HOUSTON, Dec. 22, 2008 B. Montgomery "Monte" Pettitt, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, Computer Science, Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston, has been awarded the distinction of Fellow from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Of this year's 486 Fellows, Pettitt is among Texas' 16 honorees, six of whom are from Houston institutions. He is one of only three researchers in UH's history to hold this distinction. Part of a tradition dating back to 1874, AAAS members are awarded this appointment by their peers for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Along with the other new Fellows for 2008, Pettitt will be recognized Saturday, Feb. 14, during the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.
"Being named an AAAS Fellow is among the top honors that a scientist can receive, and such awards are a factor considered in determining the ranking of a research university," said John Bear, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UH. "This achievement will no doubt put Monte in a position to be considered for subsequent distinguished awards, such as those bestowed by the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences."
As part of the section on chemistry, Pettitt was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to computational and theoretical chemistry, particularly for discoveries concerning the thermodynamics of aqueous solutions and the properties of biopolymers.
In conducting his research, he analyzes the relationships between energy and structures of biomolecules in water, as well as looks into properties found in other molecules produced by living organisms. This helps him to come up with principles for designing new biosensors and new therapeutics.
"My research ranges from modeling the behavior of liquids to eluc
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