Breakfast Club to become Lunch Bunch
Our audience spoke, we listened. In May 2012, we began hosting The Breakfast Club, an early morning session to share interesting and relevant health information and tips. You told us lunchtime would be more convenient and easier to squeeze in your busy day, so we've adjusted acccordingly.
Starting March 5, the Breakfast Club will become the Lunch Bunch. Watch for more captivating topics from great speakers, a free light lunch, hosted during the lunch hour once every other month.
Beginning in May, the Lunch Bunch will meet the second Tuesday of every other month from noon to 1 p.m. All sessions are free and hosted at the Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes.
On Tuesday, March 5 from noon to 1 p.m., Dr. Jyothin Juarez, an endocrinologist, will discuss "My Achey Breaky Bones: Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis.''  Juarez, whose practice is centered at the UTMB Specialty Care Clinic in Friendswood, has an interest in all elements of general endocrinology including common diabetes and thyroid care as well as osteoporosis, pituitary disorders, and parathyroid disorders. She also performs thyroid ultrasounds as well as some thyroid nodule biopsies in the office. For questions about this or future sessions, call 832.505.1600 or email 

Galveston Texas Area Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Support Group meets 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Rebecca Sealy Building, Room 1.132 (corner of Market and 8th streets). The Feb. 12 topic will be the American Cancer Society. For information, email

Dr. WalkerDr. David Walker, professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and holder of the Carmage and Martha Walls Distinguished University Chair in Tropical Diseases, has announced his intention to step down after 25 years of dedicated service to the university. A national search for a successor to Walker, who will remain in his post until a new chair has been appointed, will begin soon.

Walker is an excellent leader whose keen insight has been a critical part of the success of a number of programs at UTMB.  Under his leadership, the Department of Pathology ranked ninth nationally in NIH awards for the federal fiscal year 2012. 

Walker has attained international stature for his research on rickettsial and ehrlichial molecular microbiology, immunity, pathology, pathogenesis, clinical pathophysiology, epidemiology, and diagnosis. His breakthrough research has helped to better protect our society against bioterrorism and improve health for people worldwide. Walker is among an extraordinary group of scientists at UTMB who conduct specialized research in the campus’ Galveston National Laboratory, one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories in the US constructed with funding awarded in October 2003 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health. 

Walker also serves as Executive Director of the UTMB Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CBEID).  In this role, he oversees the activities of the CBEID in achieving its two main objectives: 1) to reduce the vulnerability of the US and other nations to the use of biological weapons for warfare and terrorism, and 2) to alleviate suffering from emerging and tropical infectious diseases through application of basic, translational, and field research, and through education.

Walker is the recipient of a Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STAR) award from The University of Texas System for development of a new program in endothelial cell pathobiology.  He was honored with the annual John J. Andujar Citation of Merit Award from the Texas Society of Pathologists, which recognizes deserving individuals who contribute significantly to the field of pathology and medicine. He received the 2012 Vanderbilt Medical Alumni Association (VMAA) Distinguished Alumnus Award. Recipients are selected based on contributions to the field of medicine as a distinguished clinician, progressive leader, and or/research scientist.

Among the country’s top specialists in his field, Walker has been repeatedly named as one of America’s Top Doctors. In addition, he has been selected by his peers as one of the Texas Super Doctors and the Best Doctors in America.

Dr. PettittDr. B. Montgomery Pettitt, Director of the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics (SCSB), has successfully recompeted for a four-year, $1 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to continue important research at UTMB. As project director, he will investigate the effects of phage DNA confinement in the prevention of and therapeutic strategies against disease. "Better understanding the biophysical basis of the biological process to transfer a viral genome has implications not only relevant to infectious disease mechanism but in phage therapy or phage antibiotics and therapeutic delivery,” he said. 


Ten faculty members have been selected to each receive $50,000 awards from the John Sealy Memorial Endowment for Biomedical Research Pilot Innovation and Bridging Grant Program for calendar year 2013.

The Pilot Innovation and Bridging Grant Program was created to stimulate new research initiatives by supporting pilot projects that have a very high probability of attracting external grant funding to the university. These awards will enable UTMB investigators to perform the work needed to submit or resubmit fundable grant applications.The next round of funding for Pilot Innovation/Bridging Grants will be made available in early May. We appreciate having the opportunity, through the John Sealy Memorial Endowment for Biomedical Research, to support research projects that hold tremendous promise for improving health in Texas and around the world. 

Award winners for Bridging Grants are: Yinzi Cong, PhD, associate professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology; Mark Hellmich, PhD, professor, Department of Surgery; Gregg Milligan, PhD, professor, Department of Pediatrics; and Sankar Mitra, PhD, professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

Award winners for Pilot Grants are: Xiaoyong Bao, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics; Alexander Bukreyev, PhD, professor, Department of Pathology; Deepthi Kolli, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics; Shinji Makino, PhD, professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology; Erik Rytting, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; and Labros Sidossis, PhD, professor, Department of Internal Medicine.

Dr. GordonBrian E. Gordon, DVM, DACLAM, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Animal Resources Center (ARC), effective March 4, 2013. Gordon’s appointment concludes an extensive national search. He will succeed Dr. Chris Suckow who assumed interim leadership of the ARC in May 2012.

Gordon brings excellent credentials to UTMB. He will oversee the comprehensive husbandry, veterinary and consultative services to the institution’s research community, ensuring full compliance and the highest standards in the care and use of laboratory animals. Gordon most recently served as Director of Animal Resources and Attending Veterinarian at the Max Planck Florida Institute, the first institute of the Max Planck Society, which is based in Germany, to be located in the United States. 

He has contributed to various aspects of laboratory animal medicine, including as an ad hoc site visitor for the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (1998-2007). He was also an ad hoc member of the NIH National Center for Research Resources Scientific and Technical Review Board for Biomedical and Behavioral Research Facilities (1994-2003). Gordon is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, USDA accredited veterinarian, and has been licensed by the states of Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.