HMAI Annual Report 2019

Page 1




Our Journey to Transform Medicine Houston Methodist is an extraordinary place. Our visitors often remark that there is a palpable feeling of dedication to our patients in everything we do. We call this the culture of a cure. We see it as our mission in research and education to take on the hardest challenges faced by patients and their doctors. In fact, when I’m asked what we’re hoping to do here, I say that our goal is to change the future of medicine. The rapid pace of scientific advances has resulted in many landmark medical discoveries. However, only a few of these have made it to the clinic and to patients. Too many promising new treatments are lost in the process of translation from the lab to the clinic – a loss we cannot afford. We plan to reverse that trend, effecting true change in the status quo. This, I believe, is the place and time to do it. Our approach fills the niches between disciplines with specialized research programs like computational surgery, nanomedicine, and systems medicine. It builds collaborations and brings interdisciplinary teams together to take on challenges that cannot be solved with just one technology or perspective. Every research team has a direct tie to patient care, with our research space literally steps from the patient care areas of our hospital. We focus on innovations we shepherd through preclinical development and into clinical development, clinical trials and FDA approval. Our training programs follow the same path – from master’s programs in clinical translation, to professional level training in skills acquisition, advanced technology, and clinical research. This is in service to our goal – get the innovations to our patients safely, efficiently, and effectively. This approach follows directly from the research tradition established at Houston Methodist by Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, whose pioneering spirit influences everything we do. I hope the following pages will give you a sense of our vision and accomplishments. I’m honored to be a part of this journey to transform medicine.


Our commitment at Houston Methodist is simple: Develop and translate the best, most innovative science and technology into beneficial realities for our patients. Translating laboratory discoveries into novel treatments for patients requires advanced research and development infrastructure, and with regulatory knowledge, technical expertise, BOARD OF DIRECTORS and specialized facilities. Houston Methodist Houston Methodist Academic Institute supports translational research with on-site capabilities for Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and good laboratory practice (GLP) studies, andearlyphase(IandII)clinicaltrials.Ourcommitment to the full translational cycle from discovery to cure is how we deliver on our mission of leading medicine in the service of our patients. Houston Methodist also provides clinical and translational education with a patient-centered and interprofessional team-based approach. We continually maximize the effectiveness of our innovative teaching and learning programs with evidence-based methodology grounded in educational research. David C. Baggett, Jr.

John P. Cooke, MD, PhD

Gregory V. Nelson

John F. Bookout, Jr.

Martha DeBusk

Mary Eliza Shaper

John F. Bookout, III

Dan O. Dinges

H. Dirk Sostman, MD

Marc L. Boom, MD

Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., MD, DPhil

Douglas E. Swanson, Jr.

Timothy Boone, MD, PhD

Edward A. Jones

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD

Carrie L. Byington, MD

Evan H. Katz

Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter, III

Joseph R. “Rod” Canion

Edwin H. Knight

Martha Walton

David Chao

Pastor Kenneth R. Levingston

Elizabeth Wareing

Stephen Chazen

Kevin J. Lilly

Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr.

Augustine M.K. Choi, MD

Steven S. Looke

Ernest D. Cockrell, II

Vidal G. Martinez

2 0 1 9

Houston Methodist Academic Institute


Our Commitment to


Houston Methodist supports our 706 faculty with a $190M annual investment in research and education and a planned investment of $300M over five years for strategic academic initiatives. Investigators also have access to more than $97M in philanthropic funds for research and education and a competitive $30M philanthropic fund to support translation of their most promising technologies.


















TRANSLATION & DEVELOPMENT to bring new technologies & therapies to patients We bring new scientific discoveries to patients as rapidly as possible through the full cycle of a cure from bench research, to prototyping and production, to clinical trials and FDA approval. Houston Methodist has a $30M product development fund to navigate promising technologies through this translational pipeline and facilitate a technology transfer hand off to the market for delivery to patients. We focus on achieving market adoption and compliance with safety, laws and regulations to give patients quicker access to safe and effective therapies.

Translational Pipeline











North America


Collaboration & Leadership p

Global collaboration sources the best expertise for interdisciplinary research and


education. In 2019, Houston Methodist faculty mentored 1,516 trainees in residence from 41 countries and participated in 5,218 collaborations with peers from 74 countries.














Training the


of Caregivers & Innovators

Houston Methodist faculty trained 32,483 learners in 2019. Our modern interdisciplinary GME and educational programs have access to advanced resources like the MITIESM virtual hospital and procedural skills labs that support evidence-based practice.


ton Methodist Africa

South America





303 298


399 394

1,365 2,324 12, 483 13,833 14,394 14,525

HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITALS & INSTITUTES Clinical Care: 8 hospitals and 6 centers of excellence Academic Institute: Research Institute and Education Institute Affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital

HOSPITALS Houston Methodist Hospital

Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital

Houston Methodist West Hospital

Houston Methodist Continuing Care Hospital

Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE Houston Methodist Cancer Center Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders Houston Methodist Neurological Institute Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center



Department of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Department of Cardiology Department of Cardiovascular Sciences Department of Cardiovascular Surgery Department of Medicine Department of Nanomedicine Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology Department of Neurosurgery Department of Nursing Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Ophthalmology Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Department of Orthopedic Surgery Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine Department of Pharmacy Department of Radiation Oncology Department of Radiology Department of Surgery Department of Urology

Blanton Eye Institute Center for Bioenergetics Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Center for Cardiovascular Regeneration Center for Computational Surgery Center for Health & Nature Center for Immunotherapy Research Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research Center for Musculoskeletal Regeneration Center for Neuroregeneration Center for Outcomes Research Center for Rapid Device Translation Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIESM) Nantz National Alzheimer Center Neurosciences Research Program Mathematics in Medicine Program Regenerative Medicine Program Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation











2014 2019


4,500 7,744


17,011 25,543


1,960 2,393


82,739 126,038

Outpatient Visits



2014 2019

Research Expenditures

$126 M


Extramural Funding

$49.2 M



525 706

Credentialed Researchers



Clinical Protocols



Peer-Reviewed Publications




3,362 5,218

Faculty Academic Activities



2014 2019

Total Learners



Trainees in Residence



GME Programs



GME Residents & Fellows



CME Trainees



MITIESM Trainees



Research Trainees



Ranked in 9 Specialties: Cancer Cardiology/Heart Surgery Diabetes & Endocrinology Gastroenterology/GI Surgery Geriatrics Neurology/Neurosurgery Nephrology Orthopedics Pulmonology/Lung Surgery



CRADLE OF A CURE A Transformational Vision for Medical Research and Education From its initial conception, the Houston Methodist Research Institute was always intended to be different from other medical research institutes. Its central objective is to develop treatments with ready applicability to human disease — using its physical connection to the hospital and technological expertise in FDA approval pathways to streamline the process of translating laboratory research into treatments and cures for patients.




to Enhance Liver Transplant Outcomes




Supports National Product Development page


PRECISION PHARMACEUTICAL for Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment




President’s Message................................................................................................. 1 Cycle of a Cure............................................................................................................. 6


Improving Patient Outcomes with Outcomes Research........................... 9

Visionary Gifts of Hope..............................................................................................10 to Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease DISCOVERY

RNA Therapeutics Supports National Product Development...............13

Tracing Tau to Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease.....................................................14

The Center for Immunotherapeutic Transport Oncophysics.................15

Drug Delivery Defies Gravity...................................................................................16

Computational Technologies for Precision Surgery..................................17

Leading The Fight Against Group A Streptococcal Infections.............18

The Center for Immunotherapy.............................................................................19




Siemens Healthineers and Houston Methodist Launch Imaging Innovation Hub In Houston..................................................................21

Precision Pharmaceutical.........................................................................................22

Artificial Intelligence Expedites Breast Cancer Risk Prediction..........24

Building Blocks for Bone Regeneration...........................................................25

The Journey From Idea to Clinic...........................................................................26

Building Blocks for




T Cells Suppress Progression of Disease in ALS Patients....................29

page Pioneering Research in Heart Valve Replacement.....................................30

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Immunotherapy...........................................32



Training Tomorrow’s Medical Innovators..........................................................33

Community Scholars Program..............................................................................34

Medical Education........................................................................................................36

Mentored Clinical Research Training Program..............................................38

Expedites Breast Cancer Risk Prediction

Texas A&M University Engineering Medical School at Houston Methodist Hospital...................................................................................39

Research Doctorate Programs..............................................................................40

Master In Clinical Translation Management...................................................41

Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education..............................................................................................42



CYCLE OF A CURE A Transformational Vision for Medical Research Houston Methodist met the challenge of translation early in the design of the research institute building. It houses the essential services and technology that support the full cycle of development to efficiently and effectively deliver innovations to the clinic. Translating laboratory innovations into treatments for patients is fraught with challenges. The lack of specialized translational


research resources makes it extremely difficult and expensive for most institutions to turn fundamental discoveries into tangible solutions that benefit the public. Their most promising innovations perish in the ‘Valley of Death’ 
before they reach the clinic. We provide support at every step of the cycle of a cure from bridge funding to technical expertise with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) facilities, good laboratory practice (GLP) facilities and clinical trial operations. The most promising innovations have a lifeline at Houston Methodist.


clin • Pre LP G P • GM

ical Validat


y of Death e l l a V




Hand Off

GLP Preclinical Validation Manufacturing

Clinical Trials

Patient Care

Preclinical Studies

Outcomes & Quality Analysis

Lab Discovery

Clinical Needs



PATIENT CARE The cycle begins and ends with patient care. Clinicians in our hospitals care for more than 800,000 patients annually, enabling them to identify the most pressing challenges in medicine.

CLINICAL NEEDS Clinicians and researchers form interdisciplinary


teams to address their needs and clinical challenges.

DISCOVERY Our teams of clinicians, researchers, and collaborators from around the world have access to a full suite of technology to enable the discovery process.

PRECLINICAL VALIDATION Research teams have access to dedicated Translational Research Initiative bridge funds to take the most promising


discoveries into preclinical and early phase clinical development.

cGMP MANUFACTURING The research institute is equipped with FDA cGMP-compliant facilities that produce research and clinical-grade therapeutic materials and custom radiopharmaceuticals for preclinical and first-in-human studies.

GLP PRECLINICAL VALIDATION The GLP facilities at Houston Methodist perform risk, safety and efficacy assessment studies in compliance with current FDA guidelines in preclinical models. Adherence to GLP standards


is required for safety studies in order to move to clinical trials.

CLINICAL TRIALS Teams have access to early phase trial support (pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics), and outpatient clinical care and study management services, including research, nursing, regulatory submissions and budget management support for all phases of clinical trials.




Patients First The cycle of medical innovation begins and ends with the needs of our patients.

Clinicians partner with scientists to solve the most pressing challenges in medicine.


Improving Health Care Results with Outcomes Research The Houston Methodist Center for Outcomes Research is driving fundamental improvements in patient outcomes with a multidisciplinary research approach. The center is comprised of experts from different disciplines

in the community. The center is also committed

including medical science, engineering and organizational

to ensuring that the findings are effectively applied to

design, health services, biostatistics and analytics. Under

clinical practice for the benefit of patients. The evidence

the leadership of Bita Kash, PhD, MBA, the center has

gathered from the center’s work will be translated into

entered into a partnership with the Texas A&M School of

actionable strategy for implementation in health care

Public Health to further accelerate the pace and reach

systems around the world. Robert A. Phillips, MD, PhD,

of its research. According to Kash, who is the director of

executive vice president, chief medical officer, and

the Center for Outcomes Research, this partnership will

chief executive officer of the Specialty Physician

leverage the clinical expertise of physician-scientists

Group at Houston Methodist, was a key figure in the

from Houston Methodist and the research expertise

conceptualization and execution of this partnership.

of Texas A&M faculty and students in the areas of

Phillips believes that working with A&M will build

health services research, health economics, industrial

on our strengths and make us a prominent national

and systems engineering, architecture and management.

voice championing for better patient outcomes.

With a focus on population health research, the center aims to address the challenges affecting patient outcomes in acute care settings and throughout the care continuum

Bita A. Kash, PhD, MBA, Director, Center for Outcomes Research, and Robert A. Phillips, MD, PhD, executive vice president, CMO, and Specialty Physician Group CEO.




Fostering Bench to Bedside Research

Visionary Gifts of Hope

Medical breakthroughs can take up to two decades and millions of dollars to make it to the clinic. By focusing on optimizing translational research, Houston Methodist increases the efficiency of innovation with streamlined approaches that deliver effective treatments to patients in years rather than decades. This is where philanthropy steps in to help bridge the gap. Houston Methodist has been fortunate to receive sustained and generous support from dedicated philanthropists. They share our belief that translational research is the best way to propel promising innovations to the clinic. For example, the Translational Research

Paula and Rusty Walter A personal life-changing experience is often a big motivator

It will also grow our neuroscience research program

for philanthropists. Rusty, an inspirational stroke survivor,

through the Walter Neurological Restoration Initiative.

enrolled in two clinical trials at Houston Methodist. His

A portion will go toward expanding funding for the TRI,

firsthand exposure to Houston Methodist’s innovations in

which was originally conceived by the Walter family.

neurology made him an ardent supporter of our research.

In addition, this gift will establish an innovation fund

In October 2017, Houston Methodist received a $101 million

for creating an entrepreneurial platform for physicians

philanthropic gift from Paula and Rusty Walter, the largest

and researchers. Last but not the least, the gift will

in the institution’s nearly 100-year history. Houston Methodist

support Houston Methodist employees who suffered

will raise an additional $56 million in matching funds, bringing

significant losses from Hurricane Harvey. Houston

the total philanthropic impact of this gift to $157 million.

Methodist’s new 21-story tower will be named the

The gift will support the expansion of endowed chairs

Paula and Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter III Tower, in honor

and dedicated faculty in research and teaching positions.

of their extraordinary contribution.



“ Several Houston Methodist innovations owe their existence to the generosity of these individuals who share our inextinguishable faith in the power of research Initiative (TRI), a matching challenge program, combines the power of philanthropy with an expedited research model that advances promising inventions through preclinical studies, FDA approvals, and phase I and II clinical trials. The two philanthropists profiled in this article have a long-standing relationship with Houston Methodist and were early

to transform health care.

– Mauro Ferrari, PhD President and CEO Houston Methodist Research Institute

champions of the TRI.

Left: Marc L. Boom, MD, president and CEO, Julie A. Boom, MD, Paula Walter and Rusty Walter. Above: Nicole and Evan Katz

Jerold B. Katz Foundation Another gift focused on advancing the pursuit of translational research is a $21 million commitment from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation. This gift from the Katz family, dedicated supporters of Houston Methodist’s research vision, will establish the Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research. The academy will initially endow eight Katz investigators. A part of the contribution will be used toward acquiring specialized technology for translational research. The gift will also establish a second Translational Research Initiative with $5 million. The hospital will raise $5 million to match these TRI funds, bringing the philanthropic impact to $26 million. According to Evan H. Katz, one of Jerold B. Katz’s sons and a trustee of the Jerold B. Katz Foundation, the gift is designed to continually seed innovation and facilitate the discovery of improved treatments and medications.

Paula and Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter III Tower




Innovation begins with the fundamental scientific process of discovery.

Teams turn ideas into real solutions with sound testing and iterative design.


RNA Therapeutics RNAcore Supports National Product Development of a New Class of Biologics The Houston Methodist RNAcore is a national academic center that produces custom research-grade and clinical-grade RNA therapeutics. The team is lead by John Cooke, MD, PhD, and produces RNA therapeutics and delivery strategies for applications including cardiovascular regeneration and cancer therapeutics.

Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (sponsor) University of California San Francisco Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Boston Children’s Hospital The core was established to support the Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute by John Cooke, MD, PhD, the Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter and Carole Walter Looke Presidential Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Research. Cooke saw a national need for reliable, high quality RNA therapeutic materials produced with transparent standard operating procedures that met FDA standards. With funding from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, they are now producing pharmaceutical-grade therapeutics for phase I/II studies in collaboration with the Houston Methodist cGMP core facility.

John P. Cooke, MD, PhD, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences

Columbia University Health Sciences University of Wisconsin School of Medicine Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center University of Alabama at Birmingham University of Maryland School of Medicine




Tracing Tau to Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease At Houston Methodist, physicians and scientists are developing new multimodality imaging techniques that are transforming the detection of Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Houston Methodist is one of the first sites in the U.S. to test a new radioactive tracer called [18F]AV-1451. Joseph C. Masdeu, MD, PhD, director of the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, was the primary investigator on the trial that used this tracer to measure abnormal tau at all stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Masdeu is building on this work with a team of radiopharmaceutical and imaging specialists in the research institute, adding layers of information about Alzheimer’s disease and brain inflammation with positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance. The cyclotron and cGMP radiopharmaceutical production facility led by core director Max Yu, PhD produces the needed custom tracers [18F]FDG, [11C]PIB, [18F]GE180, [18F]AV-1451, and [11C]PBR28. The tracers are then transported directly to the PET imaging suite where PET core director Paolo Zanotti Fregonara, MD, PhD combines PET with native magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize tau, beta amyloid, inflammation, and metabolic activity.


Joseph C. Masdeu, MD, PhD Director, Nantz National Alzheimer Center

The Center for Immunotherapeutic Transport Oncophysics

In these studies, Masdeu has

The National Cancer Institute awarded the Houston

discovered that combining tau

Methodist Research Institute a $9 million grant to

and beta-amyloid imaging with

establish the CITO multi-institutional consortium.

MRI to visualize metabolic activity provides more information about Alzheimer’s disease progression and neurodegeneration. The team has shown that tau spreads across the language network of the brain, like prion proteins, spreading with degeneration as it propagates

The center will integrate diverse disciplines like biophysics, materials science, and oncology to solve the challenges associated with effective targeted immunotherapy for cancer. CITO will be led by Professor of Nanomedicine Mauro Ferrari, PhD; Associate Professor of Nanomedicine Haifa Shen MD, PhD; Professor of Inflammation and Epigenetics Rongfu Wang, PhD; and Assistant Professor of Nanomedicine Arturas Ziemys, PhD.

through synapses from diseased neuron to healthy neuron. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Boston, MA Columbia University New York, NY Cornell University Ithaca, NY

University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Northwestern University Chicago, IL

Houston Methodist Research Institute Houston, TX

University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Tampa, FL

Houston Methodist is one of 10 centers in the National Cancer Institute Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers network.




Drug Delivery Defies Gravity Houston Methodist is collaborating with NASA’s Center for the Advancement of Science in Space at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to develop an implantable nanochannel device that delivers therapeutic drugs at a rate guided by remote control, in orbit and on earth. Alessandro Grattoni, PhD, chair of the department of nanomedicine, has developed a nanochannel delivery system (nDS) that enables patients to receive physicianguided drug infusions without having to visit a hospital or clinic. The nDS is an 18 mm-wide squat cylinder containing a reservoir for drugs and a silicon membrane housing 615,342 channels as small as 2.5 nm. Drug delivery through the channels is controlled by surface electrodes that respond to the radio-frequency remote control, and ‘tune’ the rate of drug delivery. The nDS allows clinicians to tailor dosing regimens by remote control, which is particularly useful to stop or start drug delivery quickly in response to changes in a patient’s health. Grattoni’s delivery device could facilitate these changes with ease, potentially saving time, reducing costs, and improving medical outcomes for patients. Alessandro Grattoni, PhD Chair, Department of Nanomedicine


Computational Technologies for Precision Surgery Surgical resection of tumors requires precision. Inaccuracy of incisions by mere millimeters can lead to life-threatening injuries to vasculature or leave residual tumor cells behind. At the Center for Computational Surgery, scientist Marc Garbey, PhD, and surgeons Barbara Bass, MD, and Brian Dunkin, MD, have developed two technologies that are advancing the field of precision surgery.

First, they are using high frequency ventilation to counteract organ motion and eliminate respiratory motion at critical points during surgery. Second, they are using a unique 3D reconstruction technique to improve imaging from a standard laparoscopic camera outfitted with their smart trocar technology. This technology refines real-time imaging data and enables the surgeons to more accurately see what is happening inside the body during minimally invasive surgery. Together, these cost-effective technologies are making minimally invasive abdominal precision surgery a reality, and taking two more steps toward saving lives.

Left: Brian Dunkin, MD, FACS, John F., Jr. and Carolyn Bookout Chair in Surgical Innovation and Technology, Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIESM); Middle: Barbara Bass, MD, FACS, John F., Jr. and Carolyn Bookout Presidential Distinguished Chair, Department of Surgery, and Executive Director, MITIESM; Right: Marc Garbey, PhD, Scientific Director, Center for Computational Surgery




Leading the Fight Against

Group A Streptococcal Infections Researchers at Houston Methodist led by Muthiah Kumaraswami, PhD, have unlocked a potential pathway to treat flesh-eating disease caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria. GAS infections range from the commonly seen strep throat of which several million cases occur every year, to rare life-threatening flesh-eating disease. Kumaraswami and his team have identified a protein made by

deepening our understanding of the genetic make-up of

GAS that triggers the production of a toxin critical for causing

these bacteria to uncovering their interactions with the host

flesh-eating disease. The protein discovered by the team could

during infections. His work has shown that minor genetic

serve as a potential target for vaccine or antimicrobial development.

changes enable some strains to produce higher levels of

The discovery, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the

toxins, making them more dangerous and difficult to treat.

National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,

Tests for detecting such toxins could enable better treatment

is particularly timely in light of the spike in flesh-eating disease

through early identification of more virulent infections.

cases in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Kumaraswami’s work builds on a solid foundation laid by James Musser, MD, PhD, Fondren Presidential Distinguished Chair at Houston Methodist. Musser is renowned for his pioneering work in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying GAS infections – from

Muthiah Kumaraswami, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, and James Musser, MD, PhD, Fondren Presidential Distinguished Chair


New Center for Immunotherapy From preclinical research projects on immunotherapy-based drug development to first-in-human clinical trials, Houston Methodist researchers are devoted to advancing groundbreaking immunotherapy-based approaches to treat a wide variety of diseases, including aggressive cancers. Directed by Shu-Hsia Chen, PhD, the Emily Herrmann Chair

of the tumor microenvironment, controlling immune

in Immunology Research, the Center for Immunotherapy

checkpoints, and novel immunotherapy-based strategies

Research was recently established with an internationally-

for treating cancer. Ping-Ying Pan, PhD, the center’s

recognized research team. Prior to joining Houston Methodist,

codirector, will also work closely with the Immunobiology

Chen was a tenured professor in the Department of

and Transplant Science Center at Houston Methodist to

Oncological Sciences and Surgery in the Icahn School of

develop immunotherapies that are aimed at preventing

Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York where she developed

transplant rejection and treating autoimmune conditions.

novel therapeutic strategies for treating cancer, autoimmune, and chronic inflammatory diseases. Chen’s vision for the center is to drive the bench-to-bedside translation of breakthroughs that focus on the modulation

Ping-Ying Pan, PhD, Associate Director, Center for Immunotherapy Research, and Shu-Hsia Chen, PhD, Emily Herrmann Chair in Immunology Research




Closing the Gap

Many winning ideas from the lab need partners to reach the clinic.

Houston Methodist has product development pathways that deliver results.


Siemens Healthineers and Houston Methodist Launch Imaging Innovation Hub in Houston One of the world’s most powerful MRI machines, the 7 Tesla (7T) MRI scanner, comes to the Texas Medical Center in 2018 through a Siemens Healthineers and Houston Methodist multi-year consortium agreement. The consortium currently includes Rice University, The

Access to such high-throughput multi-modality

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston,

imaging equipment in a translational research setting

University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine and

is seen in very few centers across the world. As part

Texas A&M.

of this agreement, Houston Methodist and Siemens

Ultra-high-field 7T MRI is expected to be the next big leap in imaging innovation. It provides significantly higher

have planned joint research in several areas of common interest.

resolution for enhanced visualization of previously unseen

Additionally, Siemens will outfit the Houston Methodist

structures and faster acquisition times than the 3T we use

Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIESM)

today. In addition to anatomical details, images yielded

and the newly constructed North Tower with triple

by 7T MRI also illustrate physiology or biological function.

hybrid operating suites. These will be equipped with the most advanced CT, angiography and MRI

Called the MAGNETOM Terra, Siemens’ 7T MRI machine will be accessible to all institutions in the TMC. The machine will be located within the Houston Methodist Research Institute’s Translational Imaging Core, in close proximity to the positron emission tomography (PET) facility and the cGMP-compliant cyclotron facility.

technology. Houston Methodist will also receive a dual PET and CT scanner that can illuminate specific biochemical activations in the brain to help advance research for patients with Alzheimer’s and other types of neurodegenerative diseases.




Precision Pharmaceutical Targeting Metastatic Breast Cancer with Unprecedented Efficiency Standard treatment for breast cancer is surgical tumor removal, followed by radiation and chemotherapy to eliminate remaining cancer cells. But what happens when the cells are resistant to these therapies or metastasize to hide in organs where treatment can’t reach them?

Lung and liver metastases are responsible for approximately 90 percent of breast cancer deaths every year in the United States. This is the challenge that researchers at Houston Methodist are tackling head on with iNPG-pDox. This novel drug thwarts the biological barriers and physical forces in the body, hitting its metastatic breast cancer targets with unparalleled cure rates in preclinical studies. Due to the body’s own defense mechanisms, most cancer drugs are absorbed into healthy tissue causing serious and often life-threatening side effects, and leaving only a fraction of the drug to actually reach the tumor. If those cancer cells



of Silicon Microparticle for Cancer Therapy






Development Multistage Delivery System

Patent Issued for Porous Silicon Manufacturing


Patent Pending iNPG-pDox for Cancer Therapy

DoD Innovator Awards


are therapy resistant, they are able to pump out any

models with triple negative breast cancer and lung

drug that finally does reach them. Mauro Ferrari, PhD,

and liver metastases. That’s equivalent to about

president and chief executive officer of the Houston

24 years of long-term survival following metastatic

Methodist Research Institute, and Haifa Shen, MD, PhD,

disease for people.

a lead scientist within the department of nanomedicine, have developed a solution.

The research institute has received a $16 million Department of Defense (DoD) grant to accelerate

Their solution is called polymeric doxorubicin (pDox),

development of iNPG-pDox and seek FDA clearance

a new version of a standard chemotherapy drug that

to do clinical trials for metastatic breast cancer.

has been altered to have a molecular switch that leaves

Jenny C. Chang, MD, Emily Herrmann Chair in Cancer

it ‘off’ until it is delivered to the area inside of cancer

Research and director of the Houston Methodist

cells where it can work. To help pDox bypass healthy

Cancer Center is the lead investigator for the

cells and biological barriers as it travels through the

first-in-human clinical trials of iNPG-pDox. Chang

body, they also created an injectable nanoparticle

has an established track record in early phase clinical

generator (iNPG) that can preferentially deliver the

trials and is the ideal partner for the nanomedicine

pDox to cancer cells. In preclinical studies, iNPG-pDox

research team to bring this promising new treatment

results in long-term cures for 50 percent of animal

to the clinic.

biggest challenge in medical research is successfully translating “ The a lab discovery into a viable treatment option for people. The cycle of a cure usually takes 17 years and costs billions of dollars. We’re going from drug creation to Phase I and II clinical studies in five years.

– Mauro Ferrari, PhD President and CEO, Houston Methodist Research Institute



Preclinical Validation

cGMP Manufacturing


Clinical Trials



DoD Breakthrough Award National Cancer Institute - Center Grants


Goal: Drug in Clinic




Artificial Intelligence Expedites Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Researchers at Houston Methodist have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) software that reliably interprets mammograms, assisting doctors with a quick and accurate prediction of breast cancer risk. The computer software intuitively translates patient charts into diagnostic information at 30 times human speed and with 99 percent accuracy.

Due to the false positive rate of mammography, the

Institute, and Jenny C. Chang, MD, Emily Herrmann Chair

American Cancer Society estimates that one out of every

in Cancer Research and director of the Houston Methodist

two healthy women having regular mammograms will be

Cancer Center, has developed AI software to evaluate

erroneously told that she might have cancer. The Houston

mammogram results. They used the software to scan 500

Methodist team has taken on this challenge to equip

patient charts, collect mammogram findings, combine them

doctors with better tools to increase the accuracy of

with pathology findings, and correlate the information with

mammography and decrease unnecessary breast biopsies.

breast cancer subtype.

The team led by Stephen T. Wong, PhD, PE, John S.

The accuracy and speed of predicting breast cancer risk

Dunn, Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical

were astounding. Manual review of 50 charts takes two

Engineering at the Houston Methodist Research

clinicians 50-70 hours. The AI software reviewed 500 charts in a few hours, saving over 500 physician hours. “Accurate review of this many charts would be practically impossible without AI,� says Wong. And the most critical outcome was the 99 percent accuracy of predicting the presence of breast cancer. The team is working diligently

99% accuracy

to make this software ready for clinical use.

30 times human speed Decreases unnecessary biopsies

Stephen T. Wong, PhD, John S. Dunn Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering


Building Blocks for Bone Regeneration What began as tinkering with biomaterials has developed into a new biomimetic scaffold that regenerates large segments of bone and quickly repairs complex fractures and breaks that would usually result in disability or amputation. Ennio Tasciotti, PhD, director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Regeneration at Houston Methodist, has helped lead a multi-institutional team of researchers in the development of this regenerative technique known as bionanoscaffold (BNS). Tasciotti was awarded $6 million by the United

Together, these materials mimic the scaffold of bone.

States Department of Defense to partner with orthopedic

When implanted in animal models, the BNS attracts

surgeon Brad Weiner, MD, to take BNS technology from

immune and stem cells that remodel the area into

preclinical validation to first-in-human clinical trials over

functional tissues. Within six weeks, the fracture is

the next three years. The procedure can be performed

healed, the implanted materials resorbed by the

during a single operation and would not require the

body, and the bone is as strong as or stronger than

use of any additional hardware — a true revolution in

it was prior to the injury.

orthopedic surgery. A BNS is a strong biodegradable polymer shell that is infused with a collagen and mineral compound.

Bradley Weiner, MD, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine; Ennio Tasciotti, PhD, Director, Center for Musculoskeletal Regeneration




Journey of Houston Methodist Inventions

From Idea to Clinic

At Houston Methodist our research enterprise is built to address the unique challenges inherent to taking an idea and developing it into an effective clinical application. We identify promising discoveries early in their life cycle and accelerate them through the development process,

Diagnostic Test

positioning them to make the giant leap from idea to clinic.

Diagnostic test to enhance liver transplant outcomes Mark Ghobrial, MD, PhD, director of the Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, and Xian Li, MD, PhD, director of the Immunobiology and Transplant Science Center, have invented a test that can predict the probability of developing sepsis, a common cause of liver transplant failure. This helps physicians avoid transplants that will ultimately be unsuccessful. The new test has shown 95% accuracy in preclinical studies and is now being tested in early phase clinical trials. If successful, the test has a potential impact of cost savings of over $20 billion annually. In addition to pioneering this diagnostic test, the Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation is involved in several new clinical trials that could change the way liver transplants are planned and managed in the future. The Conovers founded the center with a $6.5 million gift to support education and research that improves treatment of liver diseases.

Mark Ghobrial, MD, PhD, Sherrie and Alan Conover Chair for Excellence in Liver Transplantation; Xian Li, MD, PhD, director of the Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center


Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Houston Methodist researchers Santosh Helekar, MD, PhD, and David Chiu, MD, have developed a noninvasive treatment using a wireless magnetic brain stimulation cap invented by Helekar and Henning Voss, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College. This portable device uses changing magnetic fields to stimulate multiple selected parts of the brain simultaneously. It shows promise in restoring motor function in stroke patients. The device is currently being tested in clinical trials. The inventors are exploring

Magnetic Cap

Magnetic cap for stroke


licensing opportunities and are working towards submission for regulatory clearance. This wearable and affordable device runs on a small rechargeable battery and can be controlled by a smartphone app, making it suitable for in-home use.


This could revolutionize treatment options for stroke patients.

AnatomicAligner James Xia, MD, PhD, and his team have developed a novel computer-based imaging and informatics platform called the AnatomicAligner to provide a more accurate and faster method for presurgical planning of craniomaxillofacial surgeries. The software is being verified and validated by a third-party expert. The team is also working towards seeking regulatory clearance and exploring commercialization strategies.

Recent studies suggest that vagus nerve stimulation and rehabilitation could potentially offer a protective effect in the treatment of severe stroke. Philip J. Horner, PhD, and Gavin W. Britz, MBBCh, MPH, MBA, are using this approach to develop a novel method to contain brain damage related to stroke. They have shown that vagus nerve stimulation decreases stroke infarct volume in preclinical studies and that targeted electrical stimulation can be used to activate the brain’s defensive response against stroke. They are developing a neural stimulation induced medicine therapy, or nSIM, for stroke patients. This nSIM device will be incorporated within an endotracheal tube in a manner that will not interfere with the standard-of-care procedures. Device design and prototyping is expected to be completed in the middle of 2018.

Neurostimulation therapy

Neurostimulation therapy for advanced stroke



Clinical Trials

Houston Methodist has the expertise to support all phases of clinical trials, completing the cycle of a cure and opening the door to the future.


T Cells Suppress Progression of Disease in ALS Patients

David Beers, PhD, Associate Research Professor of Neurology; Stanley H. Appel, MD, Peggy & Gary Edwards Distinguished Endowed Chair, Houston Methodist Neurological Institute

“ We assumed the T cells were detrimental, but it turns out the opposite is true: T cells are protective.

– Stanley H. Appel, MD

An interdisciplinary team of researchers and physicians at the

Populations of Tregs were also found to be altered in ALS

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, led by Stanley H.

patients. Patients with rapidly progressing ALS had fewer

Appel, MD, director of the institute and chair of the Stanley

Tregs and consequently, a reduced ability to suppress the

H. Appel Department of Neurology, are investigating the

proliferation of other effector T cells. Surprisingly, when the

etiology and pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Tregs were expanded outside the body, they regained their

(ALS). The cause of ALS is elusive.

suppressor function, suggesting they could be reinfused to

More than 30 different genetic determinants of familial ALS

help fight ALS.

have been identified, but sporadic disease with no known

These findings have formed the basis of the first-in-human

mutations accounts for 90 to 95 percent of ALS cases.

FDA/IRB-approved phase I study in which an ALS patient’s

The Edwards ALS Research Laboratory hypothesized that the common culprit in ALS, and a potential target for therapeutic intervention, is neuroinflammation, which is caused by innate immune microglia and adaptive immune T cells. Researchers David Beers, PhD, and Jenny Henkel, PhD, developed an ALS mouse model without T cells, thinking the models would have less neuroinflammation and be protected from developing ALS. Instead, ALS progression worsened, and they discovered that the T cells were protective. In fact,

own Tregs are expanded and then reinfused. The Tregs were reinfused at two different phases of disease – at an early stage and a later stage. Early results showed that reinfusions were safe and well-tolerated. Following infusions, Jason Thonhoff, MD, PhD found that ALS disease progression was slowed during the time of infusions. The trial is a collaboration with Merit Cudkowicz, MD at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The study is sponsored by ALSFindingaCure®, and funded by the Leandro P. Ruzzuto Foundation and GE.

a specific subpopulation of T cells called regulatory T cells

Appel’s ALS patients are the driving force behind the team

(Tregs) that are known to stifle inflammation were able to

and their research. “After all of our hard work over many

suppress ALS progression. Transplanting Tregs into the ALS

years, we are excited about the opportunity to benefit our

models dramatically slowed disease and prolonged survival.

very deserving ALS patients.”




Pioneering Research in

Heart Valve Replacement The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center team, led by Alan Lumsden, MD, is a leader in performing minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures. Heart center surgeons Michael J. Reardon, MD and Neal Kleiman, MD are pioneering new and better valve replacement procedures in four national multicenter clinical trials.

Michael J. Reardon, MD, Allison Family Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Research, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery

As we age, the valves of the heart can narrow (stenosis) or develop closing defects (regurgitation). This valve disease carries a risk of stroke, heart failure, and even death. Replacing faulty valves can be done surgically or with minimally invasive transcatheter procedures. In transcatheter procedures, new valves are inserted through small incisions and delivered to the heart through arteries. Reardon and Kleiman have shown that TAVR improves valve performance and reduces recovery time.


Medtronic CoreValve US Pivotal and SURTAVI Clinical Trials Reardon is principal investigator on two CoreValve trials, working closely with collaborator Kleiman to compare the efficacy of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). Representing the national Pivotal trial consortium at the American College of Cardiology 2016 annual meeting, Reardon reported that in the U.S. Pivotal randomized trial, CoreValve TAVR procedures improved valve performance.

Neal Kleiman, MD, Professor of Cardiology at the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, holding a CoreValve Evolut R device

The trial also showed lower mortality and stroke rates than SAVR for high risk patients. The SURTAVI trial published by Reardon and Kleiman in the New England Journal of Medicine, studied a cohort of 1746 intermediate risk patients at 87 sites across the U.S. They showed that CoreValve TAVR had better valve performance and lower risk of stroke at 30 days than SAVR with similar survival rates for intermediate risk patients.

Medtronic CoreValve Evolut R US Clinical Trial Abbott MitraClip COAPT Trial Principal investigator Kleiman and co-investigator Reardon are also collaborating on the CoreValve Evolut R US trial and the Cardiovascular Outcomes Assessment of the MitraClip Percutaneous Therapy (COAPT) trial. They are comparing the current CoreValve to the next generation CoreValve Evolut R TAVR device, which is smaller and has a delivery system that allows recapture Stephen H. Little, MD, John S. Dunn Chair in Clinical Cardiovascular Research and Education at the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center holding a MitraClip

and replacement for improved positioning. They are also testing the new MitraClip device, working closely with cardiologist Stephen H. Little, MD, for catheter-based mitral valve repair in patients that are not candidates for surgery.




Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Immunotherapy to Enter Phase I Clinical Trials Center for Inflammation & Epigenetics Director Rongfu Wang, PhD, and Cancer Center Director Jenny C. Chang, MD, received $4 million from the Department of Defense to take a promising new therapy into clinical trials.

This therapy trains the immune system to safely and selectively target just breast cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue. Triple negative breast cancer is non-responsive to conventional chemotherapy and radiation, making it the most lethal form of breast cancer.

Left: Jenny C. Chang, MD, Emily Herrmann Chair in Cancer Research and Director, Houston Methodist Cancer Center; Right: Rongfu Wang, PhD, Director, Center for Inflammation & Epigenetics



Training Tomorrow’s Medical Innovators At Houston Methodist, our mission is to find solutions for the health care challenges of today and nurture innovations through the cycle of a cure for the future. We need an international health care workforce that can make this vision a reality. That is a key focus of our education programs and partnerships. We are committed to building transformative education at the intersections and gaps between disciplines. The Mentored Clinical Research Training Program with Weill Cornell Medicine trains early career clinicians to do clinical research. The EnMed program with Texas A&M University trains physician engineers to look at clinical challenges through a dual lens. The Masters in Clinical Translation Management trains professionals in all sectors to navigate innovations through the cycle of a cure. We are committed to excellence in our foundational programs at Houston Methodist. Our residencies, fellowships, research doctorate program, and continuing education programs in medicine, research, nursing and pharmacy attract more than 25,000 learners from around the world every year. I invite you to explore our programs, learn about our partnerships, and meet some of our pioneering graduates on the pathway to a cure.

Timothy B. Boone, MD, PhD Chair, Department of Urology Designated Institutional Officer, Houston Methodist Hospital Professor of Urology and Co-Director, Institute for Academic Medicine Professor and Associate Dean, Texas A&M College of Medicine, Houston Campus Professor and Associate Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College




Bringing Specialty Care to Communities HOUSTON METHODIST COMMUNITY SCHOLARS PROGRAM For those who lack medical insurance or access to affordable health care, having a chronic medical condition that requires long-term specialist care is a daunting prospect. These patients often fall through the cracks in the health care system, unable to find specialist care they can afford.

2013 – 2017

The Houston Methodist Community Scholars Program was conceived to help bridge this gap and to meet a growing need for affordable specialist care in the greater Houston community. The program started in 2013, with generous


philanthropic investment from the Cullen Foundation. The goal of the program is to provide specialty medical care to the uninsured and the underserved in the communities they live in. The program also allows fellows and residents – under the guidance of senior physician mentors – the opportunity to complete a portion




of their clinical rotations in community clinics. The program provides a truly unique learning experience for the selected fellows and residents, called scholars. Treating a patient population that is mostly underfunded pushes the scholars to find creative ways of providing quality care while staying within the financial means of the patient. In addition to teaching


future clinicians how to provide specialty care at a nominal cost, the program

San Jose Clinic, Legacy

also prepares them to practice medicine in a multicultural society. Over the

Community Health, HOPE Clinic,

course of the program, the scholars are evaluated by their mentors during

Denver Harbor Vecino and El Centro de Corazon

every community clinic visit, providing on-the-spot training and learning opportunities.


“ By training and mentoring the next generation of clinicians

to provide cost effective and high quality medical care, we can have a lasting impact on patient care and outcomes in the United States and the world over.

The scholars are also expected to take ownership of a particular patient’s care for an entire year, allowing for continuity of care. Since its inception in 2013, the Houston Methodist Community Scholars Program has provided much needed specialty care in the areas of nephrology, endocrinology, neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, pulmonology, hematology/oncology, urology and uro-gynecology. In December 2014, a transformational gift from Occidental Petroleum helped double the size of the program and established the Occidental Petroleum/Houston Methodist Scholar Award to recognize an outstanding fellow or resident. Trevor M.


– Timothy B. Boone, MD, PhD Professor of Urology Co-Director, Institute for Academic Medicine Houston Methodist

Patricia Mejia Osuna, MD Patricia Mejia Osuna, MD completed her internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at Houston Methodist and joined the Houston Methodist Community Scholars Program. Her experiences inspired her to turn down multiple job offers and accept a position as the Legacy Community Health Clinic’s first staff endocrinologist. There she provides quality care for medically underserved populations in the Houston community. Mejia Osuna graduated cum laude from the Escuela de Medicina Ignacio A. Santos in Monterrey, Mexico, with clerkships at Yale and Baylor College of Medicine.

Burt, EdD, vice president of education administration

During medical school, Mejia Osuna dedicated time to many

at Houston Methodist, said, “For many patients who

medical community service projects including COMUNI-TEC

have limited to no options, the Houston Methodist

2011. The opportunity to work with the Houston Methodist

Community Scholars Program has provided access

Community Scholars program enabled her to explore

to expert specialists while allowing the next generation

pathways to provide specialty care medicine to those in

of physicians to train from veterans in their fields.”

most need in the Houston community.





Houston Methodist Hospital trains more than 12,000 medical students and physicians each year through medical student rotations, residency and fellowship programs, MITIE procedural skills SM

training and continuing medical education courses. Our 230 medical students work with inpatient teams and one-on-one with subspecialists during rotations in general surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, and orthopedic surgery. Houston Methodist trains more than 300 residents and fellows annually in 40 programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and six Graduate Medical Education Committee-sponsored programs.

GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS Cardiology Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Advanced Interventional Cardiology* Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular Imaging* Clinical Cardiology Electrophysiology Interventional Cardiology Dermatology Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology Primary Care Family Medicine Primary Care Sports Medicine Internal Medicine Internal Medicine Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Gastroenterology Hematology Oncology Nephrology Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine Neurosciences Neurology Neurological Surgery Clinical Neurophysiology Neuro-Imaging* Neuromuscular Medicine Vascular Neurology

Obstetrics and Gynecology Obstetrics and Gynecology Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Ophthalmology Neuro-Ophthalmology (Texas Medical Board Approved) Orthopedic Surgery Orthopedic Surgery Orthopedic Adult Reconstructive Surgery Orthopedic Surgery Sports Medicine Orthopedic Spine Surgery (Texas Medical Board Approved) Pathology Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine Breast Gynecologic Pathology Clinical Informatics Cytopathology Hematology Pathology HLA (Joint MD Anderson Program) Molecular Genetic Pathology Neuropathology Selective Pathology – Hematopathology Selective Pathology – Ophthalmic Pathology Selective Pathology – Surgical Pathology Radiology Diagnostic Radiology Breast Imaging*


Surgery General Surgery Plastic Surgery Abdominal Multi-Organ Transplantation* Surgical Critical Care


Vascular Surgery Integrated Vascular Surgery Vascular Surgery *Non-ACGME program

Urology Urology Continence, Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, and Neurourology*

Mayo Clinic

Cleveland Clinic

University of Pennsylvania

UCSF Medical Center Stanford Health Care

University of California San Diego

Our residents and fellows join Houston Methodist from throughout the US, and go on to prestigious fellowship opportunities at institutions including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Emory University




The Mentored Clinical Research Training Program, a collaborative initiative between Weill Cornell Medicine and Houston Methodist, trains early-career physicians in clinical research practices. The program provides participants with an introduction to the foundations of clinical research, including research design and methodologies, data management and analysis, and the regulatory process. As part of the program, physicians and senior fellows prepare an IRB-submission-ready clinical research proposal and submit it to an external funding agency for consideration. Mentor-guided development of individual clinical research project proposals continues following the workshop, and experienced clinical researchers at Weill Cornell and Houston Methodist provide support while participants progress in their

Rose Khavari, MD In 2015, Rose Khavari, MD became the first recipient of the Clinician Scientist Scholar Fellowship at Houston Methodist and now leads a team of clinician

Eric Salazar, MD, PhD



clinical research projects.

Eric Salazar, MD, PhD completed his anatomic and clinical pathology residency, and blood banking and transfusion medicine

researchers in the Neurourology

fellowships as chief resident

and Translational Urology Clinic

and then chief fellow in the

to advance the treatment and care of patients

Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine

experiencing bladder dysfunction. Khavari was named

at Houston Methodist. He was appointed assistant

a 2016 American Urological Association/European

professor of pathology and genomic medicine and

Association of Urology Academic Exchange Program

began the MCRTP program in 2017 to advance his

Scholar. As part of this program, Khavari attended the

research in transfusion medicine and coagulation.

2016 EAU Annual Meeting in Munich, Germany, and

Salazar received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical

also visited hospitals in the UK, Belgium, Italy, and

College and his PhD in pharmacology from the

Germany to collaborate on research projects, observe

Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences

urologic procedures and attend staff activities and

as part of the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program in

clinics. Khavari also received a 2016 American Urological

New York City.

Association Early Career Achievement Showcase Award.


TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING MEDICAL SCHOOL AT HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL Reinventing Health Care by Engineering Medicine In 2016, Houston Methodist and Texas A&M embarked on an ambitious journey to reinvent the way health care is delivered. A joint program called EnMed was launched with the vision of training a new generation of physicians called physicianeers. The EnMed program will empower future physicians

will complete all the requirements for the MD degree along

to create engineering-based solutions for health care

with the credit hours required for a masters in engineering.

challenges. Rapidly translating these solutions to

They will be expected to invent something transformational

clinical practice, through experience gained in product

over the course of the program and take their invention to

development and commercialization, will be an integral

the marketplace.

part of the program. Classes will commence in the summer of 2019 with an integrated medical school-engineering curriculum. There will be an emphasis on research collaboration in areas like advanced interventional technologies, regenerative engineering, imaging and diagnostics, predictive analytics, innovative therapeutics and process engineering. Students enrolled in the EnMed program




The Houston Methodist Research Institute has PhD and MD/PhD partnership programs with national and international universities to enable graduate students to do their thesis work at our Texas Medical Center campus in Houston. The research institute has affiliated joint programs with seven major academic institutions: the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China, Monterrey Tech in Mexico, Swansea University in the United Kingdom, Tsinghua University in China, the University of St. Thomas and the University of Houston in Houston, and the Weill Cornell Graduate

Joy Wolfram, PhD Joy Wolfram, PhD graduated in 2016 with a doctorate degree from the joint graduate


School of Medical Sciences in New York.



Laura Pandolfi, PhD Laura Pandolfi, PhD received her bachelor´s degree in physics from Universita’ degli Studi di Perugia in

program established

Italy and her master’s

by the Chinese

degree in nuclear

Academy of Sciences and the Houston

physics from the University of Trieste in Italy.

Methodist Research Institute. Inspired

In 2016, she completed her PhD in material

by the battles of loved ones with cancer,

science and engineering at the University of

Wolfram chose the international program

Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing,

for the challenge and opportunity to do her

China, in collaboration with the Houston

thesis work in the fields of nanomedicine

Methodist Research Institute. Her research

and transport oncophysics with mentor

focused on developing biomaterials for tissue

Mauro Ferrari, PhD, president and CEO

engineering applications with mentor Ennio

of the Houston Methodist Research

Tasciotti, PhD. Pandolfi was selected as one

Institute. As a graduate fellow, Wolfram

of six Fresenius Kabi bGlobal trainees from a

learned to speak Mandarin, published

pool of over 700 international candidates and

36 high impact research articles, and

was assigned to Hong Kong operations. She

was selected by Amgen from a pool of

is now Manager of Business Development

3,000 program alumni as one of their

and Key Accounts for Fresenius Kabi in

top ten most promising up-and-coming

Germany, overseeing development of product

scientists in the world. Wolfram will

pipeline capacity in the European market.

continue her research as faculty at the Mayo Clinic.



The Master in Clinical Translation Management program provides a solid understanding of how to bring products to market in the biotechnology industry. Students learn how to assess a product’s commercial potential, evaluate and act on opportunities that arise in the biotech field, and navigate the path of clinical translation. Designed for working professionals, the one year program with four immersive residency weeks is offered by the University of St. Thomas Cameron School of Business and the Houston Methodist Research Institute.





Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIE ) is an SM

innovative simulated clinical care environment that provides hands-on procedural skills training and develops evidence-based processes and management practices. MITIESM is equipped with a suite of research operating rooms and procedural skills labs to test newly developed technologies, devices and procedures in a safe, simulated clinical care setting. Once the efficacy of a new technology or procedure is proven, practicing health care professionals can hone their technique for safe adoption of the new technologies, and then develop processes and management practices to ensure smooth transition of the innovations to the clinic.

Office of Communications and External Relations | ADMN-EXEC-18-00198 | 02.2018 | 1000 Editor: R. Hall | Lead Writer: M. Muralidhar | Designer: D. Huang | Photography: S. Jones & H. Jaime Contributing Writers: G. Smith, L. Merkl, H. Pietsch, T. Ellington


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