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January 11, 2011

CCNY Science Dean Ruth Stark Named AAAS Fellow

 Ruth Stark

Dr. Ruth Stark, acting dean of science, The City College of New York, and director, CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies.

Dr. Ruth Stark, acting dean of science at The City College of New York, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  She is one of 503 AAAS members elevated to this rank because of their scientifically and/or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.      
    
Dean Stark is being recognized for her distinguished contributions to molecular biophysics, particularly NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) studies of complex biomolecules, and creation of a professional network linking NMR with complementary techniques.  AAAS will bestow a certificate and rosette pin upon her and the other honorees February 19 during its annual meeting in Washington.
    
In the laboratory, Dean Stark draws upon her training in physical chemistry, NMR spectroscopy and molecular biophysics to study biologically significant natural materials and their macromolecular assemblies.  Her investigations have included examination of: molecular structure and development of biopolymers that protect fruits and vegetables; proteins that regulate lipid metabolism, and melanin pigments that contribute to antifungal drug resistance.  
    
Studying these biopolymer systems frequently requires the development of novel chemical and spectroscopic strategies.  The work is conducted through her research team, the Stark group, which has 13 members ranging from post-docs to high school students, and the CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies (MMA).  This institute brings together 250 researchers on eight CUNY campuses to address fundamental and applied questions at the frontier of life science research.
    
To date, Dean Stark has been awarded approximately $15 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. – Israel Binational Research and Development Fund.  She has had 93 papers published in refereed journals.
    
In addition to directing the MMA, Dean Stark serves on the NMR operations committee for the New York Structural Biology Center, which she helped establish, and has served on the editorial board of the journal “Solid State NMR.”  Beginning in 2003, she initiated two NSF-sponsored research coordination networks that now include 95 worldwide research teams sharing expertise for the elucidation of molecular structure in non-crystalline biological solids such as membrane-bound receptor proteins, pharmaceutical formulations and polymeric plant and soil materials.
    
A member of the chemistry department, where she holds the rank of distinguished professor, Dean Stark joined the CCNY faculty in 2007 from College of Staten Island, where she had taught since 1985.  From 1979 to 1985, she was an assistant professor of chemistry at Amherst College in Massachusetts.  She earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from University of California at San Diego and holds a bachelors degree in chemistry from Cornell University.

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org).  AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 262 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, with an estimated total readership of one million.  The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more.  For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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