October 14, 2014


Dr. Silke Paust, an assistant professor of human immunobiology at Baylor College of Medicine, recently won the prestigious “Women and Diversity Paper of the Year” award from the Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Her award-winning study titled, “Critical role for the chemokine receptor CXCR6 in NK cell-mediated antigen-specific memory of haptens and viruses” explores the long-lived immunological memory of natural killer cells in the liver and their potential to help scientists develop targeted vaccines to treat infection and disease.

“Natural killer cells have an immunological memory that allows for rapid and enhanced responses when the body is re-invaded by the same pathogen,” said Paust, the lead author of the study. “In order for the immune system to remember an antigen-specific vaccine, it’s important to have some aspect of the immune system that persists for a long period of time.”

Natural killer cells, a subset of white blood cells that target cancer cells and a wide variety of infectious microbes, binds to their target and deliver a lethal burst of toxins that puncture holes in the membrane of infected cells, killing them instantly.

In their study, Paust and her colleagues injected laboratory mice with influenza and HIV vaccines to test whether natural killer cells in the liver remembered previous antigen-specific vaccinations. They found that specific subsets of natural killer cells found in the mouse liver developed long-lived and highly specific memory to a variety of antigens, which is critical to mediating a sufficient and protective immune response of protection.

When our bodies are exposed to a virus or other foreign invader, the immune system activates many immune cells to fight off infection. After the threat has passed, most of the cells die, however, memory natural killer cells remain in the body, similarly to memory T and B cells. When encountered by the same antigen again, memory immune cells respond rapidly resulting in a more powerful immune response.

Through Paust’s research, an additional cell type that can now be targeted for vaccination has been identified. “Natural killer cells are attractive targets for therapeutic intervention for the prevention and treatment of human disease, such as cancers and viral infection,” said Paust.

Paust will present her research at the 2014 Society for Leukocyte Biology and the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society Joint Conference which will be held October 23 – 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

September 23, 2014


Read the newest “Super Star” Q&A featuring Estella Tam, Pathology. “A super star employee is someone who enjoys and has compassion for what he or she does,” Tam said. “A super star also is someone who strives for excellence and willing to be a F.A.T. – Faithful, Available and Teachable.”

Check out her Q&A, and find out how you can nominate a Super Star to be featured in the “Super Star” section on Connect.




Q&A: Estella Tam, July 2014 Employee

1. Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Estella Tam, B.S., MT-ASCP, technical supervisor, Pathology Main Campus. I have been at Texas Children’s Hospital 32 years.

2. What month are you Super Star for?
July 2014

3. Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was paged to see my assistant director, Mr. Aaron West, one afternoon. He said we had to go to a meeting in the conference room and our VP, Mr. John Nickens was there waiting for us. He opened the door and to my surprise, the room was filled with Pathology leadership team and Mr. West made the announcement of me being selected as July Super Star Employee. It was totally a surprise!

4. What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do?
It was truly an honor to be recognized for the work I do. This award also goes to all my wonderful coworkers, my leaders and medical directors supporting me every day.

5. What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
A super star employee is someone who enjoys and has compassion for what he or she does and does it well beyond the call of duty, is willing to learn and take new challenges, be flexible and ready to adopt changes, be humble and respect others, be willing to help even if it is inconvenient, strives for excellence and to be a F.A.T. – Faithful, Available and Teachable.

6. What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I come to serve our patients, their families and my coworkers. Having a sick child is very stressful for the family. I want to do my best providing timely and accurate lab results for the physicians taking care of the patients. I personally know a few premature babies who came through our NICU, and now they are beautiful adults. I understand how important my job is working together with my coworkers to provide the service.

7. What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about working at Texas Children’s is knowing that every day I make a little difference in someone’s life. It does not matter if it’s providing lab results or helping someone find their way. I am encouraged by the hospital’s mission and vision finding the best way to improve the health of children through research and education. This is my “home away home” for the past 32 years, and I am proud to be part of the Texas Children’s Hospital family.

8. Anything else you want to share?
I am thankful for my leaders and coworkers’ encouragement and support helping me grow professionally and personally. I am blessed working with a wonderful team in Pathology. Even though we don’t have much patient contact working in the lab, the samples that we work with each day are not just a number but are precious samples from patients. It inspires me seeing my coworkers pursuit of excellence in doing their work providing diagnostic tools. We are part of the caring team behind the scene.


The Clinical Research Center (CRC) presented the Clinical Research Award for Third Quarter 2014 to Kathleen Pitts, nurse practitioner, Department of Allergy & Immunology, Pulmonary, and Asthma Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine.

The award was established by the Clinical Research Center in collaboration with the Research Resources Office to recognize and honor individual contributions to protecting the best interest of the research subjects and compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

Ms. Pitts research activities in the CRC focus on allergy, asthma and pulmonary related issues.

Congratulations to Kathleen Pitts.

September 9, 2014

DrTracyPatel320Watch the newest “I am Texas Children’s” video featuring employee Dr. Tracy Patel in West Campus – Diabetes and Endocrinology. “Texas Children’s is a wonderful place to learn and practice medicine.

I came here as a trainee in 2007 and decided to pursue my career here. It’s been a rewarding experience taking care of so many diverse patients.”

Check out her video, and find out how you and your coworkers can be featured in the “I Am Texas Children’s” section on Connect.


August 19, 2014
Dr. Milton Finegold (right), chief emeritus, Department of Texas Children’s Pathology, congratulates Finegold Award recipients Cherish Sullivan (from left), daughter of Yovaletta Sullivan, Labor and Delivery; Kayla Evans, daughter of Danyalle Evans, Nursing Float Pool; and Paolo De Jesus, son of Ruby De Jesus, 10 WT/Neurology/Neurosurgery/Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Finegold established the scholarship in 1985 in memory of his wife, Joan, a nurse, to help the children of Texas Children’s registered nurses fulfill their educational goals. The applicant (registered nurse) must be an employee of Texas Children’s for a minimum of two years on or before May 1 of the year of application.

August 12, 2014

Watch the newest “I am Texas Children’s” video featuring employee Dana Gonzales in West Campus – Diabetes/Endocrine Care Center. “As a pediatric nurse, I love taking care of children and providing support to their families. There’s always room to grow and learn new things at Texas Children’s.” Check out her video, and find out how you and your coworkers can be featured in the “I Am Texas Children’s” section on Connect.

July 15, 2014


For the second year in a row, Texas Children’s has received the “Most Wired” designation for outstanding health care-based technology from Hospitals & Health Network Magazine – the flagship publication of the American Hospital Association.

“Earning Most Wired designation for two consecutive years is a tribute to the hard work of Information Services and our many partners at Texas Children’s,” said Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services (IS). “It also reflects the foresight of the administration to recognize the role innovative technology can play in supporting world-class patient care.”

Now in its 16th year, the Most Wired Survey polls hospitals and health systems nationwide regarding their IT initiatives. Hospitals that lead the way in technological achievement receive Most Wired designation. Surveys completed in 2014 represent more than 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals.

In 2013, Texas Children’s received its first-ever Most Wired recognition, as well as a Most Wired Innovator Award for innovative use of information technology for the Voalte Rapid Communication Project.

New Most Wired standards
Most Wired adopted a new, more-stringent analytic structure for the survey this year. Rather than technology adoption, recognition for IT excellence among hospitals and health systems is now based more on an organization’s meaningful use based on federal requirements for certified electronic health records.

“Hospital leaders should be commended for the hard work they’ve done under an unrealistic time frame,” states Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The Information Services team will receive the award in San Diego later this month at the 2014 Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit, where senior executives from the nation’s leading hospitals and health systems will discuss the critical issues facing their organizations and network to find the solutions they need to be more successful.