University of Utah materials science and engineering professor Shelley Minteer was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), it was announced Nov. 28. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

She is one of two U professors to receive the honor this year. The association also named chemistry professor Glenn Prestwich. Both are among 416 newly-elected Fellows.

Minteer was elected for “fundamental and applied contributions to electrochemistry, including electrocatalytic cascades and natural and artificial metabolons for biofuel cells.”

Minteer’s career has focused on using nature as an inspiration and solution to chemistry problems. Her work has resulted in 17 issued patents and over 300 peer-reviewed publications in using biology as inspiration for biosensing, energy storage, energy conversion, and electrosynthesis.

“As we start to think about renewable energy sources, whether that’s solar or wind, we need to think about how we store that energy for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow,” she says. Her research group focuses on nature-inspired catalytic cascades of reactions that store energy in chemical bonds.

“If you look at biological systems, biology does energy conversion extremely efficiently, so we are using that energy conversion machinery to improve the efficiency of electrochemical energy conversion devices” she says.

Minteer feels honored by her election as a AAAS fellow.

Prestwich was elected for “entrepreneurial uses of chemistry to solve biological problems, including insect pest control, lipids in cell signaling, and hyaluronan materials for regenerative medicine and inflammation.”

AAAS members are awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Minteer and Prestwich join 126 other Fellows either currently or formerly affiliated with the U, including biomedical engineering chair David Grainger, Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed. The U’s first Fellow was geologist and former university president James Talmage, elected in 1906.

New Fellows will be presented with a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, February 16, 2019, during the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Fellows will also be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 29, 2018.