Gomelsky named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow

Mark Gomelsky seated with his back to a desk.
Professor Mark Gomelsky takes a break in a lab.

Molecular biology Professor Mark Gomelsky is one of two University of Wyoming researchers named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The other scientist is evolutionary ecologist and ornithologist Craig Benkman, professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology.

Gomelsky’s honor is “for discoveries of light-controlled bacterial signal transduction pathways, and for fundamental work on the role of the second messenger cyclic di-GMP in controlling bacterial pathogenesis.”

Benkman is being honored “for distinguished contributions to the field of evolutionary ecology, particularly for long-term and continuing studies on the ecological and biogeographic processes underling evolutionary diversification.”

They will receive the awards during the AAAS annual meeting February 17 in Austin, Texas.

Gomelsky joined the UW Department of Molecular Biology in 1999 as an assistant professor and became a full professor in 2011. His research focus includes bacterial signal transduction, synthetic biology, optogenetics, and metabolic engineering. Gomelsky and members of his interdisciplinary team specifically are looking for ways to use bacteria and the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Earlier this year, he received the 2016 Jack Kenney Award for Outstanding Service from the Journal of Bacteriology.

In 2016, two papers by Gomelsky’s laboratory were nominated by the editorial board members of Journal of Bacteriology to represent the 100 most influential papers published in this journal since 1916. The Gomelsky papers published in 2005 helped open a new field in bacterial signaling.

Gomelsky received a Ph.D. from the Institute for Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms in Moscow, Russia, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Moscow Institute for Chemical Technology. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. The AAAS, founded in 1848, includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, and serves 10 million individuals. The association also publishes the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org).