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Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD named 2023 AAAS Fellow

Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD named 2023 AAAS Fellow
Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD named 2023 AAAS Fellow

McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston Dean Jiajie Zhang, PhD has been named a 2023 Fellow 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. Zhang joins an esteemed group of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been elected Fellows for the scientifically and socially distinguished achievements earned throughout their careers.

Dean Zhang was elected as a 2023 Fellow as a result of his “distinguished contributions to, and advocacy of, the field of biomedical informatics through outstanding research, as well as leadership and service across related research, higher education, and professional organization communities,” according to the Council of the AAAS.

“Being named a AAAS Fellow is among the highest distinctions in the scientific community and I am truly thankful to earn this recognition,” stated Zhang. “Being part of the Fellow class named during AAAS’s 150th anniversary is an honor because of the milestone year, but it also signifies how impactful the association has been to the field of science for over a century.”

Zhang has served as dean at the school since 2013. During his tenure as dean, Zhang has fostered tremendous growth for the school by tripling faculty size, student enrollment, and research funding. Dean Zhang also helped secure funding for a new school building, and led efforts to bolster philanthropic funding, inclusive of a $22 million transformational gift that named the school. He has more than 30 years of research and education experience in biomedical informatics, cognitive science, human technology integration, decision-making, and machine learning. One of his primary contributions to science is the development of the distributed representation framework that describes and explains how human natural intelligence and technology’s artificial intelligence interact with each other and how they are embedded into each other to generate distributed intelligence, which is the engine of cognitive labor.

AAAS first launched this lifetime recognition in 1874, about 25 years after the association was founded. Election as a AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor and all Fellows are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. Distinguished past honorees include W.E.B. DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda, Mae Jemison, and Ayanna Howard. The new class hails from academic institutions, laboratories and observatories, hospitals and medical research centers, museums, corporations, nonprofit organizations, institutes and government agencies. The AAAS Council elects its Fellows deliberately and carefully as it preserves the honor attached to this acknowledgement.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows, AAAS is proud to recognize the newly elected individuals. This year’s class embodies scientific excellence, fosters trust in science throughout the communities they serve, and leads the next generation of scientists while advancing scientific achievements, “said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

The new Fellows will receive a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin representing science and engineering, respectively, to commemorate their election. The class will be celebrated at a forum in September of this year. During the celebratory event, which will take place at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., AAAS will also recognize the program’s 150th anniversary. The 2023 Fellows class will also be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science in April 2024

Zhang is also a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI), the American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA), and the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (FIAHSI).

Chelsea Overstreet

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