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News for BCM Faculty, Aug. 13, 2020
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From the Labs: August’s Image of the Month shows a cluster of metastatic cancer cells found in the blood of mice with breast cancer tumors. Image courtesy of Hin Ching Flora Lo, graduate student in the lab of Dr. Xiang Zhang, professor of molecular & cellular biology in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center and a McNair Scholar.

Academic Council: At the Aug. 10 meeting, President Paul Klotman announced the arrival of a construction crane to begin work on the new O’Quinn Tower at the McNair Campus. The building will house the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. He congratulated Baylor College of Medicine’s joint venture hospital for ranking third in Texas on the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals list, following Houston Methodist and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

  • Chief Financial Officer Julie Nickell described the FY2020 year-end financial results as better than expected, considering the coronavirus pandemic’s impact this spring. She attributed the results to the College’s belt tightening moves, plus increased indirect recoveries, a licensing transaction and funding from the federal CARES Act, which blunted the effect of reduced clinical revenues.
  • The deans presented data on their new students, all of whom have started classes with pandemic guidelines in place. The School of Medicine matriculated 186 medical students and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences welcomed 104 graduate students last week. Nine Genetic Counseling students, 42 Physician Assistant students and 23 students in Orthotics and Prosthetics joined the School of Health Professions in July.
  • In his coronavirus update, Dr. Jim McDeavitt, dean of clinical affairs, discussed the “mystery” of why hospitalization and ICU rates remain flat in Texas despite the state’s high positivity rate for COVID-19. He theorized that back-to-school testing is picking up more asymptomatic cases and disease in younger, healthier people who may recover without hospitalization. Delayed test results also may explain the positivity spike.
  • Research Dean Mary Dickinson said the research mission is now at phase 2, with about 50% of scientists in the labs and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily access resumed. She said the Office of Research has seen a significant increase in the number of proposals submitted and awarded.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women of 2020 by Forbes Centroamérica. She's spotlighted in the August edition for her career in vaccine development and her work on a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Richard Gibbs, Wofford Cain Chair and professor of molecular & human genetics and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center, recently had a commentary published in Nature Reviews Genetics about the impact of the Human Genome Project, 30 years after its launch. The HGSC was one of five sites that generated the majority of the sequence.

The Alzheimer's Disease/Alzheimer's Disease-related Dementias Collaboration Pilot Grant, a new donor-funded opportunity, recently announced its first awards. This area of research is an important component of the neuroscience initiative, a key focus of the College's Road to a Learning Health System strategic plan. Recipients include:

Dr. Joanna Jankowsky, professor of neuroscience, for "Capturing the Yin and Yang of Neuroinflammation through Novel PET Ligands," with Drs. Masahiro Fujita, Meixiang Yu, Matthew Cykowski and Alireza Karidar, all of Houston Methodist.

image Dr. Amy McGuire, professor and director of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Dr. Stacey Pereira, assistant professor in the center, and postdoctoral associate Dr. Hadley Stephens Smith were awarded funding for "Integrating Precision Medicine into Alzheimer's Disease Care," with Drs. Joseph Masdeu, Belen Pascual and Christine Rizk of Houston Methodist.

Dr. Matthew Rasband, professor of neuroscience, and graduate student Sharon Stevens received a pilot grant for "Elucidating ANK1 Dysfunction in AD," a project with Dr. Matthew Cykowski of Houston Methodist.

Dr. Bruce R. Parker, emeritus professor of radiology and former chair of pediatric radiology at Texas Children's Hospital, was awarded the 2020 Gold Medal of the Society for Pediatric Radiology earlier this summer. The award recognizes pediatric radiologists who have contributed to the field as a scientist, teacher, mentor and leader.

College (Virtual) Events

Cancer Seminar: Dr. Benjamin Garmezy of MD Anderson Cancer Center presents “Targeting POLE and the DNA Damage Response Pathway to Provide Novel Therapeutic Options” at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, via Zoom, passcode: 831342.

Behavior Webinar: SPARK for Autism at Texas Children’s Hospital hosts a free webinar on “The Why Factor: Understanding Challenging Behavior,” 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Aug. 15. Online registration is open.

DocTalk: Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of pediatrics – infectious diseases, discusses going back to school during COVID-19 at noon Tuesday, Aug. 18. Register online to attend via Zoom, passcode: 140326.

Real Estate Seminar: Register for the upcoming MoneyTalk seminar on real estate presented by the Society for Financial Awareness at noon Wednesday, Aug. 19, via Zoom. The webinar also will be recorded and posted on the BCM BeWell Educational Seminars page. Earn 50 BeWell Vitality points for completing the survey after the presentation.

Faculty Resources

THI Cardiac Society: Dr. Billy Cohn, professor of surgery, delivers the keynote address on “Past, Present and Future of the Total Artificial Heart” at the 12th annual Texas Heart Institute Cardiac Society Symposium, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21. Register to attend virtually.

Datathon Projects: Submissions are due by noon Friday, Aug. 21, for the College's first Datathon, to be held virtually in October. Hosted by the Office of the President and the Faculty Senate, the event will help to build an understanding of the data that is available across the College and how it can be accessed to address questions that arise in clinical practice and research. Examples include: “Does lack of glucose control affect length of hospitalization?” “What percentage of patients with heart failure are readmitted?” Datathon projects should encompass quality improvement and population health. Visit the Datathon webpage for more information, important dates and project submission guidelines.

Pain Workshop: The Gulf Coast Consortia Translational Pain Research Consortium hosts “Brain Circuits and Pain,” the August topic for its monthly workshop series, at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, online.

Compassionate Conversation: The Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity hosts a virtual conversation on bystander intervention with Dr. Ali Abbas Asghar-Ali, associate professor of psychiatry, 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27. Register by Aug. 25 to attend.

Blood Donations: Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center hosts an appointment-only blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, in the BCM Gym, 8th floor of Garage 6, main Baylor. Participants receive a free COVID-19 antibody test and Bluebell ice cream. Please schedule your time online (sponsor code 4402) or contact Lauren Warren. You also can find a mobile donation site near you.

Clinical Awards Workshop: The Office of Faculty Development hosts a Patient Care Awards workshop from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. In addition to a clinical awards overview, the workshop will show you how to document your clinical, QI and advocacy contributions and provide examples of successful portfolios. RSVP to attend virtually.

Sleep Volunteers: Healthcare workers are needed to participate in a study to evaluate and track the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sleep quality of healthcare professionals and trainees. The study requires completing an anonymous, 10-minute questionnaire. Participate online. For questions, email Dr. Fidaa Shaib, associate professor of medicince - pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine and faculty senator.

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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