Institute welcomes new faculty members and education director
San Antonio, Texas (July 8, 2020) – Amid COVID-19, Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) has continued to stay on track with its growth plan to double the number of faculty by 2028. Since COVID-19 began, the Institute has added three faculty members along with a new Director of Education. These appointments are part of Texas Biomed’s 10-year strategic plan implemented in 2017. It also contributes to San Antonio’s initiative to become a national hub for biomedical research.
“Our goal is to rid the world of infectious diseases, which we can accomplish by recruiting the nation’s brightest minds in science, business development and animal care,” said Dr. Larry Schlesinger, President and CEO of Texas Biomed. “We want to make science more collaborative, partnering researchers across disciplines to develop more advanced diagnostics, therapies and vaccines and then market their discoveries.
Dr. Joanne Turner, Vice President for Research, oversees faculty recruitment at the Institute and has assembled a team of scientific advisors, both internal and external, to identify and engage new talent. These efforts resulted in three faculty recruitments in 2019 and five faculty recruitments in 2020. In addition to those listed in this news release, Dr. Luis Martinez-Sobrido joined the Institute at the beginning of 2020 as a Professor and has been an integral part of the COVID-19 study team. Dr. Vinay Shivanna will join Texas Biomed later this summer as an Assistant Professor and veterinary pathologist. The following individuals have joined the Institute beginning in the Spring of 2020.
Diana Scorpio, DVM, MPH, DACLAM
Dr. Scorpio is the new Associate Director, Veterinary Resources/Institute Veterinarian and Professor at the Southwest National Primate Center (SNPRC) at Texas Biomed. She has more than 20 years of experience in laboratory animal care and medicine utilizing a variety of species, including nonhuman primates, other large animals and rodents. She’s the SNPRC’s attending veterinarian, maintaining and overseeing all animal studies. She ensures the well-being of all animals in research and will lead the maintenance of preventative health programs, disease surveillance and prevention, clinical care, behavioral assessment and environmental enrichment planning within regulatory compliance consistent with the Animal Welfare Act and The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Prior to Texas Biomed, she was the Animal Program Director and Attending Veterinarian at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID at NIH). Dr. Scorpio received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Michigan State University and her master’s in public health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Scorpio’s recruitment was led by Dr. Deepak Kaushal, Director of SNPRC and an SNPRC search committee.
Binhua (Julie) Ling, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Ling is a microbiology and immunology scientist. Devoting to finding a cure to HIV infection, she specializes in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) research, the non-human primate version of HIV. Her cutting-edge work on HIV in the GI tract (a major site of early infection) and HIV in the central nervous system received worldwide recognition. Both studies involve pinpointing tissue reservoirs that can hide the virus within the body even though the virus is undetectable in peripheral blood with combination antiretroviral therapy. Dr. Ling joins Texas Biomed as an Associate Professor to advance her research using its high containment facilities and models at the Southwest National Primate Research Center. Her developing interest in HIV and comorbidities such as HIV and Aging is also a great fit with Texas Biomed. Dr. Ling has a M.D. from Jiangxi Medical College of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China, a Ph.D. from Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China, and postdoctoral training from the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Tulane University. Before joining Texas Biomed, she was an Associate Professor at Tulane University.
Cory Hallam, Ph.D.
Dr. Hallam was appointed as Texas Biomed’s new Vice President for Business Development and Strategic Alliances. He will also serve as a Professor of Innovation Management while providing expertise and leadership to move research forward from the lab through commercialization. Dr. Hallam was the force behind the Center for Innovation Technology and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), serving as its founding director. He was also UTSA’s chief commercialization officer and an associate professor holding the Jacobson Distinguished Professorship of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Hallam’s expertise extends into research and development management, production, and commercialization. His work has been funded by both private and nonprofit sectors alike, building a track record of helping new biomedical ventures move forwar, and as lead author on over 50 peer reviewed publications. He has a bachelor’s of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with high distinction from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, and two Masters Degrees and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Teresa Evans, Ph.D.
A leader and consultant whose passion involves cultivating the innovation ecosystem in San Antonio, Dr. Evans was appointed as the Director of Education at Texas Biomed, and an Assistant Professor. She previously served as interim director of the Institute’s education programs, during which time she created the Institute’s summer online learning program with more than a dozen students nationwide currently enrolled. Dr. Evans leads the Institute’s educational programs from undergraduate to postdoctoral training and even training for early-career scientists and managers at the Institute. Dr. Evans has a passion to assist the organizations she works with strategic initiatives in STEM education, workforce development and technology commercialization. Additionally, she is an Assistant Professor UT Health San Antonio and the COO of Cancer & Trauma Insight, sister CROs focused on the commercialization of cancer immunotherapies and military medical relevant products. Dr. Evans holds a dual bachelor’s degree in chemistry and psychology from Wilmington College in Ohio and a doctorate in Biomedical Science/Neuroscience from the University of Texas Health San Antonio.
Texas Biomed is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to eradicating infection and advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria and schistosomiasis disease. The Institute has programs in host-pathogen interaction, disease intervention and prevention and population health to understand the links between infectious diseases and other diseases such as aging, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to www.TxBiomed.org.