2011 Election Results

Each spring the CPI, in coordination with the Division of Research, conducts a PI* census for every college/unit represented on the CPI.


Census results are used to allocate CPI seats** to colleges/units represented on the CPI. If a college/unit will have open CPI seats for the upcoming academic year, then a nomination and election process is held to fill the open seat(s). CPI members serve a 3 year term, beginning on September 1 and ending on August 31 in the third term year.

Nomination and Elections

Using the most recent PI census list for their college/unit, PIs are asked to nominate college/unit representatives for election to the CPI. Nominees are asked to confirm their nomination by providing a brief statement on why they want to serve if elected. These statements, with links (if available) to the PI’s home page, are posted on the election portal through the CPI website. An election announcement, with voting instructions, is then distributed to the appropriate college/unit PIs.

After the election, results are distributed to the PIs and Heads of the college/unit holding elections and through other mechanisms as appropriate. After all elections have finished, an announcement of the incoming CPI members is distributed to the PI and college/unit community with representation on the CPI.

CPI Election Summary for 2011-2012

2011-2012 Vice Chair

  • Langari, Reza (Mechanical Engineering) – “I am presently a professor of mechanical engineering and also of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. I have served in research administration capacity at TAMU (as Assistant Director and Chief Engineer of Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute, AVSI, from 200 to 2006) and as founding program chair and interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Texas A&M University at Qatar in 2006-7 and 2007 respectively. I have been a member of  the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) for the past two years and have served on the University Research Council(URC) on behalf of CPI. In addition I have represented the CPI on the Task Force on Shared and Enlightened Governance as well as on the Export Control Task Force.

    CPI has served two key roles in the past several years: 1) dealing with matters that are directly pertinent to the research mission of the University, and that includes such matters as research administration, compliance issues, and research infrastructure and 2) matters that are fundamental to the operation of the University as an academic institution in view of the impact of the broader political atmosphere surrounding higher education. CPI must function effectively in both these roles and in this respect the CPI chair and vice chair must target CPI’s time and resources to address the issues that have the most impact.

    This requires being proactive in terms of ensuring that CPI is ahead of the curve on matters that impact the University and its research mission. It also means reaching out to the broader campus community and ensuring that CPI is not operating in isolation when certain key issue are at stake. To this end, I would work with the CPI chair to maintain a closer eye on the events that are bound to impact the University’s research mission and will work on enhancing the communication between CPI and its constituents at the University. I believe my experience in research administration and in academic administration in general will help in this regard and appreciate your confidence in voting for me in this election.”

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

  • Patil, Bhimanagouda (Horticultural Sciences) – “I would like serve as member of the CPI in order to represent the interests and common concerns of the AgriLife and COALS faculty. I am interested in involving in discussions which enhance research environment for students, faculty, and staff. As a member of CPI, I will work with other CPI members by providing a forum of two-way communication with appropriate administration on research topics of interest. I have gained enough experience in handling multi-state and multi-investigator grants during the last 15 years. Considering the current discussion on shared services, it is very critical that CPI should work very hard to to make sure PI’s share of Indirect cost will not be reduced. As a member of CPI, I can serve as a strong voice to make sure IDC money is allocated to enhance research capabilities of PI’s by hiring grant writers etc. I strongly believe that team work in CPI can provide an effective and efficient research organization, to achieve the goal of being nationally recognized and competitive in research and teaching.”
  • Wilkinson, Heather (Plant Pathology & Microbiology) – “I care about the research environment at TAMU. I think it is important for faculty and administrators to work together to identify ways to improve the research and teaching environments at TAMU so that we are both competitive and nationally recognized for academic excellence. Success in these endeavors is our best insurance against lost revenue streams from state and federal sources. “

College of Architecture

  • Peacock, Walter (Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning) “I would be honored to serve on the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) during this time of major transition and reorganization in the research infrastructure of Texas A&M University. As a representative I will seek to not only report what is happening at the University level to my colleagues, but where possible be a voice for researchers in the College of Architecture. ” 

George Bush School of Government & Public Service

  • *Lori Taylor  I think it is very important for the Bush School to be represented on the CPI.  Our research concerns are very different from those of lab scientists, but they are no less important. The CPI provides a forum through which we can make our concerns known to the research community, and through which we can keep informed about changes that will affect us. CPI members are also frequently asked to serve on university-wide committees, giving the Bush School a voice in those settings as well. For these reasons, I am willing to serve a second term on the CPI.

Dwight Look College of Engineering

  • *Amato, Nancy (Computer Science & Engineering) – “This is a very important time for the Texas A&M research community. We are facing challenges with the budget, research administration is being consolidated at the system level, and the importance of the research mission of the university is being questioned on many fronts.  Changes are underway or under consideration that may impact our ability to compete for funding and our ability to perform our research. The CPI has the responsibility to be vigilant and to advocate for the interests of the research community. This is always important, but particularly important now. As a member of the CPI leadership for the past few years, I have worked to ensure that the CPI has a seat at the table for these important decisions and we have worked proactively and as constructively as possible with all parties to improve research conditions.  We have also worked to increase the participation of CPI members on relevant committees and to improve communication to the research community. I believe the CPI needs to remain on top of these issues.  A broad participation in these activities will help keep the interests of researchers at the forefront in the decision making process and will lead to a stronger and more effective CPI and a better integrated research community.”
  • Kundur, Deepa (Electrical and Computer Engineering) – “The College of Engineering at Texas A&M University has substantially increased the number and the diversity of its faculty within the last few years, which has led to new research thrusts and opportunities. I would be happy to serve on the CPI to facilitate greater communications of the research issues and opportunities experienced by both the PIs of my college and the administration. I wish to serve the interests of the PI constituency of my college by understanding emerging needs on the part of PIs and imminent challenges in this time of economic recovery.”
  • *Langari, Reza (Mechanical Engineering) – “I am presently a professor of mechanical engineering and also of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. I have served in research administration capacity at TAMU (as assistant director of Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute, AVSI, from 200 to 2005) and as founding program chair and interim associate dean of academic affairs at our branch campus in Doha, Qatar in 2006-7 and 2007 respectively. I have been a member of  the Council for the past two years and have served on the University Research Council on behalf of the Council and have represented the CPI on the Task Force on Shared and Enlightened Governance as well as on the Export Control Task Force. Should I get elected to another term on the Council, I will do my best to enhance the communication between CPI and its constituents in the College of Engineering and will increase my efforts to express the views of the College more effectively at the University level. I believe this is particularly important in view of the impending changes in research administration at Texas A&M University.”
  • Madsen, Christi (Electrical and Computer Engineering) – “I am willing to serve if elected in order ot facilitate bridging communications between the research community and the administration.”
  • Ugaz, Victor (Chemical Engineering) – “My passion for research and teaching led me to follow a career path in academia, and I consider myself truly lucky to be able to do a job I love every day.  But the current research environment is also incredibly challenging, and we as faculty increasingly feel pressure from many different directions.  We all recognize that long days and caffeine-fueled late nights are a hallmark of our profession, so it can understandably become a source of frustration when the payoff from these efforts appears to come less frequently. If elected, I would like to work with the CPI to find ways to help deal with these challenges in the following ways:
    1.  Increase awareness of interdisciplinary research opportunities. My own background has made me aware of the value of cross-disciplinary interactions and the potential for transformative ideas to occur at interfaces between fields. I would like to build on the strong institutional commitments that have already made in these directions by further increasing the visibility and accessibility of interdisciplinary resources and exploring new ways to foster these collaborations.
    2.  Explore innovative graduate training that maintains a research focus but enhances marketability of our students. Graduate students are the backbone of our research enterprise, but the competition they face in the job market after graduation is unprecedented.  Recent initiatives (professional science masters programs, interdisciplinary degree programs, etc.) have the potential to better equip our graduates to successfully bridge the gap between academia and industry by giving them a unique competitive edge when they enter the job market.
    3.  Clearly communicate the benefits of research to the broader community. I am eager to assist in the ongoing efforts to emphasize the integral role our research activities play in furthering the overall institutional mission. We are fortunate to have a group like the CPI that can act as faculty advocates for research related issues. It is truly an honor just to have been nominated to serve.”

College of Liberal Arts

  • Kamphoefner, Walter (History) – “Part of our job is to hold up before administrators, legislators, and the general public the fact that research is one of the essential missions of a real university, and is closely entwined with our teaching mission. While historical research is much different than the kinds of research conducted in other colleges or even in other Liberal Arts disciplines, this is one thing that all of us have in common.”
  • Meagher, Mary (Psychology) – No statement provided.

University Libraries

  • Sandra Tucker – “I would like to participate, as the Libraries’ representative, in the CPI’s efforts to improve the research environment for Texas A&M students, faculty, and staff.  I have a long-term interest in and involvement with the research enterprise at Texas A&M.  From 1994 to 2006, while employed at Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), I served as principal investigator on five projects funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and as co-principal investigator on a sixth.  In 2010, while employed at TAMU Libraries, I served as co-principal investigator with a TTI researcher on a project funded by the Urban Transportation Center for Mobility that developed a repository of long-range transportation plans.”

College of Science

  • Hardin, Paul (Biology) – “Having run a research program that has been continuously funded by the NIH for the last 18 years, I understand the needs of researchers and how universities can effectively foster research success. I believe that TAMU can best foster research success by providing adequate access to cutting edge research technologies at greatly subsidized costs, providing information about grant submission opportunities and grant writing/grantsmanship training, reducing regulatory burdens on PIs, and providing a service-oriented support structure for research administration. Support for research centers and institutes is vital to enhancing the national and international reputation of TAMU. However, no mechanism is in place to provide financial support for centers and institutes in proportion to their success in competing for peer-reviewed national and international research funding. A mechanism to provide such support should be developed to ensure predictable institutional support for centers and institutes that prove to be successful. Advances in basic and applied research are critical for fueling the local, national and international economy, and figure prominently in determining the stature of TAMU among research institutions. Given the importance of research, the CPI should be a leading voice in explaining the importance of our research mission to students, former students, and TAMU/TAMUS governing bodies. I want to serve on the CPI to help chart a course for research success at TAMU in accordance with the points outlined above”

Texas A&M University at Galveston

  • Joan Mileski (Maritime Administration and Marine Sciences) – As the Galveston representative on the Council of Principal Investigators, I would like the Galveston campus to be heard on three main issues. First, researchers will have a large say in how their research is used commercially and otherwise.  Second, the Galveston campus will have more say on the use of indirect costs.  And third, the Galveston campus will have less internally imposed (system or otherwise)  hurdles to meet in applying for research money.

Texas A&M University at Qatar

Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry

  • *Opperman, Lynne – “I believe it is important for a component CPI representative to also be a faculty senator, so that hot-button issues can be discussed at all levels.  Since I am a Senator, I will be happy to serve.”

Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health

  • John Huber “Since joining School of Rural Public Health (SRPH) in 2005, I have been involved in fourteen research projects. I have written or co-written 29 grant proposals totaling $39.8 million in potential funding. During the last five years, eleven of these grant applications were funded totaling $18.2 million and an additional six are currently pending review for another $6.9 million.  I am currently principal investigator and co-principal investigator of two NIH funded grants and have been principal investigator of a Texas Department of State Health Services contract. I have served on the SRPH Research Committee since 2007 where I have learned a great deal about the research infrastructure of the SRPH, TAMHSC and the TAMU System. I would like to be considered for the SRPH representative to the Counsel of Principal Investigators because I believe that I am knowledgeable of the recent and current issues relating to the research mission of the school and because I would like to gain a broader understanding of the research mission of the TAMU System.”

Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

  • Vernon Tesh “My name is Vernon Tesh. I am a Professor in the Department of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis in the College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center. I joined the medical school faculty in August, 1992 as an Assistant Professor. My laboratory studies the innate immune response to a family of bacterial proteins called Shiga toxins. Despite the fact that Shiga toxins are potent protein synthesis inhibitors, they elicit the expression of a subset of genes encoding cytokines and chemokines. We have been exploring the signaling mechanisms activated in mammalian cells that ensure the production of these important proinflammatory molecules even in the face of protein synthesis inhibition. Within the next few years, investigators at Texas A&M will face challenges that range from decreases in federal funding for research, increased reductions in state budgets, increased competition for highly qualified students, and increased oversight of regulations pertaining to the use of human subjects, animals and recombinant DNA techniques in research. As a member of the Council of Principal Investigators, I will use my experience as a funded investigator and my experience as chair of the Texas A&M Institutional Biosafety Committee to advocate for the needs and concerns expressed by faculty members at Texas A&M.”

Texas Engineering Experiment Station – Non-College of Engineering

Texas AgriLife Research – Non-COALS

  • Foster, Jamie (Texas A&M University Research Station – Beeville, TX) – “Dr. Jamie Foster, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with Texas AgriLife Research in Beeville, TX, and a faculty member of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University-College Station. Trained in both Forage Agronomy and Ruminant Nutrition, her research focus is the plant-animal interface. She is published in the Agronomy Journal, Journal of Animal Science, and Journal of Dairy Science. Jamie looks forward to the opportunity to serve on the Council of Principle Investigators. This is an opportunity to represent other off-campus research faculty in the decision making process and to help promote Texas A&M System research as a nationally competitive institution.”
  • Randel, Ronald (Department of Animal Science – Overton, TX) – “It would be an honor to serve on the Council of Principal Investigators. The reasons that I would like to serve on this council are to represent the thoughts and needs of Principal Investigators located at Centers away from College Station and to represent all Principal Investigators involved with Animal Agriculture. The situation is critical for many investigators with budget problems at the state and national levels reflecting upon the ability of the University System to maintain the critical mass required for meaningful research in areas of importance to the consumers and producers of agricultural products.”
  • Whitney, Travis (Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center – Beaumont, TX) – “If elected as a CPI representative for AgriLife Research, I will be an active participant who will summarize my colleagues’ views, needs, and concerns to facilitate effective and efficient research that helps strengthen the AgriLife mission. During the past 6 years, I have developed numerous professional relationships with colleagues at research centers across the state and on campus. Through these collaborations, my own experiences, and my involvement in various organizations (e.g. TX AgriLife Research Faculty Association), I have gained a better understanding of what faculty need to enhance their research programs. Specifically, I will (1) try to enhance on- and off-campus collaborations by trying to establish internal seed funding for A&M graduate students at AgriLife Research Centers; 2) work to improve the mentoring of junior faculty; (3) and will also strive to build upon EPIK/Maestro to ensure researchers with similar goals are brought together to strengthen grant proposals and research programs.”

Texas Transportation Institute

  • *Kuhn, Beverly (Roadside Safety and Physical Security Division) – “I believe strongly that the interests of the research community and the principal investigators within TAMU and the TAMUS Agencies should be represented as a cohesive unit in issues that impact it activities and success.  This is a well-respected Council that needs conscientious members who understand the overall vision of the research enterprise, and I feel I can serve that role as a representative of TTI.”
  • Zietsman, Joe (Roadside Safety and Physical Security Division) – “I will be honored to represent TTI on the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI). I will work closely with TTI researchers to better understand their needs and to take their issues and ideas up with the CPI. The ultimate goal of my participation on the CPI is to see how we can improve the research environment for all TTI researchers, support staff, and students.”

*The CPI defines a “PI” as a PI or Co-PI on at least one externally reviewed and funded project or grant within the previous three years. –see bylaws, Section 2. Representation, A. Definition of PI

**see bylaws Section 2. Representation, F. Allocation of Seats