First round of X-Grants provides funding for eight projects involving 81 Texas A&M researchers

July 2, 2018

By Research Communications and Public Relations

COLLEGE STATION (July 2, 2018) – Eight interdisciplinary research projects will share $7 million in funding during the first round of Texas A&M University’s X-Grants program, an initiative of the 10-year, $100 million President’s Excellence Fund, the university announced today.

The funded projects represent 81 faculty members and other researchers from eight colleges—Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Geosciences, Liberal Arts, Medicine and Science—as well as the Mays Business School, the School of Law, the School of Public Health and the Bush School of Government and Public Service. In addition, two state agencies of The Texas A&M University System are represented: the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Titles and team leaders for each of the eight projects are:

  • “Autonomous Material Discovery and Manufacturing via Artificial Intelligence,” Satish Bukkapatnam, Rockwell International Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering, and director, TEES Institute for Manufacturing Systems.
  • “CRISPR Gene Editing for Healthier Foods and Improved Crop Resilience,” Michael Thomson, professor and holder of the H.M. Beachell Rice Chair, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and director of the Crop Genome Editing Laboratory, AgriLife Research.
  • “Cytotherapeutic Cell Manufacture at Texas A&M University,” Carl Gregory, associate professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine.
  • “Mastering Friction to Reduce Current and Future Energy Demands,” James Batteas, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.
  • “Monitoring Rapidly Changing Arctic Ecosystems Using High-Resolution Satellite-Based Datasets and Art,” Julie Loisel, assistant professor, Department of Geography, College of Geosciences.
  • “Multi-functional and Sustainable Materials for 3D-printing Environmentally Adaptive Resilient Buildings,” Zofia Rybkowski, associate professor and holder of the Harold Adams Interdisciplinary Professorship in Construction Science, Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture.
  • “Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security: Desalination and Water Reuse in the 21st Century,” Wendy Jepson, professor, Department of Geography, College of Geosciences.
  • “Point-of-Care Diagnosis and Monitoring of Respiratory Disease Through Exhaled Breath Analysis,” Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna, professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering.

The X-Grants program was launched in February 2018 with an open invitation to the Texas A&M faculty, staff and students to submit ideas, such as research problem statements, questions or topics. The invitation generated 1,682 ideas, resulting in 145 overarching research themes, which inspired 276 one-page proposals for X-Grants funding from A&M researchers.

For more details of the funded projects, visit the X-Grant program’s website:

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2016), based on expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit



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