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Capra Symposium provides showcase for research collaborations

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Students from different academic programs in the School of Health Professions sign in at the Capra Symposium to hear about ongoing and potential research in interdisciplinary health care.

About 200 UT Southwestern students, researchers, and staff heard about research underway in the School of Health Professions during the recent Capra Interdisciplinary Healthcare Symposium, an annual gathering designed to foster research collaborations.

The Symposium, held at UT Southwestern since 1998, is sponsored by the late Dr. J. Donald Capra and his wife, Dr. Patricia Capra, who attended the Feb. 13 event titled “Collaborate: Using Team Approaches to Advance Research on Chronic Conditions.”

I was just thrilled with the Symposium because we’ve got to go this direction – combining research with clinical care, said Dr. Capra, who received her Ph.D. from UT Southwestern in 1983 and was a faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling from 1989 to 1997.

Her husband, who died in 2015, served as Professor of Immunology at UT Southwestern for 23 years, until 1997, and as Director of the Molecular Immunology Center from 1990 to 1997.

Dr. Patricia Capra (front) and her son, Dr. Jay Capra, pose for a group photo with event presenters and administrators from the School of Health Professions. Back (l-r): Dr. Jon Williamson, Dean; Dr. Mu Huang; Dr. Jason Zafereo; Dr. Jay Capra; Dr. Ross Querry; Dr. Gordon Green, former Dean; Dr. Hoda Yeganehjoo; Dr. Masaki Mizuno; and Dr. Scott Smith, Assistant Dean for Research.
Dr. Patricia Capra (front) and her son, Dr. Jay Capra, pose for a group photo with event presenters and administrators from the School of Health Professions. Back (l-r): Dr. Jon Williamson, Dean; Dr. Mu Huang; Dr. Jason Zafereo; Dr. Jay Capra; Dr. Ross Querry; Dr. Gordon Green, former Dean; Dr. Hoda Yeganehjoo; Dr. Masaki Mizuno; and Dr. Scott Smith, Assistant Dean for Research.

The goal of the Symposium was to stress the value of interdisciplinary research. Clearly, the quality of the speakers and the presentations helped to meet that goal, said Dr. Scott Smith, Assistant Dean for Research and Professor in the School of Health Professions, who spoke to those gathered. The event was open to the campus community.

The UT Southwestern campus has phenomenal research resources – and physical therapy professionals have skills and passion to offer to this effort, said Dr. Ross Querry, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions. Mindset is the beginning.

Several researchers were honored at the event as recipients of grants totaling $20,000 from the School of Health Professions’ Interdisciplinary Research Grant Program, funded by the School.

Dr. Jason Zafereo, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions, and Dr. Mu Huang, an Instructor in the School’s Department of Health Care Sciences, received an award for their research into chronic pain, Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Masaki Mizuno, an Assistant Professor of Health Care Sciences, and Dr. Hoda Yeganehjoo, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition in the School of Health Professions, received an award for their study examining insulin resistance to improve abnormal cardiovascular control in diabetes, Dr. Smith said.

A roundtable discussion featuring several researchers from the School discussing their projects on various topics ended the morning program by providing a window into some of the research going on in the School.

An April 18 workshop will provide information on how to successfully apply for grants from the National Institutes of Health, said Dr. Staci Shearin, an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the School.

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