Thomas Truskett Receives TAMEST Award

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) has named Department Chair Thomas Truskett as a 2014 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award recipient.

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

A TAMEST video focused on Truskett’s work will be premiered Jan. 16, 2014, when the awards will be presented during a banquet in conjunction with the organization’s 11th Annual Conference at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort near Austin.

2014 awards recipients are:

Headshot of Thomas TruskettENGINEERING: Thomas M. Truskett, Ph.D., is recognized for fundamental contributions in three areas—self-assembly at the nanoscale, dynamics of confined liquids, and structural arrest of complex fluids—that are important for applications ranging from biomedical imaging to the delivery of therapeutic proteins. Truskett is department chair, Les and Sherri Stuewer Endowed Professor, and Bill L. Stanley Leadership Chair in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Truskett’s research group at UT Austin studies how interfaces and confinement impact the properties of molecular liquids and crystals, colloidal and nanoparticle suspensions, protein solutions and glassy solids.

He earned bachelor of science and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from UT Austin (1996) and Princeton University (2001), respectively. His doctoral studies focused on molecular-scale modeling of liquid and glassy states of matter. In post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, he investigated the role of water and hydrophobic interactions in the behavior of biomolecular systems.

Truskett is the 2007 recipient of the Allan P. Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award.

MEDICINE: Richard Bruick, Ph.D., is recognized for studies on cellular responses to maintain oxygen and iron homeostasis that have laid the foundation for the development of small molecule therapeutics to replace erythropoietin as a treatment for anemia, to treat renal cell carcinoma, and to address iron overload disorders. Bruick is associate professor of biochemistry and a Michael L. Rosenberg Scholar in Medical Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

SCIENCE: Zhifeng Ren, Ph.D., is recognized for seminal contributions to five scientific fields: carbon nanotubes, thermoelectrics, zinc oxides nanowires, high temperature superconductivity, and molecule delivery/sensing. He was the first to grow aligned carbon nanotubes arrays in large scale, make nanostructured bulk thermoelectric materials with much improved properties, and synthesize hierarchical zinc oxide nanowires. Ren is the M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Physics and principal investigator of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston.

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION: James Walker, Ph.D., is recognized for his pioneering work, development, and modeling in impact theory, penetration mechanics, material characterization and response under dynamic loading, and their application to resolving problems of international importance in personal protection and safety for defense and the space program. Walker is an institute scientist at Southwest Research Institute, a nonprofit engineering research and development center based in San Antonio, Texas.

“The 2014 O’Donnell Awards acknowledge the important achievements of four, Texas-based researchers whose work has far-reaching implications across a wide range of scientific disciplines,” said Dr. E. Linn Draper, Jr., TAMEST’s 2013 president. “Primarily focused in medicine and physics, our award recipients conducted cutting-edge research in areas that will improve the health of our citizens, advance our materials engineering technologies, and protect personnel in the armed forces and space program.”

The O’Donnell Awards were first presented in 2006, and a total of $825,000 has been awarded to 36 recipients since the inception of the program. The awards are named in honor of Edith and Peter O’Donnell who are among the state’s staunchest advocates for excellence in scientific advancement and STEM education.

TAMEST’s 2014 Annual Conference — The Computational Revolution in Medicine, Engineering & Science — will feature a program on advances in computational science, computer modeling and computer simulation.


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