2017 ENG-LIFE Workshop emphasizes promoting multidisciplinary interaction and scientific communication
The fourth ENG-LIFE Workshop, a faculty-led workshop designed to increase potential for multidisciplinary interaction and scientific communication between engineering, physical sciences and the life sciences, took place on April 14 in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University.
The theme for the event was “Biomanufacturing and Synthetic Biology.” After opening remarks by Dr. Glen A. Laine, vice president for research at Texas A&M, the keynote was delivered by Dr. Mansoor Khan from the College of Pharmacy on “New Collaboration Opportunities to Modernize Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Translation of Texas A&M Discoveries from Bench to Bedside.”
Other speakers followed with short presentations from the departments of molecular and cellular medicine; chemistry; biological and agricultural engineering; biological and agricultural engineering; entomology; veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences; chemical engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and biomedical engineering.
Dr. Arum Han, professor in the electrical and computer engineering department and chair of the organizing committee, said the purpose of the event is to provide opportunities for faculty and students to meet and engage in multidisciplinary interactions between engineering, physical/chemical sciences and life sciences. He said many important and challenging problems can only be solved through interdisciplinary cooperative research, and Texas A&M has an extensive list of excellent faculty that sometimes just need to be aware of each other and linked.
“I am very proud that we came where we are, holding the fourth workshop,” Han said. “I’m glad to see that the workshop has now settled as an annual workshop focusing on broad interdisciplinary interactions, and that there is quite a bit of awareness in the campus community of the workshop. I think we are at the stage where I feel that this will continue to be a successful established annual workshop.”
The latest workshop had more than 140 attendees from colleges across the Texas A&M campus, with numerous researchers presenting during the poster session.
According to Han, there have already been some collaborations that have formed through the workshops and researchers from different colleges have become more familiar with each other’s work, and students also benefit from the workshop.
“I know several colleagues that have met new collaborators through this venue,” he said. “In addition, many of the new funding opportunities now ask for a comprehensive team to be formed, so it’s always good to know who is doing what so that we can reach out if such a funding opportunity comes up.
“Faculty benefits quite a bit from finding new collaborators and new ideas, but graduate students and postdocs, who present most of the posters, also benefit a lot, maybe even more so than faculty,” Han said. “My interaction with them has been that they really enjoy the opportunity to present their work in front of a very diverse audience.”
The Division of Research assisted in putting on this year’s workshop, and the organizing committee chaired by Han included Dr. Paul Hardin of the College of Science, Dr. Arul Jayaraman from the Texas A&M College of Engineering, Dr. Allison C. Rice-Ficht from the College of Medicine, Dr. Won-Bo Shim from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Dr. C. Jane Welsh from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.