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Ricardo G. Cigarroa, M.D., and his wife, Lisa (third and fourth from left), honored Dr. David Hillis (second from right)

HSC Champions

March 2009

We are grateful to all of our donors for their continued support and generosity. We recognize just a few of the gifts that enable the university to provide the best in health care careers education, biomedical research, patient care and community service to San Antonio and the South Texas/Border Region. Thank you for helping us make lives better!
  • A $500,000 gift from Ricardo G. Cigarroa, M.D., establishes the L. David Hillis, M.D. Endowed Chair in Medicine. Dr. Hillis is chair of the Department of Medicine and holds the Dan Parman Distinguished Professorship. (Pictured above) Ricardo G. Cigarroa, M.D., and his wife, Lisa (third and fourth from left), honored Dr. David Hillis by creating the L. David Hillis, M.D. Endowed Chair in Medicine. Joining Dr. and Mrs. Cigarroa were (L-R) UT Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., and William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs. (Also pictured L-R) Don Seldin, M.D., professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; David Hillis, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio; and Richard A. Lange, professor and executive vice chair of medicine within the Department of Medicine, also attended the celebration, along with numerous faculty and community leaders.

  • Through the American Heart Association and the generous support of the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund, seven grants totaling $980,000 are supporting the research of faculty members in the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The scientists are studying a variety of problems associated with heart disease including aging and hypertension; infections of the heart; blood loss in trauma patients; chronic sustained hypoxia; heart attacks and diabetic kidney disease. Their goal is to develop enhanced therapies.

  • A gift of $18,110 from David and Jennifer Spencer in memory of Mrs. Nancy Blumer, mother of Jennifer Spencer, will support ovarian cancer research led by Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Curiel, executive director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, is developing new methods to eradicate the defense mechanisms of cancer cells. His innovative work is being tested in human clinical trials.

  •   In his lab at the CTRC, Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H., (right) shows the Spencer family – David and Jennifer with their sons (L-R), Steven, Matthew and Benjamin – how using his novel approach to immune therapy (depleting the rogue immune cell that inhibits immunity) produces positive clinical effects in cancer treatment in mice.
    Dr. Tyler Curiel (right) demonstrates his research for the Spencer family in his lab at the CTRC.
  • The Baptist Health Foundation has provided more than $700,000 to support the research of Michael Escamilla, M.D., titled "Early Interventions for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia in at-Risk Youth" and to continue the program "Diabetes Risk Reduction via Community-based Telehealth: Project DiRReCT" led by Daniel Hale, M.D. Dr. Escamilla is the Mary Weir Professor in Psychiatry and Dr. Hale is professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes. Their gift also provides scholarships to deserving students in all five schools at the Health Science Center.

  • The 17th annual San Antonio Express-News Book & Author Luncheon held in October 2008 in San Antonio raised more than $170,000 to support the Phase I Clinical Research Program at the CTRC. Over its history, since 1991, the event has raised a total of $2 million in gifts.

  • A gift of $42,500 from the Shelby Rae Tengg Foundation and the Helen Freeborn Kerr Charitable Foundation through Bank of America is funding research to enhance targeted therapies to treat multiple myeloma, brain tumors and other cancers of the head and neck. The researchers are Joseph K. Agyin, Ph.D., and Luiz O. Penalva, Ph.D., of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, and Randal A. Otto, M.D., professor and the Thomas W. Folbre, M.D., Endowed Chair in the Department of Otolaryngology and physician in chief of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

  • John Booth, a native of Laredo, has contributed $40,000 to the President’s Council. This is the largest single gift from an individual to the President’s Council. His donation will support the priorities of the president for the Health Science Center.


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