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BMS NEWS DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES s  'ASTON !VE s $ALLAS 4EXAS  s HTTPBCDTAMHSCEDUEDUCATIONBMSINDEXHTML Human gingival fibroblasts on a 2D matrix, revealing the expression of vinculin at focal adhesions (Green). The nucleus was stained with Hoechst dye (Blue) and actin with Phalloidin 546 (Red). The overlap of actin and vinculin at the edges displays as yellow. Dr. Rena D’Souza What makes science exciting is that it is never static – one ex p e r i m e nta l result leads to a new idea that eventually leads to an unforeseen discovery. Teaching is much the same – methods are improved and new technology introduced to make course instruction as effective as possible. The past year brought such changes in the activity of the Department of Biomedical Sciences that will impact short-term and long-term activities at Baylor College of Dentistry. The hiring of the first bioengineer in the department and the funding of seed grants supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies pointed BMS researchers toward developing biomimetic materials for tissue engineering applications. A second bioengineer will be hired in 2011 to augment this effort. Successes in this area will truly revolutionize treatments for a variety of dental diseases. In addition, I am happy to report that two of our junior faculty members were successfully funded for their first major grant proposals, so their successes certainly enhance the April 2010, 6OLUME Volume  4, Issue -AY )SSUE 1 Human gingival fibroblasts in which the nucleus is stained with Hoechst 33258 (Blue), actin is stained with Phalloidin 488 (Green), and vinculin is stained with Alexa Fluor 546 (Red). Message from the Chair research profile of the department. The acquisition of a new confocal microscope has given the department an improved tool for physiological experiments on live tissues and organcultured specimens. This capacity obviously enhances the quality and the amount of information gathered, which is needed for projects to move forward and produce significant results. One of the challenges in dental education over the years has been the seeming disconnect between the basic science foundation laid in the initial years of instruction and the subsequent years of immersion in the clinical practice of dentistry. An initiative developed in BMS resulted in the creation of a new integrative sciences course that provided the students with instruction and practice in evaluating cases from a physiological, anatomical, pharmacological, and other basic sciences points of view. This type of approach will benefit the students in the short term, when they take their boards and face questions integrating the clinical with the basic, and in the long term, when they practice dentistry in the “realâ€? world. I am proud that we have another Texas A&M Regents Professor in our department. Dr. Kathy Svoboda was bestowed with this honor in 2009, and in 2010, Dr. Robert Hinton earned this prestigious title. I was honored as well in 2010 when I was elected Vice-President of the American Association for Dental Research. At this critical juncture in dental academic research, I look forward to making a difference in my role in this organization. Several distinctions and awards were gained by faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows, as reported on page 10 of this newsletter. I feel fortunate to serve as chair of one the few integrated Biomedical Sciences departments found in American dental schools. Working in a unique department like this offers great benefits, like the successes and contributions to research and teaching produced by our faculty, as well as great challenges, such as uniting a department that is academically and ethnically diverse. Like science and teaching, this department is far from being static. This fifth annual newsletter showcases some of the department’s variety of activities during 2010.


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