For Immediate Release: Feb. 2, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - Clifford W. Houston, Ph.D., has been named to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council by Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services. Houston is an associate vice president for educational outreach and the Herman Barnett Distinguished Endowed Professor in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

The appointment was announced on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

"I am pleased that NIH has included Dr. Houston on this prestigious council," said Dr. Ben Raimer, UTMB vice president and chief executive officer for community health services. "Houston is a valued member of our faculty and is perhaps best known in the community for his work to enhance science education in areas schools." Houston and the office he directs sponsor the Summer Science Camps, Science Teach Training Programs, Equipment Loan programs and enrichment programs for local students and schools.

Also appointed to the council are: Steven L. McKnight, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the department of biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; W. James Nelson, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at Stanford University in California; and Timothy O'Leary, M.D., Ph.D., director of Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The council, which meets three times a year, is composed of leaders in the biological and medical sciences, education, health care and public affairs. Its members, who are appointed to four-year terms, perform the second level of peer review for research and research training grant applications assigned to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. Council members also offer advice and recommendations on policy and program development, program implementation, evaluation and other matters of significance to the mission and goals of NIGMS.

"I'm honored to be an advocate for science education and to represent the university and my scientific discipline on the council," Houston said

Houston's research concentrates on the role of bacterial toxins in the development of disease. Houston earned a B.S. in microbiology and chemistry from Oklahoma State University-Stillwater and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

The National Institutes of Health is the nation's medical research agency. It includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases.
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