Your gift to the BCM Fund provides funding to the critical mission areas of Baylor College of Medicine. Read about projects being funded this year by your generosity.

Education and Community Service

Alicia Monroe with student
Dr. Alicia Monroe, provost and senior vice president of Academic and Faculty Affairs, talks with a student.

The Career Development Center will focus on the professional growth of the next generation of leaders in healthcare and biosciences. Staffed by a director who will work one-on-one with Baylor students, the center will offer robust programs and services specific to the needs of the student population, as well as create strong partnerships with the faculty and College leadership to develop comprehensive career services.

With support from the BCM Fund, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program gives medical and graduate students the leadership skills and practical tools to address the social factors that affect health. Baylor participants in this national program work with mentors and community-based organizations to develop and run year-long service projects including health and hygiene care for homeless women, support groups for young adults with sickle cell disease, and cervical cancer prevention for teens.

Research

Dr. Xander Wehrens and his team in the Cardiovascular Research Institute aim to reduce suffering and mortality from cardiovascular disease by conducting cutting edge research to improve day-to-day care for heart patients. They have developed a next-generation DNA sequencing test to diagnose genetic cardiovascular diseases that soon could be available commercially and models of heart disease that can provide insight into diagnosis, testing, and treatment.

Dr. Matthew Ellis, director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center and a McNair Scholar, is applying genomic techniques to breast cancer tumor mutations to identify weaknesses that could be targets for new drug treatments. Clinical trials will show whether these therapies are effective in extending the lives of some patients whose breast cancer has re-occurred and is resistant to existing chemotherapy.

Patient Care

Immune cells (320x240)
credit: Andrew G. SikoraLabeled (green) immune cells are drawn towards a head and neck cancer spheroid after therapeutic radiation.

Dr. Andrew Sikora and his laboratory team recently relocated from New York City to Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, where Dr. Sikora can continue his lifesaving work of understanding the many ways cancer cells evade detection and eradication by the body’s immune system. This knowledge allows us to develop new therapeutic strategies that focus the immune system on destruction of cancer cells, to benefit patients in the Texas Medical Center and beyond.

Dr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy wants to make medical technologies and approaches more available in the developing world. At the Baylor Global Innovation Center she is creating mobile apps and low-cost, battery operated devices to diagnose and manage chronic diseases worldwide. Her emergency smart pods are portable medical units that can be deployed rapidly in a natural disaster or infectious disease outbreak like Ebola.

Funding College Priorities, Year In and Year Out

This is the 12th year that the BCM Fund has supported critical needs as they arise. Just a few are highlighted here. Whether you have given annually, or made your first gift to the BCM Fund this year, you have given life to possible!

  • 2015 – Creation of a Career Development Center that focuses on the professional growth of Baylor students and their career development needs. Working one-on-one with Baylor students, the center will offer robust programs specific to students’ needs.
  • 2014 – The Huffington Center on Aging is researching how cells adapt to environmental, developmental, and metabolic cues to find principles of gene dynamics that may be critical for developing anti-aging and anti-cancer therapies.
  • 2013 – The Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics (MSOP) program trains healthcare professionals who design, build, fit and maintain prosthetic limbs and custom orthopedic appliances for individuals with limb loss and physical impairments.
  • 2012 – Innovative facility planning provides an unparalleled patient experience through the implementation of lean design and operational principles and the leadership of faculty to complete the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center McNair Campus.
  • 2011 – The Center of Addiction, Learning and Memory (CALM) research advances have shown how addiction arises within the brain, and bring together scientists to investigate fundamental brain mechanisms that control learning and memory.
  • 2010 – Autism research focused on the genetic and epigenetic causes of autism, work investigating epimutations causing autism, and conducting a trial of drug therapy in children with autism caused by deletion of the CHRNA7 gene.
  • 2009 – Development of the Scholarly Project, which pairs medical students with faculty mentors to prepare and present independent research projects.
  • 2008 – Human Neuroimaging Lab, part of the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, conducts research projects covering topics including hyperscanning, social neuroscience and neural circuitry of valuation and decision-making.
  • 2007 – The Transition Medicine Clinic provides primary care for young patients with chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, Down syndrome, autism, cancer and congenital heart disease, and helps them make the switch to adult health care.
  • 2006 – The How to Talk to Your Doctor forum was a community outreach program to improve doctor-patient communication in the elderly, the poor, the chronically ill, and those with low English proficiency.
  • 2005 – Research focused on the development of novel delivery systems for healthcare in medically underserved areas in the United States and the developing world, especially the cultural and theoretical bases of healthcare decision making.