Leland “Sandy” Pierson, Ph.D., professor in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, will serve as interim associate director and chief scientific officer for Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

A white-headed man in a red tie, blue shirt and light brown/tan jacket with arms folded -Sandy Pierson
Leland “Sandy” Pierson, Ph.D., is the new interim associate director for Texas A&M AgriLife Research. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Sam Craft)

Pierson served as head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology for the past 13 years. His interim role with AgriLife Research begins immediately, as leadership conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.

The associate director’s position was previously held by Henry Fadamiro, Ph.D., who, in October, transitioned to serve as associate vice president for research in the Texas A&M University Division of Research.

“Dr. Fadamiro has championed overarching research initiatives whose far-reaching impacts will continue to strengthen Texas agriculture into the future,” said Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research. “We appreciate the excellent work Dr. Fadamiro has contributed to our agency and look forward to his continued impacts nearby within the Division of Research.

“Special thanks go to Dr. Pierson for stepping in during this moment of transition,” Lamb said. “He is an eminent researcher, educator and administrator, with proven ability to obtain resources and enable faculty and staff to accomplish their goals.”

Pierson earned his bachelor’s in microbiology at the University of California, Davis, and a doctorate in microbiology at Washington State University. He served as a research fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service in plant pathology, then served 19 years as a faculty member at the University of Arizona, where he served as chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee as well as division chair.

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