Dr. Jay Horton, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Molecular Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been elected a Councilor of The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious medical honor societies. In addition, the ASCI has announced the election of three UT Southwestern physician-scientists to the organization.
Dr. Horton, Chief of Digestive and Liver Diseases and holder of The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Chair in Obesity & Diabetes Research, played an important role in establishing the scientific basis for what could become the next class of cholesterol-lowering drugs: PCSK9 inhibitors. Dr. Horton used mouse models to characterize how the protein created by the PCSK9 gene functioned in the LDL cholesterol pathway.
As a member of the ASCI’s Council, he will assist in planning meetings and selecting new members. Dr. Horton was elected to ASCI membership in 2003.
“It is an honor to serve on the ASCI Council, as I hope we can play a critical role in developing innovative ways to train and keep talented physician-scientists engaged in research,” Dr. Horton said. “In my view, the primary mission of the ASCI should be to provide guidance, opportunities, and role models who exhibit the rigor and standards of excellence in science necessary to inspire and sustain the development of the physician-scientist.”
The three UT Southwestern faculty members elected to ASCI membership are among 75 nationally who will be inducted on April 24. They are:
• Dr. James de Lemos, Professor and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Program at UT Southwestern and Cardiology Service Chief at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dr. de Lemos treats the spectrum of cardiac disease, including coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, heart failure, and valve disease. Additionally, he is active in several clinical research projects. Most notably, he’s the Medical Director for the Dallas Heart Study, a one-of-a-kind population-based study aiming, among other goals, to identify new genetic, protein, and imaging biomarkers that can detect cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages, when prevention is most effective. He holds the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Chair in Cardiology at UT Southwestern.
• Dr. Lu Q. Le, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and co-leader of the adult Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Clinic at UT Southwestern, the first such clinic in North Texas and part of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a principal investigator in cancer biology, his laboratory investigates how early genetic and microenvironmental events interact to regulate tumor development. His research group has identified the cells of origin for different types of nerve tumors called neurofibromas and delineated key pathways utilized for malignant transformation of these neoplasms. His studies have addressed unanswered questions in the field and may lead to effective therapies for Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients where none exist today.
• Dr. Hesham A. Sadek, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, whose research focuses on regenerating heart tissue. Dr. Sadek received the 2013 Douglas P. Zipes Distinguished Young Scientist Award from the American College of Cardiology, which recognizes early-career scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiovascular disease and who have amassed an impressive body of basic or clinical scientific research. Among Dr. Sadek’s most significant contributions is his work in uncovering the regenerative capacity of the neonatal mammalian heart, which could hold the key to unlocking the regenerative potential of the adult heart. Dr. Sadek is one of two inductees selected to give a keynote address at this year’s meeting.
“We are delighted to see our physician-scientists recognized for their achievements with election to the ASCI. They, and the other members of our faculty who have been similarly honored in the past, embody an institutional commitment to integrate science and medicine to advance health care,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern and himself a member of ASCI. Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.