November 11, 2014

Two research residents with the Department of Surgery were recently recognized at the International Pediatric Surgical Oncology and International Society of Pediatric Oncology meeting in Toronto.

Dr. Yan Shi won best overall paper for his work on “MDM4 is a Potential Novel Therapeutic Target in Hepatoblastoma.” Shi is a research resident in the lab of Dr. Sanjeev Vasudevan, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s and an assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Yesenia Rojas’ paper, “Adrenocortical Carcinoma in Children: A Review of the National Cancer Database,” was chosen as one of four papers presented in the “Best of International Pediatric Surgical Oncology” session and will be fast-tracked for rapid publication in “Pediatric Blood and Cancer.” Rojas is a research resident in the lab of Dr. Jed Nuchtern, who is chief of pediatric surgery at Texas Children’s.

November 4, 2014


Advanced Practice Providers got a special visit from Dr. Patch Adams at their annual luncheon. Adams gained fame after being portrayed by Robin Williams in the Hollywood movie named for him.

Award recipients were:

Nurse Practitioner of the Year: Jessica Geer
Physician Assistant of the Year: Teri Baierlipp
Advanced Practice Provider Preceptor of the Year: Lois Tracy
Advanced Practice Provider Novice of the Year: Jennifer Barrera
Physician Partner of the Year: Dr. Terry Yen


Dr. Joshua Shulman recently received the prestigious Grass Foundation-American Neurological Association (ANA) award in Neuroscience at the annual ANA conference in Baltimore. This award recognizes young investigators for their outstanding contributions to neuroscience research.

Shulman is an investigator at the Jan and Dan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s and an assistant professor of neurology, neuroscience, and molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine.

His current research explores the genetic susceptibility and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. His work integrates genetic investigation in human subjects and fruit fly models, with the goal of understanding brain function and aging, and improving the treatment of neurologic disease.

Shulman received a B.A. in biochemical sciences from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in genetics from Cambridge University in Cambridge, MA. He earned his medical degree and M.M.Sc degree in clinical investigation from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively.

Shulman completed his residency and fellowship training in the Harvard/Partners Neurology Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Before moving to Houston, he was an associate neurologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Among his previous honors, Shulman received a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the C.W. Cotterman Award from the American Society of Human Genetics.

Click here to learn more about Shulman’s research at the NRI.

October 14, 2014

Watch the newest “I am Texas Children’s” video featuring employee Rachael Walker in West Campus – Child Life.

“I’ve worked at Texas Children’s for almost 10 years. What makes it a great place to work are the people, the services we provide and the stellar reputation that we have in the community.”

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.


Dr. Larry Hollier, Jr., chief of Plastic Surgery at Texas Children’s, was recently appointed chairman of Smile Train’s medical advisory board. Smile Train is the largest cleft charity in the world with a mission of identifying teams of physicians and healthcare providers worldwide who are capable of performing surgery on children with cleft lip and palate problems.

In his role as chairman of the organization’s medical advisory board, Dr. Hollier supervises a group of physicians and healthcare providers from countries around the world to ensure Smile Train provides the safest care for these children.

Dr. Hollier has been on numerous trips sponsored by Smile Train to Haiti, both before and after the earthquake in 2010. With the help of other local organizations, he also has traveled to Southeast Asia, Central America and Africa to care for children with cleft deformities and serious burn injuries. Texas Children’s plastic surgeons Dr. Laura Monson traveled to Egypt and Dr. Edward Buchanan traveled to Tanzania to treat these children as well.

Cleft deformities and serious burn injuries often are left untreated in less developed countries, leading to a lifetime of disfigurement. Smile Train tries to help resolve some of these issues and is involved in 87 countries with 2,100 partner surgeons in more than 1,100 hospitals. The organization’s team of physicians and healthcare providers have treated more than 1 million patients since Smile Train was created a decade ago. This year they already have cared for more than 120,000 children.


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.