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News for BCM Faculty, Sept. 10, 2020
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Community Heroes: For their contributions to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt and Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, were honored by the Center for Pursuit, itself an important community resource for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Pictured are Hotez and Baylor College of Medicine Trustee David Baldwin, who also serves on the board of the Pursuit Foundation. Read more about the Sept. 3 virtual event in BCM Family.

COVID-19 Update: The Houston Health Department is collaborating with Baylor, Rice University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a voluntary antibody testing survey to understand how many people in the city were previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Teams of health department staff and Houston Fire Department paramedics will visit randomly selected homes across Houston, asking household members to answer survey questions and provide a blood sample. Phase one will run through Sept. 24, with phase two starting in the winter of 2021.

Environmental Health Grant: The College has received a $7.1 million grant from the National Institute of Minority and Health Disparities to fund a new Maternal and Infant Environmental Health Riskscape Research Center. Its goal is to identify key drivers of racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth and hypertensive disorders. Dr. Elaine Symanski, principal investigator of the center and professor in the Center for Precision Environmental Health, and her team will partner with Texas Southern University on research and community engagement activities.

Faculty Kudos

Three teams of Baylor and Rice University researchers have been named winners of the 2020 John S. Dunn Collaborative Research Awards. The annual program supports new collaborations among researchers at two or more Gulf Coast Consortia institutions:

Dr. Swathi Balaji, assistant professor of surgery, and Dr. Taiyun Chi, a Rice assistant professor of electrical & computer engineering, are developing an artificial intelligence-assisted smart wound dressing to expedite wound healing.

Dr. Andrew DiNardo, assistant professor of medicine - infectious disease, and Dr. Isaac Hilton, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice, are working on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing techniques to determine the causality between DNA methylation and immune phenotype.

Dr. Mingshan Xue, assistant professor of neuroscience, and Dr. Jerzy Szablowski, a Rice assistant professor of bioengineering, are researching region-specific and brainwide gene therapy for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Kenneth Mattox has announced that he will be stepping down after 31 years as chief of staff at Ben Taub Hospital, once his successor is named. Mattox, a Baylor alumnus who has been with the College for 60 years, will continue to serve as Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Alastair Thompson, professor and section chief of breast surgery, is the principal investigator on a $7.4 million CPRIT grant to develop artificial intelligence for a high-resolution imaging system to help surgeons assess if they have removed a tumor entirely. Breast cancer patients at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center are eligible to enroll in the study.

College (Virtual) Events

Biochemistry Seminar: Dr Keir C. Neuman, senior investigator at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, speaks on “Homology sensing via non-linear amplification of sequence-dependent pausing by RecQ helicase” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, via Zoom, passcode 806954.

COVID FAQs: Join Isabel Valdez, physician assistant in medicine, for answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, in English and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in Spanish. Register to attend and submit your questions.

Financial Wellness: HR-Benefits and Fidelity offer a day of webinars and drop-in virtual help desk sessions to help you manage your financial future with confidence on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Register to reserve your spot.

CVRI Seminar: Dr. Lalitha Nayak, Case Western Reserve University, speaks on “Targeting Neutrophils in Thrombosis" at noon Wednesday, Sept. 16, via Zoom as part of the Cardiovascular Research Institute lecture series.

Faculty Opportunities

Heart Research: CVRI offers pilot awards for cardiovascular research that will promote collaboration between investigators and is likely to lead to externally funded grants in the foreseeable future. Proposals will be accepted through Monday, Sept. 14. Email CVRI for more information and application guidelines.

Committee Service: The School of Medicine seeks faculty representatives to serve on two institutional committees, the Student Services Committee and the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee. Please see Faculty Opportunities for more information and apply by Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Health Equity RFA: The Office of the President seeks proposals for grants of up to $50,000 for diverse multidisciplinary research teams to address the root causes of health disparities and ensure equitable health outcomes. The RFA document provides more details and submission information. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18.

Thank a Postdoc: The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs hosts a kudoboard to post messages and images of appreciation for research postdoctoral associates and fellows. It is open for contributions through Friday, Sept.18. The kudoboard will be shared during National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week, Sept. 21–25.

Faculty Resources

Clinical Awards Workshop: The Office of Faculty Development hosts a Patient Care Awards workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21. In addition to a clinical awards overview, the workshop will show you how to document your clinical, QI and advocacy contributions and demonstrate examples of successful portfolios. RSVP to attend virtually.

Professionalism Program: Dr. Aviad Haramati, professor and director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education at Georgetown University School of Medicine, presents “An Experiential Introduction to Mind-Body Medicine Skills to Reduce Stress and Foster Resilience and Wellbeing” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, via Zoom, passcode: 942715.

Portfolio Workshop: The Office of Faculty Development offers a workshop on preparing your Norton Rose Fulbright portfolio from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, via Zoom. RSVP to attend virtually.

Forensic Training: The Society of Refugee Healthcare Providers hosts a virtual forensic evaluation training from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24–25. Clinicians who attend the course will be eligible to volunteer at the Baylor Human Rights and Asylum Clinic, which offers free forensic medical evaluations for individuals seeking asylum in the United States. If you are interested in volunteering with the clinic, or have a more general interest in the legal, medical and psychological aspects of the asylum process, please register online.

From the Labs: Read how Larissa Nitschke, doctoral candidate in the lab of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, found that reducing ATXN1 in the cerebellum improves symptoms in animal models of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. 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.

Questions or Comments?

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