2018 O’Donnell Awards Recipients

2018 O'Donnell Awards

2018 O’Donnell awards recipients Jordan Scott Orange, Delia Milliron and Xiaoqin Elaine Li

Defining a new class of diseases. Advancing technology that could revolutionize how windows are used in modern architecture. And creating materials that could open the door to major advances in energy, communications and computing.

These are the discoveries by Texas’ rising stars in research being honored with the 2018 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by TAMEST.

This year’s recipients of the O’Donnell Awards showcase the best and brightest in Texas research, whose creative work could have a lasting impact on our lives.

Medicine

Learning more about how natural killer cells work could have an important role in the therapy of some of the most vexing medical conditions that we face. The potential of his work is just now beginning to manifest.

Jordan Scott Orange, M.D., Ph.D.

National Academy of Medicine: 2018

Dr. Orange, professor of pediatrics and chief of the section of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, and the director of the Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital is the recipient of the 2018 TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine.

Dr. Orange is a trailblazing innovator in modern medicine. He has defined a new class of diseases, natural killer cell deficiencies. These diseases take place when the body’s built-in defenses against infections, pathogens and cancer are defective and prevent the body from being able to adequately fight back. His work has uncovered immune deficiencies and identified secrets of these disorders to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients, particularly children.

“Learning more about how natural killer cells work could have an important role in the therapy of some of the most vexing medical conditions that we face,” says Mark W. Kline M.D., Professor and Ralph D. Feigin Chair of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital. “The potential of his work is just now beginning to manifest.”

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Engineering

She has a very deep understanding of chemistry and physics. She knows how to identify the great problems we face and the societal needs that have to be addressed.

Delia J. Milliron, Ph.D.

Dr. Milliron, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, is the recipient of the 2018 TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering.

Dr. Milliron has advanced technology that could revolutionize how windows are used in modern architecture. She has developed a new material that when applied to windows with a thin coating can dynamically control the amount of infrared light (and the heat that comes with it) that passes through. This “smart window” technology allows visual interaction with the outdoors without having too much – or not enough – heat from the sun, which could result in significantly reduced energy consumption.

“Dr. Milliron has a very deep understanding of chemistry and physics,” says Thomas M. Truskett, Ph.D., Department Chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. “She knows how to identify the great problems we face and the societal needs that have to be addressed.”

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Science

She is doing the kind of foundational research that could lead to new types of improved solar cells and perhaps ultimately build new types of computers.

Xiaoqin Elaine Li, Ph.D.

Dr. Li, associate professor in the Department of Physics of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, is the recipient of the 2018 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Science.

Dr. Li ‘s research focuses on the interaction of light and matter at the nanoscale in quantum materials. Her innovative work has helped create and control materials that can emit one photon at a time. The creation and manipulation of these materials could open the door to major advances in energy, communications and computing.

“Dr. Li’s research makes a number of things potentially possible, one being completely secure communications,” says Jack L. Ritchie, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Physics of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. “She is doing the kind of foundational research that could lead to new types of improved solar cells and perhaps ultimately build new types of computers.”

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TAMEST The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas