Biologist Rea Honored by AAAS

Biologist Philip A. Rea has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his fundamental discoveries on the membrane transport and detoxification of xenobiotics and his distinguished accomplishments and creativity in science education.

Xenobiotics are chemical compounds, such as drugs or carcinogens, that are foreign to a living organism. Rea, a professor of biology and the Belldegrun Distinguished Director of the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, focuses his research on molecular biology and cellular biochemistry with special emphasis on membrane transport proteins and the enzymatic machinery responsible for the detoxification of xenobiotics, especially heavy metals. Along with better understanding transport and related phenomena, Rea’s research may eventually contribute to ways to eliminate toxins from living organisms or the environment.

Rea is the author of a variety of publications, and has received teaching awards including the Award for Excellence in Biology Teaching and the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award, the highest teaching honor at Penn Arts and Sciences. The National Academies of Science awarded him the Cozzarelli Prize in 2010, and he received a National Academies Fellowship in Life Sciences Education in 2009. As Rebecka and Arie Belldegrun Distinguished Director of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, he heads a dual-degree program that combines rigorous scientific and business training, run jointly by the College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton.

The AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson, and professional association. AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books, and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide. The new fellows will be honored on February 15 during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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