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U of U Health Professor Kurt Albertine Named AAAS Fellow

Kurt Albertine, Ph.D., professor in Pediatrics at University of Utah Health, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon association members by their peers.

Albertine was recognized by the Medical Sciences section for his work advancing the field of lung morphometry and relating lung structure to function.

"It is a huge honor to be in included in this rarefied group of Fellows," Albertine said. "I feel a great deal of pride that my peers have recognized my scientific accomplishments."

For more than 20 years, Albertine has studied the early and long-term effects of chronic lung disease, a condition common in preterm babies. Immature lungs are not structurally developed to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide effectively. As a result, many preterm babies are placed on a ventilator and given intensive care support. This setting not only injures the lung, it injures other organ systems, including the brain, and disrupts body growth. To date, no treatment exists for neonatal chronic lung disease.

He has received the Edward B. Clark Chair IV of Pediatrics in 2015, the Gary C. Schoenwolf Mentoring Award in 2014 from the Department of Pediatrics, and the Beacons of Excellence Individual Mentoring Award in 2014 from U of U. He also is a recipient of the American Physiological Society's Bodil M. Schmidt-Nielsen Distinguished Mentor and Scientist Award in 2017.

Albertine will join 395 members this year elevated to this honor by the association for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The 2017 AAAS Fellows will be inducted during a ceremony on February 17 during the AAAS Fellows Forum at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

"The election of Dr. Kurt Albertine as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science affirms the impact of his research to science," said U of U Interim Associate Vice President for Research for Health Sciences Monica L. Vetter, Ph.D. "His groundbreaking use of morphometry precisely maps the lungs, and this information can be used to advance our understanding of how lung structure affects function. I am elated that he has been recognized for his continued dedication and contribution to research and science."

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. A member may be nominated to the rank of Fellow by the steering groups of the Association's 24 sections, by three Fellows, or by the Association's chief executive officer.

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


University of Utah Health is the state's only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate medicine for a referral area that encompasses 10% of the U.S., including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and much of Nevada. A hub for health sciences research and education in the region, U of U Health touts a $291 million research enterprise and trains the majority of Utah's health care professionals at its Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Health. Staffed by more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and four hospitals — University Hospital; University Neuropsychiatric Institute; Huntsman Cancer Hospital; and the University Orthopaedic Center. For eight straight years, U of U Health has ranked among the top 10 U.S. academic medical centers in the rigorous Vizient Quality and Accountability Study, including reaching No. 1 in 2010 and 2016.

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. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit 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. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAA.