The American Association for the Advancement of Science has appointed University of Montana Professor Charles Thompson as a 2013 AAAS Fellow. The prestigious fellowship recognizes an individual’s contributions to science and technology.
Thompson, who teaches in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, was one of 12 Fellows appointed in the pharmaceutical sciences section. He is the fifth UM faculty member ever to receive the honor.
Thompson’s research primarily focuses on advancing the understanding of how certain classes of insecticides are detrimental to human health. Describing himself as a neurochemist, his research integrates chemistry, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, and bioinformatics, which he “quilts together” to try answering problems. The collaborative nature of his work and science in general, he said, resonates in his appointment as an AAAS Fellow.
“It feels like all the people that work with me were co-rewarded,” Thompson said. “Science is such a teamwork-oriented profession.”
When he isn’t teaching, researching or writing grants for UM, Thompson works to develop biosensors that can detect the effects of insecticides in the human body as the co-founder of ATERIS Technologies.
Similar to an over-the-counter pregnancy or diabetes test, ATERIS Technologies hopes to produce tests that could quickly and easily determine specific effects of insecticide exposure on the human body. This knowledge could potentially advance food-safety standards and prevent neurological damage in workers and consumers.
“Most companies are looking for the insecticide,” Thompson said. “We’re looking for the burden in the body the insecticide causes.”
AAAS Fellow candidates can be nominated by current Fellows, the steering groups for each section or the chief executive officer. Nominations undergo review by the steering groups and are elected by the AAAS Council.
The 700 AAAS Fellows are invited to gather at the Fellows Forum on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. Each will receive a certificate and blue-and-gold rosette as a symbol of their distinguished accomplishments.
UM faculty members formerly appointed as AAAS Fellows are Fred Allendorf, Tom Martin, Ray Callaway, Jack Stanford and Stephen Sprang. Cathy Lynn Whitlock of Montana State University in Bozeman also was appointed as a 2013 AAAS Fellow, in the geology and geography category.