Pappu named AAAS Fellow

Rohit V. Pappu, PhD, was named a fellow by the AAAS, the highest honor awarded by AAAS in recognition of distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Rohit V. Pappu
Two faculty members from Washington University in St. Louis have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The new fellows are Michael J. Holtzman, MD, and Rohit V. Pappu, PhD. The rank of fellow is the highest honor awarded by AAAS in recognition of distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

The WUSTL faculty members are among 388 new fellows acknowledged in the Nov. 29 issue of Science magazine. The 2013 AAAS fellows also will be honored Feb. 15 at the organization’s national meeting in Chicago.

Rohit V. Pappu
Pappu, professor of biomedical engineering, is being honored by AAAS for distinguished contributions to the field of intrinsically disordered proteins and their form and functions, through a unique combination of computer simulations, polymer theories and experiments.

Pappu focuses his research on the biophysics and engineering of intrinsically disordered proteins. His lab has made important contributions to understanding sequence-ensemble relationships of proteins that fail to fold autonomously into well-defined three-dimensional structures. These efforts are contributing to de novo design of protein interaction networks involved in signaling pathways and transcriptional regulation organized around disordered proteins as hubs. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Pappu’s lab also has a significant emphasis on aging-related protein misfolding and aggregation with a particular focus on neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The central goal is to understand how protein aggregation and protein homeostasis pathways collude to give rise to neuronal death as a function of aging.

Pappu also is director of the Center for Biological Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Research within the center focuses on modeling, predicting and designing functions of biological systems that result from integration of signals and responses of biomolecular and cellular networks.

In addition, he is co-director and member of the executive committee of the Center for High Performance Computing and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, both at Washington University School of Medicine. He also is a member of the Hope Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders at the School of Medicine.

Pappu earned a doctorate in theoretical and biological physics from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in physics, mathematics and electronics from St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore University. He completed postdoctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine and the Department of Biophysics & Biophysical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined the faculty in the School of Engineering & Applied Science in 2001.