President’s Excellence Fund hosts second annual—and first virtual—symposium

Image: Research Communications

The President’s Excellence Fund at Texas A&M University will present its second annual symposium – and its first virtual symposium – on Monday, September 28, 2020, beginning at 9 a.m. at https://pef-symposium.tamu.edu/.

The virtual symposium will feature eight pre-recorded video presentations from Texas A&M principal investigators whose interdisciplinary research teams received Round Two funding from the X-Grants program, as well as up to 100 poster presentations from faculty teams with funding from the Texas A&M Triads for Transformation (T3) program.

Both the X-Grants and T3 programs are initiatives of the 10-year, $100 million President’s Excellence Fund, launched in 2017.

This year’s virtual symposium will include opening remarks from Texas A&M President Michael K. Young.

“The President’s Excellence Fund has exceeded all of my most optimistic expectations,” President Young said. “I have been personally inspired by the innovative ideas from our faculty and tremendously impressed by the collaboration among both junior and senior faculty and across disciplines.”

The program will also feature a welcome from Vice President for Research Mark A. Barteau.

“This initiative is helping us build the culture and habit of collaboration that is essential to solving big problems and preparing for even bigger challenges as they arise,” Barteau said. “It continues to forge new collaborations that engage the full spectrum of talent at Texas A&M University, not just in fields like science, engineering, medicine, and agriculture, but in education, architecture, and psychology. It is critical to bring a diversity of perspectives to the world’s great challenges.”

This annual event has moved to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Attendees will have the benefit of viewing any and all presentations at their leisure, along with viewing or listening to presentations as many times as they like.

The faculty members who will make X-Grants presentations are:

  • “3D Printed Bio-artificial Pancreas,” Akhilesh Gaharwar, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • “A Brain-Inspired Approach to Rapid and Energy Efficient Information Processing: AI on the Fly,” Sarbajit Banerjee, professor and holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, Department of Chemistry, College of Science
  • “Biology Hidden in RNA Structure and Modifications,” Xiuren Zhang, professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • “Digital Twin City for Age-friendly Communities: Crowd-biosensing of Environmental Distress for Older Adults,” Changbum Ryan Ahn, associate professor, Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture
  • “Engineering Brain Health,” Stephen Maren, University Distinguished Professor and holder of the Charles H. Gregory ’64 Chair in Liberal Arts, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts
  • “New Quantum Materials for Next-Generation Quantum Systems,” Dong Son, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science,
  • “Project X-CEL: Eliminating Bias in School Discipline Through Teacher Training, Jamilia Blake, professor, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education & Human Development
  • “Removing Mental Health Stigma in Higher Education Through Remote Monitoring and Telehealth Counseling,” Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor, Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, College of Engineering

The X-Grants program invests $7 million each year, with Round Two funding supporting 72 Texas A&M researchers across eight projects.

Annually, the T3 program provides $3 million in project seed funding for 100 interdisciplinary teams of three Texas A&M faculty members each to encourage the development of long-term research and scholarship collaborations across academic disciplines.