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Physics and Astronomy Professor Named to American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

By Lindsay Travis 

photo of a professor
Yang-Tse Cheng

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 18, 2024) — Two University of Kentucky researchers have been named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, a distinguished lifetime honor within the scientific community.

Pradeep Kachroo, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Yang-Tse Cheng, Ph.D., the Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Materials Engineering in the Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, are among the 502 scientists, engineers and innovators elected as 2023 AAAS Fellows.

The association is one of the world’s largest general scientific societies and publisher of the Science family of journals. 

The fellowship recognizes Kachroo’s distinguished contributions to the field of plant systemic immunity, particularly his work that has expanded genetic and biochemical understanding of the molecular signaling mechanisms underlying systemic acquired resistance.

“I am humbled by this honor. It reaffirms my commitment to excellence in science and making lasting societal contributions through my research,” said Kachroo. “I share this achievement with the many talented, dedicated and hardworking researchers in my group, past and present. This would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family, friends, collaborators, department and colleagues.”

“Dr. Pradeep Kachroo has consistently been at the forefront of research on mechanisms of plant disease resistance. As such, he has kept the University of Kentucky in the limelight in a scientific field with direct implications for food supply and safety,” said Christopher Schardl, Ph.D., professor and former chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. “He has played key roles in establishing and maintaining state-of-the-art shared-use infrastructure and mentored many successful undergraduate and graduate students. Election of Dr. Pradeep Kachroo as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science brings extraordinary visibility to the excellence of science in the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.”

Cheng was elected for his contributions to understanding the micro- and nanoscale mechanical and electrochemical behavior of materials for electric vehicle applications.

“This would not have been possible without the contributions of former and current graduate students and staff support, as well as contributions from collaborators at UK and elsewhere, including many from companies and national labs,” said Cheng. “This recognition will further motivate our research in understanding the micro- and nanoscale mechanical and electrochemical behavior of materials for batteries and other applications.”

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved honor. Dr. Cheng embodies the spirit of curiosity, the engine of scientific advancement. He always asks interesting and insightful questions that stimulate conversation and new ideas, and continually pushes people to challenge what we accept as true to verify if it is indeed true,” said Thomas Dziubla, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering.

Kachroo and Cheng join the ranks of seven other active UK AAAS Fellows. Kachroo is the first Fellow elected from the Department of Plant Pathology.

The association first launched this lifetime recognition in 1874, about 25 years after the association was founded. The new fellows will receive a certificate and rosette pin  and will be honored at a forum on Sept. 21. 

About AAAS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, visit

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