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 2018-19.
2018-19 CPI election results are noted below.
- Darren DePoy (Physics and Astronomy) – “I am honored to have been nominated for the Vice Chair of the CPI and will serve if elected. I joined the Texas A&M University Physics and Astronomy Department in 2007; prior to that I was a faculty member at Ohio State University since 1990. My research involves combining science goals and engineering practices to design, build, and use innovative instruments for astronomical research, including the world’s largest digital camera to determine key cosmological parameters and a network of observatories around the world in the southern hemisphere to detect planets around other stars. I have been awarded grants from NASA, NSF, DOE, and other sources and have been a member of the CPI Executive Committee for three years. These experiences have helped me develop a wide perspective on research at Texas A&M and the challenges inherent in the extensive research activities across our diverse university and agencies.
I believe the CPI can represent and communicate the needs and concerns of all researchers at Texas A&M and can help to improve the research climate and capabilities. The objective should be to improve the general excellence of our institution by enhancing the competitiveness, support, and appreciation of all forms of research.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Gehring, Kerri (Animal Science) – “I am a professor in the Department of Animal Science, and I am honored to have been nominated for the CPI. If elected, I am willing to represent researchers, both on- and off-campus, within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and those in other disciplines across the university. My research focuses on food safety, quality, and nutrition, and I have received funding from USDA, commodity organizations, and private companies. So, I understand and appreciate the diversity in research funding requirements, as well as the expectations and frustrations that are associated with securing, disseminating, and gaining recognition for our research programs. I think CPI has a valuable role within our university by helping ensure that our research and teaching programs remain competitive. Additionally, I believe CPI provides an opportunity for PIs and administration to build upon our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. I am committed to promoting and enhancing the research capabilities for all investigators.”
- Osburn, Wes (Animal Science) – “If elected to serve as a CPI representative my goal is to actively promote the interests of our research community and identify areas of improvement to enhance the research environment for our principal investigators. The CPI provides an important mechanism to represent the concerns of our research faculty. It is imperative that the CPI effectively convey research faculty ideas and concerns and facilitate multi- and interdisciplinary research collaborations. Maintaining open and transparent communication among research faculty, University and System administrators is critical in finding opportunities to minimize administrative and compliance burdens on investigators, improve research infrastructure, and enhance our competitiveness for state, federal, and other external funding. Ultimately, I wish to work with the CPI to facilitate research funding and support to allow our researchers to expand their capability to make scientific contributions with a global impact. My research background is in meat science and muscle biology and I’ve received university, state, federal, industry and commodity group funding to support my research, teaching and outreach activities.”
- Tarone, Aaron (Entomology) – “I would gladly assist my colleagues in representing the interests of PIs across the campus. I do National Institute of Justice, Texas, and NSF funded research utilizing core facilities in genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, and metabolomics. I would work with my colleagues on the CPI to effectively improve and maintain these valuable services provided at TAMU. My work crosses colleges and I am happy to do what I can to promote cross-college research efforts. As a member of the NSF funded forensic science IUCRC, I also can provide perspective and guidance regarding public-private partnerships.”
College of Education and Human Development
- Lara-Alecio, Rafael (Educational Psychology) – “Rafael Lara-Alecio is a TAMU System Regents Professor, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Director of the Center for Research and Development in Dual Language and Literacy Acquisition, College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). His scholarly work has contributed theoretical models, instruments, and policy recommendations to the field of academic English language development. He has led multiple funded research grants as Principal Investigator at the federal and state levels with a total of over $80 million. He has also conducted research internationally in Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and China. During his 27 years at TAMU, he has served on the CEHD and Departmental T&P Committees as Chair, on Faculty Senate, the GIC, and the GC. He also served on the University Council of Principal Investigators, (2010-2013), where among different roles, he represented the CPI in the construction of Maestro. He has also has been an integral member on the CEHD Council of Principal Investigators, the University Grievance Committee, the Graduate Appeals Committee, CAFRT Committee, and major University committees, including the most recent Provost Search Committee. Lara-Alecio indicates, “If elected to the CPI, I will continue to serve and represent the College faculty in the most critical issues affecting the welfare of our PIs and Co-PIs and other research investigators. Issues of importance are ongoing discussions related to indirect costs, grants forecasts and collaborations, human subjects and IRB considerations, innovation and commercialization, intellectual property, cost sharing, salary savings, pre and post award assistance, and increasing facility needs for PIs, Co-PIs, research investigators, graduate research assistants, and staff members. Our important mission as a space, sea, and land-grant institution, in terms of futuristic strategic plans and equitable and accessible research/grant practices as PIs, is one that I will support on the CPI if elected.”
College of Engineering
- Gaharwar, Akhilesh (Biomedical Engineering) – “Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University. The goal of his lab is to understand the cell-nanomaterials interactions and to develop nanoengineered strategies for modulating stem cell behavior for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue. He has received over $2.7 million in external research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and corporate sponsors. He co-authored more than 75 journal articles in high impact journals including Advanced Materials, PNAS, ACS Nano, and Biomaterials, with total citation of 3200+ and H-index of 32. He also edited two books on nanomaterials and microscale technologies, and co-authored 5 book chapters and 100+ conference presentations. He serves on the editorial board of leading biomaterial and regenerative medicine journals. He has received several distinctions, including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2), Dean of Excellence Award by CoE, CMBE-BMES Rising Star Award, CMBE Young Innovator Award, Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, and Dimitris Chorafas Foundation Award.The Council of Principal Investigators is one of the most important organizations on campus, working to achieve the goal of being nationally recognized and competitive in research and education. As a CoE representative, Dr. Gaharwar will engage with the administrator and articulate concerns and interests of CoE researchers. He is a strong advocate for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and would like to promote/facilitate collaborative research between investigators from different colleges including the College of Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Dentistry. Currently, he collaborates with a diverse group of researchers at the university as well as at other US and international institutions. His experiences as a PI have prepared him to make a meaningful contribution to the CPI.”
- Socolofsky, Scott (Civil Engineering) – “Dr. Scott Socolofsky is professor of Civil Engineering with joint appointments in Oceanography and Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University. Dr. Socolofsky earned a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1994 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 and 2001. He joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University in 2003 after a post doc at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, at the Institute for Hydromechanics. At Texas A&M University, he has conducted single-investigator, collaborative, and large-scale collaborative projects, with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Texas Sea Grant College Program, the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, private companies, and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, among others. He has served as Division Head for Ocean Engineering and for Water Resources and Environmental Engineering within the Department of Civil Engineering. He has extensive experience at working together with faculty on administrative tasks and in building collaborative teams for research. His main interest in serving on the CPI will be to advocate for decisions that benefit PIs’ ability to compete for funding and conduct research. He will actively work to improve contract negotiation time, bridge funding, contract management, and communication of our research success to the public. Dr. Socolofsky is a strong believer in shared governance, and he views the CPI as the best organization on campus to impact and improve research conditions.”
College of Geosciences
- Roark, Brendan (Geography) – “I’m honored to be nominated for a second term and if elected, will work hard to constructively serve the PIs in the College of Geosciences. I’ve been in the College of Geosciences since 2008 in the Department of Geography. Since that time, I have been Director of the Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility which serves the stable isotope analytical needs of several PIs and students within the College and across the University. I’m a regular contributor to efforts aimed at expanding the analytical capabilities across the College. I’ve received funding from NSF, NOAA, BOEM, NIH and the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program for interdisciplinary research projects including multi-PI, multi-institution, and multiple-federal agencies partner projects. My research interests stretch across all four departments and IODP and as a result, I work with a diverse cross section of the College. My work on CPI (including one year on the CPI Executive Committee) t has focused on improving the research enterprise for all PIs on campus, with a focus on expanding opportunities and resources as well as ensuring PIs are receiving the support needed to be more efficient in securing external funding. More specifically, I’ve advocated for opportunities to improve research infrastructure and technical personnel via programs like the RDF and the more recent X-grants along with addressing issues with Sponsored Research Service. If elected I will work hard to understand and represent your concerns to administrators and make constructive suggestions that improve transparency and the research environment.”
College of Medicine
- Gregory, Carl (Molecular & Cellular Medicine) – “It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the Council of Principal Investigators, and to represent the College of Medicine in this capacity. My background is in molecular biology and biochemistry with training from the University of York (United Kingdom), the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) and at Tulane University (Louisiana). I am currently a tenured associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine with an active research program specializing in stem cell biology, musculoskeletal regeneration and bone malignancy. I have had the privilege of mentoring many graduates, undergraduates and postdoctoral fellows in my laboratory during 10 years at Texas A&M and I contribute to graduate, veterinary and medical courses. I have also served on the TAMHSC Graduate Committee, the TAMHSC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the Temple Bioscience Institute Syllabus Advisory Committee, and review grants for several funding entities including the NIH (R01, R21, R03 and SBIR/STTR mechanisms for the NCI and NIAMS). Our research has been funded by the NIH, NSF, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space and several other funding bodies. Virtually all of our funded projects are critically dependent on collaboration with investigators in the College of Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Departments within the School of Engineering. As such, I have a strong appreciation for the intellectual diversity of our university, and I will work to maintain and grow multi-disciplinary collaborative initiatives throughout Texas A&M. While strong collaborations and our committed faculty play the major role in securing funds from an ever-more competitive extramural landscape, administrative and infrastructural support for research and scholastic activities is critical for sustained success. Therefore, I will work with administrators and faculty to grow and develop approaches that maximize the rate and quality of grant proposal submissions, organize and expand core/shared capabilities (research and administrative), and streamline essential yet frequently cumbersome compliance mechanisms. I believe I have a good understanding of the needs of our faculty and the students and postdoctoral fellows that work with them. With continuous and welcome feedback, I will work to be an effective representative for the hardworking community of principal investigators at Texas A&M University and the College of Medicine.”
College of Nursing
- Downing, Nancy (Forensic Nursing Program) – “I am a tenure-track faculty member in the College of Nursing and I want to serve on the Council of Principal Investigators to represent research faculty in our College. I am committed to advancing the research mission of the College of Nursing and supporting my colleagues. We are a young College, and even younger research entity. We have several faculty who have the education, skills, and commitment to conduct research to improve health outcomes. Because we are a young College, there are many resources we still need to be successful researchers. I want to serve on CPI to learn from colleagues across the university about current and potential resources and to advocate on behalf of College of Nursing researchers to obtain resources to be successful. I will commit to meeting regularly with research faculty at the College of Nursing to learn more about their research and the resources they need, and to share with them what I learn from colleagues in the CPI. I will also support the mission of the CPI and advocate on behalf of all research faculty at Texas A&M.”
College of Pharmacy
- Mishra, Jayshree (Pharmaceutical Sciences) – “I am so honored by the nomination and through my years of experience, believe that I will be able to serve as your representative in our Council of Principal investigators. I joined the Texas A&M in 2008 and currently, I am a faculty member at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. My research program focuses on understanding the molecular targets and the events that regulate gastrointestinal inflammation and associated inflammatory diseases, obesity and obesity associated colorectal cancer. My research have been funded by grant from NIH, DAAD, and several other foundations. Being part of the University system for past ten years, I believe that I am aware of the difficulties and challenges that our fellow researchers face in day-to-day research related activities that hinder them from becoming more productive. If addressed in a timely manner, it will immensely help all the researchers develop new ideas, find new applications for their research, learn new techniques, and gain access to funding thereby expanding the professional opportunities. I would like to serve in CPI because I would like to help the researchers in our college and in TAMU system by working closely and diligently with the administration on research related issues to continually improve the research environment and the portfolio at Texas A&M. I am very much interested in improving the research support structure for the core facilities and cross-discipline utilization across the system and related research infrastructure in our college and TAMU.”
College of Science
- Banerjee, Sarbajit (Chemistry) – “I am the Davidson Professor of Science and hold appointments in the Departments of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. My research program is funded by federal grants (NSF, NASA, DoD), awards from private foundations, and industrial contracts. My interest in serving on the CPI is to advocate for improved research infrastructure and support frameworks. We cannot aspire to research excellence without a framework that supports such excellence. My hope is that the CPI will advocate strongly for an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking, and empowered research support framework to best allow researchers at Texas A&M to take advantage of a rapidly changing landscape of opportunities.”
- Safonov, Alexei (Physics & Astronomy) – “I am a Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy working in the area of experimental particle physics and I have completed one three-year term as the CPI representative from the College of Science. I joined TAMU in 2006 as a junior faculty member and built my research program, which is now a large effort that includes researchers, engineers, postdocs, and both graduate and undergraduate students.
We all know that the College of Science has been going through turbulent times over the past few years and it is now time for us to come together and rebuild a healthy environment based on the principles of academic freedom and shared governance that unites and supports the academic faculty, researchers and staff in the college. I believe these principles are critical and essential not only for the health of our college but also directly affect our research enterprise as a whole and the success of the research programs of each of us individually. Over the last three years since I have been elected to the CPI, I have learned that the CPI is not only a forum that can help find solutions to various problems faced by the PIs by creating an effective dialogue with the administrators in units providing logistics support for our research activities. It also provides an important stage that can and should be utilized to ensure that the top university administration hears the faculty and responds to their concerns. While the CPI played a key role in bringing the President to step in when the college was approaching the brink of financial disaster two years ago, its impact can be much more important and lasting in the coming months and years as the process of selecting a new dean gets underway and as the college starts moving forward under new leadership. I am optimistic about the future of our college and I have the experience, enthusiasm and energy to help the new college leadership take us to better times. If I am re-elected, I pledge to be a strong and vocal advocate for the well-being of the college, its research enterprise and the individual PIs that enable this critical mission of the college and of TAMU, as a Tier-1 research University.
As for my day job as a CPI member, during the last three years I particularly focused on issues surrounding the SRS, its operations and the quality of the services it is providing to PIs. As PI of a program funded by three-four different DOE and NSF grants at any given time, several of which are renewed ever year, I am very aware of the challenges that PIs face in supporting our research enterprise as well as the deficiencies in our research administration organization. The SRS remains a problematic area and, if re-elected, I will continue that work as well as the issues related to research compliance that grew into a major problem hampering our research work.”
- Sottile, Frank (Mathematics) – “Having served as a College of Science representative to the CPI for the past three years, I have been nominated for another term. In the past three years, the college received a new dean and the University a new provost, and I have developed working relationships with other CPI representatives. The challenges presented by Dean Aronson’s arrival led to a closer collaboration among the College of Science’s CPI representatives. Our work at that time helped to mitigate some of the damage that caused, and has now led to regular meetings among the College’s CPI representatives. The expected role of the CPI is a conduit between the researchers and upper administration, especially research administration, continues. Provost Fierke’s management style, the President’s research initiatives, and (incremental) improvements in the OSRS are positive developments for our research community, although research compliance and paperwork remain an issue. It is important to maintain the quality of research in our college and continue to represent the interests of our PIs to the administration. I ask for another term as a College of Science representative to the CPI. The experience and contacts I gained in the past three years, will help me to continue to work with the other CPI representative to effectively and forcefully represent the interests of the researchers in the College of Science.”
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
- Brinkmeyer-Langford, Candice (Veterinary Integrative Biosciences) – “I am currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences. Much of my research is interdisciplinary, including elements of genetics/genomics, neuroscience, and immunology. I have received R01 funding from NIH to support my work and participate in four projects through the interdisciplinary Toxicology Program, including an NIEHS T32 training grant, an EPA STAR grant, a NCATS-funded tissue culture testing center, and an NIEHS Superfund research program. Each of these programs involves multiple investigators and locations, and I have been involved with the organization of these programs from the start. As a non-tenure track research professor at TAMU for 10 years, I believe I can be an effective voice for NTT researchers at the CPI and speak to the important contributions we make to the University research enterprise. I would facilitate communication between CPI and the research community at Texas A&M, and enthusiastically promote research that is both of high quality and impactful.”
- Ramadoss, Jayanth ‘Jay’ (Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology) – “I am honored by the nomination to represent the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the Council of Principal Investigators (CPI). My own research is focused on strategic ways to improve the lives of pregnant women and to discover means to enhance the developmental environment that may have enduring and life-long health benefits for children. I have been funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and I have served in ~14 NIH study sections since 2014. I am a recipient of many awards for research excellence including the Research Society on Alcoholism Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award, Society for Gynecological Investigation President’s Presenter’s Award, Zoetis Award for outstanding achievement in veterinary research etc. I am strongly committed to training scientists (student and postdoctoral researchers), and to promote collaborative interactions with clinician scientists and veterinarians, build strategic multi-investigator projects, and enhance veterinary and biomedical research training programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. I currently serve as a member of the research committee of the Texas A&M University Faculty Senate. At CPI, I will endeavor to communicate the views and visions of the researchers at our college as they address the “One Health” concept, and thus strive to contribute towards Texas A&M University vision of “creating a culture of excellence” in research.”
Texas A&M University at Qatar
- Bouhali, Othmane (Research Computing Institute) – “It gives me great pleasure to be nominated for CPI and I accept this nomination. I am a Research Professor and Director of Research Computing at Texas A&M University at Qatar. I hold a joint appointment with the Qatar Computing Research Institute. I am also founder and director of the TAMUQ Advanced Scientific Computing TASC Center. I can cite 3 motivations why I accept the nomination: 1) As a branch campus in Qatar, representing my PI colleagues in the CPI council will ensure their concerns and experiences to be shared with our colleagues in main campus; 2) I will continue my efforts to enhance the research collaboration between the Qatar branch campus and the main campus; 3) I have been involved in several research projects with colleagues from the main campus which gave a good visibility of the opportunities to be exploited and the challenges to be overcome if elected.”
*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