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Three From U.Va. Named Fellows By American Academy Of Arts And Sciences

April 30, 2001-- Three University of Virginia faculty members are among 211 leaders in their fields recently elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of distinguished contributions to science, scholarship, public affairs or the arts. The three are biochemist C. David Allis, historian Edward L. Ayers, and political scientist Matthew Holden Jr.

They bring to 16 the U.Va. faculty chosen for AAAS membership since 1992 and to approximately 30 the number ever chosen from U.Va. in the highly competitive process. The distinguished society was founded in 1780 and represents one of the nation's highest honors for scholarly and creative achievement.

C. David Allis, the Harry F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, is an internationally known biochemist whose work has led to key scientific breakthroughs. He came to U.Va. in 1998 from the University of Rochester, where he led a team of researchers to a major discovery of an enzyme thought to play a critical role in loosening the protein coating that packages DNA inside cell nuclei.

Allis' team was the first to document that this process is a major step in turning genes on and off. The discovery, which is leading to treatments for various forms of cancer and possible methods to inhibit certain birth defects, is regarded as one of the most important genetic findings of the past decade.

Edward L. Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History, has written and edited several important books about U.S. and southern history. An award-winning teacher who joined the U.Va. faculty in 1980, he is also a national leader in using technology in humanities research.

His 1984 book, "Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South" won the J. Willard Hurst Prize for best book in American legal history. "The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction," a finalist for both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in 1992, was named the best book on the history of American race relations and on the history of the American South that year. Ayers also has co-authored "All over the Map: Rethinking American Regions" and "American Passages: A History of the United States," and he was senior editor of "The Oxford Book of the American South." His renowned Civil War digital history project, "The Valley of the Shadow," has recently garnered major awards.

Matthew Holden Jr., who holds the Doherty Professorship in Government and Foreign Affairs, is a past president of the American Political Science Association and has served as editor of the National Political Science Review.

An authority on administrative process and national institutions, regulatory and energy policy, and urban government, he is the author of some 30 books and journal articles. Among Holden's major books are "Politics of the Black Nation," "The White Man's Burden," and "Toward A Political Science of American History." A fellow this year at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., he served as a presidential appointee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 1977-81.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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