After a successful run that spanned five decades, the final Impact was published in January 2020.  Impact was UTMB Health’s employee newsletter. It evolved from a one color printed tabloid newspaper to a full color magazine with a digital component. We’ve archived the past several years on these pages for your review and enjoyment.

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Research Briefs

Oct 23, 2019, 01:10 AM by UTMB Media Relations Team

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Compiled from press releases written by Donna Ramirez, Kurt Koopmann and Christopher Smith Gonzalez. Find out more at


Research funding increases substantially in FY19 

In another example of the strength of UTMB’s research enterprise, total research grant award funding increased by $14.8 million to $139.5 million in FY19. Research funding increases from FY19 include: 

  • National Institutes of Health: $11.5 million 
  • Department of Defense: $6.5 million 
  • NASA: $624,000 
  • National Science Foundation: $244,000 
  • Other federal: $370,000 
  • State: $206,000 
  • Clinical trials revenue: $1.9 million 
  • UT System STARs Awards provided $3 million 
  • Recruitment awards from CPRIT and TIRR provided $6.7 million

UTMB’s focus on recruiting and retaining the highest-caliber research faculty, investing in state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and building fruitful collaborations across many disciplines will continue to advance health care for patients in Texas and beyond. 


Few male long-term opioid users screened for low testosterone 

Long-term opioid use previously has been linked with low testosterone in men. What has been unclear is how many men taking opioids had been screened or treated for low testosterone. 

A new study by UTMB researchers has found a very low rate of screening for low testosterone, a surprising finding given that a link is known. 

UTMB researchers conducted the first large-scale, nationally representative investigation of how many of the men with extended opioid prescriptions were screened and, if needed, treated for low testosterone. Although more men taking long-term opioids were screened for low testosterone than men who only took opioids for a short period, these rates were surprisingly lower than expected, based on previous, smaller studies. The findings are currently available in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes. 

Although the rate of low testosterone screening, diagnosis and treatment was higher among men with prolonged opioid prescriptions than those only taking opioids for a brief period, the rate was lower than expected. 


New medication shows promise for HIV-infected patients 
Researchers have discovered a new potential medication that works with an HIV-infected person’s own body to further suppress the ever-present but silent virus that available HIV treatments are unable to combat. 

Although the potential new drug could complement the current HIV anti-retroviral therapy (ART) medications, it may also be possible that it could lead to HIV remission without a lifetime of taking ART medications. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. 

HIV gets integrated into the infected person’s genetic coding and establishes a constant dormant infection, creating a big treatment challenge. Because of this, current ART medications fail to cure the virus and when someone stops the drug, the virus almost always begins to multiply and wreak havoc. Drug resistance is also a public health issue with the ART medications. Being able to induce a sustained HIV remission free of ART is an important goal for HIV treatment. 


UTMB researchers featured on world-reknowned podcast 

Drs. Jim LeDuc, Tom Ksiazek, Bob Tesh and C.J. Peters sat down Oct. 3 with the podcast team behind This Week in Virology to record an upcoming episode at Levin Hall on UTMB’s Galveston Campus. The episode, “Virus Hunters: Views from the Front Lines of Emerging Viral Diseases,” will be available on the podcast’s website at a later date. Check http://www. for more information.