Inside Rensselaer
* Wilfredo Colón
Wilfredo Colón
* Toh-Ming Lu
Toh-Ming Lu
Professors Toh-Ming Lu and Wilfredo Colón Elected as 2007 AAAS Fellows
Toh-Ming Lu, the R.P. Baker Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Wilfredo Colón, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Rensselaer researchers are two of 471 newly elected follows recognized for their distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Lu is cited for “seminal contributions to the fundamental understanding of thin film morphological evolution.”

Colón is cited for “distinguished contribution to the understanding of protein folding and misfolding, and for his encouragement of underrepresented minority students into careers in science.”

Rensselaer has had eight faculty members elected fellows of the AAAS in the past five years. Last year, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson and Gwo-Ching Wang, department chair and professor of physics, were elected fellows. Jackson is past president of the association (2004) and past chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors (2005).

The 2007 fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 16 at the Fellows Forum during the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

Lu’s research strives to develop new, high-performing nanostructures that can be used in integrated electronics, semiconductors, and energy storage devices. His lab uses novel approaches to develop unique nanostructures and analyze those structures as they grow. His imaging and analysis techniques allow researchers to fully understand how and why different growth techniques grow nanomaterials in the very specific ways.

Lu joined Rensselaer in 1982. He formerly served as director of the Center for Advanced Interconnect Science and Technology and chairman of the physics department. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society. He has earned numerous other honors, including Rensselaer’s Early Career Award in 1986, the SRC Invention Award in 1988, the Rensselaer Center for Integrated Electronics Faculty Award in 1993, the William Wiley Distinguished Faculty Award in 2002, the Materials Research Society Medal Award in 2004, and the SRC Faculty Leadership Award in 2005. Lu earned a bachelor’s in physics from Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, a master’s in physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Colón’s research focuses on proteins and the chemical and physical principles that cause them to acquire and retain their functional three-dimensional structure, a process known as folding. Colón’s lab is studying the structural mechanisms of protein folding and working to understand the molecular basis for why certain proteins misfold. His ultimate goal is to facilitate the rational design of therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease (FALS), type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Colón is also an active educator who works to encourage and mentor students from underrepresented minorities to pursue successful careers in science.

Colón joined Rensselaer in 1997 after serving as a postdoctoral associate at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He was a National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellow. He received a Research Corporation Innovation Award in 1999, an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2000, the prestigious NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2001, and the Rensselaer Early Career Award in 2002. He also has earned the American Heart Association’s Scientist Development Award and a New Faculty Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Colón earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and a doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M University.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 1, Number 8, November 29, 2007
©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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