Gifted early-career clinicians are first Dedman Family Scholars

By Amanda Siegfried 

A new endowed program focused on recruiting talented clinician-scientists early in their careers has resulted in the addition of four exceptional faculty members at
UT Southwestern.

The first group of Dedman Family Scholars is made up of (from left) Dr. Binh-Minh "Jade" Le, Dr. Jarret Berry, Dr. Laura Klesse and Dr. John Andrew "Drew" Bird. Drs. Berry and Klesse were named in 2008. Drs. Le and Bird were honored this year.

The first two Dedman Family Scholars in Clinical Care, named in 2008, are Dr. Jarett Berry, assistant professor of internal medicine, and Dr. Laura Klesse, assistant professor of pediatrics. The 2009 Dedman Scholars are Dr. Binh-Minh “Jade” Le, assistant professor of internal medicine, and Dr. John Andrew “Drew” Bird, assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine.

Dr. Berry is a cardiologist who treats heart disease patients at UT Southwestern University Hospital - St. Paul. His clinical research on lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease is supported by a career development award from the National Institutes of Health. In a study published in January in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, he found that about half of individuals who are 50 years of age or younger and at low short-term risk for heart disease may not remain at low risk throughout their lives.

Dr. Klesse’s clinical and research area is neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common inherited disorder that predisposes affected individuals to cancer. Dr. Klesse has doubled the number of pediatric neurofibromatosis patients evaluated at the NF clinic at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and also is developing a statewide clinical research group aimed at identifying more effective treatments for the disease.

Dr. Le, a former chief resident at UT Southwestern, recently joined the faculty as part of the division of infectious diseases. She brings to the medical center research experience evaluating a novel polyomavirus and an interest in infectious complications of organ transplant. Dr. Le is spearheading efforts in the clinical care of transplant patients with infections at University Hospital - St. Paul, as well as research aimed at relating specific viral pathogens to disease syndromes in transplant patients.

Dr. Bird is a pediatric allergist recruited to the medical center to help establish a clinical and translational research program in pediatric food allergies in conjunction with Children’s Medical Center. His efforts will aid the development of a comprehensive food allergy program aimed at increasing the number of children treated and at translating laboratory findings into new clinical therapies.