Martin appointed CMDD interim director

December 3, 2009

(HOUSTON) – James F. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed interim director of the Center for Molecular Development and Diseases (CMDD) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology in the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Dr. Martin replaces Robert Schwartz, Ph.D., CMDD founder and director. Dr. Schwartz will remain a center adjunct member and professor while carrying out appointments at the Texas Heart Institute and University of Houston.

Dr. Martin has been on the Center for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology (CCSCB) faculty since 1996 and a full professor since 2006. He is internationally recognized for his research on the development and genetics of the heart and the craniofacial apparatus. He studies groups of genes that build the heart and face in a long-term effort to gain insight into the underlying causes of congenital diseases.

“Although these are challenging times, it is a pleasure to lead and continue the development of the CMDD,” Dr. Martin said. “In addition to our current strengths in heart development and craniofacial biology, the center themes include investigating the molecular underpinnings of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure and vascular disease. The CMDD will continue to expand these themes through expansion of faculty and collaborative efforts with other centers at HSC-IBT, investigators in other Texas A&M Health Science Center components and the Texas Medical Center.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. An estimated 630,000 Americans die of the condition each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Dr. Martin is well-suited to undertake this interim position,” said Wallace McKeehan, Ph.D., executive associate director of the institute and CCSCB director. “He was the first to work his way from assistant to full professor solely within the HSC-IBT. He pioneered and still today is the institutional leader in frontier mouse genetics technologies and mouse models of disease applications in the HSC-IBT.”

Dr. Martin received his bachelor’s in chemistry from Fordham University and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Having joined the HSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology after postdoctoral training at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, he has served on numerous review panels and reviews papers regularly for a number of journals.

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