Newsletter Issue 13
A Message from the Founding Director
In newsletter #13 we are proud to report new honors for Fellows, one of our Distinguished Lecturers, and one of our own staff members.  We also report on the importance to students of the Hagler Institute through the experiences of a representative young scholar. Last but definitely not least, we are proud to pay tribute to a new Hagler Hero.  

Among other endeavors, the staff is currently working with deans and faculty members to recruit the 2020-2021 group of Fellows of the Hagler Institute. We are social distancing, but thanks to a combination of the rapid adjustment and hard work by the Institute staff and college deans, we have been making excellent progress with our most important spring activity, attracting the 9th class of Hagler Fellows and Distinguished Lecturers. We anticipate another truly exceptional class of scholars.  On behalf of the staff of the Institute, I wish everyone a safe spring and summer as our country seeks a safe route to reopen our economy and our way of life.

Best wishes to all,
Hagler Fellow Features
The Hagler Institute's World Class Scholars
Over its first eight years the Hagler Institute has brought 70 world-class scholars to Texas A&M University. To appreciate their stature and contributions to the world, we invite you to visit our website and read about all of the Hagler Fellows. Below is very partial list of some of the noted prizes, awards, and prestigious memberships that characterize these outstanding individuals.  

2 Nobel Prize
26 National Academy of Engineering
25 National Academy of Sciences
20 International Academies (Fellows have come from 12 countries)
4 National Academy of Medicine
2 State Prize of Russia
1 Wolf Prize
1 National Medal of Technology
1 Hubbell Medal in Literary Scholarship
1 National Medal of Science
1 National Humanities Medal
1 National Institute for Architecture
1 Academy Award

That so many scholars with these honors want to come to our university to collaborate and share ideas is a testimony to the quality of our faculty and students. Moreover, approximately 20% of the Hagler Fellows who have completed their time in the Hagler Institute have chosen to join the permanent faculty of Texas A&M University.  All Hagler Fellows e nhance the reputation of our university, but it is especially pleasing to know so many choose to make their home at Texas A&M.
While much of the country is in “shut down” mode, Yonggang Huang, 2018-2019 Fellow of the Hagler Institute, has been busy receiving notices of new honors. Already a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of many prestigious research awards, Dr. Huang received word that he was elected in April 2020 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and in May to the National Academy of Sciences.

Einstein’s statute outside of the National of Academy of Sciences building in Washington D.C., says it all – significant contributions to knowledge are required to be a member of this distinguished group. So very few are members of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering that Dr. Huang’s name is now added to a very small and prestigious collection of scholars. 

The AAAS honors excellence in a variety of fields.  Dr. Huang is one of 276 recipients in 2020, which include artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. The AAAS, as expressed in its charter, exists to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” 

Dr. Huang is Walter P. Murphy Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. Huang’s main work has been with stretchable materials and additive manufacturing. He has developed pliable circuits with potential use in wearable flexible sensors, microfluidic devices, and transmitters. Wearable flexible sensors are used in personalized medicine to collect health information continuously to assess health status. Flexible electronics allows natural interaction between the electronics and the human body.

In the Hagler Institute, Dr. Huang is collaborating on research with professors and students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M.
Dr. Hotez Continues to Share His Expertise
Dr. Peter Hotez , as discussed in prior newsletters, has commented about the COVID-19 virus in many media outlets.  Dr. Hotez is a 2019-2020 Fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, Professor and Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Co-Director, Texas Children’s Hospital for Vaccine Development, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics. Dr. Hotez is considered one of the foremost experts on the COVID-19 virus.  

On May 14, 2020, Dr. Hotez was the moderator on a panel discussion titled “COVID-19 Modeling and Testing in Texas.” Dr. Hotez was joined by two other specialists, Lauren Ancel Meyers, PhD., the Cooley Centennial Professor of Integrative Biology and Statistics & Data Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, and Rebecca Fischer, Ph.D, epidemiology & biostatistics specialist in the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University. The program was sponsored by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (“TAMEST”).

The panel discussed the incidences and death rates of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S., Texas, in the Brazos Valley counties, and in Austin. Texas has lower than the U.S. average in deaths (scaled for population), but above the average in nursing home deaths. 

The panel discussed the challenges of modeling and predicting virus incidence when opening up the economy. The models predict an increase in the incidence of virus infection and deaths and suggest a lockdown in Texas through summer would be required to prevent an overwhelming of the hospital system. However, the models are viewed only as presenting broad guidance to the issue, as there are data shortcomings. 

In the absence of a vaccine, models indicate that around 50% of people in the U.S. may be infected, particularly if the spread of the virus reoccurs. Some models suggest that a rotation approach for people at work or in the community might help decrease the spread. This virus is new, however, and data are sparse on which to make key policy decisions about opening up the economy. Because a lot of data that are available represent clusters, such as in nursing homes or in homes in which multi-generations are living, a broader spreading incidence is difficult to foresee. The panel’s overriding concern was to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed, so they did not address the broader policy issue of the costs and benefits of opening the economy vs. continuing lockdowns. 

Terrence Henry hosted the event for TAMEST. The panel discussion will soon be available on the TAMEST website .
Somehow, we missed this one earlier, but it is never too late to pay honor to Dr. Jack Dongarra. This 2014-2015 Hagler Fellow was awarded the 2019 Prize in Computational Science and Engineering by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the Association for Computing Machinery, an award given only every other year. The Award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development and use of mathematical and computational tools and methods for the solution of science and engineering problems.

Dr. Dongarra is engaged in research in various areas of high-performance computing. Dongarra is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Tennessee, and is a Distinguished Research Staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Computer Science and Mathematics Division.  He also heads his own research group called Innovative Computing Laboratory. 

Dongarra is shown in the picture below lecturing about supercomputers to a packed audience for the Hagler Institute’s Spring 2017 Eminent Scholar Lecture. As a Hagler Fellow Dongarra was periodically in residence at Texas A&M over a two-year period. He collaborated with faculty and students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.  
Dr. Huda Zoghbi, a 2019-2020 Distinguished Lecturer of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.   

The Lundbeck Foundation announced on April 29, 2020 that Dr. Zoghbi and Dr. Adrian Bird, a Professor of Genetics at Edinburgh University, United Kingdom, have been awarded the Brain Prize 2020, the world’s most prestigious prize for brain research, which comes with an award of approximately $1.5 million. Dr. Zoghbi has expressed in a video announcing the award that the accompanying funding will enhance her lab’s abilities to further research Rett Syndrome in new ways.

Dr. Zoghbi and Dr. Bird received this great honor for their pioneering work on Rett Syndrome, a developmental disorder in females (most males do not survive) causing loss of speech, loss of fine motor skills, seizures, and other manifestations after a period of approximately 18 months of normal development. Dr. Zoghbi and Dr. Bird have laid the foundation for a future cure by identifying the cause of Rett Syndrome and demonstrating that the brain in girls with Rett Syndrome is “normal."  The disorder is caused by improper epigenetic regulation, which determines which parts of DNA function properly. Reestablishing proper epigenetic regulation has restored function in Rett Syndrome animal models.

Dr. Zoghbi was scheduled to present the Hagler Institute’s spring 2020 Eminent Scholar Lecture on the topic of Rett Syndrome and how it relates to other disorders. The lecture was postponed to fall, 2020, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus. 

Congratulations to Dr. Zoghbi for receiving the Lundbeck Foundation Brain Prize 2020. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik will present this prestigious award formally to Dr. Zoghbi and Dr. Bird on September 13, 2020 at a grand celebration at the Royal Danish Playhouse, Copenhagen.

Ozden Ochoa - Hagler Hero
The scene is set. The speaker gives the final presentation at a well-attended inaugural event celebrating a new initiative to pursue excellence at the university. He has emphasized the importance of the initiative and sought to motivate those present to “buy into” the quest he described. “Will those in attendance understand the significance of this new initiative?” he wonders. “Will the Texas A&M faculty and leadership pull together to make the new initiative realize its potential?” Following the presentation, an elegantly dressed lady approaches the speaker, her eyes glistening with evident emotion and excitement.  She says she just reached a decision to donate her estate to help underwrite success of the initiative.

A soap opera scene? Not at all. The speaker was John Junkins, Director and Founder of the Hagler Institute. The program was the first gala to celebrate the induction of the first group of Fellows of the Hagler Institute, then called the Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study. That elegantly dressed lady was Dr. Ozden Ochoa , who had recently been named Professor Emerita of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Professor Ochoa received her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical
Engineering from Bogazici University (Robert College) in Turkey.
She came to Texas A&M University for a Master’s degree in
nuclear engineering, which was awarded in 1977, and she
completed a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M
University in 1980. Professor Ochoa is an outstanding scholar in her own right, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society for Composites. She devoted thirty-one years of teaching and research service at Texas A&M University before “retiring”, although she continues her research activity as Texas Engineering Extension Service Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Ochoa’s research in computational and experimental mechanics of composites in aerospace, offshore, automotive and medical applications has taken her around the world delivering invited lectures. Her research contributions in mechanics of composite materials and structures have culminated in over 200 journal publications and a book. 

Professor Ochoa, through her generous gift for the Hagler Institute and its mission of excellence has inspired others to support the vision to pursue broad-based excellence of the University by enabling our students and faculty to collaborate with top international scholars. Ozden Ochoa – the first member of the Texas A&M faculty to donate an estate to Hagler Institute – is hereby designated our newest HAGLER HERO.
A Student Gives Thanks
The Hagler Institute brings the world’s outstanding scholars to Texas A&M, and it also fosters the next generation of top researchers and educators. When a graduate student receives a Hagler Institute fellowship, that student is assigned to work closely with a Hagler Fellow. The experience can be career changing, inspirational, and professionally productive. When the graduate student is supported by a donor, the association becomes personal, instilling a sense of gratitude.
Sakina Mota has graced our newsletter before. She is a PhD student working in Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M. She works in the Optics Lab, collaborating with A&M faculty member Dr. Kristen Maitland and 2016-2017 Hagler Fellow, Dr. Maryellen Giger , who remains active in the Institute. 

Dr. Giger is the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology at the University of Chicago, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and recipient of the highest award given by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. She is a pioneer in computer aided diagnoses and image processing, using data from medical imaging to diagnose disease. Her analytical methods of improving breast cancer diagnoses, called QuantX, is one of the top 100 scientific breakthroughs of 2019, chosen by Time Magazine.   

Sakina is working in the area of imaging of stem cells for quality assessment, a necessary step in producing cells in sufficient quantity for commercialization. Sakina writes, “My doctoral thesis seeks to address this challenge by building image analysis algorithms to assess the culture viability objectively and rapidly… I have had the privilege of meeting with her (Dr. Giger) every week to discuss my work…Working under a (Hagler) Fellow such as Dr. Giger has made my Ph.D. journey very rewarding as it has improved the quality of my research….I am currently writing my first journal article that will summarize the results obtained for my first research aim under the guidance of Dr. Giger.”

Such graduate student opportunities are made possible by support from donors to the Hagler Institute, in this instance Brad and Liz Worsham. They established, with matching money from the Hagler Institute, an $800,000 endowment, the earnings of which will perpetually support engineering students like Sakina. About the Worsham’s, Sakina writes, “This fellowship has been immensely valuable to a graduate student like me. Obtaining this fellowship has been one of the motivating factors for my studies and it only encourages me to work harder and make a difference….I have personally been moved by Mr. and Mrs. Worsham’s involvement with the students and their growth. I am truly honored to know them and I wish to grow up to be like them to give back to society in the best way possible.”

Pairing of stellar students like Sakina, rising star faculty like Professor Maitland, and nationally prominent Hagler Fellows like Professor Giger is an iconic example of the highly impactful collaborations the Hagler Institute seeks to foster. Congratulations, Sakina. Your career trajectory and appreciation of the Worsham's investment in you have been raised to new heights. We hope to have you back someday as a Hagler Fellow.  
Hagler Institute Staff Updates
When Director John Junkins and Associate Director Clifford Fry were seeking to fill the Institute’s Assistant Director position, they knew right away that Amanda Scott, the first person they interviewed, was the person to hire. She brought an impressive set of attributes: a work ethic extraordinaire, a refined but casual presence, a Master’s Degree, exceptional references, and thirteen years of diverse experience working at Texas A&M in positions of independence and responsibility. In addition to her impressive portfolio of competencies, we saw in her personality the ability to work collegially with university staff as well as the Hagler Fellows. In short, we believed she would perform the Assistant Director duties well and very significantly accelerate and enhance the Hagler Institute. 

Since joining our staff, Amanda Scott has proven our high expectations underestimated her impact. She has brought a level of excellence and attention to detail that has contributed greatly to the success of the Institute. The diverse set of problems she solves daily is remarkable, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Moreover, she has also greatly assisted Director Junkins in management of his engineering research grants.  

Her excellence has now been recognized with a University-wide honor. On May 5, 2020, President Michael Young announced that Amanda will receive the 2020 President's Meritorious Service Award , one of only 25 people on campus to be so honored.

“The President's Meritorious Service Awards recognize and reward staff for their commendable service to our great university. Recipients of this highly prestigious award have demonstrated their commitment to the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.”

Amanda will receive this richly earned honor at a ceremony scheduled for August 10, delayed due to the pandemic concerns. 

Amanda, when you first walked into the Institute office, we knew you were “the one”. We are so glad you chose to join us. With you as the face of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, the future is bright indeed!  
If you have news to share, please send articles,
suggestions, or other information to:
Dr. Clifford L. Fry, Associate Director,
Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University,