Two UC Riverside Scientists Elected AAAS Fellows

Professors are among the 391 new fellows elected this year

headshots of Howard Judelson and Jirka Šimůnek

Howard Judelson, left, and Jirka Šimůnek were both elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Two University of California, Riverside scientists, Howard Judelson and Jirka Šimůnek, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Judelson, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, was elected for his “contributions to molecular plant pathology, especially for developing resources for oomycete molecular genetics, and advancing scientific research and education through administration.” Oomycetes are a group of devastating pathogens that impact numerous economically important crops, including potatoes, grapes, and soybeans.

Šimůnek, a professor of hydrology in the Department of Environmental Sciences, was elected “for ingenious development and application of advanced one- and multi-dimensional numerical models for water, heat, virus and contaminant transport in soils and groundwater.” His numeric models are used by virtually all scientists, students, and practitioners modeling water flow, chemical movement, and heat transport through variably saturated soils.

Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 391 members have been awarded the honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

The tradition of AAAS fellows began in 1874. Members can be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members (as long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Judelson earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and arrived at UC Riverside in 1994.

His research characterizes the genomics, genetics, developmental biology, and pathology of oomycete fungi, particularly those within the genus Phytophthora. Most of his projects involve Phytophthora infestans, which causes the late blight diseases of tomato and potato. He largely pioneered the field of Phytophthora molecular genetics.

He has published more than 85 journal articles in his career and has been extremely successful in funding his research program. From 2004 to the present, he held 15 grants, including a $9 million USDA grant to research late blight, caused by P. infestans.

Šimůnek earned his Ph.D. at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. He has been at UC Riverside, initially in conjunction with the U.S. Salinity Laboratory, which is run by the USDA but located on the UC Riverside campus, since 1990.

He is an expert in numerical modeling of subsurface water flow and solute transport processes, equilibrium and nonequilibrium chemical transport, multicomponent major ion chemistry, field-scale spatial variability, and inverse procedures for estimating the hydraulic properties of unsaturated porous media. He has authored and co-authored more than 270 journal publications, more than 20 book chapters, and two books.

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