Texas Medical Center



Thomas Burke, M.D., executive vice president and physician-in-chief at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will be honored with the President’s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty. His remarks will address gender inclusiveness. Burke joined the faculty of MD Anderson in 1988 and was appointed professor in 1998. In 2007, he was named executive vice president and physician-in-chief, an appointment he held through 2013 when he was named executive vice president, MD Anderson Cancer Network. Burke is a practicing gynecologic oncology surgeon whose clinical and research work focuses on vulvar and endometrial cancers.

Michael Laposata, M.D., Ph.D., has been named the new chairman of the department of pathology at UTMB. He has been serving as the executive vice chairman of pathology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as well as director of the division of laboratory medicine and clinical laboratories. Laposata received his medical and doctoral degrees in the biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology program from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral research fellowship and residency in clinical pathology at Washington University in St. Louis. Laposata’s research has focused on fatty acid metabolism, and his distinguished academic background includes more than 170 publications. In 2005, he was recognized by the Institute of Quality in Laboratory Medicine of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for innovation in the interpretation of laboratory data. He will begin in his new role on July 1.

Catherine “Cathy” Moniaci, R.N., M.S., has been appointed administrator of Shriners Hospital for Children Houston, having served as acting administrator for the past several months. Moniaci joined the hospital staff in 1997 as the director of Patient Care Services and was promoted to director of operations in 2012. Moniaci is responsible for the efficient and smooth operation of the daily oversight of the 40-bed hospital, which provides pediatric orthopaedic, cleft lip and palate, inpatient rehabilitation, and sub-acute specialty care.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., Stanley C. Moore Professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University, was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award. Richards-Kortum is director of both Beyond Traditional Borders and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technology and oversees the Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Laboratory. For two decades, Richards-Kortum has focused on translating research that integrates advances in nanotechnology and molecular imaging with microfabrication technologies to develop portable optical imaging systems that are inexpensive and provide point-of-care diagnosis.

Daniel Timms, Ph.D., head of the BiVACOR total artificial heart program at Texas Heart Institute, has been nominated “Person of the Year” by bmag, a leading lifestyle magazine in Brisbane, Australia. Timms, who graduated with a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology, was nominated for his invention of the BiVACOR total artificial heart, which is currently undergoing research and development at Texas Heart Institute. Unlike previous artificial hearts, the BiVACOR is pulseless and delivers a steady stream of blood throughout the body without the pumping action of the heart, making the BiVACOR less likely to wear out than a pulsatile pump. Timms’ invention is half the size of earlier models and could be fitted to women and children. Human trials are at least five years away.

Zeenat Safdar, M.D., associate professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, has been named director of Baylor Pulmonary Hypertension Program.  Zeenat joined Baylor in 2005 after being recruited from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, St.Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York. She has been the recipient of two Fulbright & Jaworski L. L. P. Faculty Excellence Award in Educational Leadership and Teaching and Evaluation. She was inducted as a member of the Academy of Distinguished Educators in 2011. She has served as principal investigator for federally funded projects and holds numerous appointments, leadership and advisory positions in healthcare and academic medicine organizations.