Research Retreat



 9:00 a.m. – 9:05 a.m. Welcome
John Byrne, Ph.D.,  Associate Dean for Research, Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
 9:05 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Remarks from Michael Blackburn, Ph.D.
Interim Dean of Research, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth
Dean, The University of Texas MDACC UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer
University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
9:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. Breakthrough Discovery Symposium I
Chaired by Rodrigo Morales, Ph.D., Department of Neurology

Rachel Sirianni, PhD.,  Professor, Department of  Neurosurgery

“Fungi of the human gut microbiota: Roles and significance”

Christian Perez, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

“Complement system, stress and neurobehavior

Anilkumar Pillai, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

 10:35 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Break
10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Keynote Address/Ernst Knobil Distinguished Lecture
Introduction by: TBA

Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D.
C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Genetic Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
“Hypoxia-Inducible Factors in Physiology and Medicine”

11:50 a.m. – 12:35 p.m Postdoctoral Symposium
Funlola Are, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
“Gut metabolites: how the microbiota regulate host immunity and behavior in aging and after stroke”

Juneyoung Lee, Ph.D., Department of Neurology


Zhiqiang Ku, Ph.D., IMM Texas Therapeutics Institute

  “A distinct population of heterogeneously color tuned neurons in macaque visual cortex”

Sunny Nigam, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

12:35 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. Graduate Student Education Committee Poster Session 


2:35 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Breakthrough Discovery Symposium II
Chaired by Holly Holmes, M.D., MS, AGSF., Division of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine

Matthew Rysavy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology

“A High Resolution Window on the Regulation of Gene Transcription”

Kuang-Lei Tsai, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Jun Wang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics Research Center

3:55 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Winners of Graduate Student Education Committee Poster Competition Announced