2014 Fellows


Deborah Bell-Pedersen

Department of Biology
Texas A&M University
3258 TAMU, 210A Biological Sciences Building
College Station, TX 77843-3258
Phone: 979.847.9237
Email: dpederson@bio.tamu.edu

Dr. Bell-Pedersen became an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in September 2014, serving as Associate Department Head of Operations for the Department of Biology. In this position her responsibilities include annual reviews of faculty and staff, tenure and promotion, faculty mentoring, and outreach for the department. As needed, she fills in for the Department Head and provides input in budget decisions, and other matters of importance to the department. Dr. Bell-Pedersen’s goal as an administrator is to help improve the department’s research, teaching and service portfolio’s. Through the ADVANCE fellowship program, she was given a unique opportunity to interact with, and learn from, highly successful administrators from across campus. These experiences have helped her begin to reach her goal through the development of a new strategic plan for the department.

Dr. Bell-Pedersen is a Professor and Associate Department Head in the Biology Department, and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics, and the Center for Research on Biological Clocks. She earned her PhD from SUNY Albany, and completed postdoctoral studies at Dartmouth Medical School. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms for how the circadian clock functions in organisms to regulate daily rhythms in behavior, physiology, and biochemistry. She has published more than 70 articles, reviews, and book chapters, and funding from the National Institutes of Health provides support for her work. Dr. Bell-Pedersen has held numerous leadership roles in her field, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.


Chanda Elbert

Associate Professor
Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communications
Texas A&M University
2116 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-2116
Phone: 979.458.2699
Email: celbert@tamu.edu


Teresa Wilcox

Department of Psychology
Texas A&M University
4235 TAMU, 282 Psychology Building
College Station, TX 77843-4235
Email: twilcox@tamu.edu

Dr. Wilcox joined the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in July of 2014. In this position, she is developing a functional model for ombuds services in OGAPS, serves as a graduate student Ombudsperson, chaired the Faculty-Student Agreement Task Force, is developing workshops, in conjunction with the Center for Teaching Excellence and University Libraries, to facilitate productive mentee-mentor relationships and enhance an understanding of responsible research and scholarly practices, and participates as a member of the OGAPS Leadership Team. Dr. Wilcox views the ADVANCE Program as an opportunity to learn about the complexities of graduate and professional student training at Texas A&M and how this intersects with the research, teaching, and service missions of the university, to gain perspective on the unique contribution that each college and academic unit makes to this enterprise, and to support students in their goal to obtain quality education as they pursue advanced degrees.  This is also a unique opportunity to get direct guidance from an administrative mentor and learn about university operations and administration, more broadly.

Dr. Wilcox is a Professor in Psychology and Director of the Infant Cognition Lab. She joined the Psychology faculty at Texas A & M in 2000. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Arizona and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her field of research, broadly defined, is the origins and development of human knowledge.  Her lab focuses on identifying knowledge that infants possess at birth or soon after, knowledge that infants acquire more gradually, mechanisms that support knowledge acquisition, and functional maturation of cortical systems that mediate knowledge acquisition. Dr. Wilcox’s research has been funded by NIH and NSF.

2013 Fellows

Carney G 150x180

Ginger Carney

Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Texas A&M University
3258 TAMU, 307C Biological Sciences Bldg West
College Station, TX 77843-3258
Phone: (979) 845-6587
Email: gcarney@bio.tamu.edu

Dr. Carney began working as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the College of Science in September 2013.  She serves as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and oversees the expansion of undergraduate research initiatives in the college.  Dr. Carney is excited about this opportunity to serve as an ADVANCE Fellow because she considers the high-impact practice of undergraduate research participation to be an important component of the undergraduate experience in science.  Dr. Carney’s position gives her the opportunity to create and implement strategies in the college for increasing the numbers of undergraduates involved in research while also enhancing the experience for these students.

Dr. Carney joined the Texas A&M University Biology faculty in 2004 and is an Associate Professor.  She earned her Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1998 and was awarded an NIH postdoctoral fellowship to study at Oregon State University.  Her current research focus is genetic and neural control of motivated behaviors, including reproductive and eating behaviors, and her research is funded by the National Science Foundation. She is an active member of the interdisciplinary Faculty of Neuroscience, Faculty of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the College of Science Diversity Committee.  She has co-authored numerous research articles and has received College and University-level teaching awards.

2012 Fellows

Portrait of Mary Bryk

Mary Bryk

Associate Professor
Biochemistry & Biophysics
Texas A&M University
2128 TAMU, 334A Biochemistry & Biophysics Bldg
College Station, TX 77843-2128
Phone: (979) 862-2294
Email: bryk@tamu.edu

Dr. Bryk began working as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in July 2012: she joined the Provost’s Office as an Assistant Provost. In this position, she focuses on the development of High-Impact Learning Practices for implementation at Texas A&M University. As an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow, Dr. Bryk is looking forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from a remarkable mentor, Dr. Pamela Matthews, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. In addition, Dr. Bryk is enthusiastic about developing high impact education programs to enhance learning experiences for A&M students.

Dr. Bryk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics. She has served as a COALS representative on the Council of Principal Investigators since 2009. Dr. Bryk earned her PhD from Albany Medical College and completed postdoctoral studies at the New York State Department of Health and Harvard Medical School.

Research in Dr. Bryk’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate chromatin function in repeated DNA sequences in eukaryotic organisms. The American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health have funded the research in Dr. Bryk’s lab. In addition, Dr. Bryk is a co-PI on a grant from the National Science Foundation that funds a program to provide a Summer Research Experience in Biochemistry for undergraduate students.

Portrait of Rosana Moreira

Rosana Moreira

Professor & Assistant Department Head
Biological & Agricultural Engineering
Texas A&M University
2117 TAMU, 310 Scoates Hall
College Station, TX 77843-2117
Phone: (979) 847-8794
Email: rmoreira@tamu.edu

Dr. Moreira joined the Office of the Provost in July, 2012 as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the capacity of Assistant Provost. She is investigating national practices in peer institutions as a way to benchmark faculty performance in teaching and, especially, service. Dr. Moreira’s efforts will assist TAMU in leading in the strategic vision of “Education First,” in which all members of campus contribute to multiple missions and, in doing so, more effectively serve the state, nation, and world.  After many years as a faculty member at TAMU, Dr. Moreira views the ADVANCE Administrative Fellow program as a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the university operations and how the leadership of women contributes to the success of the teaching, research, and service missions.

Dr. Moreira is a Professor and Assistant Department Head of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering where she also acts as the Graduate Coordinator for the program. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and joined Texas A&M University in 1990.  Dr. Moreira is an accomplished researcher; her areas of interest include the application of engineering principles to the design and control of food processing systems and food safety engineering. She has more than 100 published articles, and support for her research program has been provided by the USDA, FDA/NIH, and Texas Department of Agriculture.  Dr. Moreira has been involved in many other leadership roles such as the Director of the Center of Food Processing Engineering of the TAMU Institute of Food Science and Engineering and as the Chair of the Food Engineering Committee of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Portrait of Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson

Associate Professor
Plant Pathology & Microbiology
Texas A&M University
2132 TAMU, 118 LF Peterson
College Station, TX 77843-2132
Phone: (979) 845-7311
Email: h-wilkinson@tamu.edu

As of July 2012, Dr. Wilkinson is an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow and Assistant Provost providing support and coordination for the Quality Enhancement Program (QEP). Dr. Wilkinson sees the ADVANCE Administrative Fellow program as an opportunity to 1) learn more about the Provost’s office, 2) participate in implementing the QEP which focuses on “creative, engaging and meaningful learning experiences for students”, and 3) gauge her interest in, and aptitude for, administration.

Dr. Wilkinson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. She received her PhD in Biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1995 where she studied evolutionary ecology of a naturally occurring legume-Bradyrhizobium mutualism. Subsequently, at the University of Kentucky she served as a postdoctoral fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor during her studies of grass-endophyte mutualisms.

At Texas A&M, Dr. Wilkinson’s research program involves elucidating the genetic basis for microbial adaptations, population genetics of important Texas pathogen species, metagenomic analysis of microbial communities from extreme environments, and screening microbial communities for industrially relevant traits (efficacy in a biofuel platform, tolerance to high product concentrations, propensity to produce important enzymes). Dr. Wilkinson has a long history of engaging undergraduates in her research program, in the classroom, and as faculty advisor to student organizations. She has served as advisor for the student chapter of the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) since 2008. The NAEP student club is sponsored by her department as part of their commitment to their undergraduate major Bioenvironmental Sciences (BESC). Dr. Wilkinson is leading the effort to form a professional board for BESC. The mission for the board is preparing excellent environmental professionals responsive to industry needs in the 21st century. Dr. Wilkinson is very interested in curriculum development within her department and, as such, regularly develops and teaches courses within BESC.

2011 Fellows

Portrait of Gerianne Alexander

Gerianne Alexander

Texas A&M University
4235 TAMU, 206 Psychology Bldg
College Station, TX 77843-4235
Phone: (979) 845-2567
Email: galexander@psych.tamu.edu

Dr. Alexander began her work as an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in July, 2011; she is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Liberal Arts. In this position, she chairs College planning and resources committees, facilitates efforts to increase external research funding, engages in university research activities such as the University Research Council and the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Council, and participates in College-level strategic planning. Dr. Alexander views the ADVANCE Administrative Fellow program as a unique opportunity to learn more about the operations of her university community while working to promote research in the College of Liberal Arts.

Dr. Alexander is a Professor of Psychology.  She joined the Psychology faculty at Texas A&M University in 2002. She holds a Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal and completed postdoctoral training at the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at UCLA and at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, CT. Broadly defined, her field of research is the psychobiology of human sex differences, and support for her research program has been provided by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Portrait of Clare Gill

Clare Gill

Animal Science
Texas A&M University
2471 TAMU, 432 Kleberg
College Station, TX 77843-2471
Phone: (979) 862-7129
Email: clare-gill@tamu.edu

In July 2011, Dr. Gill became an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow and Associate Vice President for Diversity (25% effort). In this capacity, she provides leadership for the University mediation training program and co-facilitates the Difficult Dialogues Program. She is finding the skillset associated with both of these programs to be particularly useful in her own career and is pleased to have the opportunity to share these skills with others. She is interested in the ADVANCE program because it enables her to learn from an administrative mentor (Dr. Christine Stanley, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity).

Dr. Gill is an Associate Professor of animal genomics in the Department of Animal Science and a member of the Interdisciplinary Programs in Genetics and Biotechnology. Dr. Gill also co-directs the Whole Systems Genomics Initial University Multidisciplinary Research Initiative. Dr. Gill received her Honors (class I) degree in Bachelor of Biotechnology from Flinders University of South Australia in 1995. She graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2001 with a doctorate in animal molecular genetics. Dr. Gill teaches an undergraduate senior seminar course and graduate courses in applied animal genomics and molecular biotechnology. Her primary research interest is in development and application of efficient molecular tools for comparative genomics. She is also the principal investigator of the McGregor Genomics Project, which is a collaborative effort to map genes for production efficiency in beef cattle.

Portrait of Blanca Lupiani

Blanca Lupiani

Executive Associate Dean of Faculties
Office of the Dean of Faculties
Texas A&M University
Vet Med – Pathobiology, 4467 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4467
Phone: (979) 458-0591
Email: blupiani@tamu.edu

Dr. Lupiani became an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow on September 1, 2011 and in this capacity serves as the Associate Dean of Faculties in the office of the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost. In this position she will work closely with the Dean and others to advance the University’s goals in research, teaching, service, and engagement, as well as the office’s mission regarding faculty status, climate, and development. Her more immediate responsibilities will be to provide assistance with the processing of faculty grievances, as well as with the handling of tenure and promotion processes. Dr. Lupiani is interested in administration because she believes for universities to function properly, academicians need to be actively involved in governance. In this regard, she believes she can have a positive impact and help faculty and students to be successful.

Dr. Lupiani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. She came to the United States to pursue graduate studies as a Fulbright Scholar and received her Ph.D. in molecular virology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1994. Subsequently she completed post-doctoral training at the Agriculture Research Service (USDA) laboratories in Maryland and Michigan and at Michigan State University.

Dr. Lupiani’s research interests include elucidating the molecular basis of pathogenesis of animal viral diseases and development of vaccines and diagnostic tests. In addition, she is interested in the evolution and ecology of viruses of zoonotic importance. Dr. Lupiani’s research has led to the development of a vaccine to protect chickens against tumors caused by Marek’s disease virus, for which two U.S. patents have been granted. She is on the editorial board of the journal Avian Diseases and has participated in the organization of several international professional symposia.