• In Uvalde's wake, Houston doctors stress need for more research funding, bipartisan policy change

    As more facts in the Uvalde shooting come to light, Republican lawmakers continue to point to mental illness as the underlying cause of gun violence. But that is a “politically expedient” excuse that does not bear out with existing research, said Dr. Jeff Temple, director of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “We do need resources for mental health, but the fact is less than 5 percent of all gun violence is traced back to someone with a diagnosed mental illness.” Temple published a study in 2019 that found “individuals who had access to guns, compared to those with no such access, were over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun, even after controlling for a number of demographic and mental health variables.” Temple also discussed how people cope with these tragedies on KCBS Radio and Town Square on Houston Public Media. “The very best thing you could do is talk with your kids and start that conversation,” Temple said on Texas Standard. “Silence actually tells the kids that what happened is so horrible that you can’t even speak of it or that you’re scared that it’s going to happen again.”

  • UTMB-Novartis alliance receives $56 Million for pandemic drug development

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded the partnership, the UTMB-Novartis Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness, a $56 million grant to establish one of nine Antiviral Drug Discovery Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern. The center will operate in Galveston and be led by principal investigator Dr. Pei-Yong Shi, a renowned virologist who has been researching coronavirus and other pathogens at the medical branch since 2016. “This research is so important to the global community, not just to Galveston, and there are so many global benefits,” Shi said. Other news outlets reported this news, including Pharma Business International, Health IT Analytics, Trendeepro and Drugs Watch.

  • UTMB lab 'gearing up' to help respond to monkeypox outbreak

    The University of Texas Medical Branch’s World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses has samples of monkeypox from past outbreaks and has started to grow more samples of the virus to distribute to other research labs working on diagnostic tools and treatments. The medical branch is home to one of the leading viral research programs in the world and has grown and distributed other viral samples to researchers in past outbreaks, including early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re gearing up to produce large amounts of those viruses to distribute to scientists who need them,” said Scott Weaver, the director of the Institute for Human Infections & Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

  • Hybrid work becomes employee expectation for some jobs

    At the University of Texas Medical Branch, different departments have different virtual work policies, said Philesha Evans, associate vice president of human resources operations and employee health. Health-care workers have to show up, but the medical branch has many office workers. “A more commonly asked question during the interview process now on the part of the candidate is ‘Am I able to work some or all of this job from home?’” Evans said.

  • UTMB partners with El Paso campus to improve medical imaging

    A partnership has evolved between the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Texas at El Paso to improve accuracy of medical imaging. The partnership came to be when the two worked together to develop a framework to improve the accuracy of lung segmentation shown in chest X-ray analyses. “We set out to bridge clinical expertise at UTMB with computational expertise at UT El Paso to develop machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to better advance predictive diagnostics and clinical care,” said Alexander Vo, University of Texas Medical Branch commercialization and strategic ventures vice president and chief.

  • Opinion: Celebrating healthcare workers brings joy

    Publisher Yvonne Mintz wrote an editorial about a recent event in Angleton to recognize UTMB employees. “My heart swelled and eyes filled as Dr. Timothy Harlin, CEO of UTMB Health medical branch addressed his team and those who came to support them, taking us back to March 2020,” Mintz wrote. “While most of the world was working from home, shellshocked, healthcare workers donned whatever personal protective equipment they could find and held the hands of fearful, very sick patients. They cried with them when we, their daughters, sons, wives and husbands, could not.”

  • Do pregnant moms need a COVID booster?

    Women are at higher risk of serious complications from COVID when they’re pregnant. Should they get a COVID booster? Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp examine the question in the recent Vaccine Smarts column.

  • Lupus, certain gene mutation lead to kidney damage

    Lupus is a scary disease, and it can be common. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, causing inflammation and damage to various organs. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss research about a connection to kidney damage.

  • Hobbies can improve our mental, physical health

    “The primary reason hobbies are good is because they force you to take time for yourself,” writes Dr. Samuel Mathis. “Hobbies count as part of the 10 in the 0-5-10-20-30 of the formula for healthy living (0 cigarettes, 5 servings of veggies and fruits a day, 10 minutes of daily mindfulness, 20 minutes of exercise a day, and a body mass index less than 30).”