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Faculty Commons, March 15 - 21, 2018
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Image of the Month: This immunofluorescent image of a mouse small intestinal track shows proliferating cells (light green) climbing up from the intestinal stem cell compartment to replace rotavirus-damaged cells. Image courtesy of Dr. Winnie Zou in Dr. Mary Estes’ lab. Estes is the Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair and Distinguished Service Professor in molecular virology and microbiology. You can receive weekly articles on Baylor’s research and innovation highlights as they are posted by going to From the Labs and entering your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the right. Or get a digest at the end of the month with links to the articles posted that month by emailing science writer Ana Rodríguez with “Subscribe me to From the Labs” in the subject line.


Academic Council members approved the transformation plan for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the March 12 meeting. Research Dean Adam Kuspa, interim dean of the graduate school, provided an overview of the GSBS plan, which envisions new students enrolling in interdepartmental "home area" programs instead of training programs based in departments, as of fall 2019. The plan next goes to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

  • Before the Council voted, Senate Chair Oluyinka Olutoye described the Faculty Senate’s rigorous review and endorsement of the GSBS plan. He also announced that nominations for Senate elections will begin April 3.
  • The Council approved renaming the School of Allied Health Sciences the “School of Health Professions.” Provost Alicia Monroe explained that the name more accurately reflects the breadth of programs now offered in the school. The initiative requires Board approval.
  • Chief Operating Officer Joe Doty introduced Jennifer Tessin, assistant vice president for SAP reimplementation, who gave an update on the SAP project, named "Mosaic" and a top 5 priority for the College. Travel expenses and human resources will be the first modules implemented in the new system, which encompasses a number of business functions in addition to finance. Bonnie Weisman, executive director of human resources, described the effort underway to clarify roles and define career paths for departmental administrative staff who will be involved in Mosaic. An all-College communication about the SAP project will be issued next week.

Match Day: The College hosts Match Day festivities for the fourth-year medical students at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, March 16, in the courtyard of the Cullen Building, main Baylor. Match Day is the culmination of four years of training and education as graduating students learn where they will do their residencies. The Match Day board is revealed precisely at 11 a.m. The event will be live streamed on YouTube and Facebook.

Faculty Kudos

imageDr. Kenneth Altman, professor of otolaryngology and director of the Institute for Voice & Swallowing, has been elected secretary/treasurer-elect of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, the preeminent organization of 12,000 otolaryngologists. He is the immediate past-president of the 138-year old American Laryngological Association, one of the oldest medical specialty societies.


imageDr. Christie Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of cardiology and cardiovascular research, and Baylor Cardiology colleagues Dr. David Aguilar, Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, Dr. Ali Denktas, Dr. Anita Deswal, Dr. Savitri Fedson, Dr. Wayne Franklin, Dr. Ron Hoogeveen, Dr. Hani Jneid, Dr. Peter Jones, Dr. Glenn Levine, Dr. Vijay Nambi, Dr. Juan Carlos Plana, Dr. Anum Saeed, Dr. Tina Shah, Dr. Wengsheng Sun and Dr. Salim Virani made a strong showing at the American College of Cardiology Meeting in Orlando this month, delivering 40 presentations and abstracts at the largest and most important cardiology meeting held in the United States.


imageDr. Rikhia Chakraborty, clinical instructor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology, was one of 20 early career hematologists selected to participate in the 2018 Translational Research Training in Hematology program, a joint program of the American Society of Hematology and the European Hematology Association.


imageDr. Gabriel Loor, associate professor of surgery and surgical director of the lung transplantation program at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, and his team successfully completed the first breathing lung transplant in Texas last weekend. It is the first entry in the national EXPANDII trial. The lung was kept on life support to improve graft survival.


imageimageDr. Jeffrey Morgan, Lester and Sue Smith Endowed Chair of Surgery and chief of cardiothoracic transplantation and circulatory support, and Dr. Faisal Cheema, director of research and innovations in the cardiothoracic transplantation division, were awarded $4 million by the Brockman Medical Research Foundation to study the safety and feasibility of using hearts from donors after circulatory death to extend the donor pool.


imageDr. T. Dorina Papageorgiou, assistant professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, physical medicine & rehabilitation and translational biology & molecular medicine, was awarded a grant from the McNair Medical Institute to support her work on investigational targeted brain neuro-therapeutics, including the rehabilitation of lower cranial nerve injury caused by traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain tumor, neurodegenerative disease and pain syndromes.


imageDr. Thomas Smith III, assistant professor of urology, is featured in this week’s Meet Your Senator article on the faculty intranet portal. He represents his department's faculty on the Senate.

College Events

The Partnership Series: Join Dr. Margaret Goodell, director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center, for a lunch presentation on “Stem Cells: Bold Applications” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Briar Club, 2603 Timmons Lane. Make your reservations online.

Evenings with Genetics: Geraldine Bliss, board member of the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, and Dr. Jimmy Holder Jr., associate professor of pediatrics, will discuss how researchers and parents are working together to advance their understanding of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Children’s Museum of Houston. The program is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Alford Lecture: Dr. Daniel Kastner, scientific director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, presents the 4th Annual Bobby R. Alford, M.D. Grand Rounds Distinguished Lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in Room M112, with a reception to follow in the Alkek Lobby, main Baylor. His topic is “Horror Autoinflammaticus: Cutting Gordian Knots at the Pool of Bethesda.” The lecture is endowed by the Diana Helis Henry and Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundations.

Women Faculty Forum: The McGovern Medical School Women Faculty Forum hosts Dr. Carolyn Meltzer, chair of radiology and associate dean for research at Emory University School of Medicine, speaking on “Running Uphill: Women in Science and Medicine” at noon Thursday, March 22, at the 5th Floor Gallery, McGovern Medical School. To attend the 2018 WFF Spring Seminar, RSVP to Zoie Castellanos by close of business Friday, March 16.

Team Discovery: “Initiating and Maintaining Productive Team Collaborations” with Dr. Margaret Connor, associate professor of virology and microbiology, Dr. Hugo Bellen, March of Dimes Chair in Developmental Biology and a faculty senator, and Dr. Donald Parsons, associate professor of pediatrics – oncology and genetics, will be held 3:30 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, in Room N311, main Baylor. Team Discovery sessions focus on the skills faculty, students, trainees and staff need to work in teams. A light reception follows the discussion.

Faculty Resources

Fraud, Waste & Abuse: There are only two weeks left to take this year's mandatory compliance training, which covers the important topics of fraud, waste and abuse. If you are a BCM employee or learner, please complete the training in AMP by March 30 or be subject to disciplinary actions. Awareness of the College’s new and significantly revised policies is a required part of the training.

Volunteer Time Off: Did you know that Baylor employees are eligible to take one regularly scheduled workday per fiscal year (July 1-June 30) for participating in community service activities? Find out more about volunteer opportunities online.

Attention Clinicians: See Clinical Calendar

Clinical Events

Doctors’ Day: TAPRO, the American Medical Professionals Foundation, hosts the 8th Annual Doctors’ Day Celebration Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Bayou City Event Center. The event includes a keynote address on “Lessons learned from breakdowns in human immunity: New diseases and new broad therapeutic insights” by Dr. Jordan Orange, professor of pediatrics. Register online to attend.

Call for Nominations

Hospital Rankings Vote: The U.S. News & World Report Hospital Rankings voting period has begun on Doximity.com. These rankings are important to hospitals - including the College’s joint venture hospital, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center - and their specialty areas. Physician voting influences hospital reputation, one of the criteria used in the rankings. We encourage all physicians to participate in the 2018-19 rankings and to vote for Baylor St. Luke's.

Clinical Seminars

TMC Health Policy Course: Dr. Chris Greeley: professor of pediatrics, is a panelist and Dr. Angelo Giardino, professor of pediatrics and senior vice president and chief quality officer at Texas Children’s Hospital, moderates "Social Determinants of Health," 5:30 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, on the 6th floor of 6550 Bertner Ave. Attendance is free and open to the public. More information is available online.

Transplant Roundup: The 3rd Annual O.H. "Bud" Frazier Transplant Roundup includes a presentation from the conference's namesake, who will explore the future of the artificial heart and heart transplant. The conference begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Houston Marriott Medical Center. CME credit is available. Register online.

Primary Care Update: The Department of Family & Community Medicine sponsors this one-day conference providing evidence-based advice in a non-commercial setting. The conference begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 24, in Kleberg Auditorium, main Baylor. CME credit is available and online registration is open.

Venom Conference: Dr. Spencer Greene, assistant professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, directs the 6th Annual Houston Venom Conference April 11 in Cullen Auditorium, main Baylor, and the Houston Zoo. The conference, sponsored by the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor, Texas Children's Hospital and the zoo, teaches healthcare providers about envenomations and how to treat them. CME credit is available. Register online.

Attention Researchers: See Research Calendar

Research Seminars

Physiology Seminar: Dr. Murali Prakriya, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, discusses "The Molecular Physiology of Store-Operated Calcium Channels" at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, in Room 409B, main Baylor.

Virology & Immunology Seminar: Dr. June Round, University of Utah School of Medicine, talks about “Commensal Bacteria and Host Immunity” at noon Thursday, March 22, in Room N315, main Baylor.

Neuroscience Seminar: Dr. Laura Colgin, University of Texas, Austin, speaks on "Gamma oscillations in the hippocampal network" at 11 a.m. Friday, March 23, in Room N315, main Baylor.

McLean Lectures: Dr. Tony Hunter of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies speaks on "Protein Phosphorylation: Pancreatic Cancer and New Frontiers in Histidine Phosphorylation" and Dr. Susan Taylor of the University of California, San Diego speaks on "Lessons Learned from PKA: From Molecules to Cells" at the 46th Annual McLean Lectures, 2 – 5 p.m. March 29 in Cullen Auditorium, main Baylor.

McNair Symposia: The 7th Annual McNair Symposium features a keynote lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, University of California, San Francisco, on “Developing Treg-based therapeutics to suppress pathogenic autoimmune responses” at 10 a.m. April 3 in Cullen Auditorium, main Baylor. A poster session for the McNair Scholar labs will begin at 9 a.m. in Rayzor Lounge.

  • The McNair Medical Institute Mini-Symposium on "Challenges and Hope in Finding a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes" is set for 1 – 5 p.m. April 2 in Room M112, main Baylor. It includes presentations from Dr. Kevan Herold of Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Bart Roep of City of Hope's Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute, Dr. Matthias von Herrath of La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Dr. Mark Anderson of University of California, San Francisco.

Call for Applications

Interim Funding: The BCM Interim Funding Program provides short-term relief funding up to $100,000 for established laboratories that have experienced a lapse in federal funding. The program provides awards for up to twelve months' duration. Full eligibility, award and application information for fiscal year 2019 is available online. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. April 16.

Bridge to Independence: The Bridge to Independence Program provides bridge funding of up to $100,000 for junior faculty members who have spent down their seed but not yet obtained independent funding. Full eligibility, award and application information for FY 2019 is available online. The application deadline is 5 p.m. April 16.

Research Resources

Core Lab Class: The Human Stem Cell Core offers a three-day training class on the "Basics of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Culture" each quarter. The class includes didactic instruction and lab practice. The next session will be held in late March or early April. For more information about registration and tuition, please email core director Dr. Jean Kim.

Funding Opportunities: See the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity’s list of funding opportunities for research on healthcare disparities and social determinants of health. The Office of Research offers a list of privately funded awards currently accepting applications for March.

Questions or Comments?

Faculty Senate: Please contact your Senator for faculty-related questions or suggestions.

Institutional Policy Committee: Contact the Policy Committee to learn more about College policies and procedures.

Items for Faculty Commons: To submit items for this weekly email update for Baylor College of Medicine faculty, please contact us.

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