Gov. Perry names Rice bioengineer an officer in the Texas Navy
Be sure to salute Kurt Kasper the next time you see him on campus.
Kasper, a faculty fellow in bioengineering based at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, has been named an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy by Gov. Rick Perry.
He earned the honorary commission for his “lengthy community and volunteer service to the state of Texas,” according to the governor’s office. He’s one of about 300 Texans (or honorary Texans), who received this recognition from the state. Many of them were nominated by members of their communities or by local or state officials.
Kasper was nominated by Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. “Cactus” Jack Cagle ’83, who wrote to the governor to commend Kasper’s “steadfast commitment to community service, to the preservation and promotion of Texas history and to the development of biomedical technologies to advance patient care.”
Cagle wrote, “He blends together in a whole the best of Texas’ past and our nation’s future.”
Kasper, who earned his Ph.D. in 2006 as a student of Rice bioengineer Antonios Mikos, serves on the board of directors of the Association of Rice Alumni and of the Masonic Building Association of Houston, and he has served on the board of First Christian Church in Houston.
Cagle noted that Kasper, as an officer of the oldest Masonic lodge in Texas, “presents a tireless devotion to digitally preserving the vast archives of Holland Lodge, the late membership of which includes such legendary figures in Texas history as Sam Houston, James Fannin and Anson Jones. … Kurt maintains an active general commitment to preserving and promoting Texas history.”
Kasper found documentation in Rice’s Woodson Research Center that William Marsh Rice was named a life member of Holland Lodge in 1880. Kasper himself was named a life member 130 years later.
Kasper’s primary interest is in the development of novel biomaterials and approaches for the regeneration of orthopedic tissues, including bone and cartilage. He is a key player in a recently renewed Department of Defense grant to improve technologies to treat soldiers injured on the battlefield, work that will also benefit citizens.
He is also an investigator in a project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to develop an injectable mixture of polymers, adult stem cells and biologically active factors to promote the regeneration of injured cartilage.
“I am so very grateful to be recognized with this tremendous honor for pursuing my passions in research, service and education,” Kasper said.
Read more about the Texas Navy at www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qjt02.