TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards
Changing the future of Alzheimer’s Disease. Utilizing crystals to produce drugs for kidney stones and malaria. Understanding previously unobserved functions of our universe. And pioneering the evolution of wound care.
These are the discoveries by Texas’ rising stars in research being honored with the 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by TAMEST:
• Medicine: Susan “Bess” Frost, Ph.D., UT Health San Antonio
• Engineering: Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D., University of Houston
• Science: Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D., Texas Tech University
• Technology Innovation: Kristine Kieswetter, Ph.D. and Deepak Kilpadi, Ph.D., KCI
“The TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards highlight the groundbreaking research taking place in Texas,” said TAMEST Board President Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H .“The discoveries by these researchers are advancing science and improving lives. TAMEST is proud to celebrate these researchers for their achievements.”
The recipients will be honored during the O’Donnell Awards dinner and reception on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at the TAMEST 2020 Annual Conference: Innovating Texas–Research to Commercialization. The conference takes place January 7-9, 2020, at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas.
Susan “Bess” Frost, Ph.D.
Susan “Bess” Frost, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at UT Health San Antonio, is the recipient of the TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine for her work changing the way we look at Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Frost is also a faculty investigator with the university’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative diseases.
Instead of focusing on how to cure the disease, as is the focus of most Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Frost’s team looked at what causes the disease—a buildup of tau proteins inside of cells and amyloid plaques outside of it, which disrupts and eventually kills brain cell function. In doing so, her team was able to identify targets that can mitigate the spread of toxic proteins in the brain.
Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D., Abraham E. Dukler Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston, is the recipient of the TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering for his seminal breakthroughs using crystals to help treat malaria and kidney stones.
His approach of utilizing non-classical pathways of crystallization has led to great strides in the design of new materials, which can be translated into commercial practices. These include the synthesis of zeolites for catalysis applications and the rational design of crystals in biological and pathological diseases (i.e., kidney stones and malaria).
Focusing on crystal growth also enables Dr. Rimer to fixate on how complex mechanisms are formed, which can be used to improve the catalysis in the petrochemical process.
Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D.
Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D., associate professor at Texas Tech University, is the recipient of the TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Science for her paradigm-shifting research on the merger of stars and black holes.
Dr. Corsi uncovered a “multisensory” exploration process of our universe, where gravitational waves tell part of the story and light then completes it. Utilizing data from both gravitational waves and light now allows scientists to create a comprehensive picture of the cosmic collision that occurs between neutron stars from hundreds of millions of light years away. This allows us to study previously unexplored phenomena of our universe.
Kristine Kieswetter, Ph.D., and Deepak Kilpadi, Ph.D.
Kristine Kieswetter, Ph.D. and Deepak Kilpadi, Ph.D., KCI, are the recipients of the TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Technology Innovation for their contributions to better wound therapy.
Drs. Kieswetter and Kilpadi have both been the driving force behind the evolution of the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), which has set the standard for advanced wound care. NPWT, put simply, is the application of a vacuum, via a dressing, to a wounded surface. Their leadership has helped V.A.C.® Therapy amass more published clinical evidence than any other NPWT product on the market. Today, KCI’s V.A.C.® Therapy has been selected as the treatment of choice for more than 10 million wounds worldwide.