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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Institute for Advanced Study Fellows announced: 2015-16 class to be the largest in TIAS history

Texas A&M is poised to receive 13 distinguished scholars into a promising, growing program.

Chancellor John Sharp and President Michael Young gave remarks at the Jack K. Williams Administration building Tuesday as the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study announced its Faculty Fellows for the 2015-2016 year.

Established in 2010 by Director John Junkins, TIAS is a research institute that selects an interdisciplinary class of distinguished scholars each year to work with one or more departments offering graduate degrees at Texas A&M.

This year’s class, the largest in TIAS history, includes 13 individuals from institutions spanning the globe, spanning every where from the University of Wurzburg in Germany to Harvard University.

“These remarkable individuals bring world class portfolios to seven colleges in the university, so [the Fellows] are well distributed,” said Glen Laine, vice president for research at Texas A&M. “Many of these individuals will certainly be collaborating in their efforts.”

President Young said while the goal of TIAS is to bring talented faculty to Texas A&M, the ultimate focus will still be on the students.

“The centerpiece of the university are the students,” Young said. “The students come here because we have great professors, so you have to make sure to build a great university — it will be the research we do, the teaching we do to really get the students to come here.”

Young said the TIAS program is unmatched in bringing distinguished faculty to A&M.

“For an education worthy of [Texas A&M students], you really have to have a great faculty and I don’t think I’ve seen anything more effective in the country in helping enhance the intellectual boundaries of the faculty than this TIAS program,” Young said.

Richard Gibbs, one of the recently announced Faculty Fellows and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, said the program offers a special opportunity to inducted Fellows.

“Well it’s a great program,” Gibbs said. “The university, the college, is a national treasure and the resources available and the environment really mean that anyone who comes as a fellow has a kind of unique opportunity to really accomplish something that you couldn’t do at your home institution.”

As a human geneticist, Gibbs said he was drawn to A&M’s prowess in “model systems,” such as fruit flies or cattle.

“A&M has such a strong record in building these model systems, and translating some of the human genetics findings into those in order to make discoveries about function and drugs and therapies, that’s the real goal,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he recommends students to reach out to the Fellows, even if they’re in separate disciplines.

“They’ll get a chance to talk to people from other cultures and other institutions,” Gibbs said. “They might find they’ll learn something quite unexpected.”

TIAS will officially induct the Faculty Fellows Class of 2015-2016 at its annual gala in 2016.

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