AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS fellows are elected by their peers, and fewer than one percent of the association’s members are elected each year. This year, 388 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
Dr. Wheeler was elected Fellow for his contributions to research in neural engineering, to the development of biomedical engineering programs, to engineering education, and to service at the university, national and international levels. In research he pioneered what is nicknamed “brain on chip”, with fundamental technology developments in the recording of activity from brain slices on surface multi-element electrode arrays (MEAs), which has led to world wide use of this research technique. He developed several techniques for controlling the in vitro (cell culture) geometric growth of neurons in particular and cells in general, has shown effects of form on neuronal function, and is developing technology for constructing on chip mimics of known anatomical circuits. This is a combined effort of microfabrication, signal processing/pattern recognition, and collaborative neuroscience.
His research contributions are matched by his record of 20 years of administrative service, most notably including the creation of the Bioengineering Department (and BS, MS and PhD programs) at the University of Illinois, but also for overseeing the creation of the undergraduate program at Florida and substantially impacting undergraduate education in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois. He has been Acting BioE/BME Department Head/Chair at Illinois and Florida, ECE Associate Head at Illinois, and Chair of Neuroscience at Illinois.
Finally, he has provided major international service through six years as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, the largest and most cited general purpose biomedical engineering journal, and currently serves as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
New AAAS Fellows will be inducted in Chicago this February during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting. The theme this year is “Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation” which also describes the achievements of the new Fellows.