Washington, D.C. — The Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, unanimously appointed two new directors at its December 2021 meeting. Biologist Juan S. Ramírez Lugo, Ph.D., and electrical engineer Babak Parviz, Ph.D., officially began their service at the Board’s February 2022 meeting.
Dr. Ramírez Lugo, an associate professor of biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (UPR-RP), fills the vacancy created by Dr. Alondra Nelson, a sociologist appointed by President Biden in January 2021 to serve as deputy director for science and society at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Dr. Nelson was recently appointed to serve as interim director of OSTP. Dr. Ramírez Lugo will serve the remainder of Dr. Nelson’s term through February 2024.
Dr. Parviz, vice president at Amazon, will serve a three-year term through February 2025 as one of four appointed directors. The AAAS constitution allows for the Board to appoint additional directors to share expertise outside of what the elected directors provide.
“I’m beyond thrilled to welcome Juan and Babak, two exceptional scientists who will bring a wonderful diversity of thought and perspective to our deliberations during a most critical time for the organization,” said Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D., immediate past chair of the AAAS Board of Directors and director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Dean’s Endowed Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Ramírez Lugo’s research efforts are focused on understanding how engagement in scientific research benefits students and impacts their career choices. He also works on research projects to examine environmental stress responses in corals severely impacted by a changing climate. He has served AAAS as president of its Caribbean Division (2017-2020), as a delegate to the AAAS Council (2017-2020), and as an active member of the organization’s Governance Modernization Working Group (2020-present).
A faculty member at UPR-RP since 2016, Dr. Ramírez Lugo currently directs the Puerto Rico Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PR-LSAMP) and the Interdisciplinary and Quantitative Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates (IQ-Bio-REU). He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the California Institute of Technology.
“In its more than 170 years of history, AAAS has served as an intersection between scientists across disciplines to ideate and address challenges of the times. As the future grows more interconnected and complex, this convergence of knowledge and action puts AAAS at an ideal position to lead the scientific community on finding robust and equitable solutions to address the problems we know and those we can’t foresee,” said. Dr. Ramírez Lugo. “As an early career scientist from a minority background, I am deeply honored and thrilled to have a seat at the table and contribute to the AAAS mission of advancing science and serving society.”
Dr. Parviz’s research interests lie in photonics and nanodevices and biosystems; novel communication and computing paradigms; biotechnology; nano and micro technology; and engineering at scale. He has led the development of new products including Amazon Care, Amazon Glow, Amazon Explore, and others. Prior to Amazon, he worked at Google, where he founded, built, and led the Google Glass project. Dr. Parviz also serves as an affiliate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.
“I’m honored to be appointed to the AAAS Board and look forward to serving our shared mission of advancing science, engineering, and innovation to improve lives around the globe,” said Dr. Parviz. “As we discussed at the recent AAAS Annual Meeting, scientific partnership and collaboration across government, academia, and industry are critical to solve the world’s greatest challenges.”
“I’m excited for Juan and Babak to bring their fresh perspectives and augment the Board’s impressive range of expertise, which will be instrumental as we build a long-term strategic plan for how AAAS will advance science and serve society over the next 10 to 20 years,” said Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.
In addition to these two appointments, AAAS will announce the results of the general election this spring of two new directors and a president-elect who will join the Board at its April 2022 meeting.
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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS 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. For additional information about AAAS, visit www.aaas.org.