Two College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty members are among the 20 exceptional Texas A&M University faculty honored as 2021 Presidential Impact Fellows.
The award recognizes rising stars in their respective fields who embody the university’s commitment to advancing knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world.
The 2021 Presidential Impact Fellows from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are Jason Gill, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Animal Science, and Shaodong Guo, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Nutrition.
Gill works in the Center for Phage Technology, where his research focuses on the biology and applications of bacteriophages to control pathogenic bacteria in food, animals and humans. The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the desire to curtail the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture have sparked interest in the use of phages as antimicrobials.
Gill was instrumental in leading the effort to deliver an experimental, phage-based treatment to a terminally ill patient with an infection resistant to all known antibiotics. The patient recovered, and the case drew international attention to the potential promise of phage therapy.
He has authored almost 50 peer-reviewed publications, five book chapters and received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gill joined Texas A&M in 2013. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and a master’s degree in biology from Brock University in Ontario, Canada. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, also in Ontario, specializing in microbiology. He completed his postdoctoral training at Texas A&M in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and served as the inaugural program director of the Center for Phage Technology at Texas A&M.
Guo’s long-term research goal is to study the molecular mechanisms of insulin signal transduction, insulin resistance and associated cardiovascular dysfunction. This is done to find nutritional and therapeutic interventions for the control of diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
Also a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, his most recent study provided insights into the mechanism by which estrogen can decrease insulin resistance and glucose production, thereby reducing incidences of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Guo said his study results support the hypothesis that improvement of glucose homeostasis by estrogen is regulated by hepatic Foxo1-mediated gluconeogenesis rather than by promoting muscle glucose uptake. He said results may also help explain why premenopausal women have a lower incidence of Type 2 diabetes than age-equivalent men and suggest that targeting the estrogen receptor ERa can be a potential approach to modulate glucose metabolism and prevent diabetes.
Guo joined Texas A&M in the fall of 2009, and has since developed several independent research programs funded by several foundations, including the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health. He has been recognized twice by the American Diabetes Association – once with the Career Development Award and with the Research Excellence Thomas R. Lee Award.
About the award
The fifth class of Presidential Impact Fellows joins more than 75 colleagues recognized in prior years with one of the most prestigious scholarly impact awards presented to Texas A&M faculty.
Presidential Impact Fellows receive an annual stipend of $25,000 for three years and retain their new title for life. These award recipients were identified by their college and dean and confirmed by the academic leadership.