David Russell

David W. Russell, Ph.D., President
Vice Provost and Dean of Basic Research
Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair in Molecular Genetics
Professor, Biophysics and Molecular Genetics
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. David W. Russell received a B.A. degree in biology from UT Austin in 1975 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1980. He was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow from 1980-1982 with Nobel Laureate Michael Smith (Chemistry, 1993) at the University of British Columbia. He joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 1982, was promoted to professor in 1990, and received the McDermott Distinguished Chair of Molecular Genetics in 1992. Russell's research interests are in cholesterol metabolism, in particular the enzymatic pathways that dispose of cholesterol. His laboratory has isolated over a dozen genes that encode enzymes involved in cholesterol breakdown, and has identified the molecular bases of seven human genetic diseases characterized by abnormal lipid metabolism. Russell and Dr. Joseph Sambrook are the authors of the 3rd edition of the best-selling laboratory manual titled Molecular Cloning published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Russell is the recipient of a research career development award from the National Institutes of Health, the Katz Award from the American Heart Association, the Kilby Science Place award from Texas Instruments, the Oppenheimer Award from the U.S. Endocrine Society, the Windaus Prize from the Falck Foundation of Germany, the Avanti Award in Lipids from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Barbara H. Bowman Distinguished Geneticist Award from the Texas Genetics Society. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2011.

Russell teaches introductory and advanced courses in biochemistry and molecular biology to medical and graduate students, and is a member of numerous administrative committees at the medical school. He has served on the editorial boards of Biochemistry, Annual Reviews of Biochemistry, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Trends in Biochemical Sciences and Molecular Endocrinology, and now serves on the editorial boards of Cell Metabolism, the Journal of Lipid Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. He reviews research grant applications and programs for the US National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is a consultant to law firms, the pharmaceutical industry, and biotechnology companies.

In December of 2010, Russell joined the UT Southwestern administration as Vice Provost and Dean of Basic Research. His responsibilities include strategic planning and development of research initiatives across campus, research faculty recruitment to departments and centers, and oversight of the basic science departments, graduate education, the Animal Resource Center, and core laboratory facilities.

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Gordon England

The Honorable Gordon R. England, Vice President
Chairman of the Board
V1 Analytical Solutions

Previous to his position at V1 Analytical Solutions, Gordon England was president of E6 Partners LLC, a firm specializing in defense, security, and mergers and acquisitions for domestic and international companies. He is the executive chairman of Totus Solutions, Inc., a firm specializing in lighting-based security solutions, and he is on the board of directors for various start-up technical companies.

Previously, Mr. England served as the 29th Deputy Secretary of Defense. He also served as the 72nd and 73rd Secretary of the Navy and as the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. England served as president of the General Dynamics Fort Worth Division (later Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company); as vice president of Engineering at General Dynamics Land Systems and later as president; and as corporate executive vice president of General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology Sector, Ground Combat Systems Sector, and the International Sector. His business career spanned over 40 years as an engineer specializing in aerospace avionics and senior executive positions.

A native of Baltimore, Mr. England graduated from the University of Maryland in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. In 1975 he earned a master's degree in business administration from the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. He is a distinguished alumnus of both universities. He is a member of business, engineering, and leadership honor societies. He serves on the board of trustees for the University of Maryland and is a chairman of the foundation board for the U.S. Naval Institute and chairman of the Heroes and Families Foundation.

Mr. England has served in a variety of civic, charitable and government organizations, including serving as a city councilman; vice chair, national board of Goodwill, International; the USO's Board of Governors; the Defense Science Board; the board of visitors at Texas Christian University; and many others. He has been recognized for numerous professional and service contributions by universities, professional and civic organizations, local government, and the Department of Defense.

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Ken Arnold

Kenneth E. Arnold, P.E., Treasurer and Past President
Senior Technical Advisor
Oxy

In 1980, Ken Arnold founded Paragon Engineering Services, a 600 person company providing engineering services to the upstream oil and gas, and pipeline industries. Paragon was sold in 2005 to AMEC, a UK based global project management and services company. Arnold is currently a Senior Technical Advisor for WorleyParsons and an independent consultant to the oil and gas industry. Prior to forming Paragon, he had 16 years experience with Shell as an engineer, research department manager and engineering manager. In the 1980s, Arnold developed and published in a series of articles a rational basis for sizing gas-liquid separators, oil-water separators, oil treating systems and produced water treating systems based on droplet settling theory. This formed the basis of two textbooks he co-authored on the design and project management of oilfield production facilities which have gone through multiple printings and two editions and are still being used in petroleum engineering schools around the world.

Since the late 1980s, most of Arnold’s publications have been in the area of offshore safety and project management, and he has won awards from API and SPE for his work in promoting offshore safety. He was the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Houston Engineer of the Year in 2003 and won the Society of Petroleum Engineers Public Service Award in 2006, the DeGoyler Award in 2007 and Honorary Membership in 2008. His two greatest achievements were realized when Paragon was named one of the ten best places to work in its size range by the Houston Business Journal in 2002 and when AMEC Paragon received the Texas Association of Partners in Education Gold Award in 2006 for pioneering work they did in setting up a partnership with SBISD for mentoring, tutoring, Texas Scholars and teacher for a day programs.

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Danny Reible

Danny D. Reible, Ph.D., Secretary
Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair
Environmental and Water Resources, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Texas Tech University

Dr. Reible is the Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair at Texas Tech University. Previously he was the Bettie Margaret Smith Chair of Environmental Health Engineering in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the director of the Center for Research in Water Resources at The University of Texas in Austin. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer, a Professional Engineer (LA), and in 2005 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for the “development of widely used approaches for the management of contaminated sediments.” In 2012 he helped found and currently chairs the International Society of Water Solutions, a society focused on industrial water management. He also chaired the program committee for TAMEST’s 2012 Texas Water Summit on the assessment and management of Texas water resources.

Dr. Reible’s research is focused on the fate, transport, and management of contaminants in the environment and the sustainable management of water resources. Current interests include the assessment of bioavailability of mercury and hydrophobic organics in sediments and their in-situ remediation. He has also evaluated the impacts of coastal flooding, e.g. during hurricanes, on contaminant mobility and availability. His water resources work has included water management for hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and oil and the efficient allocation of water resources, particularly in the face of drought.

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C. Thomas Caskey

C. Thomas Caskey, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.M.G., F.R.S.C.
Professor, Molecular & Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. C. Thomas Caskey has over 35 years of experience in molecular genetics. Dr. Caskey currently serves as Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Caskey was the Director and CEO of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Caskey previously served as Senior Vice President, Human Genetics and Vaccines Discovery at Merck Research Laboratories, West Point and as President of the Merck Genome Research Institute.

Dr. Caskey is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Genetics, and Molecular Genetics with 25 years of patient care experience in these specialties. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Royal Society of Canada, member & Chair of the Board on Health Sciences Policy - Institute of Medicine and past President of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Human Genome Organization, and Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science. He is an editor of the Annual Reviews of Medicine.

Dr. Caskey has received numerous academic and industry honors. His genetic research has identified the genetic basis of 15 major inheritable diseases and opened up the understanding of triplet repeat diseases (Fragile X, myotonic dystrophy and others). His personal identification patent is the basis of worldwide application for forensic science and he is also a consultant to the FBI in forensic science. Recent publications address the utility of genome wide sequencing to preventive medical care. His current research is focused on the genetic basis of schizophrenia.

Dr. Caskey has completed 150 full genomes on Young Presidents Organization (YPO) members and physicians by conducting interpretation of “Need to know” disease alleles and counseling all of them.

 


Francisco Cigarroa

Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.
Ashbel Smith Professor and Director of Pediatric Transplantation Surgery
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Yale University in 1979 and earned his medical degree in 1983 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His post graduate training was both at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital in General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery and Transplantation Surgery. He served as President of the University of Texas Health Science Center from 2000-2009 and then Chancellor of the University of Texas System from 2009-2015.

Dr. Cigarroa received national recognition for his Framework for Advancing Excellence at the University of Texas System and was a pivotal leader in establishing the Dell Medical School, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its associated Medical School residing in South Texas. He also provided leadership in establishing the Transformation in Medical Education Initiative across the UT System, the Institute for Transformational Learning and the Virtual Brain Institute funding interdisciplinary research across the UT System.

Upon completion of his tenure as Chancellor of the University of Texas System he assumed the role of Director of Pediatric Transplantation at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is also the Principal Investigator on establishing a biorepository for hepatocellular carcinoma among Hispanic patients as well as studying the epigenetics of this neoplasm. It is hypothesized that genetic and epigenetic analysis in combination with high throughput drug screening in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues and cells will allow the identification of novel molecular targets and therapeutic strategies for Hispanic patients suffering from this tumor and will also provide insights for the development of novel therapeutics in the general population.


Brian Clark

Brian Clark, Ph.D.
Fellow
Schlumberger

For the past 31 years Brian Clark has been inventing and developing technology for the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, and has managed research, engineering, manufacturing and sustaining of the same technology. Since joining Schlumberger in 1979, Dr. Clark has held various scientific, technical and management positions, including Research Scientist, Product Line Manager, Vice President and Director of Research, Vice President Formation Evaluation, and Technology Center Manager. He is currently one of ten Schlumberger Fellows.

Dr. Clark has received 60 U.S. patents on oil field technology and was named “2002 Texas Inventor of the Year” by the Texas State Bar Association. His inventions are used on most of the world’s deepwater wells and include instruments that are lowered into a well on a cable (“wireline”) or built into drill collars (“measurement-while-drilling” and “logging-while-drilling”). He received the 1996 “Formation Evaluation Award” from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) "for overcoming scientific and technical challenges resulting in a quantum improvement in the quantity, quality, and safety of logging-while-drilling measurements”. In 2010, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering “for contributions and leadership in development and worldwide implementation of measurement-while-drilling technology.” Other awards include Offshore Technology Conference’s Spotlight on New Technology Innovation (2004), Hart's E&P Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation (2004), and Hart's E&P’s Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation (2005).

Dr. Clark is a member of the U.S. committee of the World Petroleum Council (WPC), and is active in several professional societies. He is a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Society of Professional Well Log Analysts (SPWLA), and the SPE. He has served as a Director of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), and as a Director of the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA).

Dr. Clark received a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Ohio State University in 1970, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Harvard University in 1971 and 1977 respectively. Prior to joining Schlumberger, he was an Instructor and Assistant Professor of Physics at Brandeis University from 1976 to 1979 with research specializing in experimental atomic physics.


Melanie Cobb

Melanie H. Cobb, Ph.D.
Jane and Bill Browning, Jr. Chair of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Pharmacology
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Melanie Cobb received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in biological chemistry at Washington University. Following postdoctoral work with Dr. Ora Rosen at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, Cobb joined the Department of Pharmacology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern). She served as dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern for eight years from 2003-2010.

Cobb’s research interests are in cellular regulatory mechanisms, which include the structure and function of protein kinases, regulation of nutrient responses, misuse of signaling pathways in cancer and other signal transduction mechanisms. A major interest is in mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and understanding the diverse functions of these pathways. She also studies properties of WNK protein kinases in regulation of ion homeostasis and vesicular trafficking. Her focus on hormonal signal transduction pathways led to one of Cobb’s greatest achievements. She was the first to molecularly characterize ERK1/2 MAPKs, critical regulators of cellular events such as proliferation, differentiation, homeostasis, motility, and apoptosis. Furthermore, her elucidation of properties of MAPK cascades and structures of some of the catalytic components with Betsy Goldsmith, also at UT Southwestern, provides insights into the development of novel antineoplastic drugs.

Cobb has a plethora of published research articles, predominantly on protein kinases and their regulatory mechanisms. As of 2014 she serves on the NIH Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology study section and the editorial board of the journal Molecular Endocrinology, and is a member of several FASEB societies. Cobb also serves on the O’Donnell Awards Committee for TAMEST.

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Peter Hotez

Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Peter Hotez received his bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry with high honors from Yale University, and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Rockefeller University-Weil Cornell Medical College in New York. He completed residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University School of Medicine. He was on the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine and served as Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University before relocating to Baylor College of Medicine 2011. He currently serves as the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics, as well as president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. He is also a fellow in disease and poverty at the James A. Baker III Institute of Rice University.

Dr. Hotez has pioneered the development of vaccines to combat neglected tropical diseases, including a human hookworm vaccine in clinical trials. He is also a leading global health advocate helping to create a rapid impact package for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) now reaching more than 250 million people in developing countries, and for the concept of ‘vaccine diplomacy.’ He has received grants from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has written over 275 scientific papers and 60 book chapters, in addition to more than 50 Op-Ed pieces in major magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and articles for Scientific American and Foreign Policy. He appears frequently on television and radio in his role as a global health advocate.

Dr. Hotez is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians. He is past president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and serves on the NIH Council of Councils and the advisory committee of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). In 2012 he received the Abraham Horwitz Award in inter-American public health leadership from the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO, and in 2013 he was named as one of the 50 most influential people in vaccines.

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Danny Jacobs

Danny O. Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine
Thomas N. & Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair
Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and Institute for Translational Sciences
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Dr. Jacobs’ distinguished career includes leadership positions at Harvard University, where he served as associate program director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) Clinical Research Center, chief of BWH’s Metabolic Support Service, and director of the Laboratory for Surgical Metabolism and Nutrition; and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, where he served as the Arnold W. Lempka Distinguished Professor of Surgery and chair of the Surgery Department. Prior to joining the University of Texas Medical Branch, he served as the David C. Sabiston Jr. Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. Additional roles at Duke included executive director of the American College of Surgeons’ accredited Comprehensive Education Institute, member of the Duke Cancer Research Institute’s Internal Advisory Board, member of the Duke Translational Research Institute’s Advisory Council, chair of the Private Diagnostic Clinic’s Board of Managers (Duke’s Faculty Group Practice equivalent) and member of the Board of Directors for the Duke University Health System.

Dr. Jacobs’ research interests span a wide range of topics in general and gastrointestinal surgery, including the metabolic effects of malnutrition, stress, infection and injury; nuclear magnetic resonance applications in organ function; the metabolic effects of specific nutrients and growth factors; and, most recently, the role of the creatine transporter in cellular bioenergetics. Throughout his career, he has lent his expertise to roughly two dozen national research committees, acting as scientist reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense programs. Dr. Jacobs’ research efforts have been funded by organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NIH, Knoll Pharmaceuticals, the Federal Drug Administration, Creighton University and the Health Futures Foundation.

Dr. Jacobs is a member of numerous honorific and academic societies, which include the American College of Surgeons, Society of University Surgeons, American Surgical Association, Southern Surgical Association, and European Academy of Sciences. Author of nearly 200 publications, encompassing peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books, he has reviewed for prestigious periodicals such as the American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Physiology, JAMA, JAMA Surgery, Annals of Surgery and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He has served on numerous editorial boards and was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. Current editorial board memberships include the New England Journal of Medicine and World Journal of Surgery. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2001.

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David Meltzer

David J. Meltzer, Ph.D.
Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory
Executive Director, Quest Archaeological Research Program
Southern Methodist University

Dr. David Meltzer received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology (with a minor in soils) from the University of Maryland, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in archaeology from the University of Washington (which included a stint as a Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution). Newly-minted Ph.D. in hand, he joined the faculty in the Department of Anthropology at SMU, and never left. He is now the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory at SMU, and an Associate in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University.

Dr. Meltzer is an archaeologist who investigates the origins, antiquity, and adaptations of the hunter-gatherers who colonized North America in Pleistocene (Ice Age) times. Working with an interdisciplinary group of Quaternary geologists and vertebrate paleontologists, along with geneticists who work on ancient DNA, Dr. Meltzer explores who the initial colonists were, where they originated, when and how they made it here, and how they adapted to what was then a new, vast, ecologically diverse and unknown landscape during a period of significant climate and ecological change. Attempts to address these questions have involved efforts to understand Pleistocene climates and environments and their impact on human foragers, investigations into the possible role of human hunters in the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna (mammoths, mastodons and the like), the role of landscape learning and demographics in colonizing new worlds, and how such processes might play out over centuries and be visible archaeologically. He also has an interest in and has published on the history of archaeology and glacial geology.

These research interests have been pursued through archaeological fieldwork in many areas of the United States from arctic Alaska to west Texas, and most recently on high elevation sites in the Rockies. The research has been supported by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, The Potts and Sibley Foundation, and since 1996 an endowment that created the Quest Archaeological Research Program, which will support in perpetuity at SMU investigations into the earliest occupations of North America. The results of Dr. Meltzer’s research have appeared in ~160 scientific papers and 10 books.

Dr. Meltzer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

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Bob Metcalfe

Bob Metcalfe, Ph.D.
Venture Partner, Polaris Venture Partners
Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise
The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Bob Metcalfe joined The University of Texas at Austin in January of 2011, relocating from Polaris Venture Partners based in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he remains a Venture Partner. He is well known in the world of technology, having invented today’s local-area networking standard, Ethernet, while working at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s. In 1979, he founded 3Com Corporation (which IPO'd in 1984 and was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2010), a company that sold early commercial versions of standard Ethernet and other Internet networking products.

Metcalfe’s research areas have included computer operating systems and networks, with his current research interest being entrepreneurial, technological innovation at scale. Among his many achievements, Metcalfe was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995), received the National Medal of Technology (2005) and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2007).

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Roberta Ness

Roberta B. Ness, M.D., M.P.H.
Dean
M. David Low Chair in Public Health
The University of Texas School of Public Health
Vice President for Innovation
The University Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Dr. Roberta B. Ness is an internationally recognized expert in medicine and public health. She is dean and M. David Low Chair in Public Health at The University of Texas School of Public Health, one of the largest such schools in the nation. Dr. Ness was formerly chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health where she was a professor of epidemiology, medicine, and obstetrics & gynecology. She served as interim dean from 2005-2006. Prior to joining the Pittsburgh faculty in 1993, she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ness received her M.D. from Cornell University and her M.P.H. from Columbia University. She has been at the forefront of women’s health research, being one of the first to propose the research paradigm now termed “gender-based biology” in her book titled, Health and Disease among Women (1999). In 325 peer-reviewed publications and over two dozen grants, Dr. Ness has explored the epidemiology of ovarian cancer, preeclampsia, and pelvic inflammatory disease; adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes; links between reproductive history and cardiovascular disease; and bacterial sexually transmitted infections. Dr. Ness is also known for her work on teaching innovation. She recently authored Innovation Generation, an instructional program for innovative thinking (Oxford U Press) and Genius Unmasked, the story of genius scientists of the 20th century and how they thought. Dr. Ness has been an advisor to the National Institutes for Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NASA, and the Department of Defense. She has been a committee member or chair for half a dozen Institute of Medicine reports and has provided expert testimony to many more.

Dr. Ness is past president of the prestigious American Epidemiologic Society and past president of the American College of Epidemiology. She was founding chair of the Joint Policy Committee of the 14 societies of epidemiology. Other honors include a 2006 Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians; 2008 Distinguished Professor of Women’s Health from the Society of General Internal Medicine; 2013 Petersdorf Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges; and 2013 Snow Award from the American Public Health Association. In 2011 she was named as a U.S. Presidential appointee to the Mickey Leland Center for Environmental Air Toxicant Research. She is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians, member of the Texas Philosophical Society, and member of the Institute of Medicine.

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Peter Wolynes

Peter G. Wolynes, Ph.D.
Bullard-Welch Foundation Professor of Chemistry
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Rice University

Dr. Peter G. Wolynes was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 21, 1953. He graduated with an A.B. from Indiana University in 1971 and received a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard University in 1976. He spent most of the year as a postdoctoral fellow with John Deutch at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, returning in the fall to Harvard to join the faculty. In 1980 he moved to the University of Illinois, eventually becoming the Center for Advanced Study Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Biophysics. In 2000 he moved to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. In 2011 he was named D.R. Bullard-Welch Foundation Professor of Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Wolynes’ work across the spectrum of theoretical chemistry and biochemistry has been recognized by the 1986 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the 2000 Peter Debye Award for Physical Chemistry of the ACS, the Fresenius Award, the Joseph Hirschfelder Prize for Theoretical Chemistry, and the 2012 ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry. For his work on the energy landscape theory of protein folding, he received the 2004 Biological Physics Prize from the American Physical Society (now called the Max Delbrück Prize) and the 2008 Founders Award of the Biophysical Society. In 1991 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and in 2013 was elected to the NAS Council. Dr. Wolynes is also a member of the American Philosophical Society, the German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina," and a foreign member of the Royal Society of London.

At Rice—in addition to continuing his work on many body chemical physics, the glass transition, protein folding and protein structure prediction—he is also studying stochastic aspects of cell biology.

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Sharon Wood

Sharon L. Wood, Ph.D.
Dean, Cockrell School of Engineering
Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #14
The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Sharon L. Wood became the ninth dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in September 2014, after serving as interim dean for one year. She holds the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #14 and the Jack and Beverly Randall Dean's Chair for Excellence in Engineering.

Prior to her appointment as dean, Wood served as the chair of the school’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering for five years and she is a former director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory, one of the nation’s leading research centers in the large-scale study of the behavior of bridges, buildings, and structural components. She joined the Cockrell School faculty in 1996.

Wood is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and vice president of the American Concrete Institute. She has been internationally recognized for her research on the earthquake response of reinforced concrete structures. Her research interests include improving the structural response of reinforced concrete buildings, design and evaluation of bridges, and development of passive sensors for infrastructure systems. She has served on federal advisory committees for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Kay Bailey Hutchison, Honorary Chair
United States Senator (R-TX), 1993-2013

Kay Bailey Hutchison was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993. She served with distinction in the Senate leadership as vice chair of the Republican Conference and chair of the Republican Policy Committee, and was the fourth-highest-ranking Republican senator. She was the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science. In addition, she was chair of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, served on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and played an integral role in framing military policy after the devastating attacks on September 11th.

In 2004, Senator Hutchison was instrumental in establishing The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST) and continues to serve as its honorary chair. In just eight years, 97 members have joined TAMEST through induction into the National Academies or relocation to Texas, and Senator Hutchison has worked to move Texas from sixth to third in the nation in federal research funding.

Senator Hutchison has been a strong advocate for the scientific and economic value of investing in the space program. She chaired the Science and Space Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee from 2005-2007, overseeing NASA and the National Science Foundation. In December of 2005, Senator Hutchison’s five-year blueprint for NASA’s exploration and research initiatives was signed into law, and in 2010 she helped pass the NASA Reauthorization Bill that bolsters America’s human spaceflight capabilities for the next steps in deep-space exploration while moving forward with development of a new commercial space industry.

Senator Hutchison has a significant legacy of service to the State of Texas, and while her accomplishments are numerous, education is perhaps her strongest passion. She co-sponsored the America COMPETES Act, including a provision in the bill enabling colleges and universities to allow students who major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to become concurrently certified as elementary and secondary school teachers. In 2001, she sponsored legislation that allows public schools to offer single-sex education, paving the way for the outstanding single-gender public schools in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Lubbock, and Fort Worth.

Senator Hutchison’s efforts to strengthen and modernize Texas’ military bases and support veterans’ programs include securing billions of dollars for multi-year improvements at military bases across the state. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Senator Hutchison won FY 2007 Committee approval of $77.9 billion for veterans’ programs, including an additional $5.4 billion (a 50% increase) for veterans’ medical services. She sponsored a number of bills that served to aid veterans, such as securing $14.1 million for research in Gulf War related illness and providing disability benefits for Gulf War Syndrome; sponsoring S.614, a Congressional Gold Medal for the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II, signed into law in July 2009; and instigated Veterans Affairs’ 2006 study of veterans’ access to health care in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

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Michael S. Brown, M.D., TAMEST Founding Co-chair
Regental Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Internal Medicine
Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Michael S. Brown received a B.A. degree in Chemistry in 1962 and an M.D. degree in 1966 from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post doctoral fellow with Dr. Earl Stadtman at the National Institutes of Health. In 1971, he came to Dallas where he rose through the ranks to become a professor in 1976.

He is currently Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Dr. Brown is also a member of the Board of Directors of Pfizer, Inc. and is Chairman of its Science and Technology Committee. Dr. Brown and his long-time colleague, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, together discovered the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls the level of cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that leads to premature heart attacks in one out of every 500 people in most populations. Their work laid the theoretical groundwork for the development of a class of drugs called statins that block cholesterol synthesis, increase LDL receptors, lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Statins are taken daily by more than 20 million people worldwide. Brown and Goldstein have received many awards for this work, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology.

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