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News for BCM Faculty, June 4, 2020
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DeBakey Research Awards: Baylor College of Medicine honored five of its leading faculty members with the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award, which recognizes their significant published scientific contributions to clinical or basic biomedical research over the past three years. Their work has not only advanced their own fields of study, but it also is truly representative of the depth and breadth of research at the College. The 2020 award recipients are Dr. Jeannie Chin, associate professor of neuroscience; Dr. Christine Eng, professor of molecular & human genetics; Dr. Grzegorz Ira, professor of molecular & human genetics; Dr. Dennis Villareal, professor of medicine – endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism; and Dr. Yong Xu, associate professor of pediatrics and molecular & cellular biology. View the award winners’ research presentations online.

White Coats for Black Lives: Baylor students, trainees and faculty joined a Houston-wide medical school demonstration in memory of George Floyd at the Reflection Pool at Hermann Park Tuesday. Read more about the College's response to Floyd's senseless death in BCM Family.

COVID-19 Update: Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development announced an extension of their ongoing collaboration with Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) to advance its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, pursue a key manufacturing step and fill sufficient vials to accelerate the transition into Phase 1 clinical trials. IDRI, a nonprofit global health organization, has expertise in vaccine formulations and adjuvant technologies and ensuring their availability and accessibility for use in low- and middle-income countries. The aim is to have the vaccine evaluated in humans later this fall, preparing the stage for the advancement of a low-cost, safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 locally and globally. .

Faculty Senate Elections: Be sure to submit your ballot by Wednesday, June 10, for at-large Senate representatives. All faculty members are encouraged to vote for candidates from departments across the College and affiliates. More information is available online.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Nuo Li, assistant professor of neuroscience and a McNair Scholar, has been awarded the 2020 McKnight Scholar Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. This highly competitive award recognizes young scientists who are in the early stages of their research careers and who are working on research that has immediate and significant impact on clinically relevant issues. His work, titled “Cerebellar Computations during Motor Planning,” was recognized by the awards committee and will receive three years of funding, at $75,000 per year.

Dr. Jonathan Lim, assistant professor of medicine – hospital medicine, is a co-author of the second edition of the Milestones Guidebook for Residents and Fellows, recently published by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The guide provides the learner perspective on the stepwise progression toward mastery in GME specialty programs.

Dr. Ganesh Rao, has been appointed chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and will hold the Marc J. Shapiro Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery. An adjunct professor and program director for the neurosurgery residency at Baylor, he is currently a professor of neurosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His clinical practice is largely focused on the management of primary brain tumors.

Dr. Jesus Vallejo, professor of pediatrics – infectious diseases, has been named associate dean for Admissions, Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs in the School of Medicine. A Baylor alumnus, he serves as co-director of the Clinical Scientist Training Program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and previously was the SOM's assistant dean of admissions.

Stephanie Young has been named senior vice president for institutional advancement. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, she was with MD Anderson Cancer Center for 16 years rising to the position of associate vice president for development. Highly successful in fundraising with Forbes 400 individuals, Fortune 500 corporations and CEOs, community and family foundations, and other high-net worth individuals, she has extensive experience in building meaningful relationships and strategic partnerships.

College (Virtual) Events

Equity Research Summit: Baylor’s third annual Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research Summer Research Summit is set for Tuesday, June 9. This virtual conference is open to everyone who is committed to workforce diversity in the health and biomedical sciences and quality healthcare for underserved and under-represented populations in the United States. CME credit is available. Register online to livestream the conference.

Toastmasters Open House: Learn how Medically Speaking Toastmasters can help improve your public speaking and leadership skills when the club hosts a virtual open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, via Zoom.

Medicine Grand Rounds: Dr. Andras Attila Heczey, assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology and a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center discusses “IL15 and IL21 armored GPC3-CAR T cells for the immunotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma” at 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 19, via Zoom.

Data Workshop: The Department of Family & Community Medicine offers its beginner's Clinical Research Methods course entirely through Zoom June 26-27. The course aims to train health professionals to analyze simple data using statistical analysis software. More information and registration are available online.

Faculty Resources

Storm Season: Hurricane season started June 1 and already there is a potential tropical system threatening the Gulf of Mexico. Make sure you have enrolled in Baylor’s Emergency Notification System and that your contact information is current. Through the ENS, you’ll receive important College updates by text, phone and/or email. If a storm is approaching, you can find updates, information and resources on the Weather Safety webpage or in the intranet announcements.

Financial Relief: Employees diagnosed with the coronavirus disease or facing economic loss due to the virus now have additional options to take a loan or a hardship withdrawal on their vested retirement funds. CARES Act distributions from the 403(b) plan at Fidelity and TIAA are available, as well as 401(a) distributions from Fidelity, through Dec. 31. CARES Act loans from the 401(a) and 403(b) plans are available from Fidelity, as well as 403(b) loans from TIAA, through Sept. 23. Please see the CARES Act FAQs for more information.

Health Equity Scholars: The Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research is recruiting its 2020-2021 cohort of scholars. The program enhances the training of junior faculty members from populations underrepresented in medicine to increase the number of diverse and highly qualified medical professionals pursuing careers in academic medicine. For more information and the application form, visit the website.

Admissions Interviews: Applications are open for the School of Medicine Admissions Interviewing Subcommittees, charged with interviewing and evaluating applicants with varied backgrounds, values, beliefs, interests, experiences and cultural viewpoints to ensure a diverse student body. Faculty members, fellows, residents and Baylor alumni are eligible to apply. Please see Faculty Opportunities for more information and apply by June 26.

Fasser PA Award: Nominations are sought for the Carl E. Fasser Visionary Leadership Award, established in honor of the professor and founding director of the Physician Assistant Program, for his sustained demonstration of visionary leadership. PA program alumni and Baylor physician assistants who demonstrate leadership in one or more of the following domains: research, education, clinical practice, administrative and service are eligible. For more information or to submit a nomination by June 26, please see Faculty Opportunities.

From the Labs: Read what Dr. Chris Amos, professor of medicine and director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, discovered about an ATM genetic variant in lung cancer in this week’s post. Receive From the Labs via email by entering your email address in the box at the end of any article and clicking the "subscribe" button.

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