Beth Pruitt American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Two professors in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, Beth Pruitt and M. Scott Shell, have received a distinguished lifetime honor within the scientific community: they have both been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), landing among 502 scientists, engineers and innovators across 24 disciplines who make up the 2023 class.

Fewer than 1% of AAAS members each year are elected fellows of the association, the world’s largest general scientific society, that publishes the Science family of journals.

“Professors Pruitt and Shell are outstanding scholars whose innovative research and vision have advanced the course of their respective areas of biomechanics and molecular simulations,” said Umesh Mishra, dean of UCSB’s College of Engineering. “They have also made significant contributions to our university and college as leaders and mentors. On behalf of the college, I congratulate them both on this tremendous and well-deserved recognition from their peers.”

Pruitt, chair of the newly established Bioengineering Department and the Mehrabian Chancellor’s Chair of the College of Engineering, joined the UCSB faculty in 2018. Her research interests include the biophysics and mechanisms of mechanobiology, the field of science that studies how physical forces and changes in the mechanical processes of cells and tissues contribute to development, cell differentiation and disease. Researchers in Pruitt’s lab have developed technologies to enhance maturity in human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and made quantitative measurements of cell responses to drugs or disease mutations. The AAAS honored Pruitt for her “seminal contributions to developing custom measurements and analysis systems for cell-level studies of biomechanics, mechanotransduction and pathways in cell-cell adhesion and subcellular organization, and exceptional sponsorship for bioengineering.”

“I feel incredibly honored to have my contributions recognized by my esteemed colleagues,” said Pruitt, who is also an elected fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “I’m grateful to my wonderful lab members past and present, and to my collaborative colleagues at UCSB and beyond. They have been an integral part of making my professional and research career fulfilling and impactful.”

Read full article featured in The Current, link below.

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Awards and Accolades