SBMI Academic Update - September 2022 - Academic Update Newsletter - News - $
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Academic Update

Volume 13, Issue 1
September 27, 2022

Dr. Licong Cui Earns AMIA Award

Associate Professor Licong Cui, PhD has been named the 2022 recipient of the AMIA New Investigator Award. This award, which is one of the AMIA Signature Awards, recognizes an individual for early informatics contributions and significant scholarly contributions on the basis of scientific merit and research excellence.

Visit the SBMI website to learn more.

image of Licong Cui, PhD

New Grant Awards for SBMI Faculty

Over the last month, several faculty members at SBMI have received new grants for their research. Our school sends congratulations to these individuals.

  • UTHealth Houston Vice President, Chief Data Scientist, and SBMI Joint Professor GQ Zhang, PhD, Associate Dean for Innovation and the Glassell Family Distinguished Professor Hua Xu, PhD, and Professor W. Jim Zheng, PhD were awarded a grant in late September. The new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Brain Research Through Advancing Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative will be funded by their grant worth over $4.8 million. Visit the UTHealth Houston News page to learn more.
  • Professor Cui Tao, PhD is a co-PI on a new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant. Tao, who holds the Dr. Doris L. Ross Professorship, and her research colleagues will use the $3.69 million grant to craft a vaccine knowledge base which includes a wide range of information spanning the full vaccine lifecycle. To read more about their work, visit the SBMI News page.
  • Hua Xu, PhD was also awarded a new National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant worth over $3.8 million earlier this month. Dr. Xu and his fellow researchers will craft new informatics methods while exploring ways to better combat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD).
  • Professor Degui Zhi, PhD was awarded a $1.69 million National Eye Institute grant. Zhi and his research colleague will explore techniques in deep learning for phenotyping retina images.

SBMI STAR Award Recipients for 2022

Each year, UTHealth Houston celebrates employee leadership and longevity with the STAR Awards. We honor employees who have reached a milestone anniversary here at UTHealth Houston for their service between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.

image of Star Award 2022 Recipients

SBMI would like to recognize the Star Award recipients for 2022.

    Twenty Years
  • Elmer Bernstam, MD
  • Todd Johnson, PhD
    Fifteen Years
  • Blanca Torres
  • Judy Young
    Five Years
  • Felicia Davis
  • Luca Giancardo, PhD
  • Pora Kim, PhD
  • Jose “Joe” Menchaca
  • Mary “Ginny” Nelson
  • Michael Phan
  • Kirk Roberts, PhD
  • Tracy Swoboda
  • Degui Zhi, PhD
  • Yujia Zhou, PhD

Atomic Search is Available on Canvas

Canvas now includes a new search tool called “Atomic Search” that has been enabled for SBMI students and instructors. Not only can it search all files within a course, but it can also search assignments, pages and even URLs. Look for the “Search” link on your course left navigation and give it a try. Click here for a feature description and help documentation.

Suicide Resources for UTHealth Houston Students

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you or a loved is experiencing any warning signs, we urge you to get immediate assistance. You can simply dial 988 from any cell phone or landline to be routed to a network of over 200 crisis centers operated by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now known as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline). Additionally, you can text the same 3-digit number (988) for support too. For more information, please review this file.

image of National suicide prevention lifeline

As a reminder to all students, mental health services are available to registered students throughout the school year. Services are strictly confidential – no information is shared with your family, friends, or school without your permission. Call UTHealth Houston Student Counseling at 713-500-5171 (from 8 AM – 5 PM CDT)


  • Professor Jim Langabeer, PhD was interviewed by KHOU 11 News earlier this month. He detailed how the HEROES-Houston ER Opioid System program is helping those struggling with opioid addiction.


Important Dates

Sept. 28 Research Seminar by Todd Johnson, PhD “Causal inference from observational data” 12 PM CDT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor (UCT E-612 & E-614)
Oct. 5 Research Seminar presentation by Hussein Abbas, MD “Dissecting Acute Myeloid Leukemia and its Microenvironment, One Cell at a Time” 12 PM CDT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor (UCT E-612 & E-614)
Oct. 5 UTHealth SIC Salutation 2022 5:30 to 7:30 PM CDT in the Cooley Center, 7440 Cambridge St.
Oct. 11 Research Seminar presentation by Charles Friedman, PhD 12 PM CDT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor (UCT E-612 & E-614)
Oct. 19 Research Seminar presentation by Pora Kim, PhD “FusionPDB: Fusion Protein Annotation Database” 12 PM CDT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor (UCT E-612 & E-614)
Oct. 26 Research Seminar presentation by PhD Candidates Jingqi Wang & Nina Smith 12 PM CDT online and at 7000 Fannin Street, 6th floor (UCT E-612 & E-614)

Important Dates

Oct.  28  Last day to submit Change of Academic Plan
Nov. 4 Last day to drop with a withdrawal grade of “W” Must process drop form
Nov. 4 Last day to apply for fall 2022 graduation in myUTH
Nov. 4 DHI & PhD - Last day to defend translational project or dissertation
Nov. 4 DHI& PhD - Final translational project or dissertation drafts to Advising Committee for review
Nov. 16 Spring 2023 registration opens in myUTH