Army innovator to lead military modernization center at RELLIS

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Retiring Army Futures Command colonel becomes director of Bush Combat Development Complex 

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M University System is turning to a veteran of U.S. Army modernization to become the first executive director of the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC).

Effective today, Col. Rosendo “Ross” Guieb moves from the senior staff of Army Futures Command (AFC) to a new role managing the BCDC, a complex being built on the 2,000-acre RELLIS Campus in Bryan, Texas, to help accelerate military innovation.

“Who better to lead this critical national defense initiative,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System. “Ross understands the challenges of modernization inside and out. He will be instrumental as we assist the Army with next-generation battlefield readiness.”

Guieb has been serving as executive officer to Gen. John M. Murray, the first commanding general of AFC. Before that role, he was the executive officer of the task force that created AFC, which was established in 2018 as the most significant Army reorganization since 1973. Guieb retired from the Army after serving 29 years.

Previous assignments include two tours in Iraq, a tour in Afghanistan, a brigade command at Fort Hood, Texas, and multiple deployments to Honduras and Panama. At the Pentagon, Guieb served as executive officer to then under secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, who is now secretary of the Army.

The BCDC is designed to support the Army’s desire to quicken its procurement process dramatically, accelerating it to something closer to the technology advances in the private sector.

It will feature the nation’s biggest enclosed-tube testing facility for hypersonic and laser technologies as well as laboratories and high-tech, outdoor testing grounds for air and land vehicles. Soldiers from Fort Hood and the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets will help test prototypes as they are being developed. The complex is named after former President George H.W. Bush.

Guieb will report to Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories for the Texas A&M System.

“Ross will be integral to our program and will keep serving our country in this new role,” Banks said. “His experience will help ensure that the strategic partnership between AFC and the Texas A&M System remains perfectly aligned.”

Guieb will manage the vision, goals and execution strategies of the BCDC while working to expand relationships with other key stakeholders in national defense innovation. He will work alongside Dr. John E. Hurtado, deputy director and chief technology officer of BCDC.

The $200 million complex is funded through investments by the Texas Legislature, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, and a five-year contract between the Army and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

Elaine Mendoza, chair of the Board of Regents, applauded the decision to hire Guieb.

“Secretary McCarthy, Gen. Murray and Lt. Gen. Jim Richardson all know that they can ask anything of A&M and we will step forward to meet the challenge,” she said. “All members of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents have met Col. Guieb, and we are confident and entrust Chancellor Sharp, Gen. Murray and Dr. Banks to appoint him as the first BCDC executive director. This is an excellent demonstration of progress in the commitment A&M has made to serve our state and nation for future generations.”

For additional information on the BCDC, see the 2020 special edition of the annual Texas A&M Engineer magazine.

For additional information on Col. Rosendo “Ross” Guieb, see Bush Combat Development Complex Leader shaped by family legacy of military service.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact:
Marilyn Martell, 979-777-8188

OR

Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

 

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Texas A&M Tests COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates for iBio, Inc.

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Chancellor Sharp praises partnership between university, biotech firm

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A team of scientists at Texas A&M is working on two COVID-19 vaccine candidates that could be mass produced quickly in modified tobacco plants.

The team is led by Dr. James Samuel, a regents’ professor and the head of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine.

He discusses the experiments with John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System for part of the 12th and final episode of the series, “COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds.

 “This is an important collaboration,” Chancellor Sharp said. “It’s an example of how our scientists, engineers and other experts collaborate with the private sector on the world’s most pressing problems.”

The discussion will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also is on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/mIHRAKOy6bg.

Dr. Samuel is leading the group at his lab at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. The team is testing the vaccine candidates for the international biotechnology company, iBio Inc., which operates a manufacturing facility in nearby Bryan, Texas. The scientists expect to see preliminary results before Oct. 1 from pre-clinical trials in mice.

iBio produces its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in modified tobacco leaves using a plant-based growing system it calls “FastPharming.” The company says its system can produce vaccine doses at mass commercial scale more quickly than other methods.

Dr. Samuels said it is important for scientists across the globe to develop scores of different COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The SARS-Cov2 virus is unusually tough on the immune systems of elderly people and people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and lung disease.

Dr. Samuels predicted that early vaccines will be useful for otherwise healthy people, but it probably will be more difficult to find vaccines that help more vulnerable patients.

“The challenge is a lot more complicated than a single vaccine,” he said.  “The scale of the problem alone is unprecedented. This will not be a horse race with a single winner.”

The Texas A&M University System has worked with iBio Inc. on biotech manufacturing since 2016 through its Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing, (CIADM), which is part of the Public Health Preparedness and Response Initiative at the Health Science Center.

iBio Inc. is based in New York City. It has a 130,000 square-foot production facility near the Texas A&M campus. The building was constructed in 2010 with funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

It was part of the “Blue Angel” initiative to help with rapid response to future outbreaks following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which infected 61 million people and caused an estimated 12,469 deaths in the United States.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Texas A&M System Brands Buildings at Texas A&M Innovation Plaza in Texas Medical Center

The Texas A&M University System News Release

The five-acre mixed-use Texas A&M Innovation Plaza in Houston will be home to the Engineering Medicine program and more.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System has announced Discovery Tower, Life Tower and Horizon Tower as the names of the three buildings that comprise Texas A&M Innovation Plaza, its landmark 5-acre campus in Houston, Texas, at the prominent intersection of Holcombe Boulevard and Main Street near the Texas Medical Center (TMC). This campus sets a new standard for collaboration in engineering, medicine, research and education and is the first all-new mixed-use campus for the Texas A&M System in Houston.

The Texas A&M University System initiated the new campus by acquiring and renovating an 18-story office building at 1020 Holcombe Blvd. to be the home for EnMed, a unique two-degree program that provides students the chance to earn a master’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University and a medical degree from

the Texas A&M College of Medicine. Opening later this year, this building supports EnMed and an expanded array of Texas A&M’s engineering, research, innovation, medical and life science programs that are reflected in the newly announced brand:  Discovery Tower.

Complementing the academic, research, discovery and innovation missions of the EnMed Building, Texas A&M Innovation Plaza will provide a welcoming, secure and vibrant experience to the campus population and visitors alike, with generous green spaces and lifestyle amenities not commonly found in the TMC area.

With groundbreaking scheduled in late 2020, the System’s public-private partnership (P3) developer is bringing additional investment of $401 million to fulfill unmet needs in the area with two complementary towers totaling an additional 1.9 million square feet.

“EnMed is just the first example of innovation that Texas A&M System intends to bring to the Texas A&M Innovation Plaza,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “We are excited to have such a visible location in the Texas Medical Center.”

Scheduled to be complete in June 2022, Life Tower is a 19-story, 714-bed student housing tower will overlook a scenic plaza flanked by a large garage with retail and dining at grade with convenient, affordable parking for 2,714 vehicles. Texas A&M medical students and Prairie View A&M University nursing students will be given priority for housing, but students from other institutions could fill open slots, if available.

Scheduled to deliver in January 2024 is Horizon Tower, a 17-story, 485,000 square-foot integrated building that will be built atop the 13-story parking structure. With generous, efficient floorplates and robust building technologies, Horizon Tower will be ideally suited to life sciences, clinical, biomedical, technology and office uses.

Accessible via Main Street, Holcombe Boulevard and Fannin Street, Texas A&M Innovation Plaza is also adjacent to the METRO TMC Station, providing convenient connectivity via bus and light rail service to the TMC, Museum District and Downtown Houston.

The developer for the P3 projects is Medistar Corporation, a long-time Houston-based developer. Infrastructure investment firm American Triple I Partners, founded by Texas A&M alum Henry Cisneros, is part of the financing team.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Top Texas A&M Scientists Call For COVID-19 Investigation

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Bipartisan inquiry will be needed to learn from pandemic response failures
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As the U.S. death toll surpasses 120,000 people, two of the nation’s most influential voices in the COVID-19 fight are calling for a bipartisan, objective investigation into the nation’s initial outbreak response.

“We must prevent this from happening again,” said Dr. Gerald Parker, Director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. “This is not going to be our last pandemic.”

 Dr. Peter Hotez, a Hagler Institute scholar at Texas A&M and a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, agreed with the need for a bipartisan inquiry.

The investigation needs to take place after the immediate, ongoing crisis has waned, they said. It should be modeled after the 9/11 Commission that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Particularly concerning in the U.S., Dr. Hotez said, is that COVID-19 transmission was allowed to go on for weeks without a major public health response — even though the world had witnessed its devastating impact in parts of Europe and China.

“What hurt Wuhan was what hurt New York City, which is the virus transmission went on for six weeks before there was any public health intervention,” said Dr. Hotez, who is dean of Baylor’s National School of Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Parker and Dr. Hotez spoke with John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System as part of the 12th and final episode of the series, “COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds.”

“If the field of scientific study had rock stars, Dr. Parker and Dr. Hotez would be selling out stadiums,” Chancellor Sharp said. “The nation is blessed to have their leadership in the war against COVID-19.”

The discussion will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be uploaded this week to the System’s YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/mIHRAKOy6bg

Dr. Hotez, a physician, is one of the globe’s most influential people in health care through his work at Baylor and as co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Dr. Parker, a veterinary scientist, is one of the nation’s top experts on defending against emerging public health threats after serving in bio defense leadership positions at the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. He also is Associate Dean for Global One Health at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Hotez told Chancellor Sharp he is worried that anti-science nationalism is creating global instability.

Both scientists called for more global coordination for the development and equitable distribution of vaccines.

“The virus doesn’t really care if you are Chinese or British or American or even Texan,” Dr. Hotez said. “The only way we’re going to solve this is if countries cooperate to make vaccines and work together to scale up vaccines.”

Dr. Hotez and Dr. Parker discussed working together through the Bush School in the coming months to help ensure that the nation and world learn the lessons of COVID-19.

In the past, Dr. Parker said, government leadership has failed to invest enough in bio security between infectious outbreaks.

“I am optimistic,” Dr. Parker said, “that we may break through this boom-and-bust cycle and finally take pandemic preparedness seriously.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Chancellor calls racism against Aggies “heartbreaking and Unacceptable”

I have spent the last few nights reading on social media about the experiences of minority students and their families with racism in our community.

It is heartbreaking – and unacceptable.

While my personal opinion has not changed about the importance of Lawrence Sullivan Ross to Texas A&M, we Aggies must stand united against racism and love one another.

Racist behavior should never be tolerated. The law may not allow us to expel students who use “free speech” as an excuse to spew hatred and racism, but we do not have to let racist conduct and actions go unchallenged.

Racists are not welcome at Texas A&M. If we have to challenge them and call them out publicly, we will. We are Aggies – brothers and sisters – and we ask anyone who cannot abide by our Core Values to stay away.

As Chancellor, I pledge my support of the university’s creation today of the Task Force on Race Relations and the Commission on Historic Representations.

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Coach Jimbo Fisher makes bold prediction for September

The Texas A&M University System News Release

“I expect it’s going to be pretty close to normal”

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher remains optimistic he will see mask-wearing crowds at Kyle Field when the Aggies take the field against the Abilene Christian Wildcats on Sept. 5.

“I am very encouraged because our governor has opened up outside sports to 50 percent now, I mean this early” Fisher said. “I expect it’s going to be pretty close to normal.”

Fisher told Chancellor John Sharp the players are as “ready to go as I’ve ever seen them,” after they returned to campus June 9 for the first time since the pandemic struck.

Quarterback Kellen Mond is also optimistic, despite the lack of spring football and summer training.

“Obviously, we would have liked to go through spring ball and not miss some of these summer workouts. But like I said, you can control what you can control, and I think we will be ready to go by Week 1,” Mond told 12th Man Production’s Will Johnson.

Fisher and Mond are joined on the latest episode of “COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds” by Athletic Director Ross Bjork, lead team physician Dr. JP Bramhall and Dr. Ryan Pittsinger, director of counseling and sport psychology. They each offer a unique perspective on how the pandemic has affected Texas A&M’s elite athletes.

The show will air at 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the The Texas A&M University System’s YouTube channel, https://www.tamus.edu/system-videos/.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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