APS Member Nina G. Jablonski ’75, professor and head of the department of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society on April 25, 2009. The APS is the nation’s first learned society, founded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 with the goal of “promoting useful knowledge.” Its more than 900 elected members are top scholars from a variety of academic disciplines in the sciences, arts and humanities, and include more than 200 Nobel laureates.
Jablonski, former curator and chair of anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, is widely recognized for improving public understanding of the biological and social meaning of skin color. Her research, conducted with her husband George Chaplin, demonstrated that skin color is an evolutionary adaptation—a product of natural selection acting to regulate melanin-pigment levels in the skin relative to levels of ultraviolet radiation in the environment.
Jablonski received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2002. She was profiled in the summer 2003 issue of the Alumnae Bulletin.
New Deputy Director at NIA
Marie A. Bernard ’72, a distinguished geriatrician and educator, was appointed deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, on Oct. 12, 2008. In announcing the appointment, NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, said, “Throughout her career, Dr. Bernard has sought to support and improve the evidence base which forms the foundation for geriatrics and the care of older people. I look forward to bringing her expertise and energy to the NIA, as we continue our efforts to address the needs of the aging population.”
Board-certified in geriatric medicine and internal medicine, Bernard was the founding chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. She has served as president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and as president and chair of the board of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs. Her research has focused on nutrition and function in aging populations, with particular emphasis on ethnic minorities.
Bernard earned an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital, where she was chief resident. She was profiled in the May 2005 issue of S&T.
Naomi Halas, M.A. ’84, Ph.D. ’86, received the Research Excellence Award from the University of Pennsylvania Nano/Bio Interface Center on Oct. 29, 2008. The award, considered one of the top academic honors in the field of nanotechnology, recognizes her many contributions to the synthesis of nanostructures. She is best known for her invention of nanoshells, a new type of nanoparticle with tunable optical properties especially suited for biotechnology applications.
Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, where she also is professor of chemistry and founder and director of the laboratory for nanophotonics. She was profiled in the October 2001 issue of S&T.