The UTMB Silent Angel award honors a licensed nurse, non-nurse, and a unit or group whose compassion, caring and advocacy made a difference in the life of a patient, family or friend. This year nurses John Patrick, Amanda Chavarria and Kathleen Lund were honored. Student nurse Doreen Phillips was honored and Joyce Piangenti was recognized in the non-nurse category. The cardiothoracic/vascular surgery unit at John Sealy Hospital was honored in the group category.

Gracie Vargas

Massoud Motamedi

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has awarded almost $2 million over three years to Massoud Motamedi, professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Gracie Vargas, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, to develop new, image-based methods for assessing the non-vaccine biomedical prevention products aimed at blocking transmission of HIV. In addition to their expertise in imaging and bioengineering, this collaborative project will include Kathleen Vincent, Nigel Bourne, Greg Milligan and Erik Rytting.

LA Morgan Elementary students presented the UTMB Neonatal Nurseries with a donation check to their March of Dimes Team. The students raised the funds as part of their entrepreneur project for Lemonade Day.  Pictured from left to right, Debbie Barrera, Neonatal Nurseries nurse manager, Giselle Jackson, Gabriel Jackson, and March of Dimes team Captain and ISCU nurse Cheryl Hardeman.


The Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation was presented to Dr. Ross D. Zafonte, chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He is currently directing several large clinical treatment trials and his research focuses on understanding mechanisms of recovery after brain and spinal cord Injury. The Moody prize is given to honor and recognize significant contributions in applied brain injury research and rehabilitation, as well as increase awareness of the need to expand research and improve treatment for persons who have experienced traumatic brain injury, stroke, and related central nervous system insults. The 14th annual Galveston Brain Injury conference was held May 7-9.


UTMB’s Odette Comeau, John Carstens, Susan Court, Robert Hastedt and Olinka Zamora were awarded two Bronze Remi Awards at the 47th annual Worldfest-Houston International Film and Video Festival. They won in the categories of How To’s/Instructional for the video “Portacath” and in Medical/Treatments/Procedures for the video “Pulmonary Artery Catheter.” This year’s Worldfest received more than 4,300 entries from 31 countries.


Melinda Gerukos, Suzanne Box, Natalie Ramos and Nancy Shaw.The UTMB Access Center staff recently raised $650 for the Relay for Life Walk benefiting the American Cancer Society. The team, Melinda Gerukos, Suzanne Box, Neoki Evans, Natalie Ramos, Nancy Shaw, Bob Hewitt, Joe Amerman and Gail Farr, ranked 17th out of 29 teams.