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Baylor College of Medicine News

Baylor announces 2014 Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Awards

Six Baylor College of Medicine faculty members whose work represents the college’s most significant published scientific contributions to clinical or basic research during the past three years have received the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award.

Awardees are Dr. Thomas Cooper, professor of pathology & immunology; Dr. David Corry, professor of medicine and of pathology & immunology; Dr. Scott LeMaire, professor of surgery and of molecular physiology and biophysics; Dr. Susan Rosenberg, professor of molecular and human genetics; and Drs. Ming-Jer and Sophia Tsai (joint award), professors of molecular and cell biology. 

The award, named in honor of the college’s first president and pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, was presented to the recipients at a ceremony and symposium July 2. Sponsored by the DeBakey Medical Foundation, it includes a commemorative medallion and funds to support further research.

Cooper’s research focuses on adult onset muscular dystrophy, and he has published several papers recently that support this work. Two papers have significantly advanced the understanding of the pathogenic mechanism of myotonic dystrophy, type 1 (DM) and a third paper established a viable therapeutic approach. DM is the most common form of adult onset muscular dystrophy.

Corry’s lab is responsible for the modern understanding of allergic disease pathogenesis and developing improved therapies. His recently published papers have established the role of proteases in allergic inflammation and asthma-like diseases and revealed that these proteases derive from fungi, leading to the pursuit of anti-fungal therapy in asthma and related syndromes.

LeMaire’s clinical interest is the management of patients with thoracic aortic disease and his research interest focuses on organ protection during aortic surgery, genetics aspects of thoracic aortic disease and molecular mechanisms of aortic degeneration. He is a surgeon-scientist whose contributions reflect his integrative approach to studying aortic aneurysms and dissections. From 2011 to 2013, he published numerous manuscripts, book chapters and abstracts. 

Over the past three years, Rosenberg has published groundbreaking papers on the mechanisms of genomic instability and the ability of cells and organisms to evolve, on the harnessing of mechanistic understanding of evolution to combat cancer and infectious disease, and on creating new universal tools for genome-instability research in all organisms and potentially for therapy.

Sophia and Ming-Jer Tsai have played an essential role in creating a new field on nuclear organ receptors. Recently, they have made major contributions to the field through several publications that represent their expertise in developmental biology and involving multiple organ system.