24 April 2024


Three Johns Hopkins researchers named AAAS Fellows

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They join an esteemed group of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines

Three Johns Hopkins researchers are among 502 distinguished scholars recognized this year as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society. Since 1874, fellows have been elected by the AAAS Council for their achievements in their respective fields and contributions to science at large.

The AAAS fellows from Johns Hopkins are:

Patricia Janak

Patricia Janak joined the Johns Hopkins University faculty in 2014 as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Associative Learning and Addiction with joint appointments in the Krieger School and School of Medicine. Janak investigates the biological basis of behavior and associative learning, with a particular focus on addiction. She examines the role environmental stimuli take in regulating emotional responses and impacting decision-making, aiming to better understand how drug- and alcohol-associated stimuli contribute to relapse. Janak’s research is focused on the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms underlying adaptive and maladaptive associative learning. She combines formal learning theories and models of behavior with cutting-edge neuroscience tools to interrogate how learning changes the way neural circuits operate in the brain. Janak studies these changes both in normal learning scenarios and in pathological learning, such as drug addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder. Her current research goals are to understand the amygdala’s role in behavior triggered by cues associated with both positive and negative outcomes, the function dopamine serves in reward-related behavior, and the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying drug relapse.

Rejji Kuruvilla

Rejji Kuruvilla is a professor of biology and vice dean for natural sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and she holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University in India, her PhD from the University of Houston, and did her postdoctoral work at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the development and functions of the sympathetic nervous system. She has co-authored numerous papers that have been published in journals including NatureThe Journal of NeuroscienceProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesDevelopmental Cell, and Neuron.

Akira Sawa

Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Akira Sawa is director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center; professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, genetic medicine, and pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and professor of mental health at the 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.