Research Center Trains COVID Vaccine Manufacturers

The Texas A&M University System News Release

TEES National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing Meets Need for Workers

National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing - NCTMBRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Finding effective COVID-19 vaccine formulas alone is not enough to put the global pandemic behind us.

That’s why The Texas A&M University System is collaborating with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas to train the workforce that is mass-producing two COVID-19 vaccine candidates for the federal government.

For the past nine months, a dedicated team of Texas A&M University scientists at the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) has been training workers on the biomanufacturing basics needed to produce the COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The NCTM is a joint research center of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and Texas A&M.

With just four instructors and a handful of support staff, the team has trained more than 200 new employees of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas. The company is the Texas A&M System’s biomanufacturing subcontracting partner in the national emergency manufacturing program.

“Texas A&M is doing a great public service,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M System. “By collaborating with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas to increase the vaccine supply, our team is helping save a bunch of lives.”

Chancellor Sharp recently visited the NCTM to learn more about its success.

Chancellor John Sharp visits with Zivko Nikolov, Director of NCTM and a Bioprocess Engineering Professor at Texas A&MThe NCTM employee training is arranged through the Center for Innovation and Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in College Station, a Texas A&M System program established in 2012 by the federal government for just this kind of national emergency.

“To meet FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas’ aggressive hiring pace in recent months, our team has delivered nearly nonstop training,” said Dr. Zivko Nikolov, Director of NCTM and a Professor of Bioprocess Engineering at Texas A&M.  “I’m so honored to lead such a dedicated team.”

The training is a customized, intensive seven-day, hands-on curricula of various aspects of cell culture and basic molecular biology, aseptic processes and microbiology, and upstream and downstream processing of biological materials.

The team worked quickly to build the program within weeks of the federal request last July. The training began almost immediately and has continued ever since.

“The ability to respond rapidly to an emergency is the main original goal of the CIADM program,” said Dr. William Jay Treat, Director of CIADM and Chief Manufacturing Officer for Texas A&M Health Science Center. “Since its creation, NCTM has been critical to developing training programs to meet the manpower required for an emergency such as this pandemic.”

The NCTM has more than 25,000 square feet of dedicated instructional space with several million dollars’ worth of traditional stainless and single-use systems for upstream and downstream bioprocessing. It has contracted with more than 80 subject matter experts to build a catalog of training programs that serve industry, government and academia.

In the past eight years, NCTM has trained nearly 1,600 students, including new hires and employed professionals, undergraduate/graduate students, military veterans and others transitioning careers, and even high school students interested in STEM careers.

Chancellor John Sharp visit with Zivko Nikolov, Director of NCTM; and Jenny Ligon, NCTM Assistant Director for Workforce Development.“We have never been more proud of our work than in the past nine months,” said Jenny Ligon, NCTM Assistant Director for Workforce Development, who has been with NCTM since its creation in 2012. “I’m so proud of our small but mighty team. We are happy to do our part in getting everyone vaccinated.”

“As a center of excellence for science, manufacturing and engineering, we are pleased to closely collaborate with Texas A&M to train new hires to support the manufacture of life-impacting medicines and vaccines at our College Station facility,” said Dr. Gerry Farrell, Chief Operating Officer of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas. “It is critical that we continue to train local talent to feed this growing and vibrant Texas biotech community.”

Downloadable video of Chancellor Sharp’s visit to NCTM

More downloadable b-roll footage from NCTM


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: Mike Reilly
Chancellor’s Office of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6492
(402) 679-0456 cell
mreilly@tamus.edu

National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing – NCTM

Chancellor John Sharp visits with Zivko Nikolov, Director of NCTM and a Bioprocess Engineering Professor at Texas A&M.

Chancellor John Sharp visit with Zivko Nikolov, Director of NCTM; and Jenny Ligon, NCTM Assistant Director for Workforce Development.

NCTM Research Scientist Umesh Bageshwar shows Chancellor John Sharp how cells are broken apart during biomanufacturing.

Chancellor John Sharp visits with NCTM Research Scientist Baley Reeves.

Dr. Kathy Banks Becomes 26th President of Texas A&M University

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering Begins Top Job June 1

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Wednesday confirmed M. Katherine Banks as the twenty-sixth President of Texas A&M University.

Dr. Banks, currently Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Laboratories and Dean of the Texas A&M College of Engineering, assumes her duties June 1.

President Banks also will carry the title Vice Chancellor of National Laboratories and National Security Strategic Initiatives because of her continued involvement with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Bush Combat Development Complex at the RELLIS Campus.

Dr. Banks, who has led Engineering for the past decade, was selected after a national search led by Elaine Mendoza and Tim Leach, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents, and a 15-member search committee.

“After a robust national search, which drew top-notch, competitive candidates, our Board today unanimously confirmed Dr. Katherine Banks as the next President of Texas A&M University,” Chairman Mendoza said. “With her decade of accomplishments evident right here on campus, Dr. Banks will be ready and able to move forward from day one. Texas A&M is a great university and under her leadership, we are expecting it to be even greater; we are excited to see this next chapter unfold.”

“We have all worked with Dr. Banks for many years and we know what she has done to transform our engineering college, which this week the U.S. News & World Report ranked as the best in Texas,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “Dr. Banks is going to do for the university what she has already done for engineering.  She is going to be a great president.”

“I am truly honored that the Board of Regents has selected me to be the next president of this great university,” said Dr. Banks. “Crucial listening sessions will begin soon with key stakeholders across campus and beyond to gather perspectives concerning the issues, challenges, and opportunities that we face today. I look forward to working together as we take Texas A&M University to new levels of preeminence.”


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

The Texas A&M University System expands into North Dallas

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN/ COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University-Commerce will soon be making a high-profile expansion into North Dallas, John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System announced today. The university will be taking over the top two floors of 8750 North Central Expressway, where it will set up headquarters for its education and business colleges.

“This new Dallas site opens exciting opportunities for A&M-Commerce and its students,” said Elaine Mendoza, chairman of the A&M System Board of Regents. “This instructional site will offer in-demand academic programs taught by incredible faculty at a prime metropolitan location.”

“We’ve had our eye on Dallas for some time now, and this location, right across from NorthPark Mall — where more than 322,000 people pass by every day — gives us a very visible presence to let everyone know we’ve arrived,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “We’re excited to bring more accessible, affordable, high-quality educational opportunities to Dallas.”

The A&M-Commerce College of Business and College of Education and Human Services will eventually offer several of their academic programs at the new site. Both colleges’ deans will have their offices at the new location to better serve the students.

The university also plans to offer bachelor’s degrees in sustainable agriculture and food systems, agribusiness, and agricultural sciences at the Dallas site. Both a bachelor’s and master’s in fine arts in visual communications will also be available.

According to A&M-Commerce President Mark Rudin, classes will begin November 1, 2021 at the new location.

Rudin explained the new Dallas site will also promote synergies with corporate partners in program and workforce development and reskilling. He emphasized that the university’s close contact with the region’s dynamic business climate will ignite innovation.

The site’s proximity to Dallas College campuses and several independent school districts will also encourage working relationships with the university’s educational partners, Rudin said.

The new Dallas location will offer enrollment management, financial aid, career services, student success teams, academic advising and technical support. It will boast tech-enabled shared spaces, an on-site fitness center, food services and ample parking. The site is also on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light-rail line, making it easily accessible to students.

“This central location will bring us to the forefront of higher education in the Dallas area,” Rudin said. “It will enable A&M-Commerce to fully and effectively serve the educational needs of both rural and urban students across North Texas.”

Entos Design of Dallas will direct interior design work on the new campus. A&M-Commerce alumni Chip Harper, chief, founder and chairman and Jordan Harper, CEO of Harrison, Walker & Harper (HWH) of Paris, Texas, were instrumental in locating the site, and Lawrence Gardner, President of OMS Strategic Advisors represented the lease negotiations on behalf of The Texas A&M University System, Rudin said.

With the expansion into the new Dallas site, A&M-Commerce — which already operates extended locations in Frisco, McKinney and Mesquite — will substantially increase its footprint in the Metroplex.

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

Board of Regents to Consider Confirming Texas A&M President

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will meet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to consider confirming Vice Chancellor and Dean Kathy Banks as the next President of Texas A&M University.

On March 3, the Board chose Dr. Banks, currently Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Laboratories and Dean of the Texas A&M College of Engineering, as the sole finalist. State law requires at least a 21-day waiting period before the job can be filled.

If approved, Dr. Banks will assume her new duties on June 1.

The public portion of the telephonic meeting can be heard at https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/


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

Final stop for 4141 Engine marks start of Bush Museum expansion

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Iconic Union Pacific locomotive placed on pad near museum front door

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas —The journey ending Monday started modestly 16 years ago, when a museum director asked a railroad executive to borrow an old caboose.

Now the historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, is at its permanent home in front of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

There it will remain as the George & Barbara Bush Foundation starts planning and fund-raising for a multi-year, multi-million dollar expansion.

The locomotive is blanketed in a deep blue covering to protect it from the elements and construction hazards as a pavilion is built around it. Next door eventually will be a new building featuring a restaurant and a Marine One helicopter that Bush used while president.

Foundation officials want to complete the exhibits in time for a 2024 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.

“It’s extraordinary to have 4141, this living piece of history, at the museum and library permanently,” said Max Angerholzer, CEO of the Bush Foundation. “Thanks to Union Pacific, Chancellor Sharp and everyone at Texas A&M for helping bring it home.”

Warren Finch, longtime director of the Bush Library and Museum, recalled on Sunday how in 2005 he was preparing an exhibit on the history of trains. He traveled to Union Pacific Railroad headquarters in Omaha, Neb.

“We asked for a caboose,” Finch said. “Dick Davidson, CEO at the time, told us, ‘I don’t know if we can find you a caboose. How about we give you a locomotive painted like Air Force One and numbered 4141.’”

Union Pacific and museum staff surprised Bush with the locomotive when it came to College Station for the exhibit. It then traveled the nation on Union Pacific rails as a rolling tribute to the 41st president.

No. 4141 Engine returned to College Station in December 2018, leading the Bush funeral train to where the former president was laid to rest here alongside First Lady Barbara Bush.

On Sunday, Finch and Angerholzer watched along the tracks as No. 4141 reached College Station one final time.

“It has come full circle,” Finch said. “This will mean so much to future generations to have the train here, to show people his love of railroading and to talk about the life and legacy of this great man.”

Also watching were Richard Zientek of Union Pacific Railroad, and Mark Welsh, dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service

“It’s exciting for everybody at Texas A&M because this place celebrates President Bush,” Welsh said. “We are among the many Americans who appreciated his respectful governance, the way he treated people and the example he set professionally throughout his life.”

No. 4141 traveled north past Kyle Field at about 10:40 a.m. on the rail near Wellborn Road. It was pulled by another iconic locomotive, No. 1943 – The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans.

At 6 p.m., No. 4141 was lifted off its rails by two, 500-ton cranes, placed on a 12-axle trailer and driven to the museum. The locomotive weighs 315,000 pounds.

On Monday, the No. 4141 was lifted off of the trailer and placed on its permanent outdoor pad. The intricate hoist and placement was done with 1,000-ton gantry lift system. Such systems are often seen loading and unloading cargo at deep water ports.

The company handling the move, Supor Services LLC, specializes in unique, heavy-duty hauling challenges. It moved the original Statue of Liberty torch to a new museum and removed a ditched commercial airline from the Hudson River in 2009.

Carlos DaSilva, project manager for the operation, said the move took about four-months to plan and involved a crew of more than 25 workers.

“We’ve done a lot of specialized projects,” DaSilva said. “We’re very proud to be part of this one.”

Davidson, the former CEO of Union Pacific who helped create No. 4141, and his wife Trish have made a significant lead gift to jumpstart fund-raising for the museum expansion, Angerholzer said.

Given the months of fundraising, planning and construction, it is likely to be a year or longer before the public has access to No. 4141.

“What we’re really excited about is what this means for the university, for the community and for the presidential library come 2024,” he said.

A video about the train’s final journey to the museum can be found here: https://vimeo.com/527083342

Additional details, photos and b-roll can be found here:

https://www.tamus.edu/up-no-4141-engine-returns-today-for-last-stop-at-bush-museum/

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: Mike Reilly
Chancellor’s Office of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6492
(402) 679-0456 cell
mreilly@tamus.edu

UP No. 4141 Engine returns today for last stop at Bush Museum

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Train pulls into town this morning; to be hauled to Museum on 12-axle trailer

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Today the historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, is reaching its final destination at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

A blanketed No. 4141 pulled into College Station on Sunday morning behind another iconic UP locomotive, No. 1943 – The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans. Later today No. 4141 will be lifted off its rails by two, 500-ton cranes, placed on a 12-axle trailer and driven — carefully — across the west campus of Texas A&M University to the museum.

 “What a historic day for our community,” said Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M System. “President Bush loved trains and we love everything associated with the legacy of President Bush. Congratulations to the crew at Union Pacific, our hauling contractor and everyone at the Bush Center at Texas A&M who worked to bring 4141 home.

No. 4141 traveled north past Kyle Field on the rail near Wellborn Road about 10:40 a.m. The UP crew moved it to a sidetrack near F&B Road. Downloadable video b-roll is available here: https://vimeo.com/tamumarcomm/download/526990325/db97544ffd

The locomotive’s move Sunday night from the railroad track to the museum is a massive undertaking.

Each axle of the 12-axle trailer is capable of handling 79,000 pounds. The locomotive weighs 315,000 pound. The caravan will have six police escorts and other support vehicles to ensure safe, secure transport.

The company handling the move, Support Services LLC, has worked on many unique, heavy-duty projects. It moved the original Statue of Liberty torch to a new museum and removed a ditched commercial airline from the Hudson River in 2009. Its hydraulic trailers are usually transporting equipment for transport by the oil, gas and wind industries.

In 2005, Union Pacific Railroad surprised Bush by painting one of its locomotives to resemble Air Force One and naming it No. 4141 to honor the 41st president. It was brought to College Station in connection with a train exhibit at the museum.

No. 4141 Engine returned to College Station in December 2018. It led the Bush funeral train from Houston to where the former president was laid to rest here alongside First Lady Barbara Bush.

A year later, Union Pacific announced it would donate the locomotive to the museum.

Last month, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents donated two acres to expand the grounds of the museum for exhibit areas for the locomotive and eventually a Marine One helicopter. The exhibits are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation.  Foundation officials want to complete the project in time for a 2024 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.

Throughout his adult life, Bush often recalled fondly riding and sleeping on trains as a boy. Trains also carried Bush to his service as a naval aviator in World War II and back home.  He also used trains for “whistle stop” campaign events during his presidential runs in 1988 and 1992.

In 2005, Bush said that if No. 4141 Engine had been around during his presidency, “I might have left Air Force One behind” and ridden the rails more often.

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: Mike Reilly
Chancellor’s Office of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6492
(402) 679-0456 cell
mreilly@tamus.edu