Professor Hal Alper is one of three Texas Engineers who have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

The three Cockrell School of Engineering faculty members, Hal Alper, Lizy Kurian John and Guihua Yu are part of a contingent of 11 new honorees across the Forty Acres who hail from the College of Natural Sciences, the Jackson School of Geosciences and the Moody College of Communication. 

The honor recognizes important contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — including pioneering research, leadership within a given field, fostering collaborations, and advancing public understanding of science. 

Alper Hal

Hal Alper holds the Kenneth A. Kobe Professorship in Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on engineering biology to produce organic molecules of interest such as biofuels, commodity and specialty chemicals, and protein pharmaceuticals. The goal is to alter cells and “hijack” the basic metabolism to “rewire” cellular systems into industrially relevant biochemical factories. He and his colleagues used artificial intelligence to redesign a natural enzyme to degrade widely used PET plastics in days rather than centuries.

Alper received the nationally acclaimed Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) in late 2023 for his pioneering contributions in the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, and for profoundly impacting the field of industrial biotechnology.

The new fellows join more than 53 colleagues at the University who have earned the lifetime distinction. Nationally, AAAS elected 502 new fellows this year. The new fellows will be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science this month and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September.

11 Faculty Members Elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
L-R: Hal Alper, Jaquelin Dudley, Anthony Dudo, Kristen Grauman, Arlen Johnson, Daniel Leahy, Xiaoqin "Elaine" Li, Lizy Kurian John, Tanya Paul, Bridget Scanlon and Guihua Yu

Original article posted: Cockrell School of Engineering