Seven UT Health Science Center faculty members promoted; one new faculty member hired

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler recently promoted five biomedical research faculty members, two clinical faculty members, and hired one new biomedical research faculty member.

The biomedical research faculty who received promotions are Zissis Chroneos, Ph.D.; Susan Howard, Ph.D.; Anna Kurdowska, Ph.D.; Usha Pendurthi, Ph.D.; and Hua Tang, Ph.D.

The new faculty member is Andrey Komissarov, Ph.D.

In addition, Timothy Allen, MD, was promoted to professor of pathology and Chiagozie Nwasuruba, MD, was promoted to professor of medicine.

Dr. Allen, who also has a law degree, is the only pulmonary pathologist in North Texas and one of only about 100 in the world.

He is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology as well as cytopathology, the study of cellular changes caused by disease. Dr. Allen joined UTHSCT in 2004.

Dr. Nwasuruba is certified as a specialist in clinical hypertension by the American Society of Hypertension.

He also is board certified in internal medicine. Dr. Nwasuruba joined UTHSCT in 1996.

In research, Dr. Chroneos was promoted to associate professor of biochemistry. Dr. Chroneos, who joined UTHSCT in 2000, specializes in the study of the lungs’ surfactant.

This detergent-like chemical lines the air sacs in the lungs and helps reduce the force needed to inflate them.

Dr. Howard was promoted to associate professor of microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. Howard’s research focuses on determining how tuberculosis bacteria regulate their responses to environmental stress. She joined UTHSCT in 2001.

Dr. Kurdowska was promoted to professor of biochemistry. Dr. Kurdowska, who joined UTHSCT in 1991, studies the function of specialized receptors on the cell surface that are essential components of the cell’s response to pathogens.

Understanding the regulatory roles the receptors play in lung inflammation or injury, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and other diseases will aid development of novel therapeutic agents to treat these diseases.

Dr. Pendurthi was promoted to professor of molecular biology. She studies blood coagulation, how to prevent blood clotting, and how the clotting process affects the health of blood vessels and the progression of cancer. Dr. Pendurthi joined UTHSCT in 1993.

Dr. Tang was promoted to associate professor of biochemistry. Dr. Tang, who joined UTHSCT in 2001, investigates how a specific group of enzymes regulates inflammation in blood vessels.

New faculty member Dr. Komissarov comes to UTHSCT from Portland State University in Portland, Ore., where he was a research assistant professor.

He has a Ph.D. in the chemistry of natural compounds from Moscow State University in Russia.

Dr. Komissarov’s area of research is the role of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a chemical involved in lung injury and lung malignancies.

PAI-1 hinders the process that breaks up blood clots and promotes blood clotting and the deposition of fibrin, an insoluble protein, when the lungs or pleural space around the lungs are injured.

Dr. Komissarov’s research could lead to new therapies to treat lung diseases, as well as injuries to the lungs.

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