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Scientists become inaugural members of Florida academy

Scientists become inaugural members of Florida academy

May 31, 2020 at 10:21am

Three of FIU’s top scientists in chemistry, biology and public health have been named inaugural members of the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida. 

The inductees are Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work Dean Tomás R. Guilarte, and Biological Sciences Professor Evelyn Gaiser. College of Arts, Sciences & Education Dean Mike Heithaus serves on the academy’s inaugural board of directors. 

  • Kenneth G. Furton is a leading scholar in forensic chemistry focused on trace detection and olfaction. His research has led to numerous innovations in forensic science including identifying humans through scent detection, development of a universal detector calibrant and his work was cited in a Supreme Court decision affirming the use of drug dogs for probable cause to search vehicles. Furton is also a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and has more than 200 peer reviewed papers and more than 20 patents. 

  • Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, is a world-renowned neurotoxicologist. Guilarte’s research aims to understand the effects of environmental pollutants on the developing brain and their role in neurodegenerative and mental diseases. He is also known for the development and application of a biomarker of neuroinflammation using neuroimaging techniques to study neurological disorders. In 2018, Guilarte was inducted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars and received the Distinguished Toxicologist Award from the Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists. In early 2020, he also received the Career Achievement Award from the Metals Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology.

  • Evelyn Gaiser, is the Endowed George Barley Eminent Scholars Chair, and an ecologist in the FIU Institute of Environment. Gaiser’s research has helped inform the progress of Everglades Restoration. Her work focuses on understanding how algae can be used as "sentinels " of the effects of climate change and land use in wetland ecosystems like the Florida Everglades. In 2019, she was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to serve on Florida’s blue-green algae task force, where she’s helping to inform policy through effective science. 

The new members will be inducted during the opening session of ASEMFL’s Annual Meeting on Nov. 7.

“Through their leadership, research and groundbreaking innovations, these three FIU scientists have had far-reaching impacts on our local and global communities,” Heithaus said. “They are invaluable to the academy.”

Founded in 2018, the academy is committed to addressing key issues and challenges impacting Florida from the environment, sustainable energy, STEM education, healthcare and more. FIU scientists were recognized for being on the front lines, leading groundbreaking research and developing solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges.

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