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Engine of Innovation (Think Tank)

Director:  David D. McPherson, MD
Co-Director:  Robert C. Bast, Jr, MD
Contact person: Maureen Goode, PhD, ELS 713-500-7924

The CCTS Think Tank is a group of creative and productive local clinical, basic, and translational investigators.  They provide guidance for CCTS investigators and for the CCTS in general through the following programs:

  • Hypothesis-generating conferences.  Hypothesis-generating conferences are brain-storming meetings for new investigators.  In each meeting, members of the Think Tank, CCTS component staff, and other experienced advisors meet with a new investigator and his or her mentors to discuss the investigator’s research and career-development plans. The goal is to assure that the new investigator hones his or her research ideas into a workable hypothesis and plan for efficiently and rapidly generating useful translational or clinical findings.   The advice offered can include ways to refocus a too-broad research plan, ideas about finding external funding, suggestions on local and national collaborators and identifying subjects for studies, and information on the investigator’s specific field of research.  The team always encourages maximal use of CCTS resources. 
  • Biannual Think Tank meetings.  The entire Think Tank meets twice a year with CCTS investigators (such as the CCTS TL1 trainees, KL2 scholars, and other CCTS trainees) to share information and establish new collaborations. 
  • “De-siloization” focus groups.  At the first Think Tank meeting, the group established focus groups to address important biological and medical issues that cross the boundaries of specific diseases and specific institutions or schools in the CCTS.  The groups are:
         o Inflammation
         o Musculoskeletal diseases
         o Stem-cell research
         o Epidemiology and public health
         o Metabolic diseases
         o Neuroscience
         o Vascular issues

Each group includes researchers from the CCTS’s three component institutions who specialize in different but related research areas or diseases.  The participants’ combined efforts will synergize research in these areas by addressing the biology and mechanisms that underlie broad pathological processes rather than specific disease states.  Each focus group will identify cross-cutting issues their groups need to address and determine how the CCTS can facilitate research on those topics. 

For more information on the Think Tank or to schedule a hypothesis-generating conference, please contact Maureen Goode, PhD, ELS 713-500-7924

Think Tank Members

Name   TitleDepartment/Institution
Robert C. Bast, Jr., MD Vice President, Translational Research UT MD Anderson
Michael Blackburn, PhD Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences UTHealth Medical School
Sean Blackwell, MD Professor & Chair, OB/GYN UTHealth Medical School
Eric Boerwinkle, PhD Professor & Director, Division of Epidemiology  UTHealth School of Public Health
L. Maximillian Buja, MD Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine  UTHealth Medical School
John H. Byrne, PhD Professor & Chair, Neurobiology & Anatomy  UTHealth Medical School
Cheryl M. Chanaud, PhD  Executive Director, Clinical Innovation and Research  Memorial Hermann Hospital System
Cynthia Chappell, PhD Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences  UTHealth School of Public Health
Stephen Daiger, PhD Professor, Environmental & Genetic Sciences  UTHealth School of Public Health
Benoit de Crombrugghe, MD  Professor, Molecular Genetics UT MD Anderson
Herbert L. Dupont, MD Professor of Infectious Diseases and Director, Center for Infectious Diseases  UTHealth School of Public Health
Carmel Dyer, MD Professor, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics  UTHealth Medical School
Lex Frieden, MA, LLD  Professor of Health Informatics UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics 
Sandra K. Hanneman, PhD, RN, FAAN  Professor & Associate Dean for Research  UTHealth School of Nursing
Waun Ki Hong, MD  Professor, Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology  UT MD Anderson
Samuel Kaplan, PhD Professor & Chair, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics  UTHealth Medical School
Daniel Karp, MD CCTS Multiple PI, Professor, Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology  UT MD Anderson
Rodney Kellems, PhD  Professor & Chair, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology  UTHealth Medical School
Dong Kim, MD  Professor & Chair, Neurosurgery  UTHealth Medical School
Richard Kulmacz, PhD  Professor, Internal Medicine, Hematology  UTHealth Medical School
Kevin Lally, MD Professor & Chair, Pediatric Surgery UTHealth Medical School
Cheng Chi Lee, PhD Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology  UTHealth Medical School
David Loose, PhD Associate Professor and Director, Integrative Biology & Pharmacology  UTHealth Medical School
Yahuan Lou, PhD Professor, Diagnostic Sciences  UTHealth School of Dentistry
Joseph B. McCormick, MD Professor & Regional Dean  UTHealth School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus
David McPherson, MD CCTS Executive Director, Professor and Chair, Internal Medicine  UTHealth Medical School
Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD Professor & Director, Division of Medical Genetics  UTHealth Medical School
Isaac D. Montoya, PhD Clinical Professor, College of Pharmacy  University of Houston
Kevin Morano, PhD Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics UTHealth Medical School
Barbara Murray, MD Professor & Director, Infectious Diseases  UTHealth Medical School
Ponnada Narayana, PhD Professor & Director, Radiology UTHealth Medical School
Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD Professor Emeritus, Surgical Oncology  UT MD Anderson
John Reveille, MD Professor, Internal Medicine, Rheumatology  UTHealth Medical School
Mark Sherer, PhD, ABPP-Cn Clinical Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation  Baylor College of Medicine
Filemon Tan, MD, PhD Professor & Chair, Rheumatology  UTHealth Medical School
Sally Vernon, PhD Blair Justice, PhD, Professorship in Mind-Body Medicine and Public Health, and Director, Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences  UTHealth School of Public Health
Rick Wetsel, PhD Professor & Chair, Immunology  UTHealth Institute of Molecular Medicine
Edward T. H. Yeh, MD Professor & Chair, Cardiology  UT MD Anderson