Long School of Medicine recognizes outstanding faculty

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine announced its faculty awards during the annual faculty assembly and Dean’s town hall meeting held virtually in October.

Master Clinician Awards

Gregory Abrahamian, MD (Lt. Col. USAF)

A professor of surgery with a Joan Wish Endowed Professorship in Transplant Surgery, as well as the Surgical Director of Renal Transplantation, Dr. Abrahamian specializes in adult and pediatric kidney and liver transplant surgery. His nomination noted that he is “devoted to patient care and intimately involved clinically when other senior surgeons reduce patient contact.”

Tabitha Hope Blount, PhD

An associate professor with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Blount’s research and clinical expertise is in the area of post-traumatic stress disorder. Her nomination recognized that Dr. Blount “provides the highest quality patient care, as well as exemplary evidenced-based psychological treatments not available elsewhere in San Antonio or Texas, and some not anywhere else nationwide.”

Aaron Owens, MD

An associate professor/clinical in the Division of General and Hospital Medicine, Dr. Owens has been with the institution since 2002 and specializes in infectious disease patient care. His nomination lauded “his selfless care of patients,” and recognized him as “someone who brings joy to the practice of medicine for his team and patients.”

Rising Research Stars

Basic and Translational Research

Lizhen Chen, PhD

An assistant professor in the Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy who is also associated with the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, Dr. Chen’s research lab focuses on the genetic and epigenetic regulations in neuronal aging, degeneration and age-dependent axon regeneration.

Yogesh K. Gupta, PhD

An assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology and in the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Gupta’s lab seeks to provide a complete and coherent picture of human mRNA modification complexes at the molecular and atomic level with a goal to develop novel anticancer therapeutics targeting the RNA methylome and other nucleoprotein assemblies.

Martin Paukert, MD

An assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Dr. Paukert’s lab is interested in the role of neuron-astroglia interaction in neuromodulation. Astroglia are recognized for their homeostatic support functions during neuronal activity. A particular focus lies in understanding molecular events and behavioral context leading to astroglia Ca2+ dynamics in awake mice, consequences for neuronal signaling and alterations of these signals in transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral disease.

Dimpy Shah, MD, PhD

An assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences and the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, Dr. Shah’s research program focuses on multi-institutional collaborations for utilization of existing databases and biorepositories, development of outcome prediction algorithms and examination of the host-microbe-environment relationship to improve cancer prevention and survivorship.

Clinical Research

Carolina Solis-Herrera, MD

An assistant professor and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the department of medicine and medical director of the Diabetes Clinic at the Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC), Dr. Solis supervises clinical and research fellows, residents and graduate students.

Master Research Awards

Distinguished Mentor

LuzHe Sun, PhD

Professor and Dielmann Chair in Oncology in the Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy and associate director for basic research for the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, Dr. Sun’s laboratory studies molecular mechanisms that regulate cancer development, growth, invasion and metastasis using molecular and cellular biology techniques, systems biology, animal models and clinical specimens.

“Dr. Sun’s lab helped me develop my own mentoring style and mentoring philosophy, made me aware of the challenges faced by underrepresented minorities in biomedical science and contributed immensely to the success of my own training,” wrote his mentee. “Dr. Sun’s lab philosophy and mentoring is directly responsible for creating a nurturing environment that allows individuals to learn, develop their skill sets, advance their careers and contribute to the advancement of biomedical science.”

Distinguished Researcher

Alan Peterson, PhD, ABPP

A professor and A&B Elliott Krus Endowed Chair in Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and director of the STRONG STAR Consortium, Dr. Peterson is a nationally renowned researcher and former lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He spent 21 years on active duty, including deployments in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

“Dr. Peterson’s expertise in the use of exposure therapy enabled us to adapt a lengthy post-traumatic stress disorder treatment protocol used in clinics in the U.S. to be completed in fewer sessions in Iraq. Later, our results were published in what was the first-ever clinical case series of treatment for PTSD in a warzone. The results also led to the first published report of treating active-duty military (members) for PTSD, with subsequent dissemination of our protocol to multiple medical clinics in Iraq and Afghanistan,” wrote his nominee.






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