• Deadly bacterial infection linked to room spray

    Samples taken by CDC from a bottle of the Better Homes and Gardens Lavender & Chamomile aromatherapy room spray in the home of the Georgia victim found the presence of burkholderia pseudomallei, something known to cause meliodosis, primarily a disease of tropical climates, according to the CDC. Dr. Alfredo G. Torres, professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UTMB, talked about the bacteria and the possible but rare disease on “Morning in America.”

  • As healthcare staff leave profession, others rise through school

    Dr. Timothy Harlin has a lot that could keep him up at night, and what’s always on his mind is the burnout and demand on his staff at UTMB. “Burnout is very, very real and something that keeps me very concerned,” said Harlin, the executive vice president and CEO of UTMB. “We have to create a culture where people want to stay. They’re part of a family at UTMB. They feel they have a voice. They feel that we really do emphasize quality and that we are not just in the business of grinding through employees.”

  • Psychiatric prescriptions up during pandemic, especially among women

    These increases point to significant mental health effects of COVID-19-related mitigation measures, particularly among women, researchers noted in a cohort study published in JAMA Network Open. “Most health care resources were focused on non-psychiatric aspects of COVID-19,” said Sadaf Arefi Milani, PhD, MPH, of the department of internal medicine-geriatrics and palliative medicine at UTMB. “We were interested in seeing if the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation measures exacerbated the already higher rates of mental health conditions and psychiatric prescriptions among women.”

  • Blue Origin and Sierra Space unveil plans for commercial space station

    Blue Origin and Sierra Space are leading development of a privately funded space station known as "Orbital Reef" to provide a commercial destination in low-Earth orbit after the International Space Station is retired. UTMB is a member of the Orbital Reef University Advisory Council, a global consortium of universities with expertise in space and microgravity research.

  • COVID Help Desk: How quickly are vaccine rates rising?

    COVID vaccine trials are ongoing at the Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB, the nation’s largest high-security containment facility on an academic campus. Three or four candidates have shown positive results in pre-clinical studies in animals and could reach clinical trials next year, said Dr. Scott Weaver, the laboratory’s scientific director. But those vaccines, which are designed to create better protection than the existing shots, face financial obstacles, he said.

  • Months early and a century behind: Why we know so little about preterm births

    One in 10 babies is born preterm; that is, more than three weeks before the baby’s due date. And, despite the anguish hundreds of thousands of families go through each year—and the billions of dollars it takes to care for the children—little is known about what causes premature births or how to prevent them. “Every time I’m asked by a patient, ‘why did this happen?’ My answer is typically, ‘we don’t know.’ And I’m tired of having to answer, ‘we don’t know,’” said Dr. George Saade, the chief of obstetrics at UTMB and the former president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the professional organization for obstetricians who specialize in high-risk pregnancies.

  • Not all heroes wear capes — some sport feathers

    Chickens are useful for monitoring West Nile Virus and St. Louis encephalitis because they don’t get sick from those viruses. A bird bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus will develop antibodies but won’t get sick, said Dr. Scott Weaver, the director of the Institute for Human Infections & Immunity at UTMB. “It’s probably the best way to know if a virus like West Nile is circulating in the area,” Weaver said. “With a sentinel chicken, you’re kind of sampling a lot of mosquitoes with one chicken. If that chicken is sitting in its coop getting bit by dozens of mosquitoes a day, you end up with the equivalent of sampling thousands of mosquitoes with one bird.”

  • COVID Help Desk: How can Houstonians stay safe this Halloween?

    Dr. Susan McLellan, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch, has rules for having a COVID-safe Halloween: be vaccinated (if you’re old enough), wear a mask, don’t go to large indoor gatherings, and don’t breathe in each other’s faces.

  • Texas A&M, UTMB construction bill with $90M for Galveston heading to Abbott

    Texas lawmakers agreed Oct. 18 on a revenue bond package to pay for construction and major maintenance projects at universities. Under the bill, UTMB would get $59.9 million. The amounts differ from a bill passed out of the Senate last week. In that bill, the medical branch was slated to receive more than $87 million. The medical branch would use the money for infrastructure and research upgrades, officials said last week.