A woman poses for a headshot.

Life Research Director Selected as National Fellow

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, elected Dr. Sharlene Newman from The University of Alabama to the newest class of AAAS Fellows, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community.

Newman, executive director of the Alabama Life Research Institute, was selected for her pioneering work in developing new neuroimaging techniques and their innovative use to study language processing in the human brain, and executive function, mathematical and spatial processing, substance addiction, and psychopathology.

The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

“Dr. Newman’s expertise is critical to guiding the University’s efforts to advance life research and improve the well-being of our communities. This national recognition is a validation of her transformative research and impact in this area,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development.

ALRI is a university-wide institute that serves as a focal point for interdisciplinary biopsychosocial research that seeks to investigate the human condition at all levels, from the molecular to the environmental, with the goal of improving the lives of the people of Alabama and beyond. The ALRI collaborates with other UA centers, other institutions, industry, health care corporations, governmental agencies and community-based organizations.

AAAS Fellows began in 1874, and are recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry, and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

AAAS members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections representing each scientific discipline, by three Fellows who are current members not affiliated with the nominee’s institution, or by the CEO of AAAS. The AAAS Fellow honor comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.

A native of Abbeville, Alabama, Newman joined UA in 2019 to lead ALRI after more than 14 years at Indiana University where she was a Class of 1948 Herman B Wells Endowed Professor in psychological and brain sciences as well as associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

At UA, Newman also holds a joint academic appointment in the department of psychology along with the department of electrical and computer engineering.

Newman earned her master’s and doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham after finishing her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu