WELCOME FROM MARK A. BARTEAU
Vice President for Research, Texas A&M University
Welcome to the inaugural magazine issue of research@Texas A&M!
We have been planning to launch this new publication for quite a while but like many other activities in our lives over the past 14 months, COVID-19 had other ideas. Still, we kept at it, and our lead story on the important role in COVID testing and genomic sequencing that the new Global Health Research Complex has stepped up to play is one that we could not have imagined a year ago. Although the creation and application of new knowledge does not always proceed with the urgency or visibility of vaccine development that we have witnessed over the past year, it progresses nonetheless through the dedication of our students and faculty. This is an auspicious time to celebrate those efforts. In 2020, total research expenditures for Texas A&M broke the $1 billion mark—a first for Texas A&M and for any university in Texas. This is but one measure of the strength of Texas A&M among the world’s greatest research universities. Our goal for this magazine is to share with you interesting stories that illustrate the breadth of scholarship at Texas A&M. Research in every field is ultimately a human endeavor. While it may extend our vision to places like deep space or the ocean floor, where humans dare not venture directly, it also encompasses the human experience—whether our health, our shared experiences as a society, our stewardship of the planet, or our creative works. In this issue you will find both feature stories and a bit of a “tasting menu” of our research. If these whet your appetite, please be sure to visit our website research@Texas A&M where new stories about our research and the accomplishments of our researchers are posted regularly. One of the lessons of history is that explosions of creativity often follow periods of societal crisis. The Renaissance is often cited as the archetypal example, but it is by no means unique. When the path out of crisis is perceived to be technology, the temptation is to focus solely on technology. It is easy to forget that successful implementation of technology draws on a wealth of accumulated knowledge, not only in the physical and biological sciences and engineering, but also in the social sciences, policy, and economics—not to mention the creativity of human expression and communication. The flowering of all of these fields depends on seeds planted and nurtured in seasons before. Leading research universities like Texas A&M that produce new knowledge and the graduates who will extend and apply it are the very heart of that cycle. We hope you enjoy the stories in this issue. Thanks to the rich scholarship and engagement of our faculty and students, we have an abundance of compelling stories in the works for future issues that we look forward to sharing with you. Thanks for reading, and gig ’em! Mark A. Barteau Vice President for Research
Mark Barteau welcomes you to the inaugural issue
About Mark A. Barteau
A member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors as well as a highly regarded scientist, researcher, inventor, and academic leader, Dr. Mark A. Barteau is vice president for research at Texas A&M University; holder of the Charles D. Holland ’53 Chair in Engineering and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering; and professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science.