Five Texas A&M University faculty members have been appointed as “University Distinguished Professors.” The title, which is bestowed in perpetuity, is among the highest honors awarded to Texas A&M faculty members.
The newest recipients:
Dr. Jean-Louis Briaud, professor and holder of the Buchanan Chair, Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering
Dr. Martin B. Dickman, Christine Richardson Professor of Agriculture, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and director of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Catherine C. Eckel, Sara and John Lindsey Professor in Liberal Arts and professor in the Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Edgar Sánchez-Sinencio, professor and holder of the TI Jack Kilby Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering
Dr. David W. Threadgill, professor of veterinary pathobiology and director of the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and professor and holder of the Tom and Jean McMullin Chair of Genetics in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.
The 2015 University Distinguished Professor honorees join a select group of more than 75 current faculty members who hold the prestigious title. This designation denotes a faculty member who is pre-eminent in his or her field, has made at least one seminal contribution to the discipline, and whose work is central in any narrative of the field and is widely recognized to have changed the direction of scholarship in the field.
“University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty,” said Dr. Karan L. Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “They are recognized as pre-eminent authorities in their fields and their accomplishments are exemplified by outstanding teaching, mentoring, discovery and service. They demonstrate to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.”
Texas A&M Interim President Mark Hussey and the Texas A&M Foundation will host a reception on April 29 recognizing the five new university distinguished professors and honoring all of the University Distinguished Professors.
Additional information about the new University Distinguished Professors:
Dr. Jean-Louis Briaud, professor and holder of the Buchanan Chair in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, joined the faculty of the Texas A&M University Dwight Look College of Engineering in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa in Canada. Dr. Briaud pioneered the field of bridge scour in geotechnical engineering and helped drastically reduce the number of bridge failures due to scour. His seminal contributions include the development of a patented soil erosion device and a method to calculate the depth of scour around bridge supports based on a targeted risk of failure. His techniques are used worldwide. Dr. Briaud has also made seminal contributions to protecting embassies against terrorist trucks and building foundations of very tall buildings, geothermal foundations to save energy, and foundations for houses on shrink-swell soils. He has more than 200 publications, including two books. He has received awards from organizations in the United States, Canada, and Kazakhstan, and is a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He was also elected president of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the highest honor bestowed on a geotechnical engineer.
Dr. Martin B. Dickman, the Christine Richardson Professor of Agriculture, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and director of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, joined the faculty of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in January 2006. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii. Dr. Dickman is internationally recognized for his work in genetics and molecular biology of fungi and fungal-plant interactions. His primary research emphasis involves the regulation of plant programmed cell death. He is principally responsible for establishing the new paradigm that programmed cell death (PCD) plays a central role in controlling plant disease and plant stress responses. He demonstrated that plant and animal PCD regulatory genes, though lacking in DNA sequence conservation, are structurally and, importantly, functionally similar. He established the field of comparative pathobiology and demonstrated that PCD is broadly conserved across phylogenetic kingdoms. Dr. Dickman also showed that several globally important pathogens subvert and reprogram host-targeted PCD pathways to promote disease. Together, his observations have had profound impacts on our fundamental understanding of plant diseases and the development of novel strategies for enhancing crop productivity. His awards include: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Society for Microbiology, Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, and the E.C. Stakman Award for Research Excellence in Plant Pathology, a pivotal distinction in the field.
Dr. Catherine C. Eckel, Sara and John Lindsey Professor in Liberal Arts and professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts, came to Texas A&M in 2012. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Dr. Eckel’s primary research is in the areas of experimental and behavioral economics. She has made important contributions on topics that are both policy-relevant and of interest to the academic community. Examples include studies of the effect of subsidies on charitable giving, measuring risk preferences, and discrimination by race and gender as evidenced in games of trust. In a recent published world ranking of more than 1,200 researchers in experimental economics, she is ranked 16th. Dr. Eckel is past president of the Southern Economic Association, the largest regional association in economics. She also served as Economics Program Director at the National Science Foundation. Among her honors and awards, Dr. Eckel received the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award from the American Economic Association Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, which recognizes individuals who have furthered the status of women in the profession through example, achievements, increasing understanding of how women can advance in the profession, or mentoring others.
Dr. Edgar Sánchez-Sinencio, the TI Jack Kilby Chair Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering joined the faculty of the Dwight Look College of Engineering in 1983. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Sánchez-Sinencio is a pre-eminent scholar in the areas of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits, and radio-frequency circuits and systems. His seminal contributions to the field include pioneering work in switched-capacitor circuits, continuous-time filters and current-mode filters, and research on radio-frequency integrated receivers. He has co-authored five books and co-edited another. He has been co-author on more than 400 technical papers. Dr. Sánchez-Sinencio is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His awards include: IEEE Guillemin Cauer Award; IEEE Darlington Award; IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Medal; IEEE Circuit and Systems Charles Desoer Technical Award; an honorary doctorate from the National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico; and Texas Senate Proclamation #373 for Outstanding Accomplishments.
Dr. David W. Threadgill, professor of veterinary pathobiology and director of the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and professor and holder of the Tom and Jean McMullin Chair of Genetics in the department of molecular and cellular medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, joined the faculty in 2013. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Dr. Threadgill is an international leader in the area of mouse genetics with a focus on functional genomics and complex trait analysis. He is one of the pioneers of the new field of systems genetics. His research focuses on using model systems to understand genetic individuality and susceptibility to various diseases. He has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and has been awarded three patents. One of his transformative contributions to the field of genetic susceptibility was the recognition that the field needed better tools and his vision for and leadership in the development of the Collaborative Cross, an innovative mouse resource that models the genetic complexity of human populations. Dr. Threadgill is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as president of the International Mammalian Genome Society. His many honors and awards include the March of Dimes Basil O’Conner Award, the V Foundation Scholar Award, and the Jefferson Pilot Scholar Award.
More information, including a complete list of University Distinguished Professors, is available online.
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