USC University of Southern California

Ostrow School of Dentistry’s Yang Chai elected 2011 AAAS Fellow

Yang Chai, Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, has been elected the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for the Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences section. He will be honored with other new fellows on February 19 at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

AAAS fellowship, an honor reserved for select AAAS members and bestowed by their peers, celebrates the investigators who have had significant impacts on the advancement of science and its applications. Chai is widely recognized for his investigations of the molecular and cellular mechanism of craniofacial development and oral/facial birth defects, including cleft palate. In the announcement for his AAAS fellowship, his work on cell fate analysis and the TGF-beta signaling pathway within the cranial neural crest cells of developing embryos were listed among his most distinguished contributions.

“It’s really very humbling and exciting to be recognized by one’s peers,” Chai said. “It gives you an endorsement that you’re doing something very significant for the field, and it encourages you to continue to be innovative.”

He credited much of his success to the mentorship he received and the uniquely rich scientific environment and wealth of collaboration that can be found throughout USC.

“I have benefitted enormously from working and publishing with the best and brightest scientists not only within the CCMB and the Ostrow School of Dentistry but also my colleagues at the Keck School of Medicine at USC” Chai said.

Avishai Sadan, Dean of the Ostrow School of Dentistry, said Chai deserved the recognition not only because of his phenomenal list of scientific accomplishments but also because of his steadfast leadership.

“Yang Chai is much more than just an accomplished researcher; he is an insightful scientific leader, an exceptional colleague and a thoughtful mentor as well,” Sadan said. “He is a substantial part of why the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s research continues to have such a big impact on the future of the field.”