January 7, 2011

Paul Bertsch, professor of soil and environmental chemistry in the University of Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was recently elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific organization.

Bertsch, who is also director of UK's Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, is a soil chemist who studies how contaminants move through soil and if they end up in the food chain. His current focus is on manufactured nanomaterials that are released into the environment. Nanomaterials, often manufactured from zinc, titanium dioxide and silver, are typically added to products such as personal care items, clothing and food-storage devices.

In electing him a fellow, the American Association for the Advancement of Science cited Bertsch for "distinguished contributions and scientific leadership to the soil and environmental science disciplines, particularly for work elucidating mechanisms underlying the fate and transport of contaminants."

Being awarded fellow of the association is among the most prestigious honors bestowed on a scientist by his or her peers.

"It is a great honor to be elected fellow of AAAS," Bertsch said. "Recognition of my accomplishments at this level is testimony to the quality students, post docs and colleagues whom I have had the pleasure to work with over my career."

With his election, Bertsch becomes only the 17th AAAS fellow in Kentucky and joins two other colleagues in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences who have received this honor, Professors Dennis Egli and Joseph Chappell.

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