Faculty in the News

Mutations in two genes linked to familial pulmonary fibrosis and telomere shortening

May 4, 2015 – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified mutations in two genes that cause a fatal lung scarring disease known as familial pulmonary fibrosis“Although RTEL1 had been previously linked to telomere biology, our finding that PARN was involved in telomere regulation and human disease was completely unexpected,” said senior author Dr. Christine Kim Garcia, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and with the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development.

Scherer to receive Banting Medal for diabetes research

April 29, 2015 – Dr. Philipp Scherer, Director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, will receive the prestigious Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the American Diabetes Association.

Parkland physician named one of nation’s ‘Leading Experts in Patient Safety’

April 28, 2015 – The Chief of Infection Prevention at Parkland Health & Hospital System, Pranavi Sreeramoju, M.D., has been named one of the “50 Experts Leading the Field of Patient Safety” in the United States by the prestigious healthcare industry publication Becker’s Hospital Review.

Three faculty elected as new members of the American Society for Clinical Investigation

April 3, 2015 – Dr. Jay Horton, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Molecular Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been elected a Councilor of The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious medical honor societies. In addition, the ASCI announced the election of three UT Southwestern physician-scientists to the organization.

Lung transplant breathes new life into father’s world

March 31, 2015 – UT Southwestern researchers, led by Dr. Christine Garcia, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, have identified mutations in three genes that are linked to familial pulmonary fibrosis. Mutations in two of the genes affect telomeres, which are specialized structures at the ends of chromosomes, and the third affects a protein expressed only in the fluid that bathes the lung’s epithelial cells.

Number of births may affect mom’s future heart health

March 23, 2015 – Women who give birth to four or more children are more likely to have cardiovascular changes that can be early indicators of heart disease than women who have fewer children, new research by UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists finds.

Hill named Editor-in-Chief of Circulation

March 2015 – Joseph Hill, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology, and Chief of Cardiology was recently named the next Editor-in-Chief of Circulation, the premier cardiovascular journal in the world. Circulation, which is published weekly, is the vanguard of emerging cardiovascular science, education, and practice. The entire portfolio of Circulation journals, which report to the Circulation editorial office, will be moving to UT Southwestern:

  • Circulation
  • Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
  • Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics
  • Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging
  • Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions
  • Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
  • Circulation: Heart Failure

Often-ignored glucose value in routine blood tests correlates with risk of type 2 diabetes

March 4, 2015 – Glucose values obtained during routine blood tests are often overlooked, but could provide valuable insight into whether someone is at risk for having type 2 diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

New cancer treatments could evolve from research showing that acetate supplements speed up cancer growth

Feb. 17, 2015 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers seeking novel ways to combat cancer found that giving acetate, a major compound produced in the gut by host bacteria, to mice sped up the growth and metastasis of tumors.

Study finds no reason for cancer survivors to be excluded in advanced stage lung cancer trials

Feb. 9, 2015 – The common practice of excluding patients with a prior cancer diagnosis from lung cancer clinical trials may not be justified, according to a study by researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center. Having previously had cancer did not impact clinical outcomes in advanced lung cancer patients and these patients therefore should be considered for inclusion in clinical trials seeking new therapies, according to the study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Study links deficiency of cellular housekeeping gene with aggressive forms of breast cancer

Jan. 30, 2015 – UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have identified a strong link between the most aggressive type of breast cancer and a gene that regulates the body’s natural cellular recycling process, called autophagy.

Long-term use of ventricular assist devices induces heart muscle regeneration, study finds

January 21, 2015 – Prolonged use of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) by patients with heart failure may induce regeneration of heart muscle by preventing oxidative damage to a cell-regulator mechanism, UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators have found.

Kidney transplant is a game-changer for NFL’s Dallas Cowboys’ timekeeper

Jan. 5, 2015  – Dr. Miguel Vazquez, Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of Kidney Transplantation at UT Southwestern, said transplants can be challenging at first for patients of any age. “It’s not an easy thing. They have a major surgical procedure, the medication burden, just coming to clinic so often to be checked – it’s three times a week at first – all that can be challenging for individuals.”

Researchers confirm whole-genome sequencing can successfully identify cancer-related mutations

Dec. 23, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer researchers have demonstrated that whole-genome sequencing can be used to identify patients’ risk for hereditary cancer, which can potentially lead to improvements in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and care.

National trial first to focus on long-term complications associated with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension

Dec. 19, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center  in collaboration with Parkland Health & Hospital System, Texas Health Resources, VA North Texas Health Care System, and ProHealth Physicians, Inc. of Connecticut  will lead the first National Institutes of Health-funded, multicenter, clinical trial to address interventions for patients with multiple chronic conditions centered around kidney disease.

Neuro-oncologists discover cancer cells can burn acetate for fuel

Dec. 18, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have discovered that brain tumors are capable of burning acetate for fuel, providing a new potential target for halting tumor growth.

Real-time radiation monitor can reduce radiation exposure for medical workers

Dec. 16, 2014 – It’s a sound that saves. A “real-time” radiation monitor that alerts by beeping in response to radiation exposure during cardiac-catheterization procedures significantly reduces the amount of exposure that medical workers receive, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found. 

New liver gives mother of three a life without pain

November 20, 2104 – The itching started when Michelle Linss, now 37, was pregnant with her third child. When she told her obstetrician, they thought it was due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy and would resolve following delivery. But the young El Paso woman was still itching a year later, launching a six-year journey of testing and treatment, worry and waiting, finally leading – with the advocacy of a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician – to a liver transplant in August 2014.

Mrs. Linss’ medical problem was diagnosed as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a disease in which the bile ducts are damaged, causing bile to build up in the liver. She was treated with a round of prednisone and cyclosporine, but neither worked. Discouraged, she decided to look elsewhere for care and discovered that Dr. Marlyn Mayo, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern, specialized in immune-related liver diseases, such as PBC. UT Southwestern also has a liver-disease satellite clinic in El Paso, which would make the logistics of her care easier.

New measurement of HDL cholesterol function provides powerful information about cardiovascular risk

November 18, 2014 – Groundbreaking research from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that cholesterol efflux capacity (cholesterol efflux), which measures HDL cholesterol function, appears to be a superior indicator of cardiovascular risk and a better target for therapeutic treatments than standard measurements of HDL. Current measurement methods reflect only the circulating levels of HDL and not the functional properties of this lipoprotein.

Testing of ER patients for heart attack in absence of symptoms widespread

November 17, 2014 – Emergency rooms are testing many patients for markers of acute coronary syndrome who show no signs of having suffered a heart attack, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Cancer researchers identify gene mutations and process for how kidney tumors develop

November 17, 2014 – Using next generation gene sequencing techniques, cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified more than 3,000 new mutations involved in certain kidney cancers, findings that help explain the diversity of cancer behaviors.

PCI or CABG in Patients with Diabetes and Multivessel CAD

October 2014 – CardioSource News talks with Steven P. Marso, M.D., Director of Interventional Cardiology of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, about the results of the FREEDOM trial and use of PCI or CABG in patients with diabetes and multivessel CAD. This interview was conducted at Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2014 in Washington.

2014 AASLD Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award

October 2014 - William M. Lee, M.D., from the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases will be receiving the 2014 AASLD Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award during the annual AASLD meeting November 7–11, 2014 in Boston, MA. J. Gregory Fitz, M.D., will present the award to Dr. Lee during the meeting. The Distinguished Clinician Educator/Mentor Award is given in honor of the sustained service of clinician educators to AASLD or the liver community in general. The award recognizes the skills of outstanding clinicians and educators who have made momentous contributions to hepatology over an extended period. 

Minimally invasive procedures offer hope for elderly patients with heart-valve problems

October 8, 2014 – UT Southwestern physicians perform two types of minimally invasive valve-repair procedures that offer hope for patients like Mrs. Henderson, who have incapacitating heart-valve problems but are too frail to undergo the rigors of open-heart surgeries. 

New ways to treat anemia could evolve from acetate supplement research

Sept. 29, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers seeking novel treatments for anemia found that giving acetate, the major component of household vinegar, to anemic mice stimulated the formation of new red blood cells.

Many patients excluded from lung cancer clinical trials due to prior cancer

Sept. 26, 2014 – Lung cancer clinical trials exclude a substantial proportion of patients due to a history of prior cancer, as shown in an analysis by cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

High insulin levels tied to obesity pathway

August 25, 2014 - UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a crucial link between high levels of insulin and pathways that lead to obesity, a finding that may have important implications when treating diabetes. Researchers with UT Southwestern’s Touchstone Diabetes Center found that giving mice high levels of insulin, which is typically done to counter the effects of diabetes or insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes, also fosters processes that lead to obesity.

Applying new cholesterol guidelines to a patient population reduces heart attacks, strokes

August 18, 2014 – A study from UT Southwestern researchers found that recently introduced cholesterol guidelines would significantly reduce new cardiovascular events, when compared to treatment based on previous cholesterol guidelines.

Ten UTSW researchers among 2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds

July 28, 2014 – Ten UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are among the most highly cited researchers in the U.S., earning them a place on Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Researchers uncover new brain pathways for understanding Type 2 diabetes and obesity

July 25, 2014 – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified neural pathways that increase understanding of how the brain regulates body weight, energy expenditure, and blood glucose levels – a discovery that can lead to new therapies for treating Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

UT Southwestern cardiologists among elite group awarded millions to prevent heart disease 

July 22, 2014 – Researchers and clinicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center are among a small, select group at U.S. universities to receive inaugural funding from the American Heart Association (AHA) for work that takes aim at heart disease and stroke. The funds, totaling $15 million nationally, will launch Strategically Focused Prevention Research Centers around the country.

MyChart use skyrocketing among cancer patients

July 9, 2014 – There has been a sharp increase in the number of cancer patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center using MyChart, the online, interactive service that allows patients to view laboratory and radiology results, communicate with their health care providers, schedule appointments, and renew prescriptions.

Sitting too much, not just lack of exercise, is detrimental to cardiovascular health

July 7, 2014 – Cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that sedentary behaviors may lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels. New evidence suggests that two hours of sedentary behavior can be just as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.

Inflammation in fat tissue helps prevent metabolic disease

June 18, 2014 – Chronic tissue inflammation is typically associated with obesity and metabolic disease, but new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center now finds that a level of “healthy” inflammation is necessary to prevent metabolic diseases, such as fatty liver.

Common blood pressure medication may pose risk to older adults

June 16, 2014 – Adults over 65 who have recently begun thiazide diuretics are at a greater risk for developing metabolic-related adverse events, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Antibiotic Lowers Death Risk for Elderly Patients With Pneumonia: Study

June 3, 2014 – U.S. News & World Report – The antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) significantly lowers older pneumonia patients' risk of death but slightly increases their risk of heart attack, a new study indicates.

Cyclists on cancer mission roll through Dallas on way to Alaska

June 3, 2014 – The Dallas Morning News  It has been almost 18 months since 23-year-old Matthew Atwell learned he would bike from Texas to Alaska — a trip of 70 days and more than 4,500 miles.

Atwell, an aerospace engineering graduate from the University of Texas, is part of an annual cancer awareness ride, the Texas 4000, which rolled through Dallas on Wednesday morning from Austin, bound for Alaska. He and 78 other cyclists are dedicating their miles to cancer victims and survivors.