The title of “university distinguished professor,” Texas A&M University’s designation underscoring that a faculty member is pre-eminent in his or her academic discipline nationally and internationally, has been bestowed on six more faculty members, effective with the start of the new academic year on Sept. 1.
The new recipients of “university distinguished professor” recognition are: Dr. Edward R. Dougherty, professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Dimitris C. Lagoudas, professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Vijay P. Singh, professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff, professor of physics and astronomy, College of Science; Dr. Ian Tizard, professor of veterinary pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Dr. Bernd G. Würsig, professor of marine biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston.
Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Karan Watson announced their selection and explained the significance of the designation.
“University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty,” Watson emphasized. “They are recognized as pre-eminent authorities in their fields and their accomplishments are exemplified by outstanding teaching, mentoring, discovery and service. They demonstrate to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.”
Additionally, the title, which is bestowed in perpetuity, indicates that a recipient has made at least one “seminal contribution” to his or her discipline and whose work is central in any narrative of the field and is widely recognized to have changed the direction of scholarship in the field, she added.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and the Texas A&M Foundation will host an April 29 reception recognizing the six new university distinguished professors and honoring all faculty members holding that title. Currently 66 faculty members hold the prestigious title.
Brief biographical information about each of the newly named distinguished professors:
Dr. Edward R. Dougherty, professor and holder of the Robert M. Kennedy ʼ26 Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Genomic Signal Processing Laboratory in the Dwight Look College Engineering, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1996. He earned a B.S. and an M.S. in mathematics from the Fairleigh Dickinson University, an M.S. in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Rutgers University. Dougherty is an internationally recognized leader in genomic signal processing, biomedical classification, and the application of engineering methods to genomic disease diagnosis and the design of therapeutic intervention strategies in gene regulatory networks. His research applies systems theory to the study of biological systems and may lead to inexpensive and accurate tests for the early detection of disease, particularly cancers, as well as to the development of optimal treatment regimens. Dougherty received the Doctor Honoris Causa from Tampere University of Technology in Finland and is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering. He also has received the SPIE President’s Award.
Dr. Dimitris C. Lagoudas, P.E., associate vice chancellor for engineering research for The Texas A&M University System, senior associate dean for research in the Dwight Look College of Engineering and deputy director of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the director of the Texas Institute for Intelligent Materials and Structures, is a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the inaugural recipient of the John and Bea Slattery Chair in Aerospace Engineering. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1992. He earned a Diploma in mechanical engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Lehigh University. He pursued post-doctoral studies in theoretical and applied physics/mechanics at Cornell University and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. His research involves the design, characterization and modeling of multifunctional material systems at nano, micro and macro levels to bridge the various length scales and functionalities. His research team is one of the most recognized internationally in the area of modeling and characterization of shape memory alloys. He has co-authored about 400 scientific publications. He is a TEES fellow, a Texas A&M University Faculty Fellow, an Associate Fellow of AIAA, and a Fellow of ASME, IOP and SES. He is recipient of the SPIE Smart Structure and Materials Lifetime Achievement Award and the ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Prize.
Dr. Vijay P. Singh is a professor and the Caroline & William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering, and also a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2006. He earned his B.S.E. from the U.P. Agricultural University in India, his M.S.E. from the University of Guelph in Ontario and his Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He also received a D. Sc. (a post-Ph.D. degree) from The University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Singh is an internationally recognized and pre-eminent engineer specializing in water resources engineering and hydrology. He has made numerous advances in hydrologic and environmental modeling and has received the most prestigious awards for hydrology from multiple professional societies. He is a prolific author of journal articles and books, by some measures the most prolific author working in hydrology today. His work has developed the application of kinematic wave theory to the point where it is widely used throughout the world in hydrologic models used for water resource modeling, flood planning and hydrologic design. His work on entropy theory has given rise a new branch of hydrology, called entropic hydrology. He has served or continues to serve on the editorial boards of 27 different journals, and currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering and Water Science and Engineering, two of the premier journals in hydrology.
Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff, professor of physics and astronomy and holder of the Mitchell/Heep/Munnerlyn Chair in Observational Astronomy in the College of Science, joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 2006. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Lick Observatory. His research specializes in cosmology, supernovas, stellar populations and astronomical instrumentation. With Brian Schmidt, in 1994 he founded the High-z Supernova Search Team, which was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics (presented to Schmidt and Adam Riess). The foundation for this research began in 1986 when his team produced the first modern measurements of the brightness of exploding stars. Between 1989 and 1996 his Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey team pioneered the use of exploding stars to measure precise distances deep into the Universe, which began the field of supernova cosmology. Based on this work, in 1998 his High-Z group discovered that that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, which implies the existence of a dark energy consistent with the cosmological constant of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In a very real sense, Suntzeff’s work led to the discovery of nearly 75 percent of the universe. This science was awarded the Science Magazine “Breakthrough of the Year” award across all science disciplines, and the Gruber Prize in Cosmology 2007. He has been elected vice president of the American Astronomical Society and awarded a Jefferson Senior Science Fellowship of the National Academy of Science in 2010.
Dr. Ian Tizard, is a professor of veterinary pathobiology and holder of the Richard M. Schubot Professor of Exotic Bird Health in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He joined the faculty of Texas A&M in 1982. Tizard earned his bachelor’s degrees in veterinary medicine and pathology from the University of Edinburgh and his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Cambridge. He was an M.R.C. Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph in Ontario. His seminal contribution has been to establish modern immunology as a basic science underpinning and interlinking modern veterinary medical science. Tizard’s research has contributed to a better understanding of the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and prevention of several diseases, notably sleeping sickness and toxoplasmosis. More recently, his primary research program has focused on innovative methods of administering effective vaccines without the use of needles. He also has an active program studying newly emerging virus diseases of birds. He has authored or co-authored 144 refereed journal articles and his textbook, Veterinary Immunology: An Introduction, is in its 9th edition and has been translated into eight languages. In addition to receiving many national and international awards, Tizard received the Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from the University of Guelph in veterinary immunology in 2011.
Dr. Bernd G. Würsig, regents professor of marine biology and holder of the George P. Mitchell ‘40 Chair in Sustainable Fisheries at Texas A&M University at Galveston and professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1989. He earned a B.S. in biology from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in behavioral biology and ecology from Stony Brook University, New York. He received postdoctoral training at the Center for Marine Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Würsig helped to develop and has championed at least three major research techniques now used worldwide: the detailed photographic recognition of marine mammals; first analog—now digital—theodolite tracking of marine mammals; and an underwater bubble curtain system to reduce underwater noises (such as from stationary percussive pile driving) near dolphin, porpoise, whale, and pinniped habitats. Würsig has published 157 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, 7 books and advised on 14 movies. He has served as president of the international Society of Marine Mammalogy and received an Academy Award Nomination as lead science advisor for an IMAX documentary on dolphins.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662