Two faculty in the College of Science are among 10 Texas A&M University faculty named to the inaugural class of Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellows, announced last week by President Michael K. Young and Provost and Executive Vice President Carol A. Fierke.
Chemist Sarbajit Banerjee and biologist Gil Rosenthal both received the coveted honor, launched earlier this year with the help of resources from Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp to support and honor mid-career faculty who are making significant marks in their disciplines.
EDGES Fellowships are awarded to faculty members identified by their deans as being worthy of national and international acclaim with careers on track for potential membership in national academies or national and international awards in fields without national academies. In addition to receiving crucial funding support, EDGES Fellows retain their titles throughout their tenure as Texas A&M faculty members in good standing. The awards, in combination with endeavors such as the President’s Excellence Fund and similar faculty reinvestment programs, are intended to empower and advance the careers of faculty at the critical mid-career level.
Banerjee and Rosenthal and their fellow inaugural honorees were officially recognized at a November 5 ceremony on the Texas A&M campus attended by many of the Fellows’ senior mentors and both the 2019 Presidential Impact Fellows and previous classes, as well as 2019’s inaugural class of University Professors.
Banerjee joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry in 2014 and also is an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Texas A&M Energy Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2004 and completed a postdoctoral stint at Columbia University until 2007, then spent seven years as a faculty member at the University at Buffalo prior to coming to Texas A&M. Banerjee was appointed as a Davidson Professor of Science in 2017. His research addresses some of the grand challenges spanning inorganic chemistry, solid-state physics and materials engineering. Since starting his independent career in 2007, Banerjee has emerged as the pre-eminent authority on strong electron correlation, solid-solid phase transitions, energy landscapes in solids, electrocatalyst design, fundamental studies of the chemistry of energy storage, and methods for extraction and processing of fossil fuels. His active collaborations beyond his two departments span mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, geology & geophysics, construction science, soil science, public health, and the Center for Infrastructure Renewal. A fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2016) and Institute of Physics (2017), Banerjee’s career honors to date include the Beilby Medal and Prize (2016), the Rosenhain Medal and Prize (2015), the Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectureship (2013), the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Young Leader Award (2013), the Cottrell Scholar Award (2011), the American Chemical Society ExxonMobil Solid-State-Chemistry Fellowship (2010) and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009). In addition to being named a Scialog Fellow in 2013, Banerjee was named to MIT Technology Review’s global list of “top 35 innovators under the age of 35” in 2012 for the discovery of dynamically switchable smart windows technology that promises a dramatic reduction in the energy footprint of buildings. He was awarded the College of Science Award for Undergraduate Research Mentoring earlier this week. He has published more than 170 articles cited in excess of 10,000 times. In addition to being listed as an inventor on seven issued patents, his work has been licensed by three separate companies. Banerjee recently concluded a four-year stint as an associate editor for the journal RSC Advances and assumed responsibilities as an associate editor for ACS Omega. In addition, he is a member of the editorial boards of the Institute of Physics’ Materials Research Express, Journal of Physics: Communications and the Journal of Coordination Chemistry. He serves as a member-at-large of the American Physical Society Group on Energy Research and Applications, as a member of the Canadian Light Source Spectromicroscopy Beamteam, the Beamline Advisory Committee of NIST beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source and on the Molecular Foundry User Executive Committee.
Rosenthal joined the Texas A&M Department of Biology in 2006 after earning his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2000, completing postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego and serving a four-year stint as an assistant professor at Boston University from 2002 to 2006. A widely respected expert in evolutionary biology and animal behavior, he spent 2017-2018 as a visiting professor and Fulbright Fellow at the University of Torino. Since fall 2018, Rosenthal has served as chair of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in ecology and evolutionary biology — a program he helped to establish when he first arrived at Texas A&M. He is also a member of the Faculties of Marine Biology, Neuroscience and Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Rosenthal’s research program and his intellectual focus involve uncovering mechanisms that constitute mate choice and the central role it plays in determining genetic exchange between species. His model system is a naturally hybridizing complex of Mexican swordtail fish that allows him to combine experimental analyses of behavior with evolutionary-genetic studies of both wild and artificial populations. The core expertise in his lab is in manipulative studies of visual and olfactory communication, which provides a detailed picture of how female mating preferences should generate selection on male traits and how these preferences are affected by the physical environment and by hybridization itself. To date, Rosenthal has published more than 110 journal articles with an h-lndex of 36 and one major book, Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans (Princeton University Press, 2017) that has received very favorable reviews in Science, Current Biology and the Quarterly Review of Biology. Beyond running his own robust research program at Texas A&M, Rosenthal has made major contributions to his field at the local, national and international levels, establishing a field station in Central Mexico, the Centro de lnvestigationes Cientificas de las Huastecas “Aguazarca” that has attracted funding from Mexican funding agencies, international NGOs and Stanford University. He has organized two international conferences at this field station in 2014 and 2015, along with five other national or international conferences and workshops. Rosenthal is also active in the Animal Behavior Society, where he currently serves as treasurer after previously serving as chair for public affairs. He is former associate editor of two journals, Evolution and Behavioral Ecology.
To learn more about faculty in the College of Science, visit https://science.tamu.edu/faculty/.
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