Indian-origin professor to lead ‘best and brightest’ scientists and researchers in Texas

During his two-year term as vice president, he will help coordinate and guide the board of directors with strategic planning, programmes and communication.

Houston: Ganesh Thakur, an Indian-origin professor in the US, has been appointed as the vice president of the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science and Technology (TAMEST), an organisation that brings the state’s top scientists and researchers to advance research, innovation and business in Texas.

The TAMEST board of directors on Tuesday appointed Thakur, a distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Houston (UH), vice president alongside Brendan Lee, who will serve as the president.

Originally from Jharkhand, Thakur is the first UH faculty member to lead TAMEST.

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During his two-year term as vice president, he will help coordinate and guide the board of directors with strategic planning, programmes and communication.

He will eventually be named the president of the organisation in 2025.

“Texas is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and I’m honoured and excited by this opportunity to strengthen collaboration and advance innovation across the state in fields critical to our continued growth and development,” said Thakur, who has been a member of the organisation since 2016, most recently serving as treasurer.

“TAMEST is a scientific and biomedical intellectual engine for the state, and I am passionate about its mission to benefit public good and business,” he added.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, Thakur is a globally recognised pioneer in Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). His patent on forecasting the performance of water injection and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using a hybrid analytical-empirical methodology provided a much faster approach that served as an alternative to more time-consuming reservoir simulation.

In a USD 5 million partnership with Oil India Limited, Thakur’s team helped capture carbon dioxide from petrochemical plants to boost oil recovery in several fields in Assam. The project is targeted to help reduce India’s carbon footprint and increase its ability to fulfil its energy needs.

“Dr Thakur’s leadership, passion and cutting-edge research have been instrumental in positioning the University as a strategic partner to the energy industry,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, UH vice president of energy and innovation.

“His extensive knowledge and expertise will be of great benefit to TAMEST and the state of Texas. I sincerely congratulate him on this well-deserved appointment,” he added.

“We fully support Dr Thakur’s involvement in this key leadership position which is critical to advancing innovation across our state. He has an incredible passion for teaching and collaboration which will be a great asset to the TAMEST,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College of Engineering.

Thakur joined UH in 2016 with a grant from the Texas Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI). He joined as director of UH Energy Industry Partnerships after almost four decades working in the industry at Chevron, where he served in several leadership roles, including vice president of reservoir management.

He earned his doctorate in petroleum and natural gas engineering (PNGE) from Pennsylvania State University in 1973, after earning his master’s degrees in mathematics and PNGE there. He also has an MBA from Houston Baptist University and received his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from IIT (ISM) Dhanbad in India.

TAMEST membership includes all Texas-based members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the state’s nine Nobel laureates and 18 member institutions, including the University of Houston. It brings together the state’s “best and brightest” scientists and researchers to foster collaboration and advance research, innovation and business in Texas, according to the TAMEST website.

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