Faculty Educator of the Month: May 2008

Dr. Michelle C. Barton

Dr. Michelle C. Barton, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and faculty member in the Genes and Development Graduate Program, has been named the May 2008 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Over her career at MD Anderson, Dr. Barton has had a great deal of educational experience in a wide array of roles. For example, she has been an instructor for several courses at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS). She has also been the organizer for the Bioinformatics for Biologists course (2007) and a co-coordinator for the Current Topics in Genetics and Development course (2001-2004) at the GSBS.

Furthermore, from 2005 to 2007, Dr. Barton directed the Genes and Development Graduate Program, which is a biomedical research-oriented Ph.D. program focusing on the basic molecular mechanisms controlling cell growth and differentiation and underlying diseases. Specifically, students receive advanced training in several different areas, including developmental biology, genetics, cancer biology, structural biology, chromatin and gene regulation.

In addition, Dr. Barton has had a more direct hand in advancement of the education of trainees at MD Anderson and the GSBS. For example, she has directly supervised five undergraduate and allied health students, seven graduate students and five postdoctoral research fellows. Furthermore, she has served on 51 advisory committees, 26 supervisory committees and 37 examining committees while at MD Anderson.

Before coming to MD Anderson, Dr. Barton was the director of eukaryotic gene regulation at the University of Cincinnati (1998-2000). She also directly supervised several undergraduate and graduate students and summer interns and served on several advisory and supervisory committees.

Additionally, Dr. Barton is a member of the newly chartered Graduate Education Committee. One of her duties as a member of this committee is organization of a new international summer student exchange program. The first trainees in this program, four undergraduate students from Germany, will arrive at MD Anderson in June of this year.

In 2003, Dr. Barton was recognized for her educational contributions with the GSBS John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award. She has also received the Richard Akeson Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (1999), the Teacher of the Year Award from the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Cincinnati (1996) and the University of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award (1985).

Dr. Barton received her Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1989. She then went on to complete 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, Dr. Barton came to MD Anderson when she was named to her current positions of associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and faculty member in the Genes and Development Graduate Program. She was appointed co-director of the Genes and Development Graduate Program in 2004 and director in 2005.

In addition to her duties described above, Dr. Barton is a member of both the Executive Committee for the MD Anderson Center of Excellence for Epigenetic Research and the Internal Advisory Committee for the U54 Training Program Grant. Additionally, she has been a member of the Advisory Board and Steering Committee for the Biotechnology Program of Montgomery College in The Woodlands, TX. Dr. Barton also is a co-chair for the 61st Annual Symposium on Cancer Research and a member of the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee.

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

Over the course of her career as a researcher, Dr. Barton has authored more than 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, seven book chapters, four invited articles, two editorials and one book. She also is an editorial review board member for the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and Journal of Biological Chemistry, and she has been a reviewer for a long list of publications.