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Events to Know

May 22
Neurosurgery Grand Rounds: Dr. Jaroslaw Aronowski (Department of Neurology) presents, “Experimental Intracerebral Hemorrhages.” 7:30 a.m. MSB 7.037.

Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. M. Gabriela Bowden (Texas A&M University Health Science Center) presents “The Panton Valentine Leukocidin is a virulence factor in S. aureus necrotizing pneumonia.” 4 p.m., MSB 2.103. Reception to follow in MSB 1.180.

May 27
Department of Pediatrics Research Conference: Dr. Katarzyna Cieslik, Department of Pediatrics, presents “14-3-3e knockout leads to cardiac defect and inhibition of cell cycle progression in the developing heart.” Noon MSB B.100.

May 29
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. Kim Orth (UT Southwestern) presents “Black Death, Black Spot, Black Pearl: Tales of Bacterial Effectors.” 4 p.m., MSB 2.103. Reception to follow in MSB 1.180.

June 5
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. Jun Liu (Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) presents “A tale of two pathogens: HIV and Borrelia burgdorferi.” 4 p.m., MSB 2.103. Reception to follow in MSB 1.180.

June 12
Retirement planning Q&A session. UT HCPC first floor auditorium. 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

June 26
Presidential Update from Dr. James Willerson. 11:30 a.m. MSB 3.001.

June 26
Presidential Update from Dr. James Willerson. 11:30 a.m. MSB 3.001.

Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Seminar Series: Dr. Barrett R. Harvey (Institute of Molecular Medicine) presents “Passive protection from enterococcal infection.” 4 p.m., MSB 2.103. Reception to follow in MSB 1.180.


Texas Ignition Fund

Take advantage of a funding opportunity from the Office of Technology Management and the University of Texas System. The Texas Ignition Fund (TIF), a $2 million UT System grant program sponsored by the Board of Regents, is designed to stimulate commercialization of research discoveries at the 15 UT institutions.
For more information refer to the Office of Technology Management Web site.

Scoop is a weekly electronic newsletter providing timely information to the Medical School.

Submit event items or news tips for Scoop by noon on Thursday preceding the week of publication in which you would like your event or news to appear (seven days in advance).

To submit content for Scoop, send an e-mail to

Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D.

Brian Minton
Web Developer II

Darla Brown
Director of Communications

February 14, 2008
Produced by the Office of Communications

Medical School Town Hall set for Feb. 25

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo will hold a town hall meeting to discuss priorities and coming changes for the Medical School at noon Feb. 25 in MSB 1.006.

All faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend, and lunch will be available for the first 150.

“I have heard from faculty, staff, and students over these past five months, and the time is right for us to collectively further discuss our mission,” Dean Colasurdo said.

Anonymous questions may be submitted in advance of the meeting to Shelia Donnell, president of the Medical School’s Employee Relations Committee, at

–D. Brown

For more Headlines, see Page 2 Stories   

Grant furthers chronic spinal cord injury research

Dr. Raymond Grill

Dr. Raymond Grill

Studying the cause behind the long-term, chronic affects of spinal cord injury is the focus of a newly funded grant to Dr. Raymond Grill, assistant professor of neurosurgery.

The Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) recently awarded a $143,556 fellowship grant to Grill to further his research, which aims to improve the lives of those with spinal-cord injury or disease. Grill’s research, “Inflammation in Chronic SCI,” was one of 13 grant recipients out of 70 applications.

“There is a lot of focus on spinal cord injury, and a lot is on the immediate time period after the injury in hopes of stabilizing and preventing loss of function. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people who live in the chronic phase of spinal cord injury, which can be months, years, or decades,” Grill explained.

Grill and his lab are specifically studying arachidonic acid (AA) signaling, which is believed to contribute to the inflammatory response of a spinal cord injury. AA signaling can impact neuropathic pain, scarring, and regeneration failure.  

“Research has indicated that once the chronic phase achieved, it doesn’t get better, paralysis is permanent, but it doesn’t get worse. We are seeing that that may be wrong, it may continue to get worse throughout the lifetime. Arachidonic acid is a player contributing to this – it is an important signaling molecule and its offshoots can be inflammatory molecules,” Grill said.

Grill is studying AA in rats, some of which have been studied for a year.

“Some markers show an early surge after injury and then drop off. There has been an assumption that they don’t come back, but we are finding that they do come back strong and may spread away from the injury,” he said.

The next phase for this research will be to better characterize which AA mediators are in play in the chronic phase of injury and look at interventions.

“We have just started to crack the shell in what’s going on – there is a substantial amount we have just been blissfully ignorant of. There is a range of anti-inflammatories that we want to look at to tailor intervention, and prostaglandins and leukotrienes are present in chronically injured cords, so that’s an area to look at,” Grill said.

Grill, who joined the Medical School faculty in 1999, has been studying spinal cord injury for 15 years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati.

Grill and his research recently were profiled in PN, the monthly magazine of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

-D. Brown

For more Headlines, see Page 2 Stories

Dean Colasurdo receives Order of Minerva award

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo accepts the Order of Minerva award Jan. 26.

Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo accepts the Order of Minerva award Jan. 26.

While in Italy last month, Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo was honored with the Order of Minerva from the Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio," in Chieti.

Since 1986, the university has bestowed the award to national and international personalities who “have contributed significantly to the advancement of science, culture and economy.” Italian journalist and author Roberto Gervaso also received the award this year.

Dean Colasurdo graduated summa cum laude from the university’s medical school in 1985.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this prestigious award. It means so much for me to be recognized in this way by my alma mater,” he said.

The award includes a gold medal with the head of Minerva, the Roman goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, and crafts, inscribed upon it. Upon receiving the award, Dean Colasurdo addressed the student and faculty body of the university during their start of the academic year ceremony.

See video (Dean Colasurdo’s speech is in English).

Dean Colasurdo completed his residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and his fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. He is chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at Children’s Memorial Hospital and was named dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences Sept. 1, 2007.

-D. Brown

For more Headlines, see Page 2 Stories