Five receive 2017 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award

Five exceptional University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine alumni were announced in June as the 2017 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus award winners. The newly inducted awardees include Dr. Milton L. Routt Jr., class of 1983; Dr. R. Bruce Shack, class of 1973; Dr. Ned Snyder III, class of 1970; Dr. Robert H. Squires Jr., class of 1977; and Dr. James R. Winn, class of 1967. The award honors the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith who was instrumental in establishing The University of Texas at Austin and the medical branch in Galveston. To read more about this year’s distinguished alumni go to

Media relations win awards for Zika education

The medical branch’s media relations team won two regional awards for their efforts in educating and explaining the Zika virus to the public. The media relations team was awarded first place in the Houston American Marketing Association’s Crystal Awards and first place (Gold) in the Houston Public Relations Society of America Excalibur Awards. When the Zika crisis began, medical branch scientists were some of the few well-respected researchers who had actually worked on the virus. Working with the media relations team, the knowledge, insight and experience those experts have was shared via the news media, social media and other outlets.

Keiller Building, the foundation of world-renowned research at UTMB

The Keiller Building on the Galveston campus, which opened in 1925 as the laboratory building, was the first free-standing structure on the medical branch campus dedicated to the basic sciences. It was renamed for Dr. William Keiller, founding faculty member, anatomy professor, dean and prolific medical illustrator. Today, the historic, state-of-the-art facility is home to the pathology department and the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, critical elements of the medical branch’s world-renowned infectious disease programs.

Wang receives grant for chikungunya vaccine research

Tian Wang was awarded $2,939,058 from the National Institutes of Health to further develop a vaccine against chikungunya, which was recently ranked the number two priority for global vaccine needs.

Geisbert receives $6 million to fight Crimean-Congo fever

Thomas Geisbert was awarded $6 million from the National Institutes of Health to develop a potential medical therapy to be used in the fight against Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, a tick-borne disease that is often fatal.