School of Biomedical Sciences


Two SBS Faculty Awarded U.S. Patent

Porunelloor Mathew, PhD, Professor and Stephen Mathew, PhD, Assistant Professor, both in the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, received a U.S. patent for “Compositions and methods for activation of NK cells killing of prostate and breast cancer cells.”

HSC Chapter of SACNAS Receives $10,200 Grant for Speaker Series

Congratulations to HSC’s SACNAS chapter for receiving a $10,200 grant to fund a new speaker series!
Sacnas Officers

The series, called “Career Seminar Series: So, You Got a PhD…What’s Next?”, will invite at least six School of Biomedical Sciences (SBS) alumni with a broad range of industry experience to talk about how they have applied their doctoral degrees in areas outside of academia.

The series began with Lauren Elolf, PhD, who graduated in 2011 from SBS, as the first speaker. Dr. Elolf is the Director of Commercial Business Development at The Jackson Laboratory in Dallas.

Weikan Wang Abstract Accepted for Presentations at IMMUNOLOGY2022

Congratulations to Weikan Wang, doctoral student in Cell Biology, Immunology and Microbiology under the supervision of Dong-Ming Su, Professor! His abstract has been accepted for an oral  presentation during IMMUNOLOGY2022™ being held May 6—10, 2022 in Portland, Oregon.

IMMUNOLOGY2022 is the leading annual all-immunology event worldwide, presented by the American Association of Immunologists.

Recent Grant Recipients

Congratulations to Dr. Jianye Ge, Dr. Gulab Zode and Dr. Prahavathi Maddineni for their recent grant awards!

Dr. Jianye Ge, Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, was awarded theRecent Grants following:

National Institutes of Justice entitled Enhanced mixture interpretation with long-read DNA sequencing for the time period covering January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023.  The award amount for the total grant/contract period through December 31, 2023 is projected to be $484,798.00.

Dr. Gulab Zode, Associate Professor, North Texas Eye Research Institute, was awarded the following:


A renewal of his NEI R01, “Targeting ER Stress Pathway Using Sodium 4-Phenylbutyrate for the Treatment of POAG” for the next 5 years.

Dr. Prabhavathi Maddineni, post-doctoral fellow, North Texas Eye Research Institute was awarded the following:

Bright Focus post-doctoral award (total $150,000/2 years)

Dianna Nguyen is Awarded the First NIH NRSA F30 at HSCDhn

National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute; Mentor: Tom Cunningham, PhD

Dianna was awarded an F30 (dual degree) fellowship for her research project: “The Role of Estrogen Receptors and Neurohypophyseal Gene Expression in Vasopressin Release in a Model of Dilutional Hyponatremia”.

Two GSBS Faculty Receive Valubility of the Year Recognition

Congratulations to JK Vishwanatha, PhD and Emma Handler, PhD for being recognized as Valubility of the Year!
Valubility of the Year is the highest honor at HSC. Selected with input from senior leadership, this yearly honor goes to teammates who show what is possible when Our Values are infused into life and work.

Dr. Emma Handler, Assistant Professor, Physiology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Along with her dedication to collaboration, Dr. Handler has been visPicture6ionary in bettering the learning environment for students. She is dedicated to creating a collaborative academic environment for students of all walks of life to study, learn and grow into future health care providers together. She brought HSC’s Values into an online environment during the pandemic that could have felt disconnected, instead creating a respectful environment for collaboration and learning. She embodies respect, empathy and integrity. 

She has been an active member of GSBS committees focused on improving distance education and helped develop HSC’s online undergraduate BS in Biomedical Sciences program. It was exceptional for an early-career faculty member like Dr. Handler to take on the significant and challenging work of developing a novel online curriculum during the pandemic, and she truly went the extra mile by facilitating excellence in teaching among her colleagues and advocating for our students.

Dr. Jamboor K. VishwanathaHSC Regents Professor and Vice President, Institute for Health Disparities

Joining nine HSC faculty and staff from across campus were national nominators as well, representing Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin. Some of their edited comments are as follows: Dr. Vishwanatha embraces HSC Values through his visionary work collaborating with partners across the country to serve others, address nationwide health disparities and make a difference in the lives of many individuals, including those who have been historically marginalized. Jamboor Vishwanatha

He is dedicated to advancing health equity and mentoring the next generation of biomedical researchers. Through his work on the Texas CEAL project – to reduce the burden of COVID-19 among disproportionately affected communities and address misinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations – Dr. Vishwanatha has exemplified inspiring leadership and collaboration

He provided leadership to develop an institution-wide Center for Diversity and International Programs and serves as Principal Investigator (PI) of the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), a program aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical and behavioral workforce, which is an urgent national need. He has led efforts for the Texas Conference on Health Disparities and has been a role model in the growth of so many careers, exemplifying the HSC value of working together to achieve shared goals.

Three GSBS Faculty Receive Emeritus Appointment

In recognition of their sustained and outstanding performance and significant contributions as educators, scholars, and leaders, we are excited to share that three Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty have received the distinguished honor of becoming emeritus appointees.

The Emeritus award at HSC is to recognize faculty members, who continue to contribute to the HSC after their retirement from full-time faculty employment, honoring their lifetime of service and commitment to the mission, vision and values of HSC.

The new emeritus appointees are:

Patricia Gwirtz, PhD, FACC, FAHA

Gwirtz Color Web

Thomas Yorio, PhD

Reception Honoring Dr. Tom Yorio Dr Dillon Dr Singh Dr Williams

Andras Lacko, PhD

Andras Lacko Web

December Spotlight: Dean’s Research Fellowship Incentive Awardees

The ability to write a successful grant proposal is a critical skill for success in many careers — it demonstrates logical thinking, clear writing, and an understanding of the research field. Receiving a nationally funded fellowship provides external evidence that a student has successfully acquired these skills.

GSBS has established an incentive plan designed to encourage submission of applications from students enrolled in disciplines in which individual fellowships are available. The Graduate School has also created the Dean’s Fellowship Incentive Award of $1,000 for those students whose fellowship grants are funded.

Congratulations to Jessica Proulx, Alexa Kelly and Graci Finco!  Learn more about their work.

For more information about this program, contact Dr. Paula Gregory, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research Development, via email:

Dr. Maddineni is Awarded the First NIH K99/R00 at HSC

Prabhavathi Maddineni, PhD is a post doctoral fellow in Dr. Gulab Zode’s lab in the North Texas Eye Research Institute.  Prabha just learned that her K99/R00 application to the NIH National Eye Institute will be funded; the K99/R00 is a mentored career development award. This is the first K99 ever funded at HSC.  Her grant is titled “The role of impaired mitophagy and mitochondrial dysfunction in glaucomatous neurodegeneration”, it will fund her last two years as a post doc (K99) and her first three years as a faculty member (R00).

August Spotlight: Dr. Ella Anle Kasanga

In the United States, about one million people are living with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. The disease is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is usually diagnosed with the presence of cardinal motor signs and symptoms. Tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness of the arms, legs or trunk, and postural imbalance are the main motor symptoms that need to be present in order to make a diagnosis. There is no cure for the disease and the reason for its development remains unknown.

Across the country, researchers are working around the clock to identify ways to help those living with the disease. Joining this effort is Dr. Ella Anle Kasanga, a visiting researcher who recently graduated from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Dr. Kasanga is a recipient of the Parkinson’s Foundation Visiting Scholar Award which offers graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the chance to expand their skill set to support their Parkinson’s disease research. As part of the scholarship, Dr. Kasanga is visiting the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work where she works under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Richardson, Associate Dean for Research.

Learn more about her work in the Q&A.

Celebrating GSBS Faculty 2020:  Tenure and Promotion

We wish to congratulate our GSBS faculty, who were promoted or tenured this year.  The promotion and tenure process is rigorous and is designed to recognize faculty members who exemplify a commitment to academic excellence.  This year two faculty members, Dr. Styliani Goulopoulou and Dr. Robert Barber, have been promoted or granted tenure.

We are fortunate to have these two outstanding individuals among all our extraordinary GSBS faculty who represent our HSC values in educating and mentoring our students, conducting cutting-edge research, and personifying our commitment to service.  2020 was a particularly challenging year for GSBS, our HSC community, and our world, making their accomplishment even more inspiring.

J. Michael Mathis, Ph.D.
Dean, GSBS

Styliani (Stella) Goulopoulou, FAHA, Ph.D.

Dr. Goulopoulou joined the department of Physiology and Anatomy at UNTHSC in August 2014 Stella Goulopoulou
as a tenure-track assistant professor. At HSC, Dr. Goulopoulou has established an independent research program with an emphasis on the physiology of perinatal and postpartum maternal vascular function. The main objectives of the Goulopoulou research program are to a) Delineate mechanisms of maternal vascular function in healthy pregnancies and in pregnancies with preeclampsia, b) Define mechanisms by which reproductive history and pregnancy complications re-program maternal vascular health and determine future maternal cardiovascular risk. Dr. Goulopoulou’s long-term goal is to establish an evidence-based framework that defines the role of pregnancy physiology in maternal vascular health and disease. To address relevant research questions, the Goulopoulou lab uses a multi-method multi-model quantitative approach with experimental models spanning from cells and isolated tissues to animal models of healthy pregnancy and pregnancies with placental ischemia. The Goulopoulou lab has been funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and institutional seed grants. In addition to her commitment to research, Dr. Goulopoulou is committed to graduate education through her teaching and mentoring of junior scientists, and she is also involved in various service activities at HSC and at national professional organizations.

Robert Barber, Ph.D.

Dr. Barber’s laboratory is focused on identifying genetic and epigenetic risk factors for neurodegeneration. Robert BarberResearch is collaborative and translational in nature. Ongoing projects include efforts to use patterns of DNA variation and differential methylation to predict the risk and progression rate of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Barber is also interested in the biology of Alzheimer’s among Mexican Americans and how disease etiology may differ between this underrepresented ethnic group and Caucasians. A second area of research interest is how individual gut bacteria profiles may impact risk for neurodegeneration and the age at onset of cognitive decline.  Collaborations are established with researchers at UNTHSC and other Texas institutions, as well as West Virginia University. Active projects are ongoing with Drs. O’Bryant, Allen, Planz, Cross, Hall, and Cunningham at UNTHSC; Chumley and Boehm at Texas Christian University; Royall and Palmer at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and Wilhelmsen at West Virginia University School of Medicine.