Newswise — Three researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) class of 2023 fellows. AAAS is the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. This is the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows.

Researchers Takanari Inoue, Ph.D., Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., and Cynthia Sears, M.D., join more than 500 other scientists elected to the 2023 class of fellows. This nomination is considered one of the highest distinctions in the global science community and recognizes a fellow’s achievements in the advancement of science and their role in scientific leadership.

Inoue joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine faculty in 2008 and is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and director of the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program. His lab has developed a kind of actuator, converting energy to motion, at the molecular level with the high temporal and spatial precision to move and probe actions in live cells, such as chemotaxis, phagocytosis and degranulation, as well as the function of cilia, microtubules and stress granules. Inoue also leads the Center for Cell Dynamics within the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Akira Sawa is director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center; professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, genetic medicine, and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and professor of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He started his Johns Hopkins career as an independent faculty investigator in 2002. Since 2012, he has served as the director and endowed chair of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center. The center focuses on patient care, research, education and public outreach for psychotic disorders and severe mental disorders. In 2020, he was elected as a fellow to the Association of American Physicians. Based on Sawa’s training in both clinical psychiatry and basic molecular neuroscience, he leads multidisciplinary translational projects to address mechanistic questions for major mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease, with a particular emphasis on early detection and early intervention of these conditions.

Sears is a professor of medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the microbiome program leader of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the director of the Johns Hopkins Germ-free Murine Core, and co-director of the Microbiome Forum at Johns Hopkins. Through translational and bench research stemming from her training as an infectious disease specialist and physician-scientist, she discovered a central immune mechanism by which enteric bacteria and the microbiome promote colon carcinogenesis and modulate cancer immunotherapy responses. This mechanism has proven important in multiple examples of inflammation-induced carcinogenesis and thus provides opportunities to contribute to cancer immuno-prevention and interception spanning many tumor types. She has long been an active member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), serving as president in 2019. She is currently editor-in-chief of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, the flagship journal of the IDSA. 

For the full list of 2023 fellows, please visit the AAAS website.