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Two Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

Susan-Celniker-and-Wim-LeemansSusan Celniker of the Life Sciences Division (LSD) and Wim Leemans of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division (AFRD) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2012. This year a total of 702 AAAS members were awarded the distinction of Fellow. The honor recognizes their distinguished efforts in the scientific and social applications of science, for which they were nominated and elected by their AAAS peers.

  • Susan Celniker was named Fellow for her “distinguished contributions to the fields of genomics and genetics, particularly for pioneering genomic analysis of Drosophila and discovering novel gene structures and transcript complexity.”
  • Wim Leemans was named Fellow for his “outstanding contributions to plasma-based laser-wakefield acceleration and dynamic leadership at the forefront of laser-plasma particle beam research.”

Celniker heads LSD’s Department of Genome Dynamics and is co-director of the Berkeley Drosophila Sequencing Program of the Drosophila Genome Center, a research consortium funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute. With degrees in anthropology and biology from Pitzer College, advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, and postdoctoral studies at Caltech, Celniker has been deeply involved in the relationships of genomics and human disease since early in her career and is a recognized expert in the genome of Drosophila. She joined Berkeley Lab in 1996 and is a senior staff scientist here as well as a member of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Group in Comparative Biochemistry at UC Berkeley.

Leemans founded and heads AFRD’s core LOASIS program (Lasers, Optical Accelerator Systems Integrated Studies), as well as BELLA, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, which is driven by the world’s most powerful rapid-repetition laser. A world leader in laser plasma acceleration, Leemans is a native of Belgium, with degrees in electrical engineering and applied physics from the Free University of Brussels and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, specializing in plasma physics, from UCLA. He joined Berkeley Lab in 1991 and founded LOASIS in 1994, which debuted the world’s first laser plasma accelerator to achieve billion-electron-volt beams in 2006. Leemans is a senior scientist at Berkeley Lab and a research scientist in UC Berkeley’s Department of Physics.

The 2012 AAAS Fellows will be presented with certificates and pins on Saturday, 16 February, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. For more information visit and see the official announcement in the AAAS News & Notes section of the 30 November 2012 issue of Science magazine.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and is the publisher of the journal Science, the largest paid-circulation, peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. Founded in 1848, AAAS includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, whose mission is to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and other areas. For more, visit