(HOUSTON) − David S. Carlson, Ph.D., vice president for research and graduate studies at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, has been named interim director of the HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston.

Dr. Carlson replaces Robert Schwartz, Ph.D., who stepped down to devote his full energy to his lab and research.

In addition, Wallace McKeehan, Ph.D., has been named executive associate director of the HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology. He will act on Dr. Carlson’s behalf in all routine administrative functions of the HSC-IBT and as an authorized representative of the institute as necessary.

“I want to express my appreciation and that of the HSC administration for Bob’s leadership, vision and enthusiasm,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., President of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for The Texas A&M University System. “We wish him the very best and the greatest possible success in his ongoing scientific investigations.”

Dr. Schwartz is well known for his research on the way in which genes that create the heart are first activated and how they function after they are triggered. Applying this knowledge to the generation of new heart cells for diseased or damaged hearts, Dr. Schwartz has received several U.S. patents and co-founded companies.

Dr. Carlson will provide oversight for the institute. He is the former chair of biomedical sciences and associate dean for research and advanced education at the HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Carlson was also the first Robert E. Gaylord Endowed Chair at the dental college and is a Texas A&M University System Regents Professor.

Dr. McKeehan will continue to serve as the J.S. Dunn Professor and director of the Center for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology in addition to his new responsibilities as the executive associate director. A senior member of the HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology faculty for 15 years, Dr. McKeehan is also a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University. He was named an A&M System Regents Professor in 2003 and Texas A&M Distinguished Professor in 2008.

The HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology was established in 1992 and housed in the Alkek Building within the Texas Medical Center in Houston. HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology researchers collaborate extensively with scientists and clinicians in institutions throughout the Texas Medical Center on research that will lead to cures for cancer, heart failure, stroke, birth defects, bacterial infections and hereditary diseases.

Graduate students at the HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology participate extensively in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences within the Texas Medical Center and earn a Ph.D. from the HSC-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

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