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News for BCM Faculty, Dec. 10, 2020
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Commencement: Baylor College of Medicine School of Health Professions celebrated its Class of 2020 in a virtual commencement ceremony Dec. 5. Sixteen Doctor of Nursing Practice students, 39 Physician Assistant students and 22 Orthotics & Prosthetics students graduated this year. See more pictures from the event.

COVID-19 Update: Baylor continues its planning to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Acute care hospitals may be receiving vaccine deliveries several days ahead of medical schools. The College is following federal and state guidance regarding vaccine allocation. When you are offered a vaccine, proceed wherever you have the earliest access. If you are working at an affiliate that will NOT be providing the vaccine, Baylor will vaccinate you. The coronavirus website has more information on the vaccine for Baylor employees and learners, including an FAQ; check back regularly for updates. For additional questions, email coronavirusinfo@bcm.edu.

Pandemic Outreach: A team of experts at the College and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center have launched a training center as part of the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, an initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Project ECHO at the University of New Mexico. The partnership provides weekly virtual training and mentoring sessions for nursing home staff to implement COVID-19 prevention and safety practices to protect residents and employees. The training center will work with 100 nursing homes throughout Texas.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Ananth Annapragada, professor of radiology and obstetrics & gynecology, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. The innovative technologies he and his team develop include imaging for various cancers and Alzheimer’s disease, 3D Bioprinting and computational biology such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing. He holds 15 U.S. patents and close to 100 worldwide in next generation imaging technologies.

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital’s Center for Vaccine Development, and her team have received an $860,000 grant from the Department of Defense to develop a recombinant protein vaccine for Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne disease in the general U.S. population and the U.S. military. No human Lyme disease vaccine is currently available.

Dr. Monica Gramatges, associate professor of pediatrics - oncology and co-director of the Long-Term Survivor Program at Texas Children's Cancer Center, received the ASPHO 2021 Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship. The award recognizes an early or mid-career investigator who has demonstrated commitment to survivorship research and project funding.

Dr. Meenakshi Hegde, assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology & oncology, and her team were awarded a $1.4 million gift from The Faris Foundation to support HEROS 3.0, a first-in-human study of HER2 chimeric antigen receptor T cells in combination with immune checkpoint blockade to treat advanced sarcomas.

Dr. Shailaja Mani, associate professor of molecular & cellular biology, recently was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the Section on Agriculture, Food and Renewable Resources. She was one of 489 new members recognized for their contributions to science and technology during the AAAS Annual Meeting.

Dr. Rayne Rouce, assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology & oncology and a faculty senator, opened the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, “ASH-a-PALOOZA,” with an original rap performance. Hematology fellows Drs. Emily Hsieh and Dr. Shani Johnson rapped and danced as “Killer E-Cell” and “Shani Shero,” respectively, at the event last weekend.

image The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The $6.4 million five-year competitive grant was awarded to center director Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and center co-directors Dr. David Nelson and Dr. Rodney Samaco.

College (Virtual) Events

THINC Seminar: “Unexpected mechanisms that control the outputs of many protein-coding genes” is the topic of a talk by Dr. Jeremy Wilusz, associate professor of biochemistry & biophysics at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, via Zoom, passcode: 703001.

Cancer Grand Rounds: Dr. Stacie Craft DeFreitas, associate professor of psychology and fellow of the Center for Critical Race Studies at University of Houston – Downtown, discusses “Reducing cultural mistrust and mental health stigma: Improving medical outcomes for African Americans” at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, via Zoom, passcode: 831342.

Health Equity Grand Rounds: “Transgender and Gender Diverse Adult Healthcare,” is the topic of a presentation by Dr. Michael Kauth, professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, at 12:10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, via Zoom, meeting ID: 990 3597 5775; passcode: 049605. The Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (iQuest), DeBakey VA Medical Center and the Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research sponsor this virtual event.

UH-Baylor Symposium: The nine research groups that received University of Houston/Baylor College of Medicine Collaborative Pilot Grants in March present their findings at a virtual symposium with opening remarks by Dr. Mary Dickinson and Dr. Amir Elnashai, vice presidents for research at Baylor and UH respectively, at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, via Zoom. Register to attend.

Diabetes Symposium: Registration for the 15th Annual Diabetes Symposium: Diabetes Update 2020 is now free for all Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center and Baylor Medicine physicians, nurses, PAs, dieticians and trainees. The live webcast, set for Saturday, Dec. 12, offers up to eight continuing education credits.

Vaccine Webinars: Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from Baylor experts including Dr. Jim Kelaher, director of the Occupational Health Program, and Dr. Jennifer Whitaker, assistant professor of molecular virology & microbiology and medicine. Get answers to your and your patients' vaccine questions by signing up for one of three sessions today:

Faculty Opportunities

Pandemic Positives: So, 2020 was challenging, but it wasn’t all bad! Please share something positive from 2020 by video – this could be professional or personal, such as how you’ve adapted to the pandemic in the workplace, what you have learned about yourself or your colleagues, or milestones such as a new baby, house or pet. Video submissions may be featured in BCM’s end-of-year video. Please follow these tips, then submit the video using this form by Friday, Dec. 18.

MLK Day Essays: The student blog Progress Notes has launched an essay contest, co-sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Submissions are open to all Baylor students, trainees, faculty and staff and should be in the form of narrative reflection, discussing topics related to diversity, inclusion and equity and their importance in medicine, science and our society. See essay guidelines and submit online by Jan. 2. Submissions will be published on Progress Notes.

Faculty Resources

MAT Waiver Training: A free virtual course teaches the skills needed to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorders. Dr. Alicia Kowalchuk leads the MAT (Medications for Addiction) course on Saturday, Dec. 12, for physicians, PAs, APPs and other prescribers. Enroll online.

Writing Workshops: Inprint offers two online 8-week writing workshops using poetry, flash fiction and micro memoir centered around issues of race and identity to encourage discovery and spark creative writing. Learn more and register today; classes are offered at 6:30 p.m. Mondays Jan. 25-March 15 or Tuesdays Jan. 19-March 9. The Narrative Medicine program is a sponsor of the workshops.

LCME Update: The School of Medicine's December LCME Newsletter features recent subcommittee work and an overview of Element 12.1 – Financial Aid/Debt Management Counseling/Student Educational Debt, Element 12.2 – Tuition Refund Policy.

From the Labs: Read how Dr. Andreas Tolias, professor and Brown Foundation Endowed Chair in Neuroscience, and his lab envisioned the tree of cortical cell types to describe the diversity of neurons in the brain 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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