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News for BCM Faculty, Sept. 30, 2021
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College News


Baylor and Botswana: Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Botswana renewed their longstanding partnership last week when the president of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, visited Houston and the College. Baylor helped establish the first medical school in Botswana in 2006, but the relationship with Botswana began earlier with the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital. Read more about the visit and see photos.   

Grant application updates: Be sure to read over important upcoming changes to NIH Forms G and the new style of Biosketch and Other Support documents that are attached to grant applications.

  • NOT-OD-21-169 New NIH "FORMS-G" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates on or after Jan. 25, 2022
  • NOT-OD-21-073 Upcoming Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page for Due Dates on or after Jan. 25, 2022 (implementation extended in NOT-OD-21-110)

Open Enrollment: The 2022 Open Enrollment period is Oct. 4 – 18 and will be virtual. You will have an opportunity to participate in the 2022 Open Enrollment period from the safety of your home or office. Open Enrollment information currently is available online and was mailed to your permanent mailing address. 
Next steps: 

  • Register for the virtual 2022 Open Enrollment fair to talk directly with the Human Resource - Benefits office staff and external benefits vendors.
  • Join virtually the 2022 Open Enrollment Meeting to talk directly with the Human Resource - Benefits office staff.
  • Schedule a 30-minute virtual or in-person consultation with a Benefits Representative.
  • Eligible employees will earn 150 BCM BeWell points for attending a virtual benefits meeting (maximum 150 points).

More info needed? Email ask-insurance@bcm.edu or call 713-798-1500.

Voluntary Demographics: On Sept. 30, users of SuccessFactors will be able to select several new demographic options, including their preferred pronoun, gender identity, and sexual orientation, along with enhanced disability categories. This is optional, and only pronoun information will be public on each your SuccessFactors profile. All other demographic options will only be accessible by you and Human Resources. Learn more on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Pengfei Liu, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics, and Dr. Eric Van Nostrand, assistant professor of biochemistry, have been awarded the Genomic Innovator Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute. Liu was recognized for his project titled, "Characterizing disease-causing variants using personal genomes with large recurrent deletions," and Van Nostrand was recognized for his work exploring how the human body regulates and processes RNA and how viruses and other diseases have compromised these networks.

Pilar Magoulas, genetic counselor and associate professor of molecular and human genetics, won the 2021 Heart Genetic Counseling Award, presented by the National Society of Genetic Counselors and Invitae. The award pays tribute to distinguished genetic counselors who provide exceptional and irreplaceable care to families dealing with major health challenges. Read more.

imageDr. Kim Raghubar, assistant professor of pediatrics - section of psychology, was awarded an R21 from the NIH/NINR to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of systematic bright light exposure for reducing fatigue and improving cognitive efficiency in pediatric brain tumor survivors. The goal of this research is to trial interventions that mitigate cognitive late effects to improve quality of life in pediatric brain tumor survivors. Findings from this pilot study will be used to refine the intervention and inform a larger randomized controlled trial.

image Dr. Stacey Pereira, assistant professor in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Dr. Eric Storch, professor and vice chair in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, were awarded a nearly $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and National Human Genome Research Institute. The objective is to build on their NIH-funded Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Genetics Survey (CAPGS), which examined child and adolescent psychiatrists' perspectives about polygenic risk scores (PRS), to study challenges in the clinical use of psychiatric PRS, key stakeholders' perspectives, and gaps in legal protections against privacy violations and discrimination based on psychiatric PRS.

Dr. Richard H. Finnell, professor and holder of the William T. Butler MD Distinguished Chair, received a four-year, more than $2 million renewal of his NIH grant, "Intervention Strategies for Non-Folate Responsive Neural Tube Defects." Pre-pregnancy supplementation with folic acid can reduce the risk of neural tube defects, but a significant number of cases are non-folate responsive. Efforts to better understand the underlying mechanism of folic acid's beneficial effects may lead to novel intervention strategies to help prevent these birth defects

Faculty Opportunities

Alumni awards: Nominations for the annual Baylor College of Medicine Alumni Awards are open. Alumni Awards recognize alumni and faculty that have made significant contributions to their fields. To submit your nominations and to learn more, please visit the awards website. The nomination deadline is Oct. 8.

Off-Script Storytelling Event: Submit a story for the Texas Medical Center's storytelling hour on the theme of "homebound"—a time "home" was redecorated, overpopulated, under-appreciated or abandoned altogether. All members of the Houston and TMC communities are invited to submit an upbeat story (fictional or true) with strong characters, vivid setting, and dramatic movement. Sponsored by the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy's Narrative Medicine Program. See flyer attached and submit an entry by Oct 4.

Liver cancer research symposium: The Texas Collaborative Center for Hepatocellular Cancer, directed by Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chair of the Department of Medicine, is hosting its second annual symposium on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. The virtual symposium will cover the latest liver cancer research and treatments and will feature speakers from Baylor and other leading medical institutions. Register for the event and find more information about the speakers.

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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