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Houston Methodist congratulates our leaders, scientists, innovators and teachers who have been recognized since the beginning of 2020.
Cornerstone Award

Career Cornerstone Awards acknowledge junior faculty members who have successfully secured their first National Institute of Health R01 grant. The R01 is the original grant mechanism used by the NIH to support health-related research and development.

Arshad Khan, PhD,
Assistant Research Professor of Pathtology & Genomic Medicine, for his study of “Novel Stem Cell Immunotherapy for MDR-tuberculosis.” The researchers will Investigate the molecular mechanisms through which, BCG vaccine and MTB infected or conditioned human mesenchymal stem cells to epigenetically program naive human macrophages and investigate the in vivo therapeutic and prophylactic effects of conditioned MSCs during experimental tuberculosis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, R01 $4.8 million.
Zhihui (Bill) Wang, PhD,
Associate Research Professor of Mathematics in Medicine, for his new NIH R01, “Nanoparticle Delivery of miRNA-based Therapeutics to Overcome Clinical Challenges in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.” The research team will employ an integrated computational and experimental approach to better understand the mechanisms involved in a new, potential triple negative breast cancer nanotherapy. National Cancer Institute, R01 $2.4 million.
Kyuson Yun, PhD,
Assistant Professor of Neurology, for her new NIH R01, “S100A4-mediated Immune Suppression in GBM.” The researchers will test their hypothesis that S100A4 is a critical regulator of the glioblastoma (GBM) immune landscape. S100A4 is a small calcium-binding protein that Yun and her team have recently shown to be necessary for glioma stem cell self-renewal. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, R01 $2.7 million.
Zhiqiang Zhang, PhD,
Assistant Professor of Transplant Immunology in Surgery, for his “Studies of a New Checkpoint Regulator in the Control on Intestinal Inflammation.” The researcher will dissect molecular pathways that control TRIM29 expression in epithelial cells under normal and inflammatory conditions; define the mechanism by which TRIM29 inhibits IL-1 inflammation; and investigate in vivo functions of TRIM29 in regulating IECs function in colitis and anti-fungal immunity. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, R01 $2 million.
Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH, Cardiology, Outcomes Resea
Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH,
co-director, Center for Outcomes Research, Department of Cardiology and DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, received the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) Arthur S. Agatston Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Award. He was selected in recognition of his extensive contributions to cardiovascular disease prevention through the assessment of risk factors, particularly coronary atherosclerosis. Read the press release.
Muralidhar Hegde, PhD,
associate professor of radiation oncology, Neurosciences Research Program and Cancer Center, was awarded the Senior Scientist Award by the Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy - India. He was awarded the gold medal on Dec. 22, 2019, at Vignan University, which includes the Foundation for Science, Technology & Research in the Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Dina R. Mody, MD,
medical director, cytopathology director, cytopathology fellowship program associate director, pathology residency program, and professor, Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine, was awarded the Gene and Jean Herbek Humanitarian Award. Gene Herbek, MD, past president of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and his wife Jean established the CAP See, Test and Treat program to provide free cervical and breast cancer screening for underserved women in this country, offering real-time interpretation of pap tests and immediate colposcopy if the pap is abnormal. Mody led the first of the CAP See, Test & Treat programs in the Houston area in 2012 and has provided leadership in the years since. The programs are a multidisciplinary effort involving gynecologists and local organizations, including collaboration with BioReference Labs. More than 1,000 women have benefited in Houston and surrounding areas since Houston Methodist has been involved.
Suzanne Powell, MD,
professor and program director, Anatomic & Clinical Residency and Neuropathology Fellowship, Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine, Kenneth R. Peak Brain & Pituitary Treatment Center, has been named recipient of the 2021 Emory University Pathology Residents’ Choice Award. The prestigious award is given annually to an outstanding non-Emory pathologist. Powell will be presented with the award when delivering Grand Rounds at Emory early in 2021. Powell has held numerous leadership positions at the national level, including the Association of Pathology Chairs head of Residency Program Directors (PRODS) and the Pathology Residency Review Committee (RRC).
William Zoghbi, MD,
Elkins Family Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Health, chair of the Department of Cardiology and professor of cardiology, DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, was one of 16 members recently inducted into the Association of University Cardiologists (AUC). Zoghbi, who was president of the American College of Cardiology in 2012, is a board-certified cardiologist and cardiac imaging specialist. At the event, Zoghbi discussed his research related to “Mitral Valve Deformation during the Cardiac Cycle in Health and Disease.” This presentation provided insight into the underlying mechanisms and treatment of mitral valve disorders using novel technology developed at Houston Methodist. These findings allow more precise determination of the best therapy to prevent the progression of mitral valve disease and guide the most optimal surgical approach when required.
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