Two Health Science Center Employees Named to Forty Under Forty List

May 3, 2006

Two employees at UNT Health Science Center were named to the Forty Under Forty list by the Fort Worth Business Press.

Peter Koulen, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and neuroscience, and Clyde Higgs, MPA, executive director of TECH Fort Worth, were named to the list.

Higgs also has an appointment as associate director of entrepreneurship and industry relations in the Office of Technology and Alliance Development at the health science center.

Dr. Koulen was promoted to associate professor of pharmacology and neuroscience with tenure in September 2004, and he also serves as associate director of the North Texas Eye Research Institute. He earned a doctorate in biology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany.

He has received numerous awards for his work in research, including a Research Rising Star Award from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2002.

Currently, Dr. Koulen is principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute grant to study calcium signaling in the retina and a grant from the Alzheimerâ??s Association to study how calcium signaling is controlled in the brain. He serves as a mentor on a National Institute for Aging grant that is designed to train graduate students in the neurobiology of aging.

Dr. Koulen mentors local undergraduate students in the Texas Academy of Math and Science and local high school students at Northside High School during research internships and provides research experiences for local high school science teachers as part of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boardâ??s programs.

Dr. Koulen is also principal investigator on project 4 and core C for a program project grant from the National Institute on Aging to discover novel drugs to be used in Alzheimerâ??s disease treatment. The National Institute on Aging has also awarded another program project grant to researchers at the health science center to study the normal aging process, and Dr. Koulen is principal investigator of project 3 within that grant.

Dr. Koulen recently received funding from the NIHâ??s National Center for Research Resources that will provide the health science center campus with modern laser microscopy imaging instrumentation in the Center for BioHealth.

Dr. Koulenâ??s latest grant approved for funding by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board within the Stateâ??s Advanced Research Program focuses on technology development for the treatment of degenerative diseases of the eye.

Dr. Koulenâ??s research has been published in numerous journals, and he serves as a reviewer for state, national and international agencies representing the local research community.

He and his wife, Sara, live in Benbrook with their two children.

Higgs serves on the BioDFW Board of Directors and the Texas Technology Transfer Association Board of Directors. Since March 2003, he has served as executive director and president of Tech Fort Worth in addition to his duties at the health science center. He was also recently appointed by the governor to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Advisory Committee.

Active in the community, Higgs is a member of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Fort Worth Rotary and serves as a guest lecturer at the TCU Neeley Business School and the UNT College of Management. He is also a member of the Association of University Research Parks, the Association of University Technology Managers and the National Business Incubation Association.

Prior to coming to Fort Worth, Higgs served as director of technology transfer and commercialization at North Carolina A&T State University, where he was responsible for developing the overall intellectual property strategy for the university. He was also the North Carolina co-principal investigator for the affiliates program of the NASA Southeastern Regional Technology Transfer Center.

Higgs earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and biomedical sciences from the University of South Alabama and a masterâ??s degree in public administration from East Carolina University.

Higgs and his wife, Vetta Barnes Higgs, MD, a cancer specialist at Texas Oncology in Fort Worth, live in Fort Worth. They have one child.

The Fort Worth Business Press will honor its Forty Under Forty at a banquet May 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fort Worth Club.


Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail

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