011 AAAS Fellows

December 22, 2011

Rensselaer Professors Gilbert and Hendler Selected as 2011 AAAS Fellows

Two members of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute science faculty have been selected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Susan Gilbert, professor and head of biology, and James Hendler, senior constellation professor in the Tetherless World Constellation and head of the information technology and web science program, are two of the 539 newly selected AAAS fellows. They were recognized for their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished, according to AAAS. The announcement will be made in the Dec. 23, 2011, issue of the journal Science.

In the announcement, AAAS cites Gilbert for distinguished contributions to our mechanistic understanding of microtubule-dependent molecular motor ATPases involved in cell motility. AAAS cites Hendler for fundamental contributions in artificial intelligence, including automated planning, and for the invention (with Tim Berners-Lee and Ora Lassila) of the Semantic Web — the next generation of the World Wide Web. AAAS will honor the new fellows at its annual meeting in February 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Professors Hendler and Gilbert represent two of the strongest and most innovative minds in higher education,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, past president of the AAAS and former chairman of the AAAS board of directors.

“Dr. Hendler’s research is providing the world with entirely new ways to understand and harness the powers of the World Wide Web. His work with semantic technology is changing how we interact not only with our array of electronic devices, but also with each other in our increasingly global society. His work as an educator is creating a new generation of experts in web science, information technology, and artificial intelligence.

Susan Gilbert

“Dr. Gilbert is an outstanding leader and educator, guiding the multifaceted research and education in biology at Rensselaer in imaginative and exceptional ways. Her leadership has made biology one of the fastest growing programs at Rensselaer, and her research is teaching scientists and doctors vital information about cell division and motility.”

Gilbert joined Rensselaer in 2007 from the University of Pittsburgh, where she served on the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences. During her time with the University of Pittsburgh, she was a member of the Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology Graduate Program and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Gilbert received a bachelor’s in chemistry from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and a doctorate in cell biology from Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on cellular movements, and the molecular motors that drive these movements to better understand cellular function and dysfunctions such as cancer. She performed much of her early research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. She completed her postdoctoral research at Pennsylvania State University. Gilbert received an NIH Career Development Award through the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

She is a fellow and member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Nanomedicine, and a member of Council and chair of the membership committee for the Biophysical Society. She is a member of AAAS, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is on the editorial boards for the Biophysical Journal, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Nanomedicine, and Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.

James Hendler

Hendler joined Rensselaer in January 2007. He became assistant dean of the information technology program in 2008 and modified the program to include the emerging area of web science. Prior to joining Rensselaer he was a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Maryland, where he also served as director of the Joint Institute for Knowledge Discovery and co-director of the Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Laboratory.

Hendler received a bachelor’s in computer science and artificial intelligence from Yale University, a master’s in cognitive psychology and human factors engineering from Southern Methodist University, and a master’s and doctorate in computer science and artificial intelligence from Brown University. He has written more than 200 technical papers in the areas of artificial intelligence, Semantic Web, agent-based computing, and high-performance processing.

He is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, and the IEEE. He is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Semantic Web Coordination Group and serves as a director and trustee of the charitable Web Science Trust. He is past recipient of the Fulbright Foundation Fellowship (1995), is a former chief scientist of the Information Systems Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and former member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board. He was awarded a U.S. Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the board of reviewing editors for Science. Hendler also serves as an “Internet Web Expert” for the U.S. government, providing guidance to the project.

Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
Phone: (518) 276-6542


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.