The Scoop: A Publication of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Produced by the Office of Communications // October 13, 2011

Craft fair vendor deadline Nov. 1

25th Anniversary Logo for Craft Fair

The deadline to sign up as a vendor for the Medical School’s 25th Annual Holiday Arts & Craft Fair is Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The annual fair will be held 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Dec. 1, in the Leather Lounge. Along with established vendors, the Medical School’s Employee Relations Committee is looking forward to showcasing the latest up-and-comers who are just beginning to sell.

Contact Kathy Merceri or  Susan Kirby for more information.

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Hecht receives national recognition for MHE research

Claudio Soto

Dr. Jacqueline Hecht

Dr. Jacqueline Hecht, professor of pediatrics, has received the 2011 REACH Research Award from the MHE Research Foundation in honor of her tireless dedication to Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (MHE), a genetic bone disorder.

A board certified medical-geneticist specializing in disorders related to bone growth, Hecht provides diagnostic and genetic counseling to patients and families with a variety of skeletal disorders. She has directed her research toward locating the genes that cause MHE, eventually locating the EXT1 gene on chromosome 8 and later, the EXT2 on chromosome 11.  In 1995, she published one of the first studies describing the natural history of MHE as well as a publication describing the development of chondrosarcoma to MHE.

“I was overwhelmed and surprised by the award and happy that I have been able to help so many with this rare but painful genetic disorder,” Hecht said.

MHE is an autosomal dominant genetic disease in which benign cartilage-capped tumors grown from the growth plates of long bones or from the surface of flat bones throughout the body. They can cause the compression of peripheral nerves or blood vessels, irritation of tendons and muscles, skeletal deformity, short stature, limb length discrepancy, mobility issues, and early onset arthritis. Surgery, physical therapy, and pain management are the only options available to MHE patients.

Hecht received the award at the Multiple Hereditary Exostoses Research Banquet 2011 Sept. 25 at Dyker Beach Golf Course in New York.

Hecht has written more than 160 peer reviewed scientific publications, 14 of which have been on MHE. She began working with the MHE Research Foundation to support their research efforts in 1999. In 2002, Hecht was instrumental in bringing about the First International MHE Research Conference  and co-organized the second conference in 2005. She also undertook a research study with the MHE Research Foundation to determine the extent and type of pain in MHE patients, and the results were published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

The MHE Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization for the support of researchers, families and physicians dealing with MHE/Multiple Osteochondroma, a rare genetic bone disease. The MHE Research Foundation missions are to advance and support research, clinical information, awareness, and improve the quality of life of those affected by these diseases.

— Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School

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2011 Advanced Rhinology Concepts scheduled for November

2011 Adanced Rhinology Concepts scheduled for November 4-6, 2011 Houston Texas

Mark your calendars for the 2011 Advanced Rhinology Concepts (ARC) CME event, scheduled for Nov. 4-6.

Sponsored by the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the continuing education course will focus on comprehensive medical and surgical management of diseases of the nose and paranasal sinuses.

Specific topics to be discussed include the diagnosis, pathophysiology and medical treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis, sinonasal polyposis and allergic rhinitis.  The course will include sessions on contemporary frontal sinus surgical techniques and the latest advances in fungal rhinosinusitis. Other important rhinologic issues, including postoperative care and management strategies for the general otolaryngologist will be discussed, and advanced technology, including image-guided surgery and innovative techniques in management of sinonasal neoplasia, also will be featured.  A hands-on laboratory session, featuring endoscopic surgical and video equipment, image-guidance technology, powered instrumentation and cadaveric specimens, will be open to limited enrollment.

The guest of honor at this year’s ARC will be Professor Heinz Stammberger, professor and head of the department of General Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Medical University of Graz in Graz, Austria. Considered one of the world’s leading experts in endoscopic sinus surgery and skull base surgery, Stammberger and his interdisciplinary Graz skull base team specialize in rhinoneurosurgery – endoscopic transnasal, intradural approaches – for a variety of indications.

Invited speakers include Dr. Michael Sillers, Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center in Birmingham, Alabama; Dr. Winston Vaughan, director and co-founder of the California Sinus Centers and a clinical faculty member at Stanford University Medical Center; Dr. Seth Isaacs, who practices at the Cincinnati Sinus Institute; and Dr. David Clark, Texas A&M Health Science Center and Scott & White Health System.

“This year’s ARC will provide an excellent educational opportunity for practicing otolaryngologists to advance the care they provide their patients,” said Dr. Martin J. Citardi, FACS, professor and chair of the  Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and chief of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.  “We expect that attendees will include physicians from across the entire country, as well as several international guests.”

Sessions will take place in the Omni Houston Hotel. The cadaveric dissection laboratory will be held in the Surgical Clinical Skills Center at the UTHealth Medical School.

For more information about the 2011 Advanced Rhinology Concepts, call 713.500.5410 or visit

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HIV research funds available

The Baylor-UTHouston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center (DLDCC) announce the availability of grant funds to support collaborative pilot and feasibility projects in two different areas of HIV-associated malignancy research.   

Members are eligible who are junior investigators, those who are new to HIV/AIDS research, and those who are taking a new direction in HIV/AIDS research. For more details, see the application guidelines.

Baylor and UTHealth faculty members who are CFAR or DLDCC members are eligible.  Awards are for 1 year and may be up to $50,000.  High-risk projects may receive up to $35,000 for 1 year.  A letter of intent is required of all applications.  Junior investigators are additionally required to submit a mentor's letter with their letter of intent. A panel composed of CFAR and DLDCC members will evaluate proposals.

The letter of intent is required for all applications and must be emailed to Joyce Evans by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011.

All completed applications must be emailed in PDF format to Joyce Evans by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. For more information, see

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Research focus: Pediatrics

Singin Students - Acapella Group

The Pediatric Research Center had its first research retreat on Sept. 27, at the NASA Hilton in Clear Lake. There were more than 40 attendees, including those from the Department of Pediatrics and the UT School of Dentistry, and 21 presentations were featured.





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Events to know

October 17

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Seminar: Dr. Nancy Weiger (Baylor College of Medicine) presents, “Targeting Androgen Receptors in Hormone-Dependent and Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer.”
Noon – 1 p.m., MSB 2.135.

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Craig Logsdon ( UT MD Anderson) presents, “New Mouse Models Demonstrate Interactions Between Genes and the Environment Which Lead to Pancreatic Disease.”
4 p.m., MSB 2.135.

October 19

LBJ Trauma Services Trauma Conference: Dr. Elda Ramirez, associate professor of clinical nursing, to present, “Fluid Resuscitation in the Trauma Patient: Make it Dry.” CME Credit is available.
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. LBJ Hospital 2 PD 30-006 (Second Floor Conference Room).

Instructional Design for Case-Based Teaching Modules.
Noon – 1 p.m., MSB.620. Please sign up to let us know you will be attending: Click Here. Walk-ins also welcome! Questions: Email Anne Rudnicki

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds: Thomas Newton (Baylor College of Medicine) presents, “Noradrenergic Drugs for Treating Stimulant Dependence.”
Noon–1 p.m., HCPC auditorium.

Topics in Neurobiology of Disease: Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine – Dr. Claudio Soto, professor of neurology, presents, “Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Noon, MSB 7.037 Sponsored by the Neuroscience Research Center and GSBS.

Family & Community Medicine Grand Rounds: Dr.  Nicholas Bell, associate professor of ophthalmology, presents, “Glaucoma.”
1–2 p.m., MSB 2.135.

2012 Calendar Showcase and Office Supply Swap
2–4 p.m., Fifth Floor Gallery.

October 20

Department of Surgery Grand Rounds: Dr. Danielle Melton, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery presents, “Managing Lower Limb Amputations: From Admission through Discharge and Beyond.” CME credit is available.
7 a.m., MSB 3.001.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. Carolina Barillas-Mury (NIAID) presents, “Plasmodium-mosquito interactions that determine malaria transmission.”
10:45 a.m., MSB 2.135.

October 23

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Alliance Grand Rounds: Dr. Mark Wilde, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, presents, “Sleep Disorders After Traumatic Brain Injury.”
Noon–1 p.m., MSB B.605.

October 24

Center for Membrane Biology Seminar Series: Dr. Kendal Hirschi (Baylor College of Medicine) presents, “Plant Calcium Transporters: New Foods for Thought.”
Noon, MSB 2.135.

Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Series: Dr. Robert Emery, associate professor of occupational health, School of Public Health, presents, “Safety and Security Requirements for Select Agent Research.”
Noon, MSB B.603.

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Peng Qiu (MD Anderson Cancer Center) presents, “Discovering biological progression underlying gene expression data.”
4 p.m., MSB 2.135.

October 25

Research Coordinator Forum – Cynthia Edmonds and Barbara Legate, UT Research Administration, present, “iRIS Updates.”
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., MSB 2.135.
Lunch will be available for the first 50 attendees.

October 26

Topics in Neurobiology of Disease: Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine – Dr. Mya Schiess, professor of neurology, presents, “Neurorestorative Potential for Parkinson’s Disease.”
Noon, MSB 7.037. Sponsored by the Neuroscience Research Center and GSBS.

October 27

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. James Versalovic (Baylor College of Medicine) presents, “The gut microbiome and mechanisms of immunomodulation.”
10:45 a.m., MSB 2.135.

October 29

Harris County Hospital District Medical Staff Retreat and Educational Update.
7:30 a.m., Marriott Medical Center. Dr. Tien Ko, facilitator. RSVP by Oct. 15.

October 31

Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Series: Dr. Lisa Armitige (UT-HSC Tyler) presents, “MDR-TB: A New Fight with an Old Foe.”
Noon, MSB B.610.

Pumpkin carving contest.
10:30 a.m.–noon.
Judging will start at noon, with prizes for first, second, and third places. Sponsored by the Employee Relations Committee.

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Jeff Frost, associate professor of integrative biology, presents, “Regulation of cancer cell motility and mitosis by the RhoA activating protein Net1.”
4 p.m., MSB 2.135.

In Memoriam

Natalie Kjar

The medical school community has been saddened by the death last week of second-year medical student Natalie Kjar.

A funeral service will be held in San Antonio on Friday, Oct. 14 and a memorial service in Houston on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The funeral will take place on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints chapel located at:
17151 Jones Maltsberger Rd.,
San Antonio 78247.

The family will be available 30 minutes prior to the service. The Houston memorial service will be held on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
1101 Bering Dr.,
Houston 77057.

The family requests that participants avoid wearing black.

Cards may be sent to the family at:
15703 Heimer Rd
San Antonio, TX 78232

Contributions in memory of Natalie may be made to:
UTHealth Medical School
P.O. Box 301413
Dallas, TX 75303-1413
with a notation for the “Natalie Ashton Kjar Scholarship Fund.”

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