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METHODOLOGY The Research and Education Newsletter of Houston Methodist



George and Angelina Kostas gift propels heart & vascular nanotechnology research at Houston Methodist

Houston Methodist Foundation

The new George and Angelina Kostas Research Center for Cardiovascular Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute began operations this month after receiving a generous gift from George J. and Angelina P. Kostas. The groundbreaking center will foster international collaboration and bring together faculty working in cardiovascular disease and nanomedicine to investigate how emerging technologies in nanomedicine can be used to From left to right: Alan B. Lumsden, M.D., Ch.B., R.V.T., F.A.C.S.; Georgia Kostas Nichols; Marc L. Boom, MD, FACHE; George J. Kostas; Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D.; Pamela Kostas Walker; Guillermo Torre-Amione, M.D., PhD, FACC; and Cynthia G. Kostas

heal damaged hearts and vascular tissue. This gift will also fund a yearly international annual meeting on cardiovascular nanomedicine.


“ We are deeply grateful for the

Precision Medicine

visionary leadership of our strategic planning chairs. Their work will define the

future of the Houston Methodist academic enterprise.

Innovative Education


Outcomes, Quality & Health Care Performance

Biotherapeutics & Regenerative Medicine

– Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., Houston Methodist


Message from the President

Welcome to the winter issue of Methodology, a newsletter that celebrates

the Houston Methodist faculty innovations in research and education. We hope you enjoy reading about the tremendous success of projects like Dr. Alan Lumsden’s Pumps & Pipes conference, Dr. Stan Appel’s phase II ALS clinical trial, and Dr. Lidong Qin’s woodblock technique-inspired cell array printing technology. I’d also like to share with you the vision our faculty have for the future of Houston Methodist. A year ago, the Houston Methodist faculty embarked on a landmark journey to create the first 5-year strategic plan for research and education at Houston Methodist. This plan was essential to the formation of the Institute for Academic Medicine envisioned by our president and CEO, Dr. Marc Boom. We were honored and fortunate to have Dr. Antonio Gotto accept the position of chair of the strategic planning process. Dr. Gotto has a long and distinguished history that gives him a unique understanding of Houston Methodist and our academic partner Weill Cornell Medical College. He collaborated extensively with Dr. Michael DeBakey while at Houston Methodist and Baylor College of Medicine, and then presided as Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College during a period of enormous growth, raising more than $2 billion for capital campaigns. Together, faculty leadership and more than 250 stakeholders throughout Houston Methodist provided the vision and built the plan that will differentiate us in the years to come. By leveraging our collective clinical, research, education and administrative strengths, they identified three key areas where we will continue to innovate and lead:

Precision Medicine Biotherapeutics & Regenerative Medicine Outcomes, Quality & Health Care Performance This January marked the beginning of the implementation for the strategic plan, which will be led by Dr. Barbara Bass, chair of the Department of Surgery and the Council of Chairs Strategy Committee. Dr. Bass brings the visionary leadership that built MITIESM to the IAM, as we work together to position Houston Methodist as a national leader in these areas. Our faculty are deciding the best ways to collaborate and align their clinical and academic initiatives across all our hospitals, centers and institutes to achieve these shared goals. I encourage you to remain engaged in the process of advancing the strategic plan by attending the Strategic Grand Rounds and Town Hall meetings. You can also find examples of how our strategic plan is coming to life all around you in this newsletter and in our weekly eNews. Thank you for your dedication to the academic mission of Houston Methodist. I look forward to working with all of you as we continue leading medicine. Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D. Ernest Cockrell Jr. Distinguished Endowed Chair President and CEO, Houston Methodist Research Institute Director, Institute for Academic Medicine Executive Vice President, Houston Methodist



The Kostas Center........................ 1 by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx A Vision for the Future.................. 2 Strategic Grand Rounds................ 6 Implementation of strategic plan launched................. 7 SciVal Project................................ 8 The Office of Strategic Research Initiatives....................... 8 Pumps & Pipes unites Houston’s top three industries..... 9 Just two weeks in orbit causes changes in eyes..............10 New ALS drug headed for phase II trial at Methodist...........11 Early stages of breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples.....................12

Research Highlights...........14 Clinical Research Services expand at Houston Methodist ...15

Inside the Institute.............16 Houston Methodist Research Art Contest...................................16

Message from the President


Featured News


Special thanks to the Institute for Academic Medicine strategic planning leadership: Integration Committee Antonio Gotto, Mauro Ferrari, Roberta Schwartz, Dirk Sostman, Barbara Bass, Ed Jones, William Winters, Richard Robbins, Richard Stasney, Ann Scanlon McGinity, Donna Gares, Dan Newman, Robert Phillips, Beryl Ramsey, Chris Siebenaler, Wayne Voss Barbara Bass & James Musser, Precision Medicine Chairs

Osama Gaber, John Cooke, & Xian Li, Biotherapeutics & Regenerative Medicine Chairs Carol Ashton, Nelda Wray, & Maureen Disbot, Outcomes, Quality & Health Care Performance Chairs Tim Boone, Education Chair Osama Gaber, Transplant Chair Alan Lumsden, Heart Chair

Stan Appel, Neuro Chair Jenny Chang, Cancer Chair Tim Boone & Brad Weiner, Ortho & Regenerative Medicine Chairs Nelda Wray & Carol Ashton, Outcomes & Quality Chairs Anne Meyn, Patient Engagement

Subcommittees members: Andrea Apple, Kapil Bhalla, David Baskin, David Bernard , Jett Brady, Nancy Brinlee, Donald Briscoe, Brian Bruckner, Brian Butler, May Cahill, Shiela Coggins, Neal Copeland, Peggy Creany, Roland Cruickshank, Catherine Currier-Buckingham, Paolo Decuzzi, Stuart Dobbs, Don Donovan, Mike Donovan, Brian Dunkin, Robert Eardley, David Engler, Jerry Estep, Bridget Fahy, Matt Fink, Jeff Friedman, Jaime Gateno, Mark Ghobrial, Linné Girouard, Alessandro Grattoni, Bob Grossman, Rebecca Hall, Dale Hamilton,

Compaq co-founder Canion discusses getting new medical technologies to market faster.....18

Shannan Hamlin, Eric Haufrect, Alicia Hernandez, Robert Jackson, Nancy Jenkins, Stephen Jones,

ICARE MOMENTS..................19

Charles Millikan, Angie Mitchell, Joseph Naples, Dan Newman, Liisa Ortegon, Samir Patel, Judy Paukert,

Education News....................20 2014 UH/HMRI Graduate Fellowship Proposals Selected...23

Adrienne Joseph, Soma Jyothula, Alan Kaplan, Robert Kidd, Lisa Kiehne, Paula Knudson, Jenny Lai, Andrew Lee, Xian Li, Mike Liebl, Matthias Loebe, Joseph Masdeu, Katherine Meese, Susan Miller,

Mariana Pope, Eammon Quigley, Miguel Quinones, Michael Reardon, Gustavo Roman, Harish Seethamraju, Haifa Shen, Tong Sun, Ennio Tasciotti, Pauline Todd, Miguel Valderrábano, Luz Venta, Rongfu Wang, Paul Webb, Stephen Wong, Amy Wright, Xiaofeng Xia, William Zoghbi

Awards & Accolades..........24

Strategic Planning Administrative Team:

New Funding Awards & Applications......................25

Rebecca Hall, Strategic Planning Project Manager

New Employees....................26

Tom Benthin, Hahn Hoang, Homer Quintana, Kari Stein, Tong Sun, Sawana Tillet

New Visitors...........................26

Robert Mittman, Strategy Consultant, Facilitation, Foresight, Strategy

Kostas Center Gift >> CONT. FROM PAGE ONE

The Kostases, American-born children of Greek immigrants, have a long tradition of philanthropic gifts, including establishment of The George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security (2010) and The George J. Kostas Nanoscale Technology and Manufacturing Research Center at Northeastern University (2003) in Boston, George Kostas’ alma mater. The George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security is a secure building at Northeastern University, Burlington Campus. Its mission is to conduct classified research to protect Americans in the face of 21st century risks. Northeastern awarded him in 2008 an honorary Doctorate of Sciences and the President’s Medallion award. After his retirement from Conoco in 1972, where he was manager of the Organometallics Division, he founded and has been president of TESCO (Techno Economic Services Inc.) for 30 years. Under his leadership, TESCO developed a revolutionary new process, based on his patents, termed “Xenoclad”, which plates aluminum in an atomic form on metal substrates to render them resistant to corrosion. George Kostas was recruited in 1943, along with seven other engineers, to start and operate the first U.S. synthetic rubber manufacturing plant which was already being built in Baytown, Texas. In 1946, Kostas was appointed a member of the U.S. Research & Development Committee and served in this capacity until 1955 when the government decided to exit the synthetic rubber program.

Angelina P. Kostas and George J. Kostas

Angelina, “Lea,” a woman of deep faith, grace, and warmth, and devoted lifelong member of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, served as a member of the Philoptochos charitable society for 70 years, and board member for 40 years. During World War II, Lea served as a spotter for enemy aircraft over the Houston area. Married for 62 years, George and Angelina are the parents of four, talented daughters. The Kostas family has been generous supporters of the Annunciation and St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Churches of Houston. They built the St. George Chapel and then donated it to the Cathedral. St. Basil’s church honored Mr. Kostas by naming the Education Center in his honor. In 2008, they honored Lea Kostas by naming the Auditorium in her honor.

The Kostas Center will be directed by the Research Institute President & CEO Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., and the Heart & Vascular Center Medical Director Alan B. Lumsden, M.D at Houston Methodist. Together with an executive committee, they will guide the center’s development, approve new research initiatives and initiate collaborative ventures. The center’s program and working group leaders include some of Houston Methodist’s

leading faculty, including Guillermo Torre-Amione, M.D., Ph.D., Elvin Blanco, Ph.D., Miguel Valderrábano, M.D., John Cooke, M.D., Ph.D., Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D., William Zoghbi, M.D., and Paolo Decuzzi, Ph.D. The groups are designed to work in sequence, a bit like runners in a relay race, to move discoveries quickly from the lab to clinical trials. One example project the new center will tackle is the use of non-toxic, silicon-based nanoparticles to dismantle and disperse the fatty plaques that often form along the inner sides of blood vessels. These plaques contribute to hypertension. When larger plaques are dislodged, they can cause blockages downstream, leading to heart attacks and strokes. 5

Strategic Grand Rounds The Institute for Academic Medicine Strategic Grand Rounds is a monthly lecture series addressing advances in Precision Medicine, Biotherapeutics & Regenerative Medicine, and Outcomes, Quality & Health Care Performance. National and international leaders in these areas are invited for this series, and Houston Methodist leadership will address institutional progress toward the goals of the strategic plan throughout the year. For more information contact: Employees can access live webcasts and recorded sessions on the intranet.

2014 Event


February 7

Martha and D. Gibson Walton Lecture Series

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.

February 24

President’s Distinguished Lecture

Cato Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

March 28

Education & SciVal Update

Tim Boone, M.D., Ph.D.

Rebecca Hall, Ph.D.

April 16 MIT-EF Flagship Program - Panel & Speakers

Clive N. Svendsen, Ph.D.

Advances in Regenerative Medicine

Eckhard U. Alt, MD Ph.D.

Moderator: John Cooke, M.D., Ph.D.

James T. Willerson, M.D.

Joseph Gold, Ph.D.

May 13

Strategic Plan Implementation Update

Barbara Bass, M.D.

June 17

Institute for Academic Medicine Update

Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D.


Outcomes Research

Nelda Wray, M.D., MPH

Carol Ashton, M.D., MPH


Infrastructure for the Strategic Plan &

Ed Jones, MBA

The Office of Strategic Research Initiatives

Tong Sun, MBA

September 9

Marialuisa Ferrari Lectureship for Life

Philip A. Pizzo, M.D.

October 9 George and Angelina Kostas Research Center


for Cardiovascular Nanomedicine Annual International Meeting November

Strategic Plan Implementation Update

Read more online:


Barbara Bass, M.D.

Implementation of strategic plan launched The Institute for Academic Medicine (IAM)

collaboration between leadership in all areas

strategic plan. Roberta Schwartz, executive

strategic planning process, chaired by Antonio

of Houston Methodist. The group discussed

vice president of Houston Methodist Hospital

Gotto, M.D., D. Phil, concluded in late November

the importance of connecting labs to the clinic,

reviewed the system goals and budget

of 2013. The implementation will be led by

and was tasked in thinking about how the new

expectations. Robert Phillips, M.D. reviewed

Barbara L. Bass, M.D., the John F. and Carolyn

Centers of Research Excellence would fit into

the Physician’s Specialty Group budget

Bookout Distinguished Endowed Chair of

the current Houston Methodist framework.

structure, and Edward Jones, senior vice

Surgery and chair of the Houston Methodist Council of Chairs Strategy Committee. Implementation began this month with a kickoff retreat held at The Houstonian on January 11,

Timothy Boone, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the IAM recapped the strategic plan, and gave an overview of research funding and faculty

president of the Institute for Academic Medicine reviewed research funding and clinical trials operations.

metrics. Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., director of the

To keep up to date on implementation progress,

IAM and executive vice president of Houston

subscribe to the IAM weekly eNews and

Bass opened the IAM Strategy Committee

Methodist, gave an overview of the Foundation

quarterly newsletter by contacting:

retreat with a vision for implementation as a true

goals and fundraising strategy to support the

2014, and will continue to meet bimonthly.

“The implementation committee began work

on several key areas: defining the academic operational structure, fostering and retaining junior faculty, optimizing recruitment to advance the strategic plan, and building the clinician scientist ranks to bridge strategic areas targeted for growth.

– Barbara L. Bass, M.D.


SciVal Project Our competitiveness as an academic medical center relies on a cultural fabric of collaboration, woven with the threads of skills and experience within the Houston Methodist family and our network of affiliates and partners. The strategic plan identified a need for better information exchange to build these collaborations and increase our competitiveness for extramural funding opportunities. The SciVal project was launched as part of the Institute for Academic Medicine strategic plan for communications & collaboration to provide Houston Methodist with:

• a centralized source of detailed academic profiles for our faculty

• access to curated global funding opportunities and publication databases

• tools for academic reporting and performance assessment

SciVal profiles will become available in 2014 and will be completed for Houston Methodist faculty in 2015. Join us at Strategic Grand Rounds for updates or contact Dr. Rebecca Hall (, Director of Communications & Academic Reporting, for more information.

The Office of Strategic Research Initiatives The goals of OSRI are to increase institutional competitiveness for

Developing Cooperative Institutional Extramural Funding Proposals

large grant opportunities and accelerate the translation of research

The office will identify and distribute funding opportunities that

projects into clinical applications in the three strategic thrust areas.

position our faculty for success. The office will also assist investigators

The office staff will work directly with investigators throughout the

to develop large collaborative proposals like the T32 and PO

system to achieve two main goals:

mechanisms. The office will then coordinate teams with subject matter expertise, and write, edit, and create budgets for large grant proposals. Investigators are also provided with guidance through the administrative processes and requirements for grants and contracts, technology transfer and intellectual property, regulatory compliance and research protections, and clinical trial services. Advancing Strategic Initiatives with Intramural Funding Opportunities The office will work directly with The Foundation to develop resources for an internal fund for research development that advances the strategic initiatives. OSRI will administer the process for distributing these resources as seed funding for basic and clinical research by issuing intramural requests for proposals. These internal funding mechanisms will specifically be reserved for projects that advance the strategic initiatives, and that have significant translational potential. Successful proposals will be assessed by teams of industry and investment experts for market potential, product development feasibility, and clinical impact. For more information about OSRI contact:

The Office of Strategic Research Initiatives Team 8

Pumps & Pipes

Image from

unites Houston’s top three industries by George Kovacik & the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of International Trade & Development

On the surface, no two industries could be more dissimilar than medicine and energy. However, as renowned Houston Methodist cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Alan Lumsden, discovered while sitting next to an oil and gas engineer during an outbound flight, the two industries face surprisingly similar technological challenges. During that flight, Dr. Lumsden and his seatmate broke down some of the essential scientific concepts of importance to both industries, such as fluid flow and imaging of build up inside pipe-like structures. That simple exercise grew into recognition

travel, 3-D “bioprinting,” and the fountain

school students of STEM (science, technology,

that representatives of both industries had

of cardiovascular youth were among the

engineering, and mathematics).

a lot to gain by starting a dialogue between

topics discussed by scientists, engineers,

practitioners in the two fields, especially if

and doctors discussed at the seventh annual

it could be facilitated, planned, and creatively

Pumps & Pipes held on Dec. 9, 2013 at the

managed. They envisioned a format that

Houston Methodist Research Institute.

encourages energy engineers, medical

Registration was maxed out with 250 on-site

experts, and others to borrow from each

attendees and more than 1,000 virtual

other’s intellectual “tool kits” to solve as-yet

attendees from 19 U.S. states and 14

unsolved problems -- and to inspire entirely

countries watching the live webcast.

new technologies. This was how the first Pumps & Pipes was conceived, and with the partnership of Bill Kline, Drilling and Subsurface Research Manager for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, the inaugural conference was held in 2007.

The Research Institute auditorium foyer took on a bit of science museum flair. NASA Johnson Space Center sent its “Driven to Explore” exhibit, an elaborate mobile exhibit that lets visitors experience a simulated space shuttle launch and learn

Pumps & Pumps is now in its seventh year and

about other aspects of the U.S. space

has grown to include the aerospace engineering

program. There was also an international

and robotics industries. Long-term space

art-in-science exhibit by high

Previous meetings have mainly convened experts in energy and medicine, Houston’s two largest industries. But a concerted effort by Pumps & Pipes organizers to include top engineers and scientists from NASA Johnson Space Center has meant a more substantial presence for aerospace engineering. Pumps & Pipes seven program directors were Alan B. Lumsden, M.D., Mark G. Davies, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen R. Igo (Houston Methodist), William E. Kline, Ph.D. (ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company), Ioannis A. Kakadiaris, Ph.D. (University of Houston), and Ellen L. Ochoa, Ph.D. (NASA Johnson Space Center). More information about Pumps & Pipes can be found online at 9

Just two weeks in orbit causes changes in eyes by David Bricker

Just 13 days in space may be enough to cause profound changes in eye structure and gene expression, report researchers from Houston Methodist, NASA Johnson Space Center, and two other institutions in the October 2013 issue of Gravitational and Space Research. Animal Enclosure Modules similar to the one shown here, being inspected by Mission Specialist Tracy Caldwell, Ph.D., and Pilot Charles Hobaugh aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-118), are used to study animals in low gravity conditions. Scientists are reporting mice traveling aboard STS-133 showed evidence of ocular nerve damage and changes in eye gene expression.

In Nov. 2011, a NASA-sponsored Ophthalmology study of seven astronauts showed that all seven had experienced eye problems after spending at least six months in space. Doctors saw a flattening of the back of the eyeball, folding of the choroid (vascular tissue behind the retina), excess fluid around and presumed swelling of the optic nerve, or some combination of these. High-energy radiation from the sun can cause nasty, extremely damaging chemical reactions in cells, collectively called oxidative stress. Earth’s atmosphere reflects or absorbs much of this radiation and is, ironically, a much better shield than the thick metal hulls of space shuttles and the International Space Station.

Damage to eyes isn’t merely a long-term health issue for some astronauts back on Earth — ­ it could interfere with future missions in which any loss of focus or vision makes it difficult for humans to complete long missions, such as round-trip travel to Mars (12 to 16 months) or to the moons of Jupiter (about two years). If both radiation exposure and gravity loss are to blame, one solution to save astronauts’ eyes might be a spacecraft with a more protective hull and inside, a spinning hamster wheel that simulates gravity similar to those envisioned by futurist author Arthur C. Clarke and realized in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The study, which looked at how low gravity and radiation and oxidative damage impacts mice, is the first to examine eye-related gene expression and cell behavior after spaceflight. “We found many changes in the expression of genes that help cells cope with oxidative stress in the retina, possibly caused by radiation exposure,” said Houston Methodist pathologist Patricia Chévez-Barrios, M.D., the study’s principal investigator. “These changes were partially reversible upon return to Earth.” Since 2001, studies have shown astronauts Photo: NASA

are at increased risk of developing eye problems, like premature age-related macular degeneration. Experts suspect the cause is low gravity, heightened exposure to solar radiation, or a combination of the two.

NASA Mission Specialist Tracy Caldwell, Ph.D., and Pilot Charles Hobaugh inspect an Animal Enclosure Module aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor.


To determine the impact of radiation exposure on eyes, Chévez-Barrios and lead author Susana Zanello, Ph.D., a space life scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center, examined mouse retinal

New ALS drug headed for phase II trial at Methodist by David Bricker

gene expression on the 1st, 5th, and 7th days following a 13-day trip aboard space shuttle

Houston Methodist researchers will soon begin phase IIa clinical trials of TDI-132, a drug

Discovery (STS-133), measuring indicators of

that in animal models has shown promise in reducing the inflammation associated with

oxidative and cellular stress. The researchers

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

also examined the eyes and surrounding tissues for broad changes in structure and shape that

The purpose of the phase IIa trial is to determine the safety and tolerability of TDI-132 in

could relate to low gravity. They maintained

ALS patients. Not all ALS patients are eligible to participate. For eligibility requirements,

two controls on Earth — one in which mice were

please visit

kept in the same general conditions as those

primary goal in this trial is to determine “Our the safety of fingolimod in a small trial at

aboard the shuttle, and one in which mice were maintained in typical, Earth-based care facilities. Mice returning to Earth showed immediate evidence of oxidative stress in their retinas. But the increased expression of six oxidative

four centers in the U.S., including our own MDA/ALS Center at Methodist

Stanley Appel, M.D. , Director

stress response genes appeared to return to

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute

normal by the seventh day on Earth. An indicator of oxidative stress in the cornea was also elevated one day after mice had returned from orbit, but returned to near-normal levels by the seventh day. “This suggests oxidative stress in the retina and lens are at least partially reversible under the circumstances of the experiment,” Chévez-Barrios said. “This was after a relatively short time in orbit. We don’t know if damage caused by longer periods of oxidative stress will be more severe. Only more studies with longer exposure times may help answer this question.” Zanello is affiliated with the Universities Space Research Association, a consortium founded by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. Also contributing to the Gravitational and Space Research paper were Corey Theriot, Ph.D. (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston)

TDI-132 is also known as fingolimod, or by its commercial name, Gilenya, a drug originally developed by Novartis International to treat multiple sclerosis. Preclinical studies have shown that TDI-132 can decrease the number of immune cells, keeping cells in lymph nodes from entering general circulation. These studies also indicate that decreases in the number of these cells can protect against inflammation and the worsening of symptoms. The phase IIa trial is being funded by the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), a non-profit biotech based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ALS Clinical Research Division Director Ericka Simpson, M.D., is the Houston Methodist site principal investigator of the study. The principal investigator for the larger trial is James Berry, M.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital, also one of the study sites. The other two study sites are University of California, Irvine Healthcare in Orange, Calif., and Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, GA. “Seeing TDI-132 enter into clinical trial for ALS gives me hope that people living with ALS may soon be able to fight back,” said Augie Nieto, an ALS patient and chair of the board at ALS TDI.

and Claudia Prospero Ponce, M.D. (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center). Work was funded by the NASA Human Research Program.


Early stages of breast cancer could soon be diagnosed from blood samples by David Bricker

What could someday be the first blood test for the early detection of breast cancer was shown in preliminary studies to successfully identify the presence of breast cancer cells from serum biomarkers, say the Houston Methodist Research Institute scientists who are developing the technology.

With a New York University Cancer Institute colleague, the

CPN is an enzyme that modifies proteins after the

researchers report in an upcoming Clinical Chemistry article

proteins are first created. Past studies have only

that the mixture of free-floating blood proteins created by the

shown the enzyme is more active in lung cancer

enzyme carboxypeptidase N accurately predicted the presence

patients. The present report in Clinical Chemistry

of early-stage breast cancer tissue in mice and in a small

is the first to show CPN isn’t merely more active in

population of human patients.

breast cancer patients, but there’s also more of it.

In this paper we link the catalytic activity of carboxypeptidase N to tumor progression in clinical samples from breast cancer patients and a breast cancer animal model,” said biomedical engineer Tony Hu, Ph.D., who led the project. “Our results indicate that circulating peptides generated by CPN can serve as clear signatures of early disease onset and progression.

The technology is not yet available to the public, and may not be for years. More extensive clinical tests are needed, and those tests are expected to begin in early 2014. There are currently no inexpensive laboratory tests for the early detection of breast cancer, providing the impetus for researchers around the world to invent them.

combines nanotechnology and advanced mass spectrometry to separate and detect extremely low levels of small proteins (peptides) created by CPN. These peptides are believed to originate in or near cancerous cells, eventually making their way into the bloodstream. In animal models and human biopsies, Hu’s group first determined the presence of breast cancer tissue, characterized each sample’s stage of development, and looked at how much CPN was being expressed. Blood samples were also taken from each individual. Blood serum proteins were separated on a nanoporous silica chip dotted with four nanometer

“What we are trying to create is a non-invasive test that

holes, which captured and isolated smaller

profiles what’s going on at a tissue site without having to do

proteins for spectrographic analysis. Using

a biopsy or costly imaging,” Hu said. “We think this could be

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, the researchers

better for patients and — if we are successful — a lot cheaper

analyzed what remained for the light signatures

than the technology that exists. While there’s more to the

of six peptides known to be created by CPN.

cost of administering a test than materials alone, right now those materials only cost about $10 per test.”


The technology being developed by Hu’s group

The researchers compared the stages of breast cancer tissue development

Current means for the early detection of breast cancer

in previously diagnosed patients to the presence of CPN-created peptides

are expensive and are not generally recommended for

in their blood. They found all six peptides were present at detectably higher

prevention by the American Cancer Society. Rather, the

levels, the first pathologic stage of breast cancer. (That stage is defined as

society recommends that healthy women age 40 and older

having cancerous cells and a tumor of 2 cm or smaller, or no tumor at all.)

have a mammogram every year and work with their doctors

The researchers also found that CPN peptides were present at detectably

to assess their individual risks of developing the disease.

higher levels in the blood of mice, compared to controls, just two weeks

Prior to age 40, the society recommends that women have

after the introduction of breast cancer tissue.

a clinical breast exam whenever they visit their doctors, or else every three years.

Interestingly, CPN activity dropped significantly over time in mice over the eight week study period, suggesting the blood test as currently configured

Also contributing to the Clinical Chemistry report were

may not work as well in detecting later stages of breast cancer. Hu said he

Yaojun Li, Ph.D., Yueguo Li, Ph.D., Tao Chen, M.D., Anna S.

plans to investigate this phenomenon.

Kuklina, Paul Bernard, Haifa Shen, M.D., Ph.D., and Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D. (Houston Methodist Research Institute) and

“ significantly higher than baseline,” Hu said.

Even at the eighth week, CPN activity was still

Francisco Esteva (NYU Cancer Institute). Research was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, with additional support from the National Institutes of Health.

“However, we suspect the activity of different

“Circulating Proteolytic Products of Carboxypeptidase N

enzymes goes up and down as the disease


for Early Detection of Breast Cancer” Clinical Chemistry,

progresses. We will be looking at how we might add known and future biomarkers to the blood test to increase its robustness and accuracy.


Research Highlights

PCORI Funds LVAD Outcomes Study Houston Methodist and Baylor College of Medicine are teaming up to develop a tool to help patients with heart failure decide if they want to undergo implantation of a heart pump called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The study will be funded by an award of up to $1.3 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Partners also include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Photo: Dave Rossman

and UT Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health. The Houston Methodist study will be led by Jerry Estep, M.D., Matthias Loebe, M.D., Ph.D., and Brian Bruckner, M.D.

Houston Methodist receives multi-million dollar grant from NIH for atrial fibrillation study

Plato’s Cave Highlighted in Chronicle Near the intersection of Fannin and Old Spanish Trail, Plato’s cave offers new 3-D technology to create virtual patients using real data from such tests as magnetic resonance imaging. Brian Butler, M.D., chair of radiation oncology, created the technology to ‘preflight’ surgery of a patient, and so that surgeons can prepare for unique aspects of a patient’s body before surgery begins. Learn more in the October 2013 issue of the Houston Chronicle.

by George Kovacik The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Miguel Valderrábano, M.D., DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, a grant for more than $3.5 million over five years to study a novel way of curing atrial fibrillation by infusing alcohol into the oblique vein of Marshall. Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes

Machinist continues legacy of ingenuity Deep in the heart of the outpatient center parking garage, Houston Methodist Machinist Juan Fernandez

an irregular and rapid heartbeat that in

creates everything from medical device

turn causes poor blood flow to the rest

prototypes to research lab tools. Learn more

of the body thus increasing the risk of

about Fernandez’s history with Michael

fatal stroke. It affects nearly three

DeBakey and the Texas Medical Center

million people every year.

in the Jan 4 issue of the Houston Chronicle. Read more on


Photo: Karen Warren

a cardiologist with Houston Methodist

Kai Zhang et al. borrowed concepts from woodblock printing techniques to develop a method for constructing single-cell arrays with close to 100% cell viability, called block-cell-printing (BloC-printing). In this method, a network of microfluidic channels is deposited onto a glass slide or Petri dish. A cell culture medium is drawn through the network of channels and individual cells are trapped in hook-shaped protrusions on the array, which can be spaced as

Clinical Research Services expand at Houston Methodist By Julie Sicam & Resa Labbe-Morris

Houston Methodist has expanded the Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics to Houston Methodist Sugar Land and Houston Methodist West Houston, and Houston Methodist Pearland Emergency Care Center. The Cockrell Center is a joint project in affiliation with the Research Institute to make clinical trials available to every patient who needs and wants to participate. Clinicians interested in running Phase I-IV clinical trials can access Cockrell Center support by contacting the Academic Office of Clinical Trials. 713.441.3250 |

little as 5 µm apart. After the single cells are allowed to adhere to the substrate, the BloC mold is removed, leaving the cells in regularly-spaced single-cell arrays of any geometric shape desired. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2014, III: 2948-53 by Kai Zhang, Chao-Kai Chou, Xiaofeng Xia, Mien-Chie Hung, and Lidong Qin.

Core Services • Protocol Development

• Project/site management

• Budget and contract set-up

• Data management (CRF Development)

• Research nursing/coordinators • Study design and statistical analysis

• Regulatory support (IND/IDE)

Menstrual cycle linked to concussion outcome Kenneth Podell, Ph.D. of the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute recently provided medical expert comments for a HealthDay wire story. The article

Certified cGMP staff grows to 40

focuses on a University of Rochester

About 50 Research Institute PIs and staff attended

study that looks at how women who

the cGMP Training last November, and 39 people

suffer a concussion may heal more

went on to take the cGMP Certification Test.

slowly if the injury occurs in the two

All 39 passed and are receiving cGMP Certification

weeks leading up to their menstrual

from Ostrove Associates Inc., bringing the

cycle.

Houston Methodist total to 40.


Research Highlights

Woodblock technique inspires printed cell arrays

Inside the Institute




Houston Methodist Research Art Contest The Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine and the Research Institute recently sponsored the first Research Art contest. Seven images were chosen by the CPAM Arts Integration Committee to inaugurate Houston Methodist’s first science-based art gallery exhibit. Images will be displayed in the Hand and Upper Extremities Physical Therapy Clinic located on the 4th floor of the Scurlock building. CPAM plans to tour the exhibit throughout the hospital, system hospitals, and community. For more information, please visit the contest website:

Houston Methodist Research Art Contest Winner List: (see images at top of page)

1. Capillary in Failing Heart, Jose H. Flores-Arredondo, Torre-Amione and Serda Labs

2. Orchids in the gut, Fransisca Leonard, Godin Lab 3. The Leukolike Vector, Michael Evangelopoulos, Tasciotti Lab

4. The Approach, Michael Evangelopoulos, Tasciotti Lab

5. Faces of our inner soldiers, Victor Segura-Ibarra, Serda Lab

6. The Polymeric Flower, Jenolyn Francisca Alexander, Godin Lab

7. Uptake of the Multistage Vector, Michael Evangelopoulos, Tasciotti Lab

BioArt 2013 Exhibit Congratulations to Matthew Ware, Ph.D. and Biana Godin Vilentchouk, Ph.D. for their winning entry in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s 2013 BioArt Competition. Their image shows tiny silica beads used to model how drug-laden nanoparticles are transported into cells. The image was featured in the NIH Director’s Blog and is open to public viewing at the NIH Visitor Center located in Bethesda, MD. Learn more online: Mathew Ware, Ph.D. and Biana Godin, Ph.D. won 2013 BioArt Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 16





Media Highlight Stories: 652 Audience: 435.5 million 2013 was a productive year for Houston Methodist researchers in terms of academic publications, but also in terms of popular media coverage. High-profile stories were featured in USA Today, the Houston Chronicle, and Yahoo Health.

New on the web Our web address is changing from to Please make sure to update your email signatures and business cards. New videos on the web:

Visit our new websites for:

Watch them all at

• Open Standards: Lessons on Balancing Risk and Potential, Rod Canion

• Kennedy’s Assassination: A Look Inside Trauma Room One, Robert Grossman, M.D.

• Novel Targeted Therapeutic and Imaging Agents for Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases, Philip Low, Ph.D.

• Targeting Beta-Amyloid: Scientific Cul-de-sac or the Future of Alzheimer’s Therapy, Martin Sadowski, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Research Services The Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

Center for Cardiovascular Regeneration


• PET Imaging in Neuroscience and Diabetes, Richard Carson, M.D., Ph.D.

• Evaluation of the Joint Commission Surgical

Clinical Trials on the web

Care Improvement

Need help getting your clinical trial information in the web

Project, Mary Hawn, M.D.

directory? First you need to make sure the trial is entered correctly in the CTMS and MORTI. More details are available online and from


Inside the Institute



540 125 55 840 1400 550 278

Thousand Sq Ft Research Space Million in Research Expenditure Worldwide

Compaq co-founder Canion discusses getting new medical technologies to market faster Last December, Invesco Ltd. director and Compaq co-founder and Houston Methodist Research Institute board of directors member Rod Canion presented his ideas about how to improve the process of bringing important medical discoveries quickly and safely to patients. The talk was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Houston Methodist Research Institute President & CEO Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., and included former NCI Director and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., Rice University Practice of Entrepreneurship Professor Jack Gill, Ph.D., and Bay City Capital investment partner and Vivaldi Biosciences CEO & President Douglass Given, M.D., Ph.D., MBA.

Million in Total Funding

Watch it online at

Clinical Protocols

Credentialed Researchers

Trainees From left to right: Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D.; Jack Gill, Ph.D.; Rod Canion; Douglass Given, M.D., Ph.D., MBA and Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D.

Members Worldwide

Dr. Jospeh Masdeu joins Houston Methodist Joseph C. Masdeu, M.D., Ph.D., joined Houston Methodist as the Nantz National Alzheimer Center director in December, and will serve as director of neuroimaging and the Robert Graham Distinguished Chair in Neuroimaging. Dr. Masdeu comes to us from the National Institutes of Health, where he served as senior staff physician and scientist in the Section of Integrative Neuroimaging of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch. Dr. Masdeu brings more than 30 years of experience as a clinician, researcher, educator and leader of two neurology departments.


ICARE Moments

Over the last year, many individuals throughout the organization volunteered with the Houston Methodist community benefits ICARE in Action program:

Jackie Nguyen, Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Program

The Academic Office of Clinical Trials adopts a family for the holidays.

Regina Fernandez, Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine

ICARE year in review

Jennifer Leyendecker, OSRI

The holiday season brings time with our families and friends, and also many opportunities to put our ICARE values into action. We’d like to share a few of these stories from around the Research Institute. The Office of Governance & Faculty Affairs organized a central administration team to

Maricela Ramirez, Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Program Laurie Minze, Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Program Stacy Robinson, Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Program

adopt a family for the holidays, raising money for gift cards and wish lists for the children.

Colleen Kelly, Communications & External Relations

The family struggles to pay their bills on a single income, with one parent staying home to

Carly Filgueira, Genomic Medicine

care for a daughter and a three-year old son with Downs Syndrome. The Cancer Center,

William May, Genomic Medicine

Office of Research Protections and the Academic Office of Clinical Trials also organized

Song Kim, Governance and Faculty Affairs

teams that adopted families in need for the holidays. The Office of External Relations had

Sawana Tillett, Governance and Faculty Affairs

individuals volunteering with the Houston Food Bank, the Hillcroft Dental Clinic, City ArtWorks,

Luanne Novak,Governance and Faculty Affairs

and the City of Houston Holiday Project. They helped the city make handmade holidays cards,

Shaun Stephenson, Grants and Contracts

deliver them to assisted care facilities, and visiting with the residents over the holiday season.

Krista Walton, Infectious Disease Program Diane Jaskulski, Laboratory Operations Tara Conrad, MITIE

ICARE highlight: Tricia Lydick

Jessica Rhudy, Department of Nanomedicine Kathryn Brinkman, Governance and Faculty Affairs

Tricia Lydick, Senior Executive Secretary, went above and beyond

Nelcy Ramirez, Governance and Faculty Affairs

to help a caller trying to track down medical records for a family

Nianxi Zhao, Infectious Disease Program

member. The caller reached the main Research Institute line after

Sunae Kim, Department of Translational Imaging

several unsuccessful transfers. Tricia stepped in to navigate the

Clarissa Fenroy, Research Receiving Dock

maze and find the right contact number for the grateful caller.

Michelle Shemon, Communications & External Relations

I truly appreciate Ms. Lydick’s kindness and consideration. I have had to take a lot of trips to Michigan, a lot of phone calls to hospitals and a lot of visits to doctors. For most of the people I encounter it is business as usual and there aren’t any attempts to make this battle any easier. I so VERY much appreciate Ms. Lydick and I hope you do as well!

Xiaoping Zhu, Department of Systems Medicine & Bioengineering Hanh Hoang, Central Administration Mariana Pope, Governance and Faculty Affairs Eudora Vasquez, Governance and Faculty Affairs Tiffany Polk, Governance and Faculty Affairs

– Damali Keith, FOX 26 reporter


Education News

Global Educational Reach Continuing Medical Education TOTAL: 17,000 39 Series 21 National conferences

CME Graduate Medical Education TOTAL: 257


Residents/Fellows 2013: 247 2018: 303

TOTAL: 770 Rotating residents (419) Nursing students (100+) Pharmacy students (178) Allied health students (73)

TOTAL: 3,900 (19 countries)

110 Seminars & conferences 3500 Attendees 131 Postdoctoral trainees (19 countries) 67 Graduate students 63 Summer students (29 institutions) 10 Undergraduate students 16 High school students


Global Educational MITIE Reach

MORE Other Learners

Research Education

MITIE Learners TOTAL: 6,267 858 Courses

GHCS Global Health Care Services TOTAL: 3,085 (47 countries) 23 Lectures 2853 Lecture participants 10 iLEAD participants 59 MITIE learners 33 CME learners



Methodist Academy Summer Internship Beginning June 2, the Houston Methodist Academy will host 45 students from 10 states and 3 countries for the summer internship program. Students will join us from 22 institutions including Harvard, Brown, Duke, Purdue and Rice Universities. For more information contact Amy Wright, (aswright

Mentored Clinical Research Training Program Junior physicians can apply for this fast-track program to acquire the skill set to develop a clinical research project proposal and embark on a clinical research career pathway. The program is aimed at WCMC and HM early career physicians who have a strong interest in clinical research but who currently lack the time to participate in comprehensive clinical research training.

Timeline: Notification of Intent due

March 17, 2014

Invitation for applications

March 19, 2014

Application due

May 1, 2014

For more information or to apply, visit:

Three fellowship programs accredited Houston Methodist is the first hospital in the nation to achieve American Board of Physical Therapy ‘s accreditation for the Critical Care Physical Therapy Fellowship. Two fellowship programs have received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME):

A dvanced H eart F ailure and T ransplant C ardiology

Watch the Annual Presidential Career Symposium sponsored by the TMC PostDoc Association, now available online at

Congratulations to our affiliate, Weill Cornell Medical College, for being named one of the Best Medical Schools for research by the 2015 U.S. News & World Report.

Program director Dr. Jerry Estep

H ematology O ncology Program director Dr. Alexandria Phan These programs will begin training their first class of trainees in July 2014. To see a comprehensive list of the ACGME accredited and GMEC sponsored residency and

Congratulations to Alex Martagon and Jan Lammel (Monterrey Tech students) for graduating on December 13, 2013.

fellowship programs at Houston Methodist, please visit


Education News

April 16

Pluripotent Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine CME credit available

April 16

Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) to Model and Treat Neurological Disease CME credit available

April 16

The Future of Regenerative Medicine Advances in Research and Commercialization

April 16-17

New Frontiers in Therapeutics: Drugging the Undruggable

April 24-25

Multi-scale Cancer Systems Biology Symposium

April 30

New Tools in the Detection of Breast Cancer CME credit available

May 1

Health Care Reform: A Continually Changing Landscape

May 2

Training the Exceptional Surgeon: A Human Factors Perspective

May 8

Tissue-engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral and Central Nervous System Repair

May 13

Strategic Plan Implementation Update

June 17

Institute for Academic Medicine Update

Join Toastmasters to polish your next presentation Looking to develop speaking and leadership skills? Join the Houston Methodist Toastmasters Club. Meetings are on the second Wednesday of each month (R6-124) and fourth Friday of each month (R8-124) at noon. Bring your lunch and eat during the meetings. For more information, contact Darren Schnider at


UPcoming events

Upcoming Events

Education News

2014 UH/HMRI Graduate Fellowship Proposals Selected Proposals have been selected and student recruitment has begun for the following 2014 UH/HMRI Graduate Fellowship Program projects. HMRI Mentor UH Mentor

Project Title

Alessandro Grattoni (Nanomedicine)

Jacinta Conrad and Ramanan Krishnamoorti (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

Understanding and modeling nanoparticle transport during drug delivery

Xian Li (Transplant Immunology)

Tianfu Wu (Biomedical Engineering)

Cytokines and costimulatory factors in T cell survival, activation and regulatory function

Edward Graviss (Pathology)

Elebeoba May (Biomedical Engineering)

Engineering models to investigate the impact of immune deficiencies and malnutrition and Mtb metabolic fitness and persistence

Ennio Tasciotti (Nanomedicine)

Ravi Birla (Biomedical Engineering)

Nanodelivery system for cardiac tissue engineering

Stephen Wong (Systems Medicine & Bioengineering)

Kirill Larin (Biomedical Engineering)

Early detection of lung cancer using multimodal assessment of tissue architecture, morphology, and function

Alvaro Munoz (Urology)

Yingchun Zhang (Biomedical Engineering)

Minimally invasive techniques to assess the recovery of bladder function after spinal cord injury interventions

Lidong Qin (Nanomedicine)

Ashutosh Agrawal (Mechanical Engineering)

Exploiting the distinct mechanical characteristics of cancer cells for optimizing cellular transport

Lidong Qin (Nanomedicine)

Jiming Bao (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Synthesis of H2O2 nanocatalysts for next generation point-of-care volumetric-bar-chart-chip


Awards & Accolades


2013 Dottie and Jimmy C. Adair Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment and Research Fund Award • Dr. Swaminathan P. Iyer, CMML/MDS/AML METEOR Database • Dr. Steven Wong, Fast Track Drug Repositioning for Myelodysplastic Syndromes Biomarkers • Dr. Rongfu Wang, Epigenetic Reprogramming and Differentiation in Myelodysplastic Syndromes • Dr. Haifa Shen, Targeting the Root of Disease for Effective Treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Translational Imaging 2013 Pilot Project awardees • Investigators: Drs. Paolo Decuzzi and Vicki Colvin Project Title:

Magnetic Nanoconstructs for the Early Detection and Ablation Therapy of Tumors

• Investigators: Drs. Zheng Li and Youli Zu Project Title:

Molecular Imaging with Nucleic Acid Aptamers

Copeland & Jenkins honored for research impact Drs. Neal Copeland & Nancy Jenkins were listed as some of the most highly influential biomedical researchers in a recent publication by Boyack et al based on bibliometric analysis of their research impact from 1996-2011.

Houston Methodist Research Institute: The Movie wins ‘Addy’ award The new Research Institute movie received a 2014 American Advertising Association Award for Best-of-the-Best in Houston. A special thanks to the entire Research Institute & MITIE for their help during the script development and filming over the last year. Watch it online now:

Methodology newsletter wins 2014 Graphic Excellence Award Congratulations to creative lead Doris Huang and the IAM Office of Communications and External Relations for receiving a Best in Houston Award of Excellence in the 2014 Graphic Excellence Awards design competition for the Methodology newsletter.


New Funding Awards & Applications

New Funding Awards & Applications Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

Cancer Research

$350,000, Stephen Little, 3 yrs, National Science Foundation

$300,000, Jenny Chang, 1 yr, National Science Foundation

Applications: John Cooke (2), Yohannes Ghebremariam (3), Nazish Sayed, Dipan Shah, Roman Sukhovershin, Miguel Valderrabano

$60,000, Patricia Chevez-Barrios, 3 yrs, NASA

Department of Nanomedicine Applications: Silvia Ferrati, Biana Godin Vilentchouk (2), Alessandro Grattoni (3), Ye Hu (3), Xuewu Liu, Lidong Qin, Jason Sakamoto (3), Rita Serda, Haifa Shen (2), Ennio Tasciotti (4), Bradley Weiner, Arturas Ziemys Department of Systems Medicine & Bioengineering Applications: Yang Cong, Stephen Wong (7), Xiaofeng Xia (2), Zhong Xue (2), Ming Zhan Department of Translational Imaging Applications: Santosh Aryal, Paolo Decuzzi (3), Zheng Li (2), Brian O’Neill

Applications: Barbara Bass, Kapil Bhalla, Bhuvanesh Dave, Muralidhar Hegde (3), Min Kim, Yi Liu, Shiladitya Sengupta, Chunying Yang Genomic Medicine Applications: Stephen Ayers, Patricia Chevez-Barrios, Paul Webb (4), Xuefeng Xia Inflammation & Epigenetics Applications: Qi Cao, Rongfu Wang, Yicheng Wang, Motao Zhu Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Applications: Ke Ma, Willa Hsueh (2) Infectious Disease Applications: Osama Gaber, Soma Jyothula

Biostatistics Applications: Leif Peterson (2)

Neurosciences Applications: Robert Grossman, Santosh Helekar Transplant Immunology Applications: Roger Sciammas, Thomas Kaleekal


New Members, Employees and Promotions Promotions

Clinical Trials Support

Outcomes & Quality

Elvin Blanco, Ph.D., Instructor, Nanomedicine

Morgan Yrshus , Clinical Research Nurse

Alexandra Anderson, Research Asst II

Stanley Fisher, M.D., Associate Member, Neurology

Inflammation & Epigenetics

Lidong Qin, Ph.D., Associate Member, Nanomedicine Steven Shen, Ph.D., Full Member, Pathology & Genomic Medicine Ping Wang, Ph.D., Associate Member, Infectious Disease Kelvin Wong, Ph.D., Associate Member, Systems Medicine & Bioengineering

Sravan Bhagavatula, Graduate Research Fellow Baowei Cai, Graduate Research Fellow Changsheng Xing, Postdoctoral Fellow Hongwei Du, Postdoctoral Fellow Jung Sun Kim, Postdoctoral Fellow Ann-Marie Cimo, Scientific Writer

Department of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering Lin Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow Xi Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow 1 Department of Translational Imaging Weiwei Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow

Comparative Medicine Che Kamani, Veterinary Technician II

New Members

Judit Markovits, Veterinary Pathologist

Santosh Aryal, Ph.D., Translational Imaging Alessandro Parodi, Ph.D., Nanomedicine Chun Huie Lin M.D., Ph.D., Cardiovascular Sciences

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences Gang Zhou, Postdoctoral Assc

Eduard Yakubov, Ph.D., Cardiovascular Sciences

Timo Nazari-Shafti, Postdoctoral Fellow I

Eric Bernicker, M.D., Cancer Research Program

Christopher Mattair, Research Coord II

Gavin Britz, M.D., M.P.H., Neurosciences Gill Sviri, M.D., M.Sc., Neurosurgery Gustavo Roman, M.D., Neurosciences Research Program

Rachel Kronman-Gross, Sr. Research Coord

Grants and Contracts Rhonda Davenport, Finance Manager

Jorge Darcourt, M.D., Cancer Research Program

Transplant Immunology

Joshua Swan, Pharm.D., Center for Outcomes Research

Yanmeng Peng, Graduate Research Fellow

Luca Deseri, Ph.D., Nanomedicine

Yihui Fan, Research Assc I

Luca Pollonini, Ph.D., Surgery Muralidhar Hegde, Ph.D., Cancer Research Program Nazish Sayed, MBBS, Ph.D., Cardiovascular Sciences Philip Low, Ph.D., Administration Seyed Moghimi, Ph.D., Translational Imaging Steve Fung, M.D., Translational Imaging Tianfu Wu, Ph.D., Transplant Immunology

Sunil Kannanganat, Research Assc I Peixiang Lan, Postdoctoral Fellow Zhiqiang Zhang, Scientist Roger Sciammas, Scientist Department of Nanomedicine Giancarlo Canavese, Affiliated Scientist I Maria Scavo, Research Assc I Erkuan Wang, Research Asst II Haiyu Huang, Research Asst II

Wing Tak Jack Wong, Ph.D., Cardiovascular Sciences

Zhengbao Zha, Postdoctoral Fellow Yang Li, Postdoctoral Fellow I

Yingchun Zhang, Ph.D., Cancer

Ping-Jung Su, Postdoctoral Fellow II

Yohannes Ghebremariam, Ph.D., Cardiovascular Sciences


Zhiqiang Zhang, Ph.D., Transplant Immunology

Xiaoling Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow

Cancer Research

Infectious Disease

Daniel Davila Gonzalez, Graduate Research Fellow

Jie Xuan, Postdoctoral Fellow

Sanjay Adhikari, Research Scientist


Department of Cardiovascular Sciences Sharleen Botero, Visiting Undergraduate Research Fellow Odeaa Al-Jabbari, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow Bahij Kreidieh, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow Cesar Uribe, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Systems Medicine & Bioengineering Lin Tian, Visiting Graduate Research Fellow

Jie Wu, Graduate Research Fellow

Weidong Le, M.D., Ph.D., Neurology

Michiko Kodama, Postdoctoral Assc

New Visitors

Department of Translational Imaging Ilaria Zivi, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow MITIE Guillaume Joerger, Visiting Graduate Research Fellow Fanny Verdier, Visiting Graduate Research Fellow Nanomedicine Shawn Jacob, Visiting High School Student Sarah Hmaidan, Visiting Graduate Research Fellow Bronwyn Scott, Visiting Undergraduate Research Fellow Zhizhou Yang, Visiting Scientist Ledu Zhou, Visiting Scientist Dechen Zhang, Visiting Graduate Research Fellow Neurosciences Cinzia Chiandetti, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow

Houston Methodist Research Institute 6670 Bertner Ave. Houston | TX 77030



The Houston Methodist Hospital and Research Institute in the heart of the TMC form the headquarters of our medical research and education programs. The Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics has offices throughout the greater Houston area to support clinical trials closer to study participant homes or workplaces.

For more information, contact 713.441.1261 or visit


(Texas Medical Center) 6670 Bertner Ave., Houston, Texas 77030

Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics

(Texas Medical Center) 6565 Fannin St. Houston, Texas 77030 Phase 1 unit: 713.441.3959 Clinical Trials hotline: 713.441.3250

CCAT–SUGAR LAND 3 HOUSTON METHODIST SUGAR LAND HOSPITAL (U.S. 59 and Sweetwater) 16655 Southwest Fwy. Sugar Land, Texas 77479 713.441.3958





(I-10 at Barker Cypress) 18500 Katy Fwy. Houston, Texas 77094 713.441.3250

CCAT–Pearland 5 Methodist Primary Care Group 3

9430 W. Broadway St., Suite 120 Pearland, Texas 77584 281.485.3434



The Research and Education Newsletter of Houston Methodist Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Hall, Ph.D. Design & Creative Lead Doris Huang Content Coordinator Michelle Shemon Photographer Billy Stewart

Contributing Writers David Bricker Brenda Hartman Hahn Hoang Colleen Kelly George Kovacik Resa Labbe-Morris Michelle Shemon Julie Sicam Katie Wooldridge

Read more online: Office of Communications and External Relations Institute for Academic Medicine IAMNEWS-002 | 04.2014 | 500

Methodology Spring 2014