The sole finalist for director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research said he will strengthen long-standing commitments to applied and fundamental research in partnership with stakeholders, as well as initiate new research responsive to broader societal needs, including enhancing the economic value of agriculture and tying together food and health.
Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M University, has been named sole finalist as agency director by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
Stover, whose doctoral degree is in biochemistry and molecular physics from the Medical College of Virginia, is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research has focused on fundamental mechanisms underlying metabolism, nutrition and birth defects, and has informed global food fortification policies.
“Dr. Stover brings immense expertise and leadership in the food and health arena,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “This expertise will help guide agency research to the benefit of agricultural producers and consumers. His expertise will broaden core agricultural research areas and look in-depth at the relationship between diet and health as health care costs continue to climb because many chronic diseases are linked to nutritional health.”
Stover said he is eager to build on the agency’s legacy as a premier agricultural research agency serving all Texans and those abroad.
“In Texas, agriculture has a strong economic significance in our state and Texas A&M AgriLife Research has made many discoveries through the decades to help improve both production agriculture and healthy food,” Stover said.
For five consecutive years, AgriLife Research has led the nation in research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation.
Stover has been on a statewide tour of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centers in Corpus Christi, Weslaco, Amarillo, Lubbock and Overton. He has met with faculty, growers and agricultural commodity stakeholders to gain a better understanding and assess the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in producing food, fiber and fuel for Texans and abroad.
“We increasingly know that food is fundamental to our health and healthy aging,” Stover said.
Regarding AgriLife Research priorities, Stover said, “We will continue to deliver sustainability and profitability to our agricultural industry and be responsive to their needs, as well as focus on the needs of the consumer in terms of providing accessible, high quality food.
“In the long term, we have to intensify our efforts towards new discoveries and technologies that are helpful to our farmers and ranchers to deal with recurring drought, to use less water and to manage pests through advancements in breeding and genetics. We have to think about tomorrow with futuristic research.”