Sarah Nusser Headshot
Biocomplexity Institute News

Nusser Named AAAS Fellow

Last week, Sarah M. Nusser, a research professor at the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute whose work focuses on improving the reusability and impact of publicly accessible research data, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

In making the announcement on Jan. 26, Dr. Sudip S. Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, said, “AAAS is proud to honor these individuals who represent the kind of forward thinking the scientific enterprise needs, while also inspiring hope for what can be achieved in the future.”

Nusser is one of 564 new fellows, comprising scientists, engineers, and innovators, who hail from academic institutions, laboratories, hospitals and medical centers, museums, global corporations, nonprofit organizations, institutes and government agencies.

Sallie Keller, distinguished professor in Biocomplexity and Director of the Social and Decision Analytics Division in the Biocomplexity Institute, shares Dr. Parikh’s sentiments.

“It’s gratifying that an esteemed organization such as AAAS recognizes such deserving individuals, including Sarah whom I’ve admired for many years throughout my career for her ground-breaking statistical sciences and her research leadership. I’m thrilled that she’s being recognized for her scientific contributions and that she is a part of the important work we are doing at the Institute.”

Nusser, who joined the UVA Biocomplexity Institute’s Social and Decision Analytics Division in 2020, leads an NSF-funded project to develop a framework describing factors and practices that promote impact and reusability for research data. She is also actively involved in national efforts to promote open science, transparency, and public access to research data. She serves as chair of the National Academies of Science Board on Research Data and Information and has held leadership roles in the AAU-Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) initiative on Accelerating Public Access to Research Data (APARD) since its inception in 2017.

Of her election as an AAAS fellow, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community and a tradition dating back to 1874, Nusser said, “It’s a great honor and I’m enjoying being part of the Biocomplexity Institute and some of its important and worthwhile projects.”

In addition to being a newly minted AAAS fellow, Nusser is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and is professor emerita of statistics at Iowa State University and senior fellow with the Association of American Universities (AAU).

Her prior research focused on survey statistics and methodology for land- and population-based surveys, including sampling and estimation for longitudinal natural resource surveys, measurement error models for dietary intake and physical activity data, and geospatial methods for address listing and for data collection in natural resource surveys. In addition, Nusser directed statistics and R&D for the annual USDA National Resources Inventory (NRI) program for 22 years through her affiliation with the ISU Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology, which she directed for 15 years.

Nusser is one of two UVA researchers elected to the most recent class of AAAS fellows, Jeffrey D. Blume of the School of Data Science is the other. The new fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold-and-blue rosette pin to commemorate their election, and will be celebrated later this year during an in-person gathering when it is feasible from a public health and safety perspective. The new class is also featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science in January 2022.

AAAS was founded in 1848 and has members in more than 91 countries around the globe. It seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people,” according to its website it. The association includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science that serve 10 million people.