December 8, 2015

Kent Nutt
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TAMEST Announces Recipients of the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards and Celebrates the Awards’ 10th Anniversary

AUSTIN, Texas—The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards. The recipients will be honored during the O’Donnell Awards Dinner in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, January 21, 2016, in conjunction with the TAMEST 2016 Annual Conference.

“The recipients of the 2016 O’Donnell Awards illustrate the cutting edge research now taking place in the Lone Star State in medicine, engineering, mathematics, and advanced manufacturing,” said Kenneth E. Arnold, TAMEST’s 2015 President. “The remarkable achievements of these young scientists and the growing number of accomplished nominees in each award category are further evidence that Texas has become a world-class destination for scientific research.”

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the O’Donnell Awards and this important milestone will be celebrated at the annual awards dinner and reception. Over $1 million has been awarded to 44 recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the program. The awards are named in honor of Edith and Peter O’Donnell who are among Texas’ staunchest advocates for excellence in scientific advancement and STEM education.

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of performance, creativity, and resourcefulness.

The 2016 recipients are:

MedicineJoshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Mendell received the award for pioneering work on the functions of noncoding RNAs in cancer and tissue regeneration. Using a mouse model of liver cancer, his team found that delivery of one non-coding RNA called miR-26a dramatically inhibited cancer progression and killed liver cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells.

EngineeringAndrea Alù, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has made a number of groundbreaking, highly-cited and recognized contributions to science and engineering. These contributions include seminal work on cloaking and invisibility, pioneering advances in optical nanocircuits and nanoantennas, magnetic-free non-reciprocal devices for sound, radio-waves and light, and giant nonlinear response in optical metamaterials.

ScienceAlessio Figalli, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Figalli’s mathematical work has tackled questions of optimization related to the most economical way to transport and distribute goods or resources. Recently, his work has been applied in meteorology to describe how clouds evolve over time, a discovery that contributes to better models of complex climate phenomena.

Technology InnovationVan N. Truskett, Ph.D., ‎Director of Jetting Technology at Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc., is recognized for her impactful body of work in science, inventorship, and engineering on some of the most fundamental and important problems for enabling nanoscale manufacturing in semiconductors, hard disk drives, and flexible films for display applications.

TAMEST’s 2016 Annual Conference—Materials for the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities—will be held January 20-22, 2016 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas. The conference will highlight recent developments in materials science and engineering that are leading to qualitative changes in the way products are manufactured, the way medicine is practiced, and the way energy is provided to our society.

View the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards video trailer online at

Read more about the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recipients at

For further information about the TAMEST 2016 Annual Conference, please visit

To arrange interviews with the TAMEST President or recipients of the O’Donnell Awards, use the contacts below:

Kenneth Arnold, TAMEST 2015 President
Media contact: Kent Nutt, TAMEST
Phone: 512-471-0575
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joshua Mendell, 2016 O’Donnell Award in Medicine
Media contact: Deborah Wormser, UT Southwestern
Phone: 214-648-9355
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Andrea Alù, 2016 O’Donnell Award in Engineering
Media contact: Patrick Wiseman, Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin
Phone: 512-232-8060
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alessio Figalli, 2016 O’Donnell Award in Science
Media contact: Christine Sinatra, College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin
Phone: 512-471-4641
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Van N. Truskett, 2016 O’Donnell Award in Technology Innovation
Media contact: Paul Shaver, Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc.
Phone: 512-339-7760, ext. 303
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


TAMEST is what comes before the change you see in our state. A nonprofit and a brain trust for Texas, TAMEST convenes influential experts to promote cross-industry and cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing. Through TAMEST, research collides with industry. Our members make new discoveries, lay the groundwork for tackling critical issues, and change the course of funding, legislation, and society. With more than 270 members, TAMEST is composed of the Texas-based members of the three National Academies (Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Sciences) and the state’s 10 Nobel Laureates. TAMEST brings the state’s top scientific, academic, and corporate minds together to secure Texas’ future as a national research leader. TAMEST also fosters the next generation of scientists and facilitates awareness and communication among the state’s best and brightest about research priorities for the future. More information is available at

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