Dr. Joseph Alcorn
Dr. Joseph Alcorn

Joseph L. Alcorn, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, was honored at the 10th annual Men of Distinction luncheon for his extensive research in pediatric medicine.

Alcorn and nine others presented on medical topics to an awards committee May 25 at the River Oaks Country Club before being selected as this year’s beneficiaries.

“When I saw the names and projects of the other nine presenters, I thought there was no way this could happen,” said Alcorn who is also an associate professor at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. “I must give many thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Hecht and my colleagues in the Pediatric Research Center in the Department of Pediatrics for challenging me and providing guidance during the practice sessions.”

Alcorn, who was awarded $100,000 to support his research, discussed the unexpected roles of pulmonary surfactant proteins in the immature intestine of premature infants and how those proteins are crucial in the defense of the intestine against pathogens and chronic inflammation.

“This award allows me to rigorously test my current research hypotheses and lays the foundation to generate data to acquire future extramural support,” Alcorn said.

“This support allows him to focus on a new research direction that promises to change the treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies,” said Hecht, professor and division head of the Pediatric Research Center in the Department of Pediatrics. “We are so proud of him.”

Men of Distinction provides funding for projects that focus on research, education, and patient care for children in the Texas Medical Center and across the Houston community.