Distinguished scholar and researcher to work with ISEN

Marras Portrait - WebSeven nationally and internationally prominent scholars, including four who will be part of the Dwight Look College of Engineering, were inducted as Faculty Fellows of the The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS) On Friday, Jan. 30. TIAS’ primary mission is to bring renowned scholars to Texas A&M to interact with current faculty and students during extended visits. One of this year’s faculty fellows is Dr. William S. Marras — an industrial engineer who will work with the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. More specifically, this appointment provides funding for two Ph.D. students to conduct research at Texas A&M as an extension of Marras’ research.

Marras currently holds the Honda Chair Professor in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at The Ohio State University and conducts research to understand the role of biomechanics in spine disorder causation and its role in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of spine disorders. His projects include epidemiologic studies, laboratory biomechanics studies, mathematical modeling, and clinical studies.

His findings have been published in more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and have been cited more than 11,000 times. He has written numerous books and book chapters, including his most recent book, The Working Back: A Systems View. He has appeared as a guest on ABC, CNN, and NPR, and has presented a TEDx talk entitled “Back Pain and your Brain.” 

Marras is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Ergonomics Society (United Kingdom), and the International Ergonomics Association.

For his work Marras has received international recognition. He is a two-time winner (1993 and 2002) of the prestigious Swedish Volvo Award for Low Back Pain Research, has won Austria's Vienna Award for Physical Medicine, and the Liberty Mutual Prize for Injury Prevention Research. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo (Canada) for his work on the biomechanics of low back disorders.

As a TIAS Faculty Fellow, Marras will visit campus to interact with faculty and students. In a recent interview TIAS Founding Director John L. Junkins said, “The positive impact on the university as a consequence of attracting these extraordinarily accomplished individuals cannot be over-emphasized. These exceptional scholars, together with our current top-flight faculty, will help foster an even more vibrant environment for research and teaching, and will pay tremendous future dividends through enhanced collaborations and faculty recruitment.” 

Dr. César Malavé, Department Head of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, expressed excitement at the prospect of having someone of Marras’ stature working with the department.

“Marras’ involvement could have a significant impact on building our human factors and ergonomics program, attract more high-quality Ph.D. students and faculty, and most certainly will bring unprecedented opportunities for research collaborations," Malavé said.