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Three Texas A&M Health faculty named 2021 AAAS Fellows

The honor presented by the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science recognizes meritorious contributions to the advancement of science

Three faculty members at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) have been recognized as 2021 Fellows of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Virender K. Sharma, PhD, of the School of Public Health, and Kathy Kay Hartford Svoboda, PhD, FARVO, FAAA, and Reginald Wayne Taylor, DMD, DMSc—both from the College of Dentistry—are three of seven Texas A&M faculty members and 564 AAAS members honored this year.

Since 1874, the honor of being selected as a Fellow of AAAS has been presented to members whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science, or its applications, are scientifically or socially distinguished.” This year’s Fellows will be formally presented at the 2022 AAAS Annual Meeting set for Feb. 17-20 in Philadelphia, PA.

Sharma was elected to the section on chemistry “for exceptional contributions in the field concerning the occurrence and remediation of toxins, antibiotics, antibiotics resistance bacteria and genes, and nanoparticles to address real-world challenges of water sustainability.”

Sharma is a professor and director of the Program on Environmental and Sustainability at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. His areas of research interest include chemistry and applications of ferrates; inactivation of virus, bacteria and toxins in water and air; removal of emerging contaminants such as antibiotics, estrogens and toxic metals in water; formation, fate and toxicity of silver and gold engineered and natural nanoparticles in aquatic environments; and applications to ferrites to destroy toxins and pollutants under solar light.

Svoboda was elected to the section on dentistry and oral health sciences “for distinguished contributions to the study of the influence of the extracellular matrix on development, and for leadership in the field of oral and craniofacial developmental biology.”

Svoboda is a Regents Professor and the current interim associate dean for research at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. She has also served as the associate department head, program director of Oral Biology Graduate Program and assistant dean for graduate studies at the college. Her research has focused on early eye development, cell biology of epithelia, cell-extracellular matrix interactions, signal transduction, cell migration and epithelia-mesenchymal transition. She has worked on cornea, cartilage, gingival wound healing and palate development, and her work includes some substantial contributions in these areas. Svoboda has also served the greater scientific community through service to national scientific associations and has been invited to speak at regional, national and international meetings as well as seminars throughout the United States.

Reginald Wayne Taylor, DMD, DMSc, was elected to the section on dentistry and oral health sciences for “distinguished contributions to the field of oral and craniofacial biology, particularly in matrix biology, diagnostic sciences and the mentoring of a diverse cadre of dental students at all levels.”

Taylor is an associate professor and director of pre-doctoral orthodontics at the College of Dentistry. He has published original articles as well as given oral presentations in both clinical and basic science research areas, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. His research interests include extracellular matrix composition of craniofacial structures, especially the periodontal ligament (PDL). In addition to his research, teaching and administrative responsibilities, Taylor has enjoyed the opportunities to engage in extramural and intramural clinical orthodontic practice, and has had the opportunity to mentor many dental students as well as students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees.

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