Human Clinical Research Facility Grand Opening

Mark your calendars for the grand opening of the Human Clinical Research Facility (HCRF) building on April 11 from 1-5 pm.  Drs. Deutz and Kreider’s laboratories have been moved to this new state-of-the-art facility that is one of a kind for Texas A&M University. This shared facility will be an addition for the Texas A&M University community , as well as a new resource for clinical research for other PIs.   The building is located on west campus next to the PEAP building and across the street from the Agriculture & Life Sciences.  Please see and search for HCRF for exact location. In this photo, Dr. Susan Bloomfield along with CERD Assistant Director Windy Hollis Turner, are given a tour of the new facility by Drs. Deutz and Kreider.

Research Dean’s Corner

As many of you are aware, our busy office covers three major functions:  pre-award services, post-award (business) services, and outreach.   The last function is the newest and perhaps least familiar to many of you, so I start there.

Our Outreach Coordinator, Amy Jurica Hinnant, is successfully establishing productive relationships with school districts and other agencies around the state.  Amy’s experience as a teacher and administrator coupled with her outgoing personality are key assets in her outreach to school superintendents and districts around the state.   She has attended a number of district and state-wide superintendent meetings of late and, upon your request, can generate meetings with principals in school districts with which PI’s might want to partner.  Noboru Matsuda, Associate Professor in TLAC, comments, “Amy proactively finds schools for me based on my need and coordinates meetings with school teachers and high stake holders.  She is very responsible and incredibly prompt; the quality of her work is always impressive… It is quite clear to me that, without Amy, I would have had a tough time finding partner schools (and likely might have failed to find any).”  Adds Julie Thompson (Asst. Professor, EPSY), “Her ability to make people at ease and clear dedication to supporting not only our research, but ensuring benefits to schools and other organizations, is superb.”

Amy’s outreach is not limited to school-based partnerships; early this year, she crafted a connection with a clinic for autistic children in Houston, which resulted in increased responses to a call for participants in Dr. Cindy Lieben’s (HLKN/CTRAL) work examining metabolic profiles of autistic children.    Don’t hesitate to contact her at if she can assist with your research program’s needs.

Post-award making business service improvements:  I visited one-on-one with all four department heads last month and do pay attention to individual PI comments.  Many of you are satisfied with your business services thus far; some others are not.  I want to assure those of you who have experienced some delays or other issues: I hear you.  Our current post-award group of four dedicated individuals (Clayton Holle, Mary Seifert, Pam Parks, Wyatt Buchanan) has worked diligently to handle the 400+ accounts of our College PI’s, processing a high volume of business transactions each day.  Over the last 5 months, it has become very clear that this workload requires more than four FTE’s; the Dean has authorized the hiring of a 5th business staffer, whom we hope to have in place by mid-May.  As a team, we constantly discuss improved procedures to achieve increased accuracy and speed, as well as any means of streamlining our business processes.   We have developed a system for quick referrals of troublesome procedures and all business staff are actively engaged in training for the multiple functions we expect each of them to cover.  Don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Clayton Holle, Business Administrator, ( or me ( with your concerns.


***New *** Pro-active Interim Funding Set-up Service:  In reviewing reasons for delays on payroll processing or invoice payments, we have identified a value-added service we believe will minimize some of those issues: early activation of interim funding for newly awarded external projects (or renewals thereof).   The sooner interim funding is set up after you receive notice of a new award, the sooner you can start planning activities, place staff on payroll, or pay GAR tuition.  Note: SRS provides its interim funding to PI’s only for new awards from federal or state sponsors. Your IDC returns to the College enable us to offer College PI’s interim funding for projects sponsored by private (foundation) and commercial entities.  Even for funding from federal or state sources, our office can help speed the set-up of SRS interim funding, coordinating closely with our SRS post-award administrator.   I urge you to take advantage of this new service to get a quick start on your new projects.   See this link on our website for more information:  [Click here to go to the CERD website]

CERD Pre-award Research Development Officers assist in the submission of 74% of  93 out-going proposals from CEHD PI’s over the last 6 months!   Jesus and Sharmila offer expert help in budget and sub-contract preparation (and all associated paperwork) as you prepare external proposal applications, but also much more.    Even for those of you who choose to complete most of your proposal budget and text on your own, they can offer critical assistance in your final weeks of proposal writing.  For example, you can request a format/required elements check to assure that your document meets all requirements by your funding agency; I am learning that some agencies are exceedingly stringent, down to the line spacing in embedded tables.  Some required elements are more substantive (e.g., Broader Impact statements, Relevance to the Military, etc.); Sharmila and Jesus are more than happy to offer comments on these, too.   Their familiarity with SRS procedures on proposal submission can prove critical:  a glitch last month on a Department of Education submission was fixed by their quick action in the final hour before deadline.    As always, it helps us to help you if you file a Proposal Notification Form (formerly called Pre-proposal Form) as soon as you commit to an application deadline.

The “miscellaneous category” of research support:  I stand ready to support individual requests from College research faculty for assistance with fees for training programs (grant writing, specialized research methods), smaller matches on internal seed grants, and so forth.  Don’t hesitate to email me ( with ideas on enhancing your research program’s productivity.

Human Clinical Research Facility (HCRF) Grand Opening on April 11:  I urge you to attend the opening of this impressive new facility, totally unique on the Texas A&M campus and in the BCS community.  Initiated by our College with generous support from the University Division of Research, this facility will serve the entire university with state-of –the-art facilities and highly trained research staff for supporting clinical research with human subjects just as would a well-equipped medical research hospital.   If you wish to explore how access to the HCRF might enable even more competitive research applications and interesting science for you and collaborators, contact Executive Director, Dr. Rick Kreider (, for details.

Coming soon: The College Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) made a great suggestion we are working to fulfill:  hour-long proposal budget workshops for PI’s reviewing important choices on payroll issues (salary savings, course buyouts), what happens to IDC returns, etc.   We hope to pull something together before summer; watch your email for a notice on this.


Presidential Impact Faculty Award Winner from CEHD


Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Liew (EPSY) on being named to the inaugural class of Presidential Impact Fellows. The new award is among the most prestigious ever presented to Texas A&M Click here to read more. 








New Funding

A number of our faculty have acquired external funding this year and we congratulate and celebrate all who have been successful.  One project that was funded this year incorporates PIs from three different departments.  Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio’s project “Literacy-Infused Science Using Technology Innovation Opportunity (LISTO), a 5-Year Longitudinal Validation Project” was funded by the US Department of Education at a staggering $12 million dollars.  This project includes faculty in EAHR – Beverly Irby and Trez Jones; EPSY – Fuhui Tong; and TLAC – Mary Margaret Capraro and Robert Capraro. Also receiving impressive funding from the Kellogg Foundation is Dr. Jean Madsen’s project titled “Mediated Leadership Skills for Demographically Diverse Schools” which includes Mario Torres from EAHR and Jessica Yue from EPSY.    Dr. Rivera was funded by the US Department of Education for $2.7 million for his project “Eco-Resilience NPD program: Synergistically Connecting Multiple Environments for the Success of English Learners” which includes Beverly Irby, Fuhui Tong, and Rafael Lara-Alecio.  Many more have received funding, i.e., Noburo Matsuda – NSF; Bugrahan Yalvac and Tim Lightfoot – NIH by way of TAMU HSC; Whitney Garney – American Heart Association; Trez Jones – Department of Defense; Luis Ponjuan – Greater Texas Foundation; and Steve Salaga – PGA of America….just to name a few!  Be sure to congratulate and celebrate your colleagues’ success.

2017 NIH Grant Proposal Writing Program

Hearty congratulations goes out to Marielle Engelen (HLKN) and Julie Thompson (EPSY) for being accepted into the Division of Research NIH Grant Proposal Writing Program.  This is a six-month program that will help them develop a full, competitive proposal ready for submission the National Institutes of Health in 2017.

2017 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients Announced

Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students have selected 24 outstanding members of the school’s faculty and staff to be honored with 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards. The university-level Distinguished Achievement Awards were first presented in 1955 and have since been awarded to more than 1,000 professionals who have exhibited the highest standards of excellence at Texas A&M. The 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards will be formally presented at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, April 24, during ceremonies in Rudder Theatre on the Texas A&M University campus. In recognition of their achievements, each recipient will receive a cash gift, an engraved watch and a commemorative plaque.

The 2017 recipient from the College of Education and Human Development is Timothy R. Elliott (EPSY). Congratulations Dr. Elliott!

STATA Workshops

The CERD Office hosted two STATA Workshops on January 23rd and February 7th.  STATA is data analysis and statistical software that is supported by our college.   Sixty individuals attended these workshops (11-faculty, 9-staff, and 40-students).  Special thanks to Rene Quiroz for her support arranging these successful workshops.


Pre-Award Updates

Library Partnerships with Texas A&M Research Centers, Institutes and Interdisciplinary Grand Challenge Initiatives

There is a strong need on campus to support Centers, Institutes, and other large research collaborative teams manage their information, research data and publications. Effective information management is expected to enhance productivity, creativity and ability to form effective interdisciplinary teams. The University Libraries have expertise in information management and the design and implementation of information technology systems that help make Texas A&M research discoverable, curated and preserved. Contact the University Libraries for more information at 979.845.1083 or email Dr. Bruce Herbert at


Scholars@TAMU is a researcher profile system that enables the discovery of research and scholarship across disciplines built using a robust, open-source, semantic-web application, where the library harvests most information commonly found on a CV. Once the profiles of all faculty are developed, this system would support the identification of new members to recruit, the formation of research teams, and the identification of current member of the center. See for more information.

Data Management Plans

In the context of research and scholarship, “Data Management” refers to the storage, access and preservation of data produced from a given investigation. Data management practices cover the entire life cycle of the data, from planning the investigation to conducting it, and from backing up data as it is created and used to long term preservation of data deliverables after the research investigation has concluded. Need help creating your data management plan? Contact the University Library to get expert help on the data management plan portion of your grant. Free up your time to focus on the technical piece!

Proposal Notification Gift Card Recipients 

Thanks to those of you who have used the Proposal Notification Form to alert us to upcoming proposal submissions! This tool helps us to better assist you in the development, coordination and management of your submission as we liaise with SRS to ensure a timely and fully compliant proposal submission.

The following faculty have received $20 Blue Baker gift cards as a token of our appreciation:

Adam Barry                                         Jennifer Ganz                        Idethia Harvey                                    

Daniel Bowen                                     Whitney Garney                   Julie Thompson                                   

Mary Margaret Capraro                 Kelly Wilson                         Lei Shih Chen                                     

Kimberly Vannest                              Radhika Viruru                  Christopher Woodman


The CERD Pre Award Team is:

Windy Hollis Turner-Assistant Director

Jesus Palomo -(EPSY & TLAC) 

Dr. Sharmila Pathikonda – (HLKN & EAHR)

Post Award Updates

Summer Research Support

In order to have sufficient time for processing payroll and tuition transactions for summer, we ask that faculty provide payroll and GAR support details no later than April 15, 2017. In addition, for Summer 2017 CERD is rolling out the GAR Tuition Agreement Form found here.   This document will enable our office to process PI requests more quickly by giving a clear breakdown of the tuition and fee support to be provided each semester.  This form will also aide in monitoring available tuition balances for future expenditure planning.  Feel free to contact the CERD office for assistance completing the form.   A link for this form is posted on our website on the Forms page.

Please send information to the designated post-award representative (listed below).

The CERD Post-Award Team: is:

Clayton Holle, Business Administrator (EPSY) – R&D Post-Award Manager

Wyatt Buchanan, Business Coordinator (TLAC/HLKN)

Pamela Parks, Business Coordinator (HLKN)

Mary Seifert, Business Coordinator II (EAHR/EPSY)


** New** Pro-Active Interim Funding **New**
We want to hasten access for PI’s to your new awards, to get that new project up and running as soon as possible.  Immediately upon receiving notice of a newly funded external grant/contract, we will work with you to determine your specific spending needs while awaiting new account set-up by SRS.   CERD will provide the interim funding for projects sponsored by private or commercial sponsors (which SRS will not provide under its current policy), subject to funding resources and research compliance (e.g., IRB) issues.

Easy steps to activate this new service:
1.  Forward to Clayton Holle at your notice of award, with “interim funding set-up request” somewhere in the subject line or text.
2.  We will contact you within one business day to discuss your particular needs and if necessary fill out an Interim Funding Request form.
3.  For federal/state-funded awards:  we will promptly submit required interim funding budget forms to SRS for its approval, and will follow up frequently until SRS interim budget is activated.   For private/commercial awards:  we will promptly create a CERD interim funding account.


Calibrating Project Spending and Your “Burn Rate”

Given the importance of spending your project money down without over-spending, particularly in its final 6 months, you may be interested in knowing how to determine how many dollars are left on separate budget lines on your funded project.  This can be easily located on Maestro.  Following the steps below will provide this information.

  • Please login to Maestro (using your SSO login) and hit the icon Project List to see all your current projects.
  • Click on the project of interest and select the summary tab on top.
  • Click on the project account number to open up that project’s details.
  • Click “Balance” (on the left – under financial), one of the tabs on the left side of the page.
  • A table like the one in the figure below will appear.  The columns towards the right,  “% Money Spent” is informative, but please also check “% Encumbered”.    For each budget line, the true “% balance available” will be total budget – (% spent +% encumbered).

Important:  it can take some weeks for payroll corrections or other corrections to your budget to get posted on Maestro (an SRS function).   If you need a more “real time” verification of monies available, send an email to the appropriate post award representative and specify the account number for which you need as accurate a balance as possible, and we will strive to get you a prompt answer.    We can also calculate a “burn rate” for your project, if you desire a projection for how many more months you can sustain your current payroll obligations.


Click the image to enlarge.

Outreach Coordinator Updates

Amy Jurica Hinnant at the Mid Winter Conference of TASA with one of television’s most noted journalist, Dan Rather.

Out and About in Texas

Since January, Amy Jurica Hinnant, has been out and about meeting with school districts, school superintendents and principals, clinical directors, and even Dan Rather!  While attending the recent Mid Winter Conference for the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) in Austin, Amy had a brief encounter with legendary journalist Dan Rather.  Dan and his grandson, Martin, were at the conference to promote the Rather Prize, a $10,000 educational award presented to the person submitting the best idea to improve education in the state of Texas. In addition, Amy has been working with clinics in the Houston area to partner with Dr. Cindy Lieben in her work with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and how metabolism and behavioral phenotypes interact with this disorder.  These partnerships have resulted in more participants in the study.    If you are conducting research and need some assistance in networking with partners to complete your project, please contact Amy at





CPI Updates

by Dr. Jennifer B.  Ganz

The February CPI meeting focused on the CEHD guideline related to Indirect Cost Returns, Salary Savings, and Course Buy-Outs. The CPI will propose a change to the language related to Time Limits for the Use of IDC Returns and Salary Savings.  Faculty are invited to the next CPI meeting scheduled for April 20 at 410 Rudder Tower.  The CPI will have their regular meeting from 2:00-2:30 followed by a presentation by Aliese Seawright the new Director of the Human Research Protection Program from 2:30-3:30.  Faculty are welcome and encouraged to attend. The CPI is chaired by Dr. Jennifer Ganz.