Mariel Vazquez

Mariel Vázquez Named AAAS Fellow

CAMPOS faculty director recognized for her significant advancements to science or its applications

Mariel Vázquez, faculty director for the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS) was recently (April 18) elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, which is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society.

The prestigious honor is reserved for researchers who have made significant advancements to science or its applications. Vázquez is part of the 150th class of AAAS fellows and is among ten faculty from UC Davis to be elected.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows Program, AAAS is proud to recognize the newly elected individuals. This year’s class embodies scientific excellence, fosters trust in science throughout the communities they serve, and leads the next generation of scientists while advancing scientific achievements,” said Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

Vázquez recognized as mathematic, scientific, diversity leader

AAAS selected Vázquez for her contributions in research and outreach at the interface of mathematics, topology and molecular biology.

Vazquez is a pioneer in DNA topology, which applies pure math to unravel the biological mysteries of DNA. Her research lies at the interface of molecular biology, mathematics, computer science, and polymer physics.

Her research has applications in cancer treatment, drug design, understanding genome rearrangements after radiation damage or in cancer. Her work is also helping researchers gain insight into how genomes package in viruses and within cells and into how viral DNA (e.g., retroviruses, such as HIV) integrates into the host genome.

In being selected as an AAAS fellow, Vázquez was also recognized for her service to the mathematical community, with particular mention to her support of underrepresented groups. She has worked passionately to increase diversity in the mathematical sciences at all levels throughout her career. Vázquez has been faculty director of CAMPOS since 2019. CAMPOS is a National Science Foundation-funded faculty recruitment and retention program within UC Davis Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

A nationally and internationally recognized career

Vazquez has been a professor at UC Davis in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and the Department of Mathematics since 2014. Before joining UC Davis, Vazquez was on the faculty at San Francisco State University. She was an academic visitor in the biochemistry department at the University of Oxford, England in 2006 and 2007, and was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. Vazquez was an academic visitor at the Cancer Research Center in Salamanca, Spain, and an academic visitor at the molecular biology department in the Center for Research and Development in Barcelona, Spain.

Vazquez’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2012, she was one of only 96 scientists to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from U.S. President Barack Obama. She was also the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2011 for her efforts conducting innovative research and finding creative ways to integrate research and education.

“Dr. Vázquez is perhaps the greatest role model for Latinas in math and science that we have on campus. I admire her outstanding research and her resolute commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. We couldn’t have had a more committed and dedicated director of our CAMPOS program. She has been central to the success of the center and has personally mentored and advocated for many of our CAMPOS scholars,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity Luis Carvajal-Carmona, Ph.D. “I was also very happy to see that Dr. Vasquez was selected as an AAAS Fellow. I, however, have to say I wasn’t surprised, given the quality and innovation of her research in math and science. We are lucky to have her in our faculty and CAMPOs.”

Vázquez will be recognized at a gala celebration in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21 during the annual Fellows Forum. 

Read the AAAS Press Release

Read the article by UC Davis News

Primary Category