The Texas research community has contributed an impressive array of biotech and life sciences researchers to this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellowship, which represents one of the most prestigious scientific awards in the world today. After both Texas A&M and MD Anderson announced their own roster of AAAS fellows this year back in November, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has announced two of its own. Dr. Barry Davis, M.D., Ph.D., and Dr. Kevin Morano, Ph.D. were both elected fellows to the AAAS, which is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the leading journal Science.
Among the 388 AAAS members awarded the fellowship honor, which will be officially recognized on Feb. 15 at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, this year’s AAAS appointments from UTHealth highlighted the same rich diversity as seen with the Texas A&M and MD Anderson appointments. Dr. Davis, who is being recognized for his leadership in public health initiatives and key contributions to clinical trials for high blood pressure, is a biostatistician whose study of blood pressure medications revealed that the use of diuretics or water pills as a treatment option matched or outperformed higher priced medications. The study, entitled “Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT),” included more than 42,000 people, and its findings were confirmed in follow-up studies demonstrating that diuretics in fact are the best treatment for hypertension.
Read other articles related to the AAAS:
[feed url=”http://bionews-tx.com/news/news-tags/aaas/feed” number=”5″ ]
Dr. Davis, who earned his medical degree at University of California, San Diego and his doctorate degree at Brown University, serves as the Guy S. Parcel Chair in Public Health and is also the director of the Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials at The University of Texas School of Public Health, part of UTHealth. “I am grateful to be recognized for our accomplishments in clinical trials,” Davis commented. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with so many wonderful people at the Coordinating Center and across the country to help improve the public’s health.”
Dr. Morano, a microbiologist and the director of the New Investigator Development Program at UTHealth Medical School and faculty president at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, received his doctorate degree at the University of California, Davis, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. Morano received his fellowship from the AAAS for his work in researching the mechanisms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions — particularly as it pertains to proteins, and how they achieve their properly folded structure that allows them to perform their functions and maintain cells in a healthy state. Because many neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Alzheimer’s occur as a result of proteins not folding correctly, Morano’s work promises to lead to new understandings of neurodegenerative disease, and how they can be corrected at the protein level.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized for the work my students and I have been doing here at UTHealth Medical School,” said Morano. “Most importantly, it’s recognition from fellow scientists in our field, which is pretty cool.”
Over the years, UTHealth has steadily produced researchers who have been selected by the AAAS fellowship. “UTHealth is proud of this national recognition for two of our exceptional scientists. This is a well-deserved honor for Drs. Morano and Davis and speaks to the caliber of science at UTHealth,” said UTHealth President Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D.