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News for BCM Faculty, April 9, 2020
Please submit items for Faculty Commons to Erin Blair.

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From the Labs: April’s image of the month is of Purkinje cells, a type of neuron in the cerebellar cortex. The body of the cell, shown here in blue, has many branch-like extensions (green) called dendrites that connect Pukinje cells with other cells in the cerebellum (red). Image courtesy of Amanda Brown, a graduate student in Dr. Roy Sillitoe’s lab, who is studying the cells' involvement in movement, balance and coordination.

COVID-19 RFA: Baylor College of Medicine is seeking to fund several small pilot projects for COVID-19-related research (not clinical trials). It is strongly recommended that laboratory PIs contact the COVID Biological Response Group led by Drs. Peggy Goodell, Joe Petrosino and Richard Gibbs to understand local resources (cell lines, inactivated virus, etc.) and avoid duplication of efforts. Send your two-page proposal and biosketch to requestforapplications@bcm.edu, subject line “COVID-19 RFA,” by Wednesday, April 15.

Top Tips for Faculty: From day-to-day concerns to extraordinary situations, the Faculty Senate works for you! In response to questions from constituents, the Senate offers these tips from the Coronavirus Preparedness website, the information hub for Baylor’s Incident Command Center:

  • Caring for Patients: Consider enrolling hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a clinical trial for the experimental antiviral remdesivir or encouraging recovered patients to participate in a COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfusion study.
  • Sharing on Social: Posting about your coronavirus experiences keeps friends and family updated; the College’s social media guidelines keep you HIPAA compliant. If you receive a media inquiry or interview request, you must contact the Office of Communications and Community Outreach by calling 713-798-4710 or emailing pa@bcm.edu.
  • Teaching Your Children: The Center for Educational Outreach’s BioEd Online features videos and activities for K-12 students to get engaged with health and science learning at home.
  • Staying Strong: Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite to being able to take care of others during these challenging times. Baylor offers a number of resources to help you stay well.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Ivan Chinn, assistant professor of pediatrics – allergy & immunology, was awarded the first Mario Ricciardi Award for the Best Scientific Article on Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis by l’Associazione AILE, an Italian HLH patient organization, on Rare Disease Day, Feb. 29.

image Dr. Michelle Ludwig, associate professor, and Dr. Alexander Hanania, a resident physician, both in radiation oncology, partnered with Rice University students Sanika Rane, Elisa Arango, Susannah Dittmar, Krithika Kumar and Lauren Payne on a project focused on cervical cancer treatment that earned second place at the Rice 360 Institute for Global Health Design Competition. Their project aims to create an applicator for cervical cancer brachytherapy that improves patient outcomes through more efficient needle placement.

Dr. Laurel Williams, associate professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, and her team have been selected to support the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. As medical director of the Centralized Operations Support Hub at Baylor, Williams will coordinate and facilitate collaboration between clinicians participating in the Child Psychiatry Access Network and the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine program.

Dr. Tao Wu, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics, has been awarded the Rivkin Center's 2020 Scientific Scholar Award. He will receive $60,000 for his research titled "Targeting Epigenetic Landscape Reprogramming to Combat Drug-resistance in Ovarian Cancer."

Faculty Resources

DocTalk: Dr. Eric Storch, professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, discusses how to “Stay Connected” at noon Wednesday, April 15. Register to receive the Zoom information. Eligible employees and spouses/domestic partners will receive 50 BCM BeWell Vitality points for submitting the verification survey and verification code given during the presentation.

Faculty Elections: Nominations are now open for at-large and electoral unit seats in the Faculty Senate, with elections scheduled for May and June. With many senators facing term limits, this is your opportunity to get involved with the Faculty Senate and participate in shared governance and strategic planning for the College. Information about the departments, centers, schools and affiliates involved in the 2020 elections and a link to the application form are online. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 27.

Curriculum Committee: The Medical School Curriculum Committee is soliciting nominations for a vice-chair and an at-large position. Interested faculty members from all disciplines are encouraged to apply for these important leadership roles by Friday, April 24. The Curriculum Committee has the integrated institutional responsibility for the overall design, management and evaluation of a coherent and coordinated curriculum. For more information, please see the Faculty Opportunities webpage.

Online Education: The Education Innovation Core and Faculty Ed-Tech team are working together to identify tools you can use to engage and assess your students online. The Keep Teaching website provides information about these tools as well as resources to help you develop your skills as an online educator.

LCME Update: The School of Medicine's March LCME newsletter features recent subcommittee work and an overview of Element 3.4 – Anti-Discrimination Policy, Element 3.5 – Learning Environment/Professionalism, and Element 3.6 – Student Mistreatment. The newsletter also contains pertinent policies and procedures.

SWPDC Grants: Pediatric Device Seed Grant Awards are now open for submissions by Baylor faculty members. The Southwest National Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium supports this program to promote the innovation and development of devices specifically designed for children. Four awards of $25,000 each are available for use in fiscal year 2021. Please see the application form and FAQs for more information and submit your materials by 5 p.m. Friday, April 17.

Gates Grants: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is accepting applications for Grand Challenges and Grand Challenges Explorations initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Applications in the following areas are due Wednesday, April 22: Accelerating Discovery for Non-Hormonal Contraceptives, Improving Access to and Use of Safe and Appropriate Cesarean Section, Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene Product, and Innovations for Improving the Impact of Health Campaigns. More information is available online.

Diagnostic Excellence: The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is soliciting novel ideas and approaches for developing new clinical quality measures to improve diagnosis, specifically targeting three major categories of disease: acute vascular events (such as stroke and myocardial infarction), infections (such as sepsis and pneumonia) and cancer (such as lung and colorectal). Grants of up to $500,000 each are available following a multistep competitive process. Eligibility criteria and application information is available online. Apply by May 4.

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.

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