Newswise — Michael R. Blackburn, Ph.D., a nationally recognized lung disease researcher and academic leader at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

This year, the AAAS awarded 396 members this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Friday, Nov. 24.

As part of the Biological Sciences section, Blackburn was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the field of lung disease, remodeling and repair, particularly using animal models to elucidate the role of adenosine signaling in acute lung injury, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension.

Blackburn joined the UTHealth faculty in 1997 and served as the vice chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular biology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth from 2011 to 2016. In 2012, Blackburn and Michelle C. Barton, Ph.D., became deans of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Blackburn has also served as UTHealth’s executive vice president and chief academic officer since 2016.

Blackburn’s adenosine research is one of the projects supported by a Program Project Grant of nearly $10 million by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is a recipient of an NIH National Research Award, the Sandler Program for Asthma Research Young Investigator Award, an American Lung Association Career Investigator Award and the UTHealth President’s Scholar Award for Research.

Blackburn is director of the UTHealth Pulmonary Center of Excellence. He also is the William S. Kilroy, Sr. Distinguished University Chair in Pulmonary Disease and the John P. McGovern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Endowed Distinguished Professor at UTHealth.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) on Saturday, Feb. 17, during the 2018 AAAS annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

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 nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. 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. Visit