Sunday, July 11, 2010

Testing toxins with TIGM

Last week, the TAMU News service announced
The Texas A&M Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM), a leading global source for genetic discoveries, has been selected by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to identify and develop new drug targets for certain toxins, viruses and bacterial pathogens. By discovering and ultimately developing strategies to eliminate the ways in which toxins and microbes hijack cells, this research has the potential to discover new vaccines and therapies to counteract the most dangerous bio-threats faced by both military personnel and civilians.

The DTRA award will be used to develop first-in-class high-throughput screening procedures for mouse stem cells involving state-of-the-art robotic equipment and pioneering screening procedures. TIGM investigators will screen more than 3,500 different genes to identify those that enable toxins and microbes to injure cells and tissues. Once candidate genes are identified, TIGM researchers will develop therapies to be tested both in tissues and pre-clinical models.
According to the press release, the award is for $12.25 M over 53 months.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We're number (7)1!

Email from President Loftin touts this achievement described by the TAMU News Service:
Texas A&M University ranks first among public institutions in Texas in return on investment (ROI) – what a graduate earns compared to typical college costs incurred – according to listings posted online by PayScale, Inc.

The online firm that compiles employee salary data nationally shows Texas A&M to have a 12.7% ROI, based on its typical costs, using a 2009 basis, compared to its 30-year ROI adjusted to reflect 2010 dollars. Texas A&M’s ROI, as shown in the survey, is even better than that for the two top-rated schools: MIT and Cal Tech, both of which had ROIs of 12.5%. The major determination in PayScale’s numerical rankings is the total cumulative estimated net salary for 30 years, combined with several other factors
We're number one among...public institutions in Texas. Nationally, we're #13 when measured as %ROI. When ranked nationally by 30-year ROI in $, we're #71 (in state) and #83 (out of state). In Texas, we're behind Rice (#26).

At least we BTHO tu (#113 and #136).

Here's how we did compared to the Vision 2020 peer institutions:
Vision 2020 AbbreviationRanking(s) in $ROIRanking(s) in %ROI
UC Berkeley 16, 23 13.1% #6 (tie)
Georgia Tech 31, 36 14.2% #1
UCLA 47, 52 13.1% #6 (tie)
UC San Diego 46, 56 12.6% #16
Illinois 55, 68 12.4% #21 (tie)
Michigan 58, 75 13.1% #6 (tie)
Texas A&M 71, 83 12.7$ #13
UC Davis 72, 97 11.8% #43 (tie)
Purdue 105, 126 12.4% #21 (tie)
Florida 112, 14013.0% #10 (tie)
Texas 113, 13611.9% #38 (tie)
Wisconsin 127, 48512.3% #27
Penn St. 130, 14611.1% #88 (tie)
North Carolina149, 17313.0% #10 (tie)
Minnesota 209, 23810.9% #109 (tie)
Ohio St. 231, 26610.5% #156(tie)

The key lesson here: to maximize rankings, pick the right comparison group.