Perot Museum exhibits showcase UTSW scientific, medical talent

By Cory Lukens 

Visitors to Dallas’ new Perot Museum of Nature and Science will find multiple galleries devoted to the scientific universe. And if they look closely, they’ll find UT Southwestern Medical Center’s footprints at several points along the way.

They will encounter examples of  UT Southwestern’s contributions to science and medicine as they explore exhibits about space, fossils, weather, ecology, health, engineering, and more.

In October, the Perot Museum announced the donation of the Nobel Prize medal of Dr. Alfred Gilman, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology. Dr. Gilman shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Martin Rodbell for their discovery of G-proteins and their role in signal transduction in cells.

Dr. Alfred Gilman places his donated 1994 Nobel Prize medal in Physiology or Medicine for display at the Perot Museum as Nicole Small, the museum’s Eugene McDermott CEO, looks on.
Dr. Alfred Gilman places his donated 1994 Nobel Prize medal in Physiology or Medicine for display at the Perot Museum as Nicole Small, the museum’s Eugene McDermott CEO, looks on. (Photo: Jason Janik/Perot Museum of Nature and Science)

Dr. Gilman’s Nobel medal – considered the world’s most prestigious honor bestowed upon an individual or an institution – is on view in the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall. Around the corner, visitors can build a model skyscraper to withstand a simulated earthquake, or experiment with robots that can be programmed to maneuver through a maze.

“At the Perot Museum, where our mission is to inspire minds through nature and science, a Nobel Prize symbolizes the world’s greatest achievements,” said Nicole G. Small, the museum’s Eugene McDermott CEO. “It’s a tremendous honor, and we are enormously grateful that Dr. Gilman has entrusted the Perot Museum to display this treasured medal.”

Dr. Gilman called the museum “a fabulous gift to Dallas by the Perot family” and others who worked to make it happen.

“Who would have thought that I would be able to make this very small contribution,” Dr. Gilman said, “But it gives me enormous pleasure to do so, with the hope that it will inspire youngsters to look at the medals and say ‘I can do that!’ ”

Another Nobel prize-winning team, Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Joseph Goldstein, is featured in the museum’s Being Human Hall. Their decades-long collaboration resulted in the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries related to cholesterol metabolism regulation. Their partnership continues today. Dr. Brown is Director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Research in Molecular Genetics and Human Disease, and Dr. Goldstein is Chair of Molecular Genetics.

Exhibits in the Perot Museum’s Being Human Hall include information on the Nobel Prize-winning team of Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Joseph Goldstein and a Career Inspiration Story from UTSW’s Kenneth Coulter on how a medical illustrator collaborates with doctors. Credit: Mark Knight Photography
Exhibits in the Perot Museum’s Being Human Hall include information on the Nobel Prize-winning team of Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Joseph Goldstein and a Career Inspiration Story from UTSW’s Kenneth Coulter on how a medical illustrator collaborates with doctors. (Photo: Mark Knight Photography)

The museum’s Sports Hall is a favorite among current and future athletes. It features state-of-the-art interactive elements, including a 55-foot racing lane where children can compete against a 3-D, life-size cheetah, Tyrannosaurus rex, or Felix Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.

Dr. Robert Dimeff, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Family and Community Medicine, and Pediatrics, is featured in a Career Inspiration Story showcasing his expertise in sports medicine. The interactive touchscreen video allows users to select questions and view Dr. Dimeff’s recorded answers on topics including reducing injuries and working with professional sports teams.

“It was an honor to be involved with the development of this amazing, interactive museum,” Dr. Dimeff said. “Using the forum of sports participation to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology is unique and brilliant. The Perot Museum brain trust should be congratulated on this original concept.”

Dr. Kemp Kernstine, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, also provides early career inspiration to young museum visitors in the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall. Dr. Kernstine is a pioneer in minimally invasive and robotic surgeries using computer-assisted tools.

The Career Inspiration Story of Kenneth Coulter, a medical illustrator and former Assistant Professor of Biomedical Communications, is featured in the Being Human Hall. His story explains how an illustrator collaborates with doctors and contributes to cutting-edge medicine.

UT Southwestern faculty, staff, and students can save on annual memberships to the Perot Museum through the Employee Discount Program. Go to utsouthwestern.net for details.

Dr. Brown holds The W.A. (Monty) Moncrief Distinguished Chair in Cholesterol and Arteriosclerosis Research and the Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine, and is a Regental Professor.

Dr. Gilman is a Regental Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Goldstein holds the Julie and Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research and the Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine, and is a Regental Professor.

Dr. Kernstine holds the Robert Tucker Hayes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

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