Speaker abstracts can be viewed in the printed conference program.


Daniel BolnickDaniel Bolnick, Ph.D.
Professor of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Daniel Bolnick is a Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, and Chair of the Graduate Program in Ecology Evolution and Behavior. He received a B.A. in Biology from Williams College, then taught high-school biology and math in Tanzania as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He received his PhD in Population Biology at the University of California at Davis and accepted a faculty position at UT Austin the same year. From 2009-2015 he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist.

Dr. Bolnick is an evolutionary biologist interested in questions such as: Why does evolution preserve genetic variation within populations? Does migration inhibit, or accelerate, adaptive evolution? How predictable is evolution? How do new species arise? How do parasites drive evolution of the host immune system?

Dr. Bolnick’s research garnered prizes including the Dobzhansky Prize (Society for the Study of Evolution), Young Investigator Award (American Society of Naturalists), the Mercer Award (Ecological Society of America), the David Starr Jordan Prize in Organismal Biology, and a David and Lucille Packard Foundation Fellowship. He is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of The American Naturalist, the oldest scientific journal in North America.


William ColtonKEYNOTE: William Colton
Vice President, Corporate Strategic Planning, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Mr. William (Bill) M. Colton is Vice President, Corporate Strategic Planning for Exxon Mobil Corporation as of February 1, 2009. In this role, he oversees the corporation’s strategic planning activities and the development of its Energy Outlook, ExxonMobil’s assessment of global energy trends.

Mr. Colton received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1975. He joined Exxon Corporation in 1975 and his career has been spent in both upstream and downstream businesses throughout ExxonMobil, including project development, refining, lubes, synthetic fuels and natural gas marketing.

Mr. Colton also worked in finance and planning positions, including ExxonMobil corporate headquarters and eight years overseas in Tokyo and Bangkok. Mr. Colton's previous assignment was as the Corporation's Assistant Treasurer.


Robert DuncanRobert Duncan
Chancellor, Texas Tech University System

Robert Duncan became the fourth chancellor of the Texas Tech University System on July 7, 2014.

As chancellor, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of a nearly $2 billion higher education enterprise with four component institutions – Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Operating on more than a dozen campuses, the Texas Tech University System has a $1.2 billion endowment, enrolls approximately 50,000 students and employs more than 20,000 faculty and staff.

Before becoming chancellor, Duncan served in the Texas Legislature for more than two decades as a State Representative and State Senator. Duncan also was a law partner at Crenshaw, Dupree and Milam in Lubbock for more than 25 years. He advised clients in insurance law and commercial litigation, among many other areas of his legal practice, and remains of counsel for the law firm.

Duncan received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Texas Tech University. He is married to Terri Duncan. They each have two children, and all of them are graduates of Texas Tech University.


Andrew DunnAndrew Dunn
Donald J. Douglass Centennial Professor of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Andrew Dunn is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Donald J. Douglass Centennial Professor of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his BS in physics from Bates College and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UT Austin. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California at Irvine, and served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School from 2000-2005, where he developed laser based methods for functional brain imaging. In 2005 he joined the faculty at UT Austin, and served as Interim Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department in 2015-2016. He was a Visiting Professor at Intitut Langevin at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris in 2016. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and has received numerous awards including the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Wallace Coulter Foundation Translational Research Award, a Dana Foundation Brain and Immunoimaging Award, a Whitaker Foundation Scientist Development Award, and a NIH Career Development Award. He has published more than 100 papers and serves on several editorial boards.


Gregory L. FenvesGregory L. Fenves, Ph.D.
President, The University of Texas at Austin

Gregory L. Fenves is the 29th president of The University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he served the university as executive vice president and provost and before that as dean of UT' s Cockrell School of Engineering. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, he holds the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering No. 15.

With a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, President Fenves began his career in 1984 as an assistant professor in UT's Department of Civil Engineering. He then served more than 20 years on the faculty of UC Berkeley, where he became an internationally recognized expert on structural engineering for earthquakes.

President Fenves has defined three broad strategies to bring UT into its next great era of distinction: redesign the undergraduate educational experience; increase the impact and influence of UT’s research and scholarship; and transform health care through the Dell Medical School. Through these initiatives, which include prioritizing innovation and entrepreneurship, President Fenves seeks to elevate UT’s global presence to bring the best people and ideas to Austin.


John HofmeisterKEYNOTE: John Hofmeister
Founder and Chief Executive, Citizens for Affordable Energy; Former President of Shell Oil Company

Upon retirement as President of Shell Oil Company in 2008, Mr. Hofmeister founded and heads the not-for-profit membership association, Citizens for Affordable Energy. This public policy firm promotes sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation, including a range of affordable energy supplies, efficiency improvements, essential infrastructure, sustainable environmental policies and public education on energy issues.

A business leader who has participated in the inner workings of multiple industries for over 35 years, Hofmeister also has held executive leadership positions in General Electric, Nortel and AlliedSignal (now Honeywell International).

Hofmeister served as the Chairman of the National Urban League and Chairman of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee. He serves as non-executive Director of Hunting plc, London; Applus+, Barcelona; and chairs Erin Energy Corporation, Houston.

Hofmeister also serves on the National Petroleum Council and the boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Strategic Partners, LLC; the Houston Technology Center and the Gas Technology Institute. Hofmeister is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He also is a past Chairman and serves as a Director Emeritus of the Greater Houston Partnership. He is the author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Hofmeister served as a Wrigley Scholar/Executive in Residence in the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Houston and Kansas State University.

Hofmeister earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Political Science from Kansas State University. In May 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Houston and from Kansas State University in 2014.


Peter HotezPeter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM)
Baylor College of Medicine

Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also chief of a new Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is the President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Dr. Hotez is an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. He leads the only product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and Chagas disease, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people.

He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (phi beta kappa), followed by a Ph.D. degree in biochemical parasitology from Rockefeller University in 1986 and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987. Dr. Hotez has authored more than 400 original papers and is the author of the acclaimed Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press).

Dr. Hotez served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and in 2011 he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO.

In 2015 the White House and U.S. State Department selected Dr. Hotez as a United States Science Envoy.


Stephen KlinebergKEYNOTE: Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D.
Professor & Founding-Director – Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

A graduate of Haverford College, with an M.A. from the University of Paris and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Stephen Klineberg is a Professor of Sociology at Rice University. In 1982, he and his students initiated the annual “Kinder Houston Area Survey,” now in its 35th year of tracking the remarkable changes in the demographic patterns, economic outlooks, experiences, and beliefs of Harris County residents. The founding-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, he is the recipient of twelve major teaching awards and a much sought-after speaker in the Houston community and beyond. He has completed a series of published reports on this ongoing research, and is at work this year on a book exploring the national implications of the Houston findings.


David LeebronDavid Leebron, J.D.,
President, Rice University

David W. Leebron, JD, has served as Rice University’s seventh president since 2004, a period of growth and transformation for the university. A native of Philadelphia, Leebron is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Following a judicial clerkship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, he taught at the UCLA School of Law in 1980. After two years in private practice, he joined the faculty at the NYU School of Law in 1983. In 1989, Leebron joined the faculty of Columbia Law School, where in 1996 he was appointed dean and served in that position until coming to Rice. Leebron is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He serves as chair of the boards of Internet2 and COFHE; vice chair of the Association of American Universities; on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, BioHouston, Jacobs University Bremen and the IMAX Corporation; and on the NCAA Board of Governors and Division 1 Board. He is the recipient of an honorary degree from Nankai University in Tianjin, China, is an honorary professor of law at Tianjin University, and has been awarded Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France and the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel La Católica by the government of Spain.


Alan LumsdenAlan Lumsden, M.D.
Medical Director, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center

Dr. Alan Lumsden received his medical degree with honors from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1981. He completed his internship in General Surgery at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He then moved to the United States, completing his General Surgery residency, clinical and research fellowships in Vascular Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1991, Dr. Lumsden accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. In 1998, Dr. Lumsden became Director of the Emory Endovascular Training Center and the Emory Venous Clinic in Atlanta. He was appointed Head of General Vascular Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in March 1999, where he served until November 2001. In December 2001 Dr. Lumsden was named Professor and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine. In, January 2008, Dr. Lumsden was named Professor and Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center and in January 2009, Dr. Lumsden was named Medical Director of the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas.

Dr. Lumsden has developed an international reputation as a leader in the field of endovascular surgery. His work has resulted in numerous scientific articles, abstracts, books, book chapters and presentations.

Dr. Lumsden’s clinical expertise is in stent graft treatment of thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysmal disease, stenting and endarterectomy in carotid arterial disease, renovascular hypertension, aortoialic occlusive disease, mesenteric vascular and minimally invasive therapy in venous disease. His research interests are in restenosis and developing newer methods of minimally invasive therapy.


Yolanda McDonaldYolanda McDonald
Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate, Texas A&M University

Yolanda McDonald is a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in the Geography Department at Texas A&M University at College Station. She received a M.A. in Sociology and B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests span a wide range of topics in health geography, HealthGIS, and spatial analysis. She has been a co-principal investigator, research fellow, and research assistant for several federally funded projects focusing on health inequities related to accessibility to potable water, sanitation, and healthcare services, as well as unequal human health outcomes associated with climate change. Her dissertation research situates spatially-based factors, such as travel time to healthcare facilities that provide cervical cancer screening, diagnostic, and/or treatment services and rural versus non-rural residence, to the forefront of health inequalities research by examining cervical cancer incidence rates and sociodemographics in New Mexico. Yolanda’s research trajectory includes but is not limited to: (1) analyzing how social media can be used to measure anxiety about the Zika virus and (2) understanding the societal, institutional, geographic, and environmental factors that contribute to the incidence and prevalence rates of neglected infectious diseases of poverty in the United States.


Marcia McNuttKEYNOTE: Marcia McNutt, Ph.D.(NAS)
President, National Academy of Sciences

Marcia McNutt (B.A. in physics, Colorado College; Ph.D. in earth sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) is a geophysicist and the 22nd president of the National Academy of Sciences. From 2013 to 2016, she was editor-in-chief of Science journals. McNutt was director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 2009 to 2013, during which time USGS responded to a number of major disasters, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. For her work to help contain that spill, McNutt was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Geological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Association of Geodesy. Her honors include membership in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998, McNutt was awarded the AGU’s Macelwane Medal for research accomplishments by a young scientist, and she received the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her contributions to deep-sea exploration.


Nathan MeehanNathan Meehan, Ph.D., P.E.
2016 President, Society of Petroleum Engineers; Senior Executive Advisor, Baker Hughes

D. Nathan Meehan is Senior Executive Advisor for Baker Hughes. He was previously the founder of CMG Petroleum Consulting, Ltd., Vice President-Engineering for Occidental Petroleum and General Manager, Exploration and Production for Union Pacific Resources. He holds a B. Sc. In Physics from Georgia Tech, an M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University. He has published scores of papers, three books, is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Petroleum Engineering Departments of Pennsylvania State University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas and the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute. Dr. Meehan is the recipient of SPE’s Lester C. Uren Award and Degolyer Distinguished Service Medal and the Public Service Award and has served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer. He was a Director of Computer Modelling Group, Pinnacle Technologies, Vanyoganeft Oil Company and the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is Managing Director of JOA Oil & Gas BV. He serves as the 2016 President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a licensed engineer in four states.


Ari MichelsenAri Michelsen, Ph.D.
Regents Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Ari Michelsen is Regents Fellow, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Center Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso, The Texas A&M University System. His research focus is on integrated water resources management, water resources economic valuation, conservation efficiency and policy analysis. Recent studies include hydrologic-economic evaluations for policy analysis, economic assessment of water programs and regulations, and water resources management and decision support systems for water policy analysis in the U.S., China and Chile. He is President of the Universities Council on Water Resources, Past-President of the American Water Resources Association, serves on the National Water Census Advisory Committee, Rio Grande Salinity Coalition and Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research Editorial Board. Prior to joining Texas A&M University in 1999, he was faculty in the Department of Economics at Washington State University, Professor and Associate Director of the Wyoming Water Resources Center, and Senior Associate at RCG/Hagler, Bailly Inc. He holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Management from the University of Maryland, M.S. in Economics and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University.


Diana NatalicioDiana Natalicio, Ph.D.
President, The University of Texas at El Paso

Diana Natalicio was named president of UTEP in 1988. During her long and distinguished career with the University, Dr. Natalicio has also served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, chair of the modern languages department and professor of linguistics. Her sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has helped make UTEP a national success story.

During Dr. Natalicio’s tenure as president, UTEP’s enrollment has grown from nearly 15,000 to more than 23,000 students, who reflect the demographics of the Paso del Norte region from which 90% of them come. More than 80% are Mexican American, and another 5% commute to the campus from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Since 1988, UTEP’s annual budget has increased from $65 million to nearly $450 million. UTEP is designated as a research/doctoral university, recognized nationally for both the excellence and breadth of its academic and research programs. UTEP’s annual research expenditures have grown from $6 million to over $90 million per year, and doctoral programs from one to 21 during this same period. To accommodate steady growth in enrollment, academic programs and research, the university has recently completed nearly $300 million in new and renovated facilities expansion in science, engineering, health sciences, and other student quality-of-life related infrastructure.

Dr. Natalicio has served on numerous boards including Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), ACT, the Rockefeller Foundation, Trinity Industries, Sandia Corporation, U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), American Council on Education (chair), National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Internet 2. She was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to membership on the Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and by President Bill Clinton to the National Science Board, where she served two six-year terms, including three two-year terms as NSB vice-chair.

In 2016, Dr. Natalicio was honored with the Hispanic Heritage Award in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and she was included on the 2016 TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world. In 2015, The Carnegie Corporation of New York honored Dr. Natalicio with its prestigious Academic Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional achievements during the transformation of UTEP into a national public research university. In 2011, the President of Mexico presented her the Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition bestowed on foreign nationals. She also received the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at The University of Texas at Austin, and awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Victoria University (Melbourne, Australia), Georgetown University, Smith College and the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon.

A graduate of St. Louis University, Dr. Natalicio earned a master’s degree in Portuguese and a doctorate in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin.


Ellen OchoaEllen Ochoa, Ph.D.
Director, Lyndon B.Johnson Space Center, NASA

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is the 11th director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. She is JSC’s first Hispanic director, and its second female director. Dr. Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours. Prior to her astronaut career, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and an inventor, with three patents for optical systems. She is honored to have five schools named for her, including three in California and one in both Texas and Washington State. Dr. Ochoa earned a bachelor's degree in physics from San Diego State University and a master's degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.


Woody RickersonWoody Rickerson, P.E.
Vice President, Grid Planning and Operations, ElectricReliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)

Woody Rickerson became ERCOT’s vice president of Grid Planning and Operations in October 2015. In this role, he oversees planning activities and electric grid operations.

Mr. Rickerson brings more than 25 years of electric industry experience, including 15 years at ERCOT, to this role. Most recently, he served as the director of Grid Coordination, overseeing seven departments including Outage Coordination, Model Administration, Model Maintenance, Resource Integration, Engineering Development, Operations Training and Advanced Network Applications. He also was involved in developing the tools used to operate the ERCOT grid, beginning with development of the ERCOT zonal market system in 2000 and has served in a number of increasingly responsible roles prior to his current role.

A licensed professional engineer, Mr. Rickerson has worked for utilities in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University and a master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado. He also completed the Cockrell School of Engineering Leadership Certificate Program at the University of Texas at Austin.


John SharpJohn Sharp,
Chancellor, The Texas A&M University System

As chancellor of The Texas A&M University System John Sharp leads the 21-member system, which includes 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a health science center. Sharp brings with him more than three decades of public service, and a passion to make the A&M System the best system of higher education in the country.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Texas A&M University in 1972, where he was student body president and a member of the Corps staff of the Corps of Cadets. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves. In 1976, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin.

In 1978, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and was named “Outstanding Freshman” by Texas Monthly. He won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1982, where he served on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1986. Sharp was elected state comptroller in 1990 and re-elected in 1994.

Sharp has been married to Charlotte Han of Austin since 1978. They have a son, Spencer, and a daughter, Victoria.


William StocktonWilliam R. Stockton, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Research Fellow and Chief Research Officer, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

Dr. Stockton is Executive Associate Agency Director, Senior Research Fellow, and Chief Research Officer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). He is principal liaison to the Institute’s largest research sponsor, the Texas Department of Transportation and oversees TTI’s interdisciplinary research activities.

Stockton has launched numerous research efforts that have become key sustained programs of research: safety countermeasures, intelligent transportation system strategies, managed lanes feasibility, border crossing solutions, and toll road viability. Recently Stockton has focused on projects that develop public policy tools and has served as staff director for blue ribbon panels. His current focus is on high-level leveraging of research across disciplines and sponsors.

During his 40-year public service career, Stockton has led a wide array of disciplines—from medical providers to civil engineers, white collar executives to blue collar field crews—with exceptional success and high employee morale. His awards include the Charley V. Wootan Award for Career Achievement in Research, as well as numerous research and public service awards, and six individual commendation medals from the U.S. Army.

Stockton holds a Ph.D., Master of Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. He is a licensed professional engineer with the State of Texas, graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program, and active member of local, state, and national professional societies.


Bapiraju SurampudiBapiraju Surampudi, Ph.D.
Staff Engineer, Southwest Research Institute

Dr. Bapi Surampudi has worked in the area of vehicle powertrain control and electrification for 23 years. He has been with Southwest Research Institute for the last 20 years. His experience spans commercial light duty, heavy duty and combat vehicles. Various technologies he has developed encompass the areas of hybrid powertrains, electric vehicles, lithium ion battery testing, fire control systems and autonomous vehicles. He is a senior member of IEEE and a member of SAE. Dr. Surampudi received his PhD from Texas A&M University at College Station.


Robert TeshRobert Tesh, M.D.
Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Preventative Medicine; John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Biodefense, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Robert B. Tesh, M.D., holds the John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Biodefense at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He is Professor of Pathology, and of Microbiology and Immunology, and of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the same institution. He is currently the Director of the World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses at UTMB. Dr. Tesh received a B.S. in Zoology at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, an M.S. in Epidemiology from Tulane University, and his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. After completing an internship at San Francisco General Hospital and a year of Pediatric residency at Gorgas Hospital, Panama Canal Zone, he spent two years as a Peace Corps physician in Northeast Brazil. Dr. Tesh subsequently spent 12 years as a Research Scientist with NIAID/NIH, 15 years at the Yale University School of Medicine, and for the past 21 years at UTMB. Dr. Tesh is author or co-author of over 450 publications in the areas of arbovirology, medical entomology, virus ecology, epidemiology of zoonotic disease, virus discovery and characterization of novel viruses.


Meng WangMeng Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Meng Wang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics and a Robert C. Fyfe Endowed Faculty Scholar in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Wang received a B.S. degree from Peking University, China in 2001 and a Ph.D. degree from University of Rochester in 2005. After being a postdoctoral follow at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Wang joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in 2010.

Dr. Wang’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms governing somatic aging, lipid metabolism and reproductive senescence, through harnessing the power of functional genomics with metabolomics and optical biophysics. Her group uncovered the first lysosome-to-nucleus retrograde lipid messenger pathway in regulating longevity, and identified the novel molecular basis of reproductive longevity. Technological developments based on stimulated Raman scattering microscopy in Dr. Wang’s laboratory provided brand new ways to visualize and track lipid molecules as a function of time and space in living cells and organisms.

Dr. Wang’s contributions have been recognized with several awards, including Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, ASCB-Gibco Emerging Leader Prize, Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanism of Aging, HHMI Faculty Scholar Award, and NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.


Michael WebberMichael Webber, Ph.D.
Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

As Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, Author, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Michael E. Webber trains the next generation of energy leaders at the University of Texas at Austin and beyond through research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization. His recent book, “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival”, which addresses the connection between earth’s most valuable resources and offers a hopeful approach toward a sustainable future, is receiving wide praise. His television special Energy at the Movies was in national syndication on PBS stations 2013-2015, and a suite of energy literacy tools titled Energy 101, including videos, online courses, and an interactive ebook, is available globally. He was selected as a Fellow of ASME, has authored more than 300 publications, holds 4 patents, and serves on the advisory board for Scientific American. Webber holds a B.S. and B.A. from UT Austin, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford. He was honored as an American Fellow of the German Marshall Fund, an AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow, and on four separate occasions by the University of Texas for exceptional teaching.