TAMEST Board Appoints New Leadership

2021 New NAS Members

At its January 24, 2023 meeting, the TAMEST Board of Directors officially appointed Brendan Lee, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM), Baylor College of Medicine, as President and Ganesh Thakur, Ph.D. (NAE), University of Houston, as Vice President. Both will serve a two-year term. 

Dr. Lee is the Professor and Chair of Molecular and Human Genetics and Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Chair in Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has previously served as TAMEST Vice President, TAMEST Treasurer and Chair of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine Subcommittee. Dr. Lee received the 2009 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine and is the first former recipient to be elected President of TAMEST.

“I am the first President of TAMEST that is a former Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awardee, and as such, I am literally a product of TAMEST and the manifestation of its vision and mission,” Dr. Lee said. “It is an honor, and I look forward to continuing to expand TAMEST’s impact in Texas and our work to define and support rising star researchers in our state. We also really hope to be a source of expertise to help partner with stakeholders to encourage innovation, collaboration, talent cultivation and economic growth in our state.”

Dr. Thakur is the Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering and Director for Energy Industry Partnerships at University of Houston (UH). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and The National Academy of Inventors. He has previously served as TAMEST Treasurer and TAMEST Treasurer-elect.

“I am privileged to become Vice President of TAMEST and love that I get to work closely with other prominent research leaders across the state and the world to promote research in medicine, engineering, science, and technology, developing the next generation of scientific leaders within the state of Texas and across the world,” Dr. Thakur said. “TAMEST’s mission to advance scientific excellence within the state through recognition of its top achievers and its support of targeted educational programs provides a captivating and ideal platform to attract talent to the state, and to advance our position as a leading institution in the nation and across the globe. We can’t wait to continue this mission.”

The TAMEST Board President and Vice President help coordinate and guide the TAMEST Board of Directors in planning strategy, programs and communications.

The Board also welcomed two new members: Selda Gunsel, Ph.D. (NAE), President of Shell Global Solutions and Bonnie Bartel, Ph.D. (NAS), Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor, Department of Biosciences, Rice University. Dr. Gunsel will serve as Treasurer-Elect of TAMEST.

The TAMEST Board of Directors is composed of fifteen members, with five members representing each of the National Academies: National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences. Board members serve a three-year rotating term, with several new members elected each year.

The TAMEST Board also recognized retiring members Richard Dixon, D.Phil. (NAS, FRS), The University of North Texas, and 2021-2022 Past President Amelie Ramirez, DrPH (NAM), UT Health San Antonio, who has served on the Executive Committee the last six years.

TAMEST gives special thanks to 2021-2022 Board President David E. Daniel, Ph.D. (NAE), The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Daniel helped steer the organization’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, led a Department of Defense project to document and catalogue expertise in our state and stewarded the historic expansion of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards as well as the creation of the Mary Beth Maddox Award and Lectureship.

He also hosted our two-part Natural Hazards Summit with the University of Houston and Texas Tech University. He will continue to serve on the Board of Directors for two years in the position of Past President.

Both the Board and staff thank Dr. Daniel for his outstanding leadership and dedication to TAMEST.

Learn more about Drs. Lee and Thakur:

2021 New NAS Members

Brendan Lee, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM)

Dr. Lee is the Professor and Chair of Molecular and Human Genetics and Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Chair in Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. He earned his B.S. from City University Of New York, Brooklyn College and his M.D. and Ph.D. from State University Of New York Downstate Medical Center.

As a pediatrician and geneticist, Dr. Lee studies structural birth defects and inborn errors of metabolism. He identified the first genetic causes of human skeletal dysplasias and their implications for cancers of the skeleton. In the area of metabolic disease, he has studied nitric oxide dysregulation and developed new treatments for maple syrup urine disease and urea cycle disorders.

Honors include the 2009 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine, the E. Mead Johnson Award for “Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Pediatrics,” the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award and the American Philosophical Society’s Judson Darland Prize for Patient-Oriented Clinical Investigation. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2013.

Ganesh Thakur, Ph.D. (NAE)

Dr. Thakur is Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering and Director for Energy Industry Partnerships at University of Houston (UH). He is President and Global Advisor at Thakur Services, Inc. and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Thakur is also a recipient of the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) grant, which helped bring him to UH where he is helping lead the nation in cutting-edge research and further elevate future generations of students and faculty while spearheading new breakthroughs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, all of which are crucial to the long-term success of the Texas economy.

Dr. Thakur’s current research interests include a multi-disciplinary, innovative and integrated approaches to the recovery of oil and gas through research pertaining to CO2 – EOR, waterflooding / IOR, and integrated reservoir management for conventional & unconventional reservoirs, and CCUS.

He has published over 100 journal articles and conference papers and holds five (5) patents.

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