2014 Election Results

Nominees were 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 below. See the full College/Unit CPI seat allocations for 2014-15.

2014-15 CPI election results are noted below.

Vice Chair

  • Andrews-Polymenis, Helene (Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, College of Medicine and jointly appointed to the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine) – “In the current challenging funding and complex regulatory climate, PIs on campus need all the help they can get to facilitate their research progress and build the research enterprise on campus. As a PI myself on both NIH and USDA funded projects, I know first hand the challenges faced by PIs to successfully compete for extramural funding, to manage large research projects, and to navigate the approvals process on campus to ensure all relevant regulations are followed. In my first term on the CPI, I learned the many functions of the CPI in facilitating PI-led funded research, as well as the important role of the CPI as a liaison between researchers and the university administration.  It is the role of the Chair and Vice Chair of the CPI to spearhead these efforts, and I would be honored to lead in these roles.

    As a faculty member in the College of Medicine, I serve in various roles at the department, college, and university level. My colleagues have entrusted me with leadership roles in the running of the MD/PhD program, in reforming graduate education as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate education, and in leading Faculty Search Committees. I serve on two college level committees that are advisory to the Dean of the College of Medicine, and I have twice been elected by my colleagues to serve on the Council of PIs. These experiences have been deeply gratifying and have taught me the importance of organization, pragmatism, and prompt and effective communication.

    Were I to be elected to the CPI Vice Chairmanship, my primary goals would be to: i) effectively represent the interests of the COM research faculty and the TAMU research community; ii) lead efforts to formulate policy that promotes a strong research environment on campus.”

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Kaplan, Craig (Biochemistry and Biophysics) – “If elected I would be proud to serve as CPI representative for COALS. As an NIH-funded Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and Biophysics, I am currently navigating the difficult research environment that a large proportion of our research community faces. The CPI is a critical organization for communication of PI concerns to Texas A&M administration and as an information conduit for researchers. I will be an active and vocal member of the CPI, giving not only my perspective but seeking out and communicating perspectives of my peers.”
  • Wilkinson, Heather (Plant Pathology & Microbiology) – “During my first 3-year term on the CPI I served two of the years on the Executive Committee. I sincerely enjoy representing the College of Agriculture and appreciate the opportunity to participate in shared governance. Across the 15 years I have been a PI at Texas A&M I have garnered support for my microbial genetics laboratory via both single and multi investigator competitive funding avenues with both federal agencies (USDA, DOE, NSF) and internal sources (AgriLife-Bioenergy, VPR).  I also serve on the Institutional Biosafety Committee (since 2008) and I feel that these two activities allow me to provide insights from each committee to the other. In both capacities I seek to ensure that compliance requirements for PIs are minimized. Finally I am committed to a campus culture that encourages engaged students via high impact learning experiences including high quality research opportunities for graduates and undergraduates. Thus, on the CPI I advocate policies support that culture as well.”

Bush School

  • Laurie Paarlberg – “I am an Associate Professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service.  I am currently a principal investigator on a grant funded by the National Science Foundation and have experience working with regional grant makers. I would like to serve on the CPI because I would like to help members of the University community, particularly from the social sciences, which are often less represented in externally funded research efforts, learn more about the research process.”

College of Science

  • Batteas, James (Chemistry) – “I am happy to be nominated to help represent the College of Science on the CPI.  I joined the Chemistry Department of Texas A&M University in 2005, following an appointment as a Senior Staff Scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Prior to that, I was a tenured faculty member at the City University of New York, where I began my independent career in 1996.  If elected to the CPI, it will be my goal to work with the administration, at all levels, to determine how we can best utilize the extensive resources of TAMU to further enhance the stature of the university by supporting our research and teaching missions, especially though improvements in infrastructure.  Being in the highly interdisciplinary area of nanoscience, I will also seek to help increase the competitiveness of TAMU for major research grants and centers.   I am currently working hard to improve our research infrastructure as Director of the Materials Characterization Facility, and I intend to continue to support such efforts that bolster the university through the CPI.  More information is available about me and my research group on my website at: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/rgroup/batteas/index.html.”
  • Smotherman, Michael (Biology) – “I would like to serve on the CPI because our research community needs to be actively engaged in decisions that influence our productivity and creativity.  Many of my previous projects have succeeded through multidisciplinary collaborations, and while future research growth at A&M will rely heavily upon facilitating multi-PI endeavors, the individual efforts of PIs must also be respected and protected.  I have been a PI on NIH, NSF and private foundation grants. I’ve served on the executive committee of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience program for four years, and I’ve served on IACUC during the last four years.  We have recently suffered an explosion of regulatory and compliance burdens as transmigratory administrators pushed system costs and liabilities onto departments and PIs. The CPI provides us with a voice and vehicle to temper these trends and promote positive strategies.   Going forward our research community must proactively guide A&M to better pathways for enhancing research and training opportunities.”

Texas AgriLife Research

  • Chandra, Ambika (Turfgrass Breeding and Molecular Genetics – Dallas, TX) – “I’m an associate professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Dallas and a faculty in the department of Soil and Crop Sciences, College Station.  My expertise is in the areas of plant breeding and genetics and my current research focus is to develop resource efficient and environmentally sustainable cultivars of turfgrass species.  During past 6 years, I have collaborated with researchers and extension specialists on-campus and from 12 different states in the south and southeastern United States in addition to developing relationships with the turfgrass industry both at the regional and national levels.  During these years, I have gained a good understanding of needs of a faculty, especially off-campus faculty, as well as their constraints in developing nationally competitive research programs such as graduate student recruitment, distance communication, involvement in decision making processes, budgetary constraints etc.  It would be an honor to be elected to serve on the CPI and represent the needs and concerns of off-campus Principal Investigators to promote the overall mission of AgriLife Research.”
  • Foster, Jamie (Forage Agronomy – Beeville, TX) – “I’m 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. I’m trained in both Forage Agronomy and Ruminant Nutrition, with my research focus in the plant-animal interface. I’m published in the Agronomy Journal, Journal of Animal Science, and Journal of Dairy Science. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving on the Council of Principal 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.”

College of Architecture

  • Akleman, Ergun (Visualization) – “I am currently one of the representatives of College of Architecture in Faculty Senate. I have served as chair of the Faculty Senate Research Committee since 2011. As a chair, I represent faculty senate in University Research Council, SRS advisory committee and CPI. I also have a good understanding of departmental research activities. I worked two departments of College of Architecture: Architecture and Visualization. I have also joint appointment with Computer Science. Based on this experience, I have developed a good understanding of research enterprise of Texas A&M university and feel confident that I can contribute CPI discussions and decisions as a voting member.”

College of Liberal Arts

  • Grau, James (Psychology) – “I previously served for two terms on CPI and have been highly involved in a number of interdisciplinary programs, including the ILSB and the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience.  By working with other entities within TAMU, I believe that we can strengthen the position of Liberal Arts.  Our contribution to net funding continues to increase and it important that our concerns are represented.”
  • Wilcox, Teresa (Psychology) – “I am Professor in the Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and have been a PI on federally funded (NSF, NIH) research grants for the last 16 years. Texas A&M has a strong and vibrant research community and I am committed to the enhancement of this community through initiatives that support students, faculty, and staff.  As the landscape of federal and private funding changes and TAMU as a major research university continues to grow, administrators and principle investigators are faced with new challenges in our quest to move forward as a nationally recognized, highly competitive research and teaching environment. I would like to be part of a group that helps our university work towards that goal.”

Dwight Look College of Engineering

  • Alvarado, Jorge (Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution) – “I would like to serve on the CPI to ensure the concerns and hopes of the faculty are properly addressed by the administration.  I have been personally involved in shared governance at different levels across the university. I served a complete term in the faculty senate, including one year as a member of the executive committee.  During my tenure in the faculty senate, I was also part of the research committee which exposed me to a wide range of university related issues.   I am a strong believer that Texas A&M should continue to be a great place for superb ground breaking research and service, while providing immeasurable value to the State and the Nation.  I will continue to be a strong advocate of faculty specifically in matters of scholarly research.”
  • Braga-Neto, Ulisses (Electrical and Computer Engineering) – “I am an Associate Professor who started my career at Texas A&M in 2007. In my short time here, I have been the PI of three externally-funded projects, including two NSF grants, as well as serving as an NSF panelist. If elected to the CPI, I will try to bring to the council my views on academic freedom, self-governance, and rigorous scholarship, as well as represent the PIs in the College of Engineering and bring their concerns to the attention of the administration.”
  • Cagin, Tahir (Materials Science and Engineering) – “Having served as PI or co-PI for over 25 years on numerous externally funded competitive research projects both from federal agencies (NSF, ARO, ONR, AFOSR, DARPA, DOE, NASA) and industrial sponsors (GE, GM, DOW, Chevron, WL Gore, Owens Corning, Epson-Seiko) and as a proposal reviewer and panelist for national and state agencies, I would like to serve on the CPI to extend my services to the University and the A&M System at this stage of my career. Having been on the faculty of College of Engineering over the last 10 years and serving on various department, college and university level committees provided me the opportunity to hear, discuss, understand the challenges and issued involved in sponsored research both single investigator and large scale multidisciplinary (inter-departmental and inter-college) teams involving multiple investigators.  If elected to CPI, I would like to put my experience and seek ways and means of gathering input from other PIs to a better and efficient research environment for enhancing the R&D profile of A&M further.”
  • Han, Arum (Electrical and Computer Engineering) – “This is a challenging time for all of us PIs. Externally, funding rates have been declining, without a clear hope that this deteriorating landscape will change anytime soon. Internally, the research climate and support structure for the PIs have become challenging, with possibilities for further tightening (e.g. potential reduction in IDC returns, cost that PIs may have to pay now vs. previous institutional support in the areas of safety, space, etc) and further centralizing of various resources at the college or university level. I am an Associate Professor in electrical and computer engineering, and also a joint faculty in biomedical engineering, faculty of Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience, and faculty of Texas A&M Health Science Center.  I have been a PI/co-PI of close to 20 federal/foundation/corporation grants and currently have four active grants, thus I am very much aware of these challenges that we face currently and in the near future. If elected, I would like to help the campus research climate to be more friendlier to the PIs, keep the burden to the PIs to minimum, and facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration amongst PIs from the various colleges and help remove bottlenecks for such inter-college collaborations. I will be seeking inputs from the PIs and constructively work with the administrators so that PIs can be more closely involved in the various decision making processes. I believe this will make TAMU a great place to conduct research and great place to educate the next-generation members of our society.”
  • Ugaz, Victor (Chemical Engineering) – “I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and understand firsthand the frustrations that many of us feel as our ability to conduct research seems to face increasing challenges from many fronts. In addition to the increasingly competitive funding environment, new issues have emerged as research administration at TAMU continues to evolve. It is more important than ever for PIs to be aware and informed about these matters. Reflecting on my past term as a CPI representative, I am surprised about how little I really knew and understood about broader factors impacting research across the spectrum from institutional to federal levels. I was focused mainly on my own individual research and therefore was not tuned in to this bigger and equally important picture. It has taken some time to fully grasp how all these pieces fit together (and I know I still have a lot to learn). But one thing that has become very clear is how important the CPI is in shaping many of these decisions that affect all of us. I suspect that many PIs don’t fully appreciate that the CPI maintains incredibly direct channels of communication to express research-related concerns to those actually in a position to listen and act on the feedback. From the outside looking in, it is sometimes difficult to fully appreciate the impact of these efforts. It has truly been an honor and a real learning experience to see these positive activities first hand (and even be a part of some of them), and I will do what I can to help continue them if re-elected.”

Texas A&M Transportation Institute

  • Sheikh, Nauman – “As TTI’s representative for CPI, I intend to take an active role and help improve the research environment for TTI researchers and the TAMU System. I hope to accomplish this by keeping fellow TTI researchers informed about important issues or changes that may influence TTI’s research program, by seeking input on related issues and giving voice to suggestions and concerns of the TTI researchers at the Council, and by participating in activities and tasks needing help within the Council.”
  • Zietsman, Joe – “I will be honored to continue to represent TTI on the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI). I will continue to 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.”

Texas A&M University at Galveston

  • Dellapenna, Tim – “I am interested in serving on the Council of Principal Investigators so that I can represent the diverse group of investigators at TAMUG.  I have been a faculty with the Marine Sciences Department and have also held a joint appointment with the TAMU Oceanography Department since Fall 2000.  I have collaborated with colleagues across most of our academic departments and programs where funded research is conducted, including Marine Science, Marine Biology, Offshore and Coastal Systems Engineering, and Maritime Studies.  I have also collaborated with faculty from TAMU in Oceanography, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, Geology, and Geography.  During my time as a faculty member, I have raised over $5 million in research funding, with over 75% of this from federal sources and I was the lead PI on about 90% of these funds.  I have received funds from a wide variety of sources, including NSF, NOAA (Texas Coastal Management Program; Texas Sea Grant; and National Marine Fisheries); USGS; Office of Naval Research, US Army Corps of Engineers, MMS/BOEMRE/BOEM, as well as agencies within the State of Texas, including the Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Texas Water Development Board.  These agencies and programs represents a significant component of the range of funding sources my fellow colleagues obtain their funding as well.  Although there is a considerable lab-based component to my research, it is primarily a field-based program, requiring the maintenance of a fairly large equipment pool.  I also typically have a relatively large research lab, with 4-8 graduate students at any time, in both the TAMU Oceanography Department as well as the TAMUG Marine Resource Management program.  I am also serving on a number of graduate committees for students in the Marine Biology IDP program and have served on a number of graduate committees for Wildlife and Fisheries Management and a few committees for students in Geography.  As a result of all of this, I feel that I have the breadth of experience to represent our diverse group of faculty well and I think I have an experience base to make valuable contributions to the CPI.”

Texas A&M Health Science Center – College of Medicine & College of Nursing

  • Helene Andrews-Polymenis – “I am Associate Professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology in the College of Medicine, and have a joint appointment in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. I have held a faculty position at TAMHSC, and now TAMU since 2005, have experience leading research conducted for NIH grants and USDA grants, have served on both NIH and USDA study section, and serve as a reviews editor at the journal Infection & Immunity. I have just completed my first term as one of the COM representatives to the Council of Principal Investigators. I believe my primary purpose in this role is to represent the interests of the COM research faculty in the significant issues of policy that the CPI can influence. In order to accomplish this, I will communicate with COM faculty in advance of CPI meetings to solicit input for each meeting. I will communicate faculty concerns and suggestions to the CPI and administrators that appear before this group, and provide feedback after each meeting to COM faculty. I will work on behalf of individual investigators to resolve any significant issues that can be influenced via the CPI. Finally, I hope to promote a constructive dialog with the administration on all issues that can improve the research environment on campus.”

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

  • Margaret Hobson – “IIn addition to being a TEES PI, I have worked closely with many PIs across Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M System, and other TEES institutions, both in preparing a grant and in conducting the research of a funded project.  In addition, I have worked with offices of sponsored research at many institutions (higher ed., national labs, K-12, etc.) in both pre and post award.  This has given me a broad vision not only of the needs of PIs, but of how other organizations have worked to meet those needs and best serve both the PIs and the institutions to maximize opportunities for external funding.  I think this perspective will assist the CPI.”

Texas A&M University Libraries

  • Dr. Heather Moberly, Professor and Coordinator of Veterinary Services

Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health

  • Shipp, Eva – “As we complete the merger of the Health Science Center with the Texas A&M main campus, changes are taking place that could impact principal investigators in both positive and negative ways.  Through the CPI, we can inform the faculty and administrators from the broader TAMUS community about our research enterprise and challenges that keep us from doing our job as researchers.  I currently serve on the CPI as the School of Public Health representative and the CPI Executive Committee as the Health Science Center representative.   In these roles, I gained a better understanding of research from a TAMU System perspective and how to collaborate with administrators in order to solve problems.  I am currently funded by CDC/NIOSH and have been a PI or Co-I on projects funded by NIEHS, NCI, CDC/NIOSH, and QNRF.  I have served on our school’s Research Committee since 2011.  I believe my collective research experience positions me well to continue representing the School of Public Health on the CPI.  I would be honored to serve a second term.”

*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