The Scoop: A Publication of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Produced by the Office of Communications // March 8, 2012

Savitz named director of Vascular Neurology Program

Dr. Sean Savitz

Dr. Sean Savitz

Dr. Sean Savitz, associate professor of neurology, has been named director of the Vascular Neurology (Stroke) Program.

“Sean will bring great new ideas and leadership to the program while at the same time continuing its tradition of excellent clinical research and education,” said Dr. James Grotta, chair of the Department of Neurology, co-director of Mischer Neuroscience Institute, and founder of the Vascular Neurology Program.

Savitz has been co-director of the Vascular Neurology Program, director of Translational Stroke Research, and director of the Vascular Neurology (Stroke) Fellowship Program since he joined the Medical School in 2007 from Harvard Medical School. In 2010, he received the UTHealth Medical School Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award.

“Sean has been director of the stroke fellowship program for several years, and it has doubled in size and productivity under his direction. At the same time, he has developed and funded the world’s leading translational research program in stem cell therapy for stroke,” Grotta said in his announcement.

Savitz graduated from Harvard University and received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his residency and fellowship at the Harvard Medical School Neurology Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Boston.

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Brain awareness week celebrates neurons

Brain Night logo

Medical School brains will be at work during two Brain Awareness Week events next week in Houston.

The UTHealth Neuroscience Research Center’s annual Brain Night at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science is set for 6–8 p.m., Thursday, March 15 at The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Dr.

The free event is created with the family in mind and includes mini-lectures, brain-related demonstrations, interactive booths, face painting, and giveaways.

This project is part of the International Brain Awareness Week Partners in Education program, a unique partnership of major institutions organized to advance public understanding about the brain and brain research by linking scientists directly with students. It is funded by a grant from the Charles A. Dana Foundation.

The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is pleased to participate in Brain Awareness Week for the first time by teaming up with Dr. Luca Pollonini, research assistant professor at the University of Houston, College of Technology, to conduct an experiment bridging science and art.

Stop by the large gallery at HCCC to see “Bridge 11: Lia Cook” and take part in a facial recognition experiment to find out how your brain interprets complicated visual stimuli.

Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is an imaging technique designed to measure blood flow to the brain. Pollonini has created a wireless NIRS machine that hooks to the forehead and takes brain-flow readings while visitors look at Lia Cook’s weavings. Researchers will then look for different indicators, such as when the brain recognizes an image as a face versus an indiscriminate array of pixels.

Join fiber artist Cook; Pollonini; and Dr. Tim Ellmore, assistant professor in The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery, for an informal conversation about how these fascinating brain experiments work and how they inform Cook’s body of work at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the HCCC Large Gallery, 4848 Main St.

Visit for more information.

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Research committee sponsors collaborative workshops

The Research Committee is sponsoring a series of collaborative workshops designed to promote research interactions across our campus.

Dr. Joseph Alcorn of the Department of Pediatrics will chair the next workshop 9 a.m.–noon, March 15, in MSB 2.135. The topic will be “Mechanisms of RNA Metabolism and Action in Disease and Infection,” which will focus on new and unexpected mechanisms of regulating gene expression and will feature Dr. Ambro van Hoof, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Dr. Eric Wagner, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Dr. Ann-Bin Shyu, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and Dr. Peng Gao, The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Upcoming workshops in the series include:

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Financial aid counselors are in the building

Beginning March 1, Student Financial Services are now offering financial aid counselors in the Medical School Building 9 a.m.–1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in room G.300 (near the Fannin entrance and the yellow elevators).

Financial aid counselors can assist with reviewing financial aid awards, financial aid disbursements, and loan debt management.

This should greatly enhance the accessibility of the Student Financial Services for medical students.

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All's well

Dr. Eva  Fulep, a medical sonographer at the UT Neurosonology Labratory, performs a carotid artery screening for Sam Hester, of UTHealth Human Resources, during the UTHealth Employee Wellness Fair Feb. 29 at the School of Nursing.

Dr. Eva Fulep, a medical sonographer at the UT Neurosonology Laboratory, performs a carotid artery screening for Sam Hester, coordinator of WorkLife and Wellness Programs, during the UTHealth Employee Wellness Fair Feb. 29 at the School of Nursing.

— Dwight C. Andrews, Office of Communications, Medical School





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Events to know

Proposals for Faculty Development Leave are due April 1 in the Office of Faculty Affairs, MSB G.420. Proposals can be submitted twice a year: April 1 and Nov. 1. The guidelines can be found here. For questions, call Faye Viola, 713.500.5101.

March 8

Neurobiology and Anatomy Seminar Series: Dr. Helmut Koester (UT Austin) presents, “Fine Local Control Over Neural Correlations in Layer 2/3 of the Rodent Barrel Cortex.”
4 p.m., MSB 2.135.

March 12

Center for Membrane Biology Seminar Series: Dr. Claudio Grosman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) presents, “The Unanticipated Complexity of the Ring of Glutamates in the Charge Selectivity Filter of the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor. Protonation-deprotonation or Side-chain Dynamics?”
Noon–1 p.m., MSB 2.135.

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Sarah Plowman, assistant professor, presents, “Regulation of EGFR function by the lipid environment.”
4–5 p.m., MSB 2.135.

March 14

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds: Dr. Katie Roberts, chief resident, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, presents, “Ethical Issues in Child & Adolescent Consult Liaison Psychiatry.”
Noon–1 p.m., HCPC Auditorium.

Town Hall on the 2-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Presented by U.S. Rep. John Culberson and U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess.
Noon, MSB 1.006.
Open to TMC physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals, and students. Email your questions in advance. Lunch provided on first-come, first-serve basis.

5th Annual Cheves Smythe Distinguished Lecture in Geriatrics and Education: Dr. Charles Reynolds III (University of Pittsburgh) presents, “Prospectives on Positive Aging and Depression.”
4–5 p.m., MSB 3.001.

March 15

Medical School Research Committee Workshop: “Mechanisms of RNA Metabolism and Action in Disease and Infection.”
Chair: Dr. Joseph Alcorn, associate professor of pediatrics. Speakers: Drs. Ambro van Hoof, Eric Wagner, Ann-Bin Shyu, and Barrett Harvey.
9 a.m., MSB 2.135.

Brain Night for Kids.
The UTHealth Neuroscience Research Center is hosting Brain Night for Kids, which allows hundreds of children in the Houston community to learn more about the brain through interactive displays and booths. Invite your family and friends to this free event!
6–8 p.m., The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Dr.

March 16

Match Day.
10:45 a.m., Webber Plaza.

March 19

Biochemistry Seminar Series: Dr. Vinzenz Unger (Northwestern University) presents, “When Structures Talk—Insights into the Mechanisms of Cellular Copper Uptake and Distribution.”
Noon–1 p.m., MSB 2.135.

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Jeff Rosen (Baylor College of Medicine) presents, “Wnt/Fgf Interactions in Mammary Stem Cells and Breast Cancer.”
4–5 p.m., MSB 2.135.

March 21

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds: Drs. Melissa Allen and Bobby Nix, chief residents, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, present, “Toxic Leadership.”
Noon–1 p.m., HCPC Auditorium.

March 22

MD Anderson Cancer Center Women Faculty Programs Kripke Legend Award: Dr. Nancy Hopkins (MIT) presents, “Engineering Equity for Women Faculty in Science and Engineering: The MIT Story.”
4 p.m., Onstead Auditorium, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

March 26

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology Seminar Series: Dr. Robert Kass (Columbia University) presents, “Molecular Pharmacology of Cardiac Ion Channels: Disease-Associated Mutations and Patient-Specific Genetics.”
4–5 p.m., MSB 2.135.

March 28

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds: Dr. Elizabeth Truong, resident, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, presents, “Identifying and Managing Burnout during Residency.”
Noon–1 p.m., HCPC Auditorium.

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