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VGT Activities and Opportunities

The UT-Houston GSBS Blaffer/Keck Seminar Series in Virology and Gene Therapy

The Blaffer/Keck Seminar Series in Virology and Gene Therapy is a program where GSBS faculty host a visiting world-renowned scientist for a day, with opportunities for GSBS students to talk with the lecturer in a casual setting, followed by a public seminar on their current research. These occur approximately monthly.

Recent guests include:

Invited Scientists 2004

  • Frank McCormick, Ph.D. , Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of California, San Francisco, CA, “New Developments in Viral Therapy” Aug. 12, 2004
  • Nancy Smyth Templeton, Ph.D. , Assistant Professor, Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, “Optimization of Non-Viral Vectors and Gene Expression” Jul. 22, 2004
  • Frederick Alt, Ph.D. , Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Genetics, Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, “ Role of Histones and Non-homologous DNA End Joining in Suppressing Genomic Instability, Lymphomas, and Solid Tumors ” Apr. 13, 2004
  • Satoru Kyo, M.D., Ph.D. , Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kanazawa University, School of Medicine, Ishikawa, Japan, “Molecular Mechanisms of Telomerase Regulation and the Clinical Application” Jan. 29, 2004
  • Jaquelin P. Dudley, Ph.D. , Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, The University of Texas, Austin, TX, “Using Retroviruses to Identify Factors Important for Breast Cancer and Lymphoma” Jan. 8, 2004

Invited Scientists 2003

  • Joseph B. McCormick, M.D. , Dean and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, The UT School of Public Health, Brownsville, TX, “From the Field to the Bench: The Saga of Lassa Fever in West Africa” Aug. 28, 2003
  • Cristof von Kalle, M.D. , Associate Professor, Program Leader for Molecular and Gene Therapy, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, “Surprising Findings of Clonal Contribution in Gene Modified Hematopoiesis” Jul. 24, 2003
  • Shinji Makino, Ph.D. , Professor of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, "SARS-Associated Coronavirus" Jun. 26, 2003
  • Jay A. Levy, M.D. , Professor of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, “Importance of Innate Immunity in Preventing HIV Infection and Progression to Disease” Apr. 24, 2003
  • Glenn Barber, Ph.D. , “Host Defense, Viruses and Malignant Disease” Apr. 10, 2003
  • Dmitry M. Shayakhmetov, M.D. Ph.D. , Acting Assistant Professor, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, "Development of Adenovirus Vectors for Gene Therapy Applications" Mar. 27, 2003
  • Richard Vile, Ph.D. , “Gene and Immunotherapy for Cancer: Making the Tumor a Dangerous Place to Die” Feb. 13, 2003

Invited Scientists 2002 - 2001

  • Alan Barrett, Ph.D. , “Introduction of West Nile Virus in the United States: 1999, 2002 and Beyond” Nov. 21, 2002
  • Yuri Lazebnek, Ph.D. , “Oncogenic Transformation as an Activator of Apoptosis” Oct. 24, 2002
  • Leonard Herzenberg, Ph.D. , Stanford University, “The History and Future of the Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter (FACS) and Flow Cytometry” Jun. 13, 2002
  • Richard C. Mulligan, Ph.D. , “New Strategies for Cell and Gene Therapy” Apr. 25, 2002
  • H. Kim Lyerly, M.D. , “The Evaluation of Immune Responses to Cancer Vaccines” Feb. 28, 2002
Timothy L. Ratliff, Ph.D. , “Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer” Dec. 13, 2001
  • Steven K. Libbuti, M.D. , “Approaches for the Antiangiogenic Gene Therapy of Cancer” Sep. 12, 2001

VGT Retreat

We had our third VGT Retreat at Space Center Houston.  Everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed the research presentations given by our guest speakers.  It was a wonderful learning experience for all of the students.


Virology:  "Challenges of biomedical research in space," virology studies by Dr. Lak Putcha and Dr. Satish Mehta of NASA

Gene Therapy:  "Gene therapy:  perspectives," by Frank Marini, Ph.D.

Students also gave presentations of their research at the retreat. Presentations were evaluated by program faculty, with each student receiving relevant feedback. Awards were based on the faculty evaluations. 

Student Awards

  • First Place: Erin White, "GCN2 is required for adenovirus-mediated autophagy"
  • Second Place(tie): Hua Sun, "Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) regulates apoB via a post-transcriptional mechanism"
  • Second Place(tie): Ming Li, "Characterization of the role(s) of ENV protein of human endogenous retrovirus K in human breast cancers"
  • Third Place: Danielle McGrath: "Insights into Daptomycin resistance in Enterococci"
  • Fourth Place: Bingnan Yin, "Identification of HERV K ENV-derived epitopes for peptide-based cancer vaccines"

 Hungry For Science

We have lunch meetings every few months to catch up and get out of the lab.  We also hold meetings when a fellow student needs help preparing or practicing for committee meeting presentations, the candidacy exam or anything else!


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center