Around campus

Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The Health Science Center collaborated recently with two other universities on research regarding the risk of genetic mutations when using assisted reproductive technologies. In other news around campus, three School of Nursing faculty members will present abstracts at an international council in Japan and the annual inventory is right around the corner.

HSC collaborates to study safety of assisted reproductive technologies

Contact: Will Sansom
Phone: (210) 567-2579

Christi Walter, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the department of cellular and structural biology, in the lab with some of her students.clear graphic
Christi Walter, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the department of cellular and structural biology, in the lab with some of her students. 

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San Antonio (Feb. 27, 2007) — Faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, collaborating with researchers at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and The University of Hawaii, have found that assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) do not increase the risk of genetic mutations in developing mouse fetuses. Results of the study are in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Although there have now been more than 3 million humans conceived by some form of ART, there have been very few studies of potential genetic abnormalities resulting from these methods. The results of our study in mice indicate that these methods do not lead to any increased risk of mutations,” said John McCarrey, Ph.D., UTSA professor of biology.

Dr. McCarrey and his graduate student, Patricia Murphey, along with collaborators Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Ph.D., and Yukiko Yamazaki, Ph.D., of The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, and Lee Caperton, M.D., Alex McMahan, Ph.D., and Christi Walter, Ph.D., of the Health Science Center, compared mice produced by at least five different ARTs with mice produced by natural reproduction. The five methods were in vitro fertilization (IVF), embryo transfer, pre-implantation culture, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and round spermatid injection. The scientists reviewed the DNA of each group looking for “point mutations,” genetic errors that are known to underlie many genetic diseases in humans.

The analysis was conducted using special mice that were genetically manipulated to enable researchers to readily count and characterize rare point mutations. DNA was extracted from fetuses at mid-gestation, about 10 days past conception.

“This study indicates that these methods of in vitro conception are not disrupting naturally occurring processes that function to maintain genetic integrity during embryonic development,” said Dr. Walter, professor and interim chair of the Health Science Center department of cellular and structural biology.

ARTs are now responsible for more than 1 percent of births in the U.S. and most Western countries. In some countries, such as Denmark, the figure is as high as 6 percent or more.

“We must make conception by assisted reproductive technologies as safe as, or even safer than, natural conception,” Dr. Yanagimachi said.

It has been 29 years since Louise Brown, the world’s first “test-tube baby,” was born with the assistance of IVF. Since then, otherwise infertile couples have frequently been counseled to utilize assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF. As societal trends continue to lead to increasing numbers of couples seeking these technologies, confirmation of the safety of these methods is critically important. The results of this study should reassure couples that there appears to be no increased risk of increased mutations as a result of ART methods, the authors concluded.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care industry, the leading sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, click on

Nursing faculty members to present abstracts at international council

Three department of acute nursing care faculty members were notified recently that their abstracts were accepted for the International Council of Nurses in June in Yokohama, Japan.

Kathleen A. Reeves, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S., C.M.S.R.N., assistant professor/clinical, will give a podium presentation titled “Utilization of human patient simulation to enhance undergraduate nursing students’ critical thinking and communication skills during crisis management.”

Mickey L. Parsons, Ph.D., M.H.A., R.N., and Carol Reineck, Ph.D., R.N., C.C.R.N., C.N.A.A.-B.C., C.O.I., have three presentations. Both are associate professors and Parsons also is coordinator of the graduate administration program.

Their two podium presentations are titled “Nurses at the forefront of disaster preparedness: A self-assessment tool to help nurses prepare and repair,” and “Preparing to deal with the unexpected through innovative workplace team strategies.”

They also have a poster presentation titled “Healthy workplaces: the foundation for preparing to deal with the unexpected.” The latter two publications will be presented with Clarice Golightly-Jenkins, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S., vice president for education and research at Methodist Hospital.

Inventory packets will be distributed Feb. 28

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Inventory packets used by individual departments to complete state-mandated annual property inventory for fiscal year 2007 will be distributed through campus mail on Feb. 28.

Included in the packets will be the departmental property listing, all necessary forms and detailed instructions regarding the annual inventory process. Also in the packets will be a list of contacts in the property control office who will be able to assist with any questions or concerns.

Please refer to Business Affairs Bulletin No. 3 – FY 2007, “FY 2007 Annual Physical Inventory Packets,” at

If you have any questions, please contact Kit Ramzinski, manager of property control, at or 210-562-6253

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