Faculty Educator of the Month: November 2013

Dr. Michelle C. Barton

Dr. Michelle C. Barton, Dean of The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS), Co-Director of the MD Anderson Center for Stem Cell and Developmental Biology, and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has been named the November 2013 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Dr. Barton’s commitment to the education of young scientists was reflected by her appointment as Dean of the GSBS. In this position, she oversees the school’s policies and procedures, performs long-range and strategic planning for the GSBS, maintains the school’s associations with MD Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and oversees fund-raising and capital planning for the GSBS.

In addition, Dr. Barton has been a GSBS faculty member since 2000, serving as an Instructor, Lecturer, Organizer, or Co-coordinator for 15 courses and as a member of the Genes and Development Ph.D. Program at MD Anderson, in which trainees learn about the molecular mechanisms of cellular growth and differentiation related to cancer and other diseases. Specific areas of training in this program include developmental biology, genetics, cancer biology, structural biology, and chromatin and gene regulation.

Dr. Barton has been directly involved with guiding trainees at MD Anderson and the GSBS in other ways, as well. For example, she has chaired or served on 89 advisory committees, 65 examining committees, and 64 supervisory committees. Furthermore, she has directly supervised 17 graduate students, 11 undergraduate and Allied Health students, and 9 postdoctoral research fellows.

In addition to her duties described above, Dr. Barton is a member of the Executive Committee for the MD Anderson Center of Excellence for Epigenetic Research and one of four MD Anderson principal investigators for the U54 Training Program Grant. She also is a consultant for the Beta Cell Biology Consortium, which was established by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and has been a consultant for Cellcentric, Ltd., in the United Kingdom and Montgomery College in The Woodlands. Before coming to MD Anderson, Dr. Barton was the Director of Eukaryotic Gene Regulation at the University of Cincinnati (1998-2000). Additionally, she directly supervised several undergraduate and graduate students and summer interns and served on several advisory and supervisory committees.

Dr. Barton’s educational efforts were recognized with an Ashbel Smith Professorship in 2011. Also, she received the Paul Darlington Award for Outstanding Mentoring from the GSBS and was named to The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education in 2012. In 2010, Dr. Barton was reappointed to the GSBS faculty with the highest commendation, and in 2009, she received the Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award from the MD Anderson Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Barton also received the MD Anderson Cancer Center Faculty Achievement Award in Education in 2008.

Dr. Barton received her Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1989. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at The Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, in 1994. That same year, she was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Cincinnati Medical School.

In 2000, after being promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, Dr. Barton came to MD Anderson when she was named an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a faculty member at the GSBS. She served as Co-director of the Genes and Development Program from 2004 to 2005 and Director from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Barton was promoted to Professor in 2008 and appointed Co-Director of the MD Anderson Center for Stem Cell and Developmental Biology in 2009 and Dean of the GSBS in 2012.

Over the past 5 years, Dr. Barton has been the principal investigator or project leader for seven funded research projects. In addition, she has been a grant reviewer for numerous agencies and study sections. Dr. Barton also holds a U.S. patent.

Dr. Barton has been a member of the editorial review boards for three journals, and she has been a reviewer for a long list of publications. Over the span of her career, Dr. Barton has written more than 50 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, 12 invited articles, 9 book chapters, and 2 editorials.