2023 New Faculty Research Forum
Monday, Oct. 30, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Join us in person at:
The Excellence in Education Auditorium (NB2.EEF)
Harold C. Simmons Biomedical Research Building
6000 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas
About the New Faculty Research Forum
Each year, we introduce recently appointed Assistant Professors to the UT Southwestern research community through this unique forum. This exciting event aims to not only foster interdisciplinary collaborations, but also cultivate an environment where innovation flourishes. With 18 speakers representing 11 departments, this year's forum promises to be a dynamic gathering. Join us to expand your network, exchange innovative ideas, and contribute to the shaping of the future of research at UT Southwestern. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of our thriving research ecosystem.
Boxed lunch provided for early registrants.
Chairman and Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics; Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine; Julie and Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research. Regental Professor.
Topic: How to Become a Successful Scientist
Beyond his impressive list of honors, Dr. Goldstein has inspired countless others through his unwavering commitment to the values of
UT Southwestern. He has cultivated an atmosphere of excellence through his mentorship, nurtured the talents of promising young researchers and aspiring clinicians, and empowered them to evolve into exceptional leaders in their own right. Dr. Goldstein’s profound influence has solidified a lasting legacy of securing the future of biomedical discovery at UT Southwestern and beyond.
New Faculty Presenters
Assistant Professor, Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; joined UT Southwestern December 2021
Topic: Understanding Human Transgenerational Inheritance in the Genomics Era
The Haiqi Chen Laboratory studies how the genetic and epigenetic information of the parents is passed on to the child. This includes developing cutting-edge single cell and spatial omics technologies to understand the molecular mechanisms of gamete production and the role of gametes as vehicles for transgenerational inheritance. Through this research, Dr. Chen aims to address how gametes contribute to the flow of biological information across generations.
Video: Meet Dr. Chen
Assistant Professor and Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research, Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute; joined UT Southwestern July 2022
Topic: Ascending Somatosensory Pathways That Shape the Sense of Touch and Pain
Each day we experience myriad somatosensory stimuli: hugs from loved ones, warm showers, a mosquito bite, and sore muscles after a workout. While scientists understand how sensory neurons detect these stimuli rather well, little is known about the neurons that then transmit these signals through the spinal cord to the brain. Dr. Choi’s research aims to determine the developmental logic, functional organization, and potential dysfunction of these neurons.
Video: Meet Dr. Choi
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry; joined UT Southwestern September 2022
Topic: Neural Circuits for Human Language and Cognition Across Development and Disorders
The D’Mello Lab uses neuroimaging, neuromodulation, and behavioral experimentation to study the brain circuits that support language and cognition. Dr. D’Mello’s lab is particularly interested in the role of cerebro-cerebellar circuits in language and cognition and how they differ in neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism.
Video: Meet Dr. D'Mello
Assistant Professor, Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, Department of Pediatrics; joined UT Southwestern December 2021
Topic: Discovering Antioxidant Pathways of Tumors
Tumor cells experience oxidative stress during all stages of cancer development. Recent studies indicate that this excessive oxidative stress within tumors can hinder cancer progression, while inhibition of oxidation may promote the growth and spread of cancer (metastasis). Dr. Garcia-Bermudez's research focuses on identifying novel pathways or mechanisms by which cancer cells use to combat oxidative stress and continue to thrive. By understanding these pathways, the lab aims to develop new strategies for disrupting tumor cells' capability to counteract oxidative stress, making them more vulnerable to current cancer treatments.
Video: Meet Dr. Garcia-Bermudez
Assistant Professor, Cecil H. and Ida Green Center For Reproductive Biology Sciences; joined UT Southwestern February 2022
Topic: Reprogramming in Gametes and Preimplantation Embryos
Dr. Grow’s research aims to understand gene regulation during the developmental stages that transition a fertilized egg to an implanted embryo. His research addresses the yet unknown molecular events in the growing oocyte that guide the process and the mechanisms that control the activity of RNA polymerase machinery upstream of the transcription factors as genetic control transitions from the mother’s genome to the new genome of the developing embryo. His research will lay key groundwork for female fertility preservation strategies in humans.
Video: Meet Dr. Grow
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery; joined UT Southwestern Sept. 2022
Topic: Origin and Immune Regulation of Fibroblast in Cancer
The Huang Laboratory focuses on understanding the origin and immune-regulating function of fibroblasts in cancer, inflammatory diseases, and aging. Dr. Huang’s research aims to reveal how these cells are regulated in the immune system and identify novel molecules and signaling pathways that determine the cell fate and function of fibroblasts.
Video: Meet Dr. Huang
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry; joined UT Southwestern September 2022
Topic: Protein Turnover and Lipid Metabolism
Cells and their organelles are surrounded by lipid membranes, which they tightly control to ensure the health and function of the cell. Proteins embedded in these membranes can sense and respond to small changes in lipid composition, allowing the cells to detect and react to changes. Intriguingly, a reciprocal relationship exists, whereby lipids within the membrane can influence the activity and composition of surrounding proteins, including those engaged in lipid production. Dr. Kober studies membrane E3 ubiquitin ligases, which degrade membrane proteins in response to specific lipid changes. Dr. Kober's research seeks to unravel the mechanisms through which these E3 ligases discern and respond to subtle shifts in lipid composition.
Video: Meet Dr. Kober
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; joined UT Southwestern August 2022
Topic: Human Genetics of Gastrointestinal Inflammation
The immune system plays an essential role in gastrointestinal health, and abnormal immune reactions can contribute to gastrointestinal inflammation and infection. Dr. Kong’s research aims to test whether individuals with rare, severe, and early-onset gastrointestinal conditions might have a genetic culprit that disturbs their immune response, and hence, intestinal health. Dr. Kong has recruited patients locally and worldwide to unravel potential genetic abnormalities among these patients.
Video: Meet Dr. Kong
Assistant Professor and Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research, Department of Pharmacology, Children’s Medical Center Research Institute; joined UT Southwestern December 2022
Topic: Injury Repair: A Host Response to Homeostatic Disruption
Injuries are an ancient and universal harm that disrupt homeostasis. Prompt sensing and repair of injury is essential for health and survival. The Liu Laboratory seeks to use an interdisciplinary approach, integrating biochemistry and mouse genetics at its foundation, to uncover the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing tissue repair, while also investigating its potential dysfunction in conditions such as inflammatory diseases, infection, and cancer.
Video: Meet Dr. Liu
Assistant Professor, Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, Department of Pediatrics; joined UT Southwestern October 2022
Topic: Mechanical Basis of Human Diseases
Cells sense their environments using chemical signals and physical cues being pressed, pressured, and sheared continually. Many diseases, including deafness, osteoporosis, and hypertension are caused by a cell’s inability to sense mechanical stimuli properly. Dr. Ma’s research group uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand how cells sense and process mechanical stimuli in health and disease. Through this work, the researchers aim to identify novel “mechanosensing” pathways as drug targets for conditions dependent on cells responding to physical cues.
Video: Meet Dr. Ma
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; joined UT Southwestern 2021
Topic: Determinants of Bacterial Biofilm Formation at the Intestinal Mucosal Interface and Their Roles in Pathogen Exclusion
The gut microbiota consists of a diverse collection of microorganisms. Understanding the mechanism behind the development of a disruption or imbalance of healthy composition of the gut microbiota, called dysbiosis, in Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is the target of Dr. Ni’s research. By exploring the bacterial communities in healthy and inflamed intestinal tracts, she aims to understand how biofilm formation in the intestine, the roles of the extracellular matrix, and iron impact gut health. Dr. Ni believes that by understanding fundamental principles involved in bacterial colonization of the intestinal tract, researchers can re-regulate the composition of the gut microbiota with engineered strains and communities to treat gastrointestinal diseases.
Video: Meet Dr. Ni
Assistant Professor, Department Biomedical Engineering; joined UT Southwestern October 2022
Topic: Looking Beneath the Surface: Developing Translational Biophotonics Tools to Investigate Clinical Disease and Therapy
A tissue’s molecular composition is linked to its structure and function, but for many diseases and treatments, scientists lack tools to measure tissues for potential changes without a biopsy. The aim of Dr. Pence’s research is to develop noninvasive biomedical devices and analysis methods that use light to noninvasively observe tissues for signs of disease. His research is focused on identifying markers for cardiovascular calcification risk, kidney disease, and pelvic prolapse to address major challenges in diagnosing these conditions and improving patient outcomes.
Video: Meet Dr. Pence
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience; joined UT Southwestern March 2021
Topic: Epigenetic Regulation in Nervous System Health and Disease
Mutations in epigenetic factors contribute to a variety of neurological conditions, such as autism, intellectual disabilities, and neurodegeneration. Dr. Stroud’s research seeks to understand the epigenetic mechanisms that are unique to the brain, uncover the regulatory systems for epigenetic factors, and determine how environmental cues interact with epigenetic pathways. This research aims to provide new insights for the development of therapeutic strategies to alleviate neurological symptoms in patients.
Video: Meet Dr. Stroud
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering; joined UT Southwestern January 2022
Topic: Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Technologies for Pathogen Inactivation
The evolution of microbial pathogens and associated rise in drug resistance represent an ongoing healthcare crisis. Dr. Tsen’s research focuses on developing an alternative to conventional antibiotics and antifungals to combat drug-resistant infections. His research group has developed surface-scanning visible and near-infrared ultrashort pulsed (USP) laser devices for use in the clinic that can inactivate a broad spectrum of different microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma while minimizing collateral damage to human cells, blood proteins, and vaccine antigens. This work opens the path for the potential application of USP lasers in prevention and therapy of infectious diseases and in the production of potent inactivated microbial vaccines.
Video: Meet Dr. Tsen
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology; joined UT Southwestern September 2022
Topic: Unraveling the Mechanisms of Viral Infection, Metabolism, and Carcinogenesis: Insights from Human Nasal Mucosa Models
The lining that covers the inside of the nasal cavities, or the nasal mucosa, is the body’s primary protective barrier against pathogens carried in the air we breathe. It is a thin, moist layer of tissue with specialized cells in a three-dimensional architecture and supported by a system of cells that constantly capture and move pathogens and debris out of the nasal passageways, called the mucociliary clearance system. The Wu Laboratory has engineered an in vitro nasal mucosa model that replicates the normal functions of the human nasal mucosa, including its structural integrity and the mucociliary clearance system. Using this model, the research group investigates the mechanisms of respiratory viral infections in the nasal mucosa, the impact of high blood glucose, like that found in patients with diabetes on nasal mucosa's innate immunity, and the course of HPV infection in the nasal cavity and its role in cancer development.
Video: Meet Dr. Wu
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery; joined UT Southwestern August 2022
Topic: Immunoregulation of Musculoskeletal Regeneration and Tumorigenesis
The Yue laboratory examines the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating the immune response in musculoskeletal regeneration and tumor development. Through this research, Dr. Yue aims to develop more effective immunotherapeutic treatments with fewer side-effects for repairing tissue damage and eradicating tumors.
Video: Meet Dr. Yue
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering; joined UT Southwestern October 2022
Topic: Novel Imaging Systems, Designs, and Their Biomedical Applications
Every minute someone in the U.S. dies from a complication of coronary artery disease. Early detection of the plaques and blood vessel stenosis characteristic of coronary artery disease dramatically impacts a patient’s treatment regimen. However, the methods used to detect these maladies in the clinic are unable to provide physicians with a detailed picture of a patient’s plaque characteristics or biological activities that are essential to understanding their risk. Dr. Zaman’s research focuses on developing tools that can clearly visualize plaque structures and quantify their potential to contribute to a coronary artery disease event with high sensitivity, specificity, and spatial resolution. Providing informative, early detection could lead to life-saving early treatments.
Video: Meet Dr. Zaman
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Radiology; joined UT Southwestern December 2022
Topic: How New Cardiopulmonary MRI Techniques Advance the Care for Pediatric Patients with Congenital Heart Diseases
Dr. Zou’s research aims to develop novel MRI techniques for patients with heart diseases. The research involves improving different aspects of MRI, including imaging and reconstruction, post-processing, quantitative image analysis, pre-clinical investigation, and clinical translation and evaluation. Dr. Zou is particularly interested in investigating unsupervised deep learning for cardiopulmonary MRI processing, novel pulse sequences development for cardiopulmonary MRI, and theoretical machine learning for MRI.
Video: Meet Dr. Zou