Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Genetics
Bioinformatics and Genomics
How long have you been a faculty member at Texas A&M?
What made you choose to join the A&M faculty?
Great interviews conveyed many positives about both Texas A&M University and what was then called the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, their respective missions, the individual and collective faculty in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and/or the Faculty of Genetics (multiple departments), research diversity and quality, adequate resources (space and start-up funds) to establish a lab, and my sense of administrative dedication to creating sufficient opportunities for junior faculty to succeed. In addition to sensing an opportunity conducive to success, the environment here seemed pleasurable. My impression was that the work milieu was rigorous but more constructive than at some other institutions.
What makes A&M stand out above other institutions? What is the best part about being part of the Genetics program?
A&M has a unique institutional “persona” and simultaneously pursues agendas for excellence and service to society, the State, Nation and internationally. It’s international reputation is already immense.
I’ve enjoyed genetics since my first introduction to it in a 9th-grade biology class, so participating in the Program seems natural to me.
For my research, too, the Genetics program is a natural fit, as much my research involves multiple sub-disciplines of genetics, as noted above.
The Genetics program provides a useful means of exposure, interaction and learning across disciplines, which becomes all the more important in larger institutions such as ours.
How have your experiences in the Genetics graduate program shaped your thinking?
The most profound of these is probably greater awareness and appreciation for the diversity of genetics inquiry and research on campus.
How would you describe the atmosphere of the Genetics program with regard to collegiality (between students, students and faculty, faculty and faculty, etc…)?
What is your favorite conference to go to? And why?
Plant and Animal Genome Conference — it provides multiple mechanisms and venues to get the pulse of contemporary plant and animal genetics, including model and domesticated organisms and multiple subdisciplines.
When I am not in the lab, I am…
Office/Greenhouse/Field // Home // a tennis court
My favorite restaurant in College Station is?
When I go out (not often): Breakfast: Fuego’s (Fuego Deluxe). Lunch: the Taz (buffet) or Schlotzsky’s (salad). Supper? maybe Porter’s and Christopher’s.
What is the most gratifying aspect about mentoring graduate students?
Not just one thing: their diversity; their enthusiasm; and watching the transition from curious but generally apprehensive students to confident researchers, teachers and professionals.
Who is your famous role model?
Not sure that I have one in particular, but I admire those who create and use science to help people, their situations, and improve the world.
Do you have any pet peeves?
People taking advantage of other people. Self-delusion.
Do you have any hidden talents?
If so .. they are crypto !!!
Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.
K9s are my favorite. New member in our house is Bindi (as a puppy, she had a “star” on her forehead — as if reincarnated from India?), a border collie mix, presumably F1 hybrid, but it could be more complex. Very smart and a bit too rambunctious, so currently enrolled in “Sit Means Sit” training (along with her masters — LOL). At 6 months (~25 kilos), our dog-related maintenance activities are extensive: our yard is strewn with a dizzying assortment of toys, a seemingly non-depletable number of “landmines”, recurring “foxholes” (she likes to rip out St. Augustine roots), and there has been no safety for any sort of domesticated plant in our backyard, be it in the garden or in pots. And, of course. — we love her all the more.