Dr. DeLucas is a Principal Scientist at the Aerospace Corporation. He was previously a Professor in the School of Optometry, Senior Scientist and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center X-ray Core Facility, and Director of the Center for Structural Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. DeLucas received five degrees from UAB culminating in a Doctor of Optometry degree and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry. He also received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Ohio State University, Ferris State University, SUNY College of Optometry and the Illinois College of Optometry. He has published 164 peer-reviewed research articles in various scientific journals, co-authored and edited several books on protein crystal growth and membrane proteins and is a co-inventor on 43 patents involving protein crystal growth, novel biotechnologies and structure-based drug design.
DeLucas was a member of the 7 person crew of Space Shuttle Columbia for Mission “STS-50”, called the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 (USML-1) Spacelab mission. Columbia launched on June 25, 1992, returning on July 9. He traveled more than 6 million miles, completing 221 orbits of earth and logging over 331 hours in space. In 1994 and 1995, Dr. DeLucas served as the Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In 1991, Dr. DeLucas received the First UAB Annual Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2010, received the honorary Alumnus Award, Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UAB (to recognize outstanding alumni and scholarship recipients in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics). In 1999, Dr. DeLucas was the recipient of the “Order of Rio Branco Award, Rank of Commander” from the Brazilian Government on behalf of the President of Brazil. The Order of Rio Branco is awarded to recognize and celebrate the merits of Brazilian and foreign individuals who have significantly contributed to the promotion of Brazil’s relation with the world. Dr. DeLucas devoted a significant amount of time in impoverished regions of Brazil, giving inspirational talks to students in elementary schools and high schools and to the public. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame and in 2004, he was recognized as a Top Ten Finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Birmingham Business Journal. In 2011, Dr. DeLucas received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, was the Recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship in the UAB Graduate School (April 2015), an Inductee as a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors (December 2013), and Recipient of the Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award for his outstanding community and educational outreach activities (2012).