By Ellen Goldbaum and Sue Wuetcher
Published February 2, 2023
University at Buffalo faculty members Stelios Andreadis, PhD, and M. Laura Feltri, MD, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.
The lifetime honor is bestowed on AAAS members by their peers for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science applications. The UB faculty members were among more than 500 scientists, engineers and innovators to receive the prestigious distinction this year. Past honorees include W.E.B. DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda, Mae Jemison and Ayanna Howard.
AAAS fellows will be recognized in the journal Science this month and they will be celebrated in an induction ceremony to be held this summer.
Andreadis, a SUNY Distinguished Professor of chemical and biological engineering, and biomedical engineering, in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is an internationally recognized leader in the field of stem cell engineering, especially cardiovascular tissue engineering.
His pioneering work has led to engineering tissues for regenerative medicine, such as bioengineered arteries and veins, skin, skeletal muscle and salivary glands; and improved sources of stem cells and novel biomaterials (elastomers, hydrogels) for cell, gene and protein delivery for tissue regeneration.
More recently, his work has led to improved understanding of vascular and skeletal muscle aging and how to reverse it, shedding light into the role of the immune system in endothelialization of bioengineered arteries and resulting in real-world products to replace arteries in patients.
Andreadis co-founded Angiograft LLC to commercialize the cell-free vascular grafts that were developed in his laboratory as arterial replacement grafts for treatment of cardiovascular disease.
He has received more than $25 million in research support from public and private sources, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NYSTEM and private foundations. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed publications and delivered more than 90 invited seminars. He has advised 35 PhD students, 21 MS students, 7 postdoctoral research fellows and more than 50 undergraduate researchers.
Andreadis is the director of the UB Cell, Gene and Tissue Engineering Center, and served as director of the Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine (SCiRM) Training Program, which was funded by NYSTEM to train students in stem cell biology and bioengineering, and applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine. He also served as chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering from 2012-18.
He has received numerous accolades, including being elected as a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He received the Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award from UB in 2018, a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2014, an NSF CAREER Award in 2000 and a Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1999.
Feltri, a SUNY Distinguished Professor of biochemistry and neurology in the Jacobs School, and director of UB’s Institute for Myelin and Glia Exploration, is an internationally renowned expert and pioneer in the study of myelin diseases in the nervous system and the development of novel treatments for them.
With major funding from the National Institutes of Health, Feltri has made numerous seminal discoveries in her field, including developing the first mutagenesis tool for studying the development of Schwann cells, which generate myelin, and the signals that regulate myelination. In collaboration with Lawrence Wrabetz, she pioneered the use of transgenic animals to model neurological diseases and develop new therapies.
Feltri’s research focuses on multiple sclerosis (MS); Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which affects the peripheral nerves; and Krabbe leukodystrophy, a rare, fatal neurological disease that afflicts newborns.
Her most recent research allowed for identification of a molecular target that inhibits remyelination in MS as well as several targets that may improve CMT hereditary neuropathies. She and her colleagues are partnering with the Empire Discovery Institute and with pharmaceutical companies on these efforts.
Feltri also studies how Krabbe disease occurs by developing organoids — lab-grown “mini-brains” — produced from the stem cells of people with and without the disease. This work is funded by Legacy of Angels, a foundation that supports research into developing and enhancing treatments for Krabbe disease and for cystic fibrosis.
Numerous national and international organizations have sought Feltri’s expertise. She has served on the review panel of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the National Muliple Sclerosis Society. She was first a member and then chair of the Cellular & Molecular Biology of Glia Study section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the NIH. She also serves as scientific adviser to the Charcot Marie Tooth Association, the CMT4B3 Research Foundation and KrabbeConnect.
Early in her career, she was awarded the International Society for Neurochemistry’s Young Investigators’ Colloquia Award. In 2020, she was an invited speaker at the Nobel Mini-Symposium at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Feltri has advised and mentored numerous undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students at UB and in 2013 UB’s Office of Postdoctoral Scholars awarded her a Distinguished Postdoc Mentor Award.
Feltri is president-elect of the Peripheral Nerve Society and serves on the editorial board of various journals and the boards of several scientific organizations. In 2026, she will chair the Myelin Gordon conference.