Vice Chancellor for Research
Vice Chancellor for Research & Interim Vice Chancellor for Engineering
The Texas A&M University System
Interim Dean of Engineering, Professor, & Axalta Coating Systems Chair II
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
Support: Claudia Pollard | Email | 979.458.0243
Dr. Joe Elabd is the Vice Chancellor for Research at The Texas A&M University System; a system of 11 universities and 8 state agencies with externally funded research expenditures of $1.2 billion annually. As the leader of the A&M System Office of Research, Dr. Elabd is responsible for providing research leadership and services to support all 19 system members and overseas numerous offices and initiatives, including Texas A&M Innovation, National Laboratories Office, Bush Combat Development Complex, Texas A&M Semiconductor Institute, Texas A&M Space Institute, Texas A&M Fort Worth, Research Security Office, Research Compliance Office, Research Administration Office, Research Development Office, and the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI).
Dr. Elabd is also serving as the Interim Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M University and Interim Director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. Prior to these role, Dr. Elabd has served in several administrative roles at Texas A&M University, including Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering and Associate Department Head of Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Elabd is also currently a Professor and the Axalta Coating Systems Chair II in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and served as a Senior Fellow at the Instituto di Studi Avanzati, Università di Bologna and a Scholar in Residence at the Food & Drug Administration. He has received numerous research awards including the NSF CAREER Award, the ARO Young Investigator Award, and the DuPont Science and Engineering Award. His research focuses on electrochemical energy (batteries, capacitors, fuel cells) and materials and polymer science. Dr. Elabd has taught chemical engineering courses at all levels (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate).
Dr. Elabd received his Ph.D. and B.S. both in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, respectively, and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
Chief Research Officers
A boom in startups is primed to begin in Aggieland.
Leaders within The Texas A&M University System said this week that they expect a new approach to commercialization to lead to the creation of thousands of original discoveries, hundreds of innovative companies, and a massive increase in patents derived from the hard work of Texas A&M System researchers and scientists.
“I expect big things from the new commercialization push at Texas A&M,” Sharp said. “I think A&M System inventors will spark an explosion of venture capital and the creation of a lot of exciting new companies.”
At the heart of the new direction is the vision of Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and President M. Katherine Banks of Texas A&M University. Sharp and Banks realized the opportunities that will be realized when Texas A&M and the System reorganize and consolidate five commercialization offices that have operated independently until now.
The move brings together the commercialization offices of:
- Texas A&M University
- Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
- Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- Texas A&M AgriLife Research and
- Texas A&M System’s Technology Commercialization Office
Together, the historically separate entities now will serve all 19 members of the Texas A&M System. Sharp said the new office will help the System to build a robust commercialization ecosystem and will allow System researchers to license technology and form companies that address national and global challenges.
Sharp and Banks also announced the leaders of the effort. Peter O’Neill, who has extensive experience in commercialization at one of the nation’s most pioneering medical institutions, the Cleveland Clinic, will lead the office as the inaugural Chief Innovation Officer. Also, Joe Cunningham, who holds a bachelor’s degree and medical degree from Texas A&M, will be the chairman of a new Innovation Advisory Council. Cunningham co-founded Santé Ventures in Austin in 2006 and is nationally recognized for his expertise in the healthcare sector.
Sharp and Banks reached the decision to consolidate the commercialization offices after they engaged with faculty, staff, inventors, leadership, alumni, venture capitalists, incubator and accelerator directors, and innovation leaders at peer institutions. The goal from the beginning was to understand how to make the Texas A&M commercialization enterprise a national model and a leader among all U.S. universities.
The idea behind the concept came out of a need for a more streamlined way to take new ideas and inventions and commercialize them and quickly get them into the marketplace. The consolidated effort will provide centralized intellectual property protection, licensing, and assistance for new venture formation for all members.
“Our new approach to commercialization will significantly benefit our researchers, The Texas A&M University System, and society at large. Streamlining and expanding our resources will drive life-changing technology and solutions to the market faster, increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, and generate revenue to support the future success of these new companies and their innovations,” Banks said. “I believe our approach will soon be a model for other top universities across the country.”
The new combined office has been set up in a renovated and contemporary space in Century Square in College Station, a complex of high-end hotels, restaurants, shops, and apartments.
The Texas A&M University System Research Security Office (RSO) was established to support all A&M System principal investigators (PIs) in meeting federal requirements for securing classified information, controlled unclassified information (CUI), and to serve as the Export Control Office for the A&M System. The mission of the RSO is to establish and administer export control and research security policies, procedures and technology to enable Texas A&M University System Members to comply with federal guidelines for transporting and handling all levels of U.S. Government information.
Dr. Kevin Gamache is The Facility Security Officer (FSO) for The Texas A&M University System. The FSO is responsible for managing A&M System’s relationship with federal agencies under the National Industrial Security Program requirements.
Through a concerted effort, the Research Security Office fulfills four objectives
• Alleviate the burden of compliance on all faculty
• Support the system in securing regulated date
• Manage the system secure computing enclave
• Advise system members on export control matters
Award-Winning Research Security Office
• 7 consecutive superior ratings
• 2 DCSA Awards for Excellence in Counter Intelligence
• 3 Cogswell Awards for Excellence in Industrial Security
• 1 Donnelly Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence
• Willingness to do classified research
• Numerous classified researchers
• Controlled-access facility for classified research
The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) seeks a knowledgeable, experienced, and collaborative individual to serve as the next Chief Research Compliance Officer (CRCO). The CRCO will have the opportunity to work with committed researchers and campus officials to devise compliance protocols to ensure that research projects adhere to prevailing regulations and norms.
The Texas A&M System Office of Research Compliance, working with the A&M System’s 11 universities and 8 state agencies, provides administrative oversight to ensure that each member develops, implements, and maintains an appropriate research compliance program, and to facilitate and coordinate research compliance programs within and between members.
Dr. Sharmila Pathikonda
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research
Director for Research Development
Dr. Sharmila Pathikonda currently holds the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Research Development at the Office of Research in The Texas A&M University System, overseeing a network of 11 universities and 8 state agencies. In this pivotal role, she spearheads large strategic initiatives, fosters collaborative research endeavors, and enhances the overall research enterprise across the system.
In her current role, Dr. Pathikonda’s expertise in STEM fields proves invaluable, providing specialist scientific support for federal grant proposals spanning diverse areas such as cancer biology, climate science, energy innovation, and nuclear engineering. Her passion for science, coupled with robust quantitative training has propelled her success in research development.
Dr. Sharmila Pathikonda holds a diverse and comprehensive educational background. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Botany, Microbiology, and Chemistry, as well as her Master of Science degree in Biochemistry, both from Bangalore University in India. Her academic journey continued with a Ph.D. in Environmental Biology from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, where her research focused on understanding the ecological and physiological responses of freshwater marsh plants to salinity stress.
Following the completion of her doctoral studies, Dr. Pathikonda pursued postdoctoral research, delving into Hierarchical Bayesian statistical modeling of plant functional traits. This interdisciplinary work took her to the University of Wyoming and later to Arizona State University, where she expanded her expertise in mathematical modeling and its application to understanding the impacts of climate change on tree species distributions.
With over 13 years of experience in research, education, and administration, Dr. Pathikonda takes pride in her role as a champion for early-stage researchers. In her capacity as the Director of Research Development, Dr. Pathikonda is responsible for guiding the development of core ideas and concepts forming the strategic foundations of major engineering and scientific research proposals. This includes facilitating multi-institutional research and educational partnerships, curriculum initiatives, and support structures. Additionally, she plays a key role in developing and working on proposals seeking grant funding from federal and state research agencies, private foundations, or industry. Dr. Pathikonda is also actively engaged in serving on proposal review panels for the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Dr. Pathikonda envisions enhancing the research enterprise within the Texas A&M University System, which boasts a research expenditure exceeding $1.2 billion. Her goal is to provide high-quality support to researchers, contribute to strategic research development efforts, and elevate the overall research portfolio. Dr. Pathikonda aspires to create a conducive environment for researchers, ensuring a positive trajectory in research expenditure, and advancing the System’s ambitious vision for research and education.
Research Administration Director
Michelle Strickland joined The Texas A&M University System as Director, Research Administration in November of 2023.
Michelle has over 20 years of management and sponsored research administration experience, including contracting with federal, state, nonprofit and for-profit entities, review and negotiation of funded and non-funded agreements, review and negotiation of SBIR/STTR agreements, development and oversight of an export control program, negotiation of procurement contracts, oversight and administration of a federal property program and administration and oversight of small business programs.
From 1992 to 2011, Michelle worked for the Texas A&M Research Foundation (TAMRF), exclusively at the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), one of the world’s largest ocean research programs, with worldwide operations of a research vessel dedicated to scientific ocean research.
In 2011, TAMRF merged with other research administrative units to form Sponsored Research Services (SRS). Michelle continued her work at IODP until 2015 when she transferred to SRS’ main office. At SRS, Michelle served as a contract negotiator and Team Lead for contract negotiations for the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Galveston, as well as the Small Business Liaison Officer. Her time at SRS included the successful coordination and negotiation of the $96M IDIQ contract with the Army for the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex.
In 2022, Michelle joined The University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) as the Assistant Director of Contracting, and within seven months was promoted to Associate Director of Contracting. As a member of the executive leadership team, her responsibilities included strategic planning and spearheading OSP and university-wide initiatives. While at UT, Michelle made impactful process improvements to streamline negotiations and collaborated with other OSP functional areas to refine the overall grant lifecycle and improve customer service.
Michelle received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in political science in 2007. During her time at TAMRF, she twice received the Exceptional Performance Award, and while at SRS she received the Division of Research Staff Excellence Award in 2017.
Texas A&M Fort Worth
Dr. Kim McCuistion serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the new Texas A&M – Fort Worth campus. In this role, Dr. McCuistion’s focus is to turn the new campus into a hub for collaboration between key Fort Worth industries and top research, education, and workforce training assets of the Texas A&M System.
Prior to joining the Texas A&M System, she served as the Vice President for External Operations and Dean of the Fort Worth campus at Tarleton State University. As dean of the Fort Worth campus, she worked with North Texas business and industry leaders, Tarleton faculty and staff, and community college partners to expand existing degree programs and add new ones. She was responsible for the university’s teaching sites in Waco, Midlothian, and Bryan as well. Dr. McCuistion also served as Chief of Staff to Tarleton’s President James Hurley and President Emeritus Dominic Dottavio and was a tenured Professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Tarleton State University.
Dr. McCuistion spent 11 years with Texas A&M University-Kingsville before moving to North Texas in 2017. At A&M Kingsville, she had a split appointment with the Department of Animal, Rangeland, and Wildlife Sciences and the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management. She also served as Dean of Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Honors College for three years.
Dr. McCuistion holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University, a master’s in animal science from Kansas State University, and a doctorate in agriculture from West Texas A&M University.
National Laboratories Office
Associate Vice Chancellor for National Laboratories
The Texas A&M University System
Professor, Nuclear Engineering
Texas A&M University
Dr. Sean M. McDeavitt is the Associate Vice Chancellor for the Texas A&M University System’s National Laboratory office. His multidisciplinary experience in nuclear, materials, and chemical engineering has equipped him with the flexibility to make leadership and research contributions in a diverse range of subjects. He earned his Ph.D. from the Purdue University School of Nuclear Engineering where his research focused on uranium-10 wt % zirconium (U-10Zr) alloy nuclear fuel for the Integral Fast Reactor; this involved handling pyrophoric metal and hydride powders, processing samples at high-temperatures, and characterizing the behavior of U-10Zr.
His professional career began at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), where he worked from 1991 to the Fall of 2003. While at ANL, he earned an international reputation as a leader in nuclear materials research and development, especially in the areas of applied research for advanced nuclear fuel cycles, waste immobilization, and materials development for challenging environments. Between 1999 and 2003, he was the Section Manager for the Materials Development and Pyroprocess Development Sections. In the Fall of 2002, he served as a Visiting Professor at Purdue University; this marked the beginning of his transition to academia.
From August 2003 to August 2006, he worked at Purdue University as an untenured Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering. He joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in the Fall of 2006 and has been a full professor of Nuclear Engineering since 2018. In 2014, he became the Director of the Texas A&M Nuclear Science Center (NSC), which operates a 1 MW TRIGA reactor and a 5 W AGN-201M reactor. In 2019, the NSC was renamed to the Nuclear Engineering & Science Center (NESC) and Dr. McDeavitt became the director of the NESC reactors and nuclear science research laboratories as well as the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI), which is a center focused on STEM education and workforce development. In September 2022, He became the Executive Director of NESC as he continued to position the reactor infrastructure and workforce development activities for further success. In May 2023, Dr. McDeavitt assumed the role of Associate Vice Chancellor for National Laboratories.
Major General (Ret.) Tim Green became Director of the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on March 21, 2022, after serving the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) as Strategic Advisor for National Security Initiatives at the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR) the previous three years. He joined TEES following over 30 years of service in the United States Air Force, where his final position was the Director of Civil Engineers at Headquarters Air Force in Washington, DC. In that capacity he supported 51,000 military and civilian engineers, enabling military operations at 183 bases around the world.
Tim is a results-oriented executive with demonstrated success in managing largemultidisciplinary organizations. During much of his final 16 years in the Air Force he was responsible for overall strategy, and technical and financial performances of various organizations and specialty areas. Immediately upon joining TEES he led the proposal development team, that within three months, established the initial $65M five-year Cooperative Agreement between Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) and the United States Army Futures Command. This agreement is the cornerstone for the creation of the BCDC.
Tim holds the following academic credentials: B.S., Civil Engineering (Texas A&M University [TAMU]); M.S., Civil Engineering (TAMU); M.A., Military Operational Art (Air Command and Staff College/Air University); M.A., National Security Strategy (National War College/National Defense University).
David Staack, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering is Texas A&M University and serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Director of Research Partnerships, and Interim Director of the Texas A&M Semiconductor Institute at the Texas A&M University System.
In his administrative role as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Staack supports multi-university and multi-agency research projects, intellectual property and commercialization, institutional infrastructure projects, and industry/university relations. This includes the development of A&M System research initiatives and research partnerships at Texas A&M RELLIS and Texas A&M Fort Worth. As inaugural director of the Texas A&M Semiconductor Institute Dr. Staack is leading the A&M Systems collective responses to the federal CHIPS program and overseeing the establishment of new facilities, research programs, innovations and workforce development programs made possible through the appropriation of $226M to the Texas A&M Semiconductor Institute through the Texas CHIPS act.
Previously in administrative service roles Dr. Staack served for five years as the College of Engineering Director of Undergraduate Laboratory Instruction where he led the brand-new design and implementation of a common laboratory and maker space infrastructure and pedagogy for the entire College of Engineering in the Zachry Engineering Education Complex. He also has served on the Faculty Senate and as Chair of the Faculty Senate Research Committee.
In his roles in Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Staack teaches courses in the areas of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, plasma engineering, and experimental design. He has an active research program as principal investigator at the Plasma Engineering and Non-Equilibrium Processing Research Laboratory, where his group investigates various plasma discharge and electron beam phenomena and applications. His research touches on many diverse fields including: energy transition technologies, medical device and sensor development, hypersonic and spacecraft propulsion, environmental remediation, oil and gas reforming, carbon sequestration, bio-fuels, drilling technologies, semiconductor processing, advanced manufacturing, and high-speed optical, laser, and x-ray sources and diagnostics. His work includes fundamental research and translation to industry with over 100 archival publications and over 70 patent publications.
David Staack has been a professor at Texas A&M University since 2009, he joined Texas A&M University after receiving his doctorate at Drexel University, working 4 years at Princeton University at the Department of Energy Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and completing his masters and undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in 2000. Dr. Staack was born in the west Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City growing up in Westbeth Artists Housing and attending Stuyvesant High School.
Nancy Currie-Gregg serves as the Texas A&M University Space Institute Director where she is responsible for leading, servicing and support of an evolving space economy, providing Texas with strategic planning and research accomplishments, workforce development and training, and a holistic approach to broadening statewide engagement and promoting growth in all sectors related to the Texas space economy. Holder of the Don Lummus ‘58 Professorship of Practice in Engineering, with appointments in the departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, she develops and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in aerospace human factors engineering; quantitative risk analysis and reliability engineering; system safety engineering; and resilient systems engineering. Her research interests include spacecraft occupant protection, human-robot interaction, and the optimization of human performance and safety in engineered systems.
Prior to joining Texas A&M University in the fall of 2017, Dr. Currie-Gregg spent the vast portion of her career supporting NASA’s human spaceflight programs and projects. Selected as an astronaut in 1990, she accrued 1000 hours in space as a mission specialist on four space shuttle missions– STS-57 in 1993; STS-70 in 1995; STS-88, the first International Space Station assembly mission, in 1998; and STS-109, the fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, in 2002. A retired U.S. Army Colonel and Master Army Aviator, she logged over 4,000 flying hours in a variety of rotarywing and fixed-wing aircraft. Following the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2002, she led the Space Shuttle Program Safety and Mission Assurance Office directing safety, reliability, and quality assurance efforts enabling the safe return to flight of the Space Shuttle in 2005. She was then selected as a senior executive member of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center, serving for over a decade as the Chief Engineer at the Johnson Space Center, then as Principal Engineer.
Dr. Currie-Gregg received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from The Ohio State University, a master of science in safety engineering from the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in industrial engineering from the University of Houston. Among her many awards and honors are the U.S. Government Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professional; NASA’s Exceptional Service, Distinguished Service, Outstanding Leadership, and four Spaceflight Medals; the Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. She is a member of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame, Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame, Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame, Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the distinguished alumni award from The Ohio State University and the University of Houston’s College of Engineering.
Patrick Stover, Ph.D., is the director of the Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture (IHA) at Texas A&M AgriLife. The IHA is the world’s first research institute to bring together precision nutrition, responsive agriculture, and behavioral research to reduce diet-related chronic disease in a way that considers environmental and economic effects. Supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the state of Texas, the IHA has an annual budget of more than $30 million and includes an embedded USDA-ARS unit.
As an international leader in biochemistry, agriculture and nutrition, Stover’s research focuses on the biochemical, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that underlie the relationships among nutrition, food fortification and human pathologies such as developmental anomalies, neuropathies and cancer. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is former president of the American Society for Nutrition and has served two terms on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board. He received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Clinton, the government’s highest honor bestowed on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.
He has over 23 years of academic leadership experience, serving as vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Saint Joseph’s University, a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his postdoctoral studies in nutritional sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.