Health Science Center Faculty Members Receive Regents Professor Awards

December 5, 2002

Two faculty members at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center were named today as recipients of the prestigious Regents Professor Service Award. Magnus Höök, Ph.D., faculty member at the A&M Health Science Center’s Institute of Biosciences and Technology and director of IBT’s Center for Extracellular Matrix Biology, and David S. Carlson, Ph.D., professor and chairman in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry, received the Regents Professor Service Award at today’s meeting of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in College Station.
The Regents Professor Service Award is bestowed annually by the Board of Regents in recognition of awardees’ contributions in distinguished service, extension, research, teaching/educational delivery and/or scholarship. Award recipients are designated as Regents Professors for the duration of their service or employment within the A&M System, receive a $9,000 stipend payable in $3,000 increments over three consecutive years, and receive a special medallion bearing the seal of the A&M System and a framed certificate signed by the Chancellor and the Chairman of the Board of Regents.
Magnus Höök, Ph.D., earned his B.S in biochemistry and Ph.D. in medical chemistry at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He was an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences before moving to the University of Alabama in 1986. There he rose to hold professorial positions in biochemistry, microbiology, and cell biology, and was an associate professor of ophthamology. In 1992, Dr. Höök joined IBT as director of its Center for Extracellular Matrix Biology and as professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M University.
At IBT and in his previous faculty positions, Dr. Höök has made a number of contributions to scientific understanding of the biological activity of what is called the extracellular matrix. He was part of a research team that uncovered the structural features in a drug called heparin that is responsible for its anticoagulant activity. This discovery was the basis for a newer formulation called low molecular weight heparin, which has largely replaced heparin as the blood thinning drug of choice, since it has significantly fewer side effects. More recently, Dr. Höök has identified the molecules involved in cell adhesion processes, research that in the past 15 years has allowed Dr. Höök and his team to discover a new family of microbial surface proteins that are responsible for allowing bacteria to adhere to the extracellular matrix of host tissues. A biotechnology company, Inhibitex, was founded based on these discoveries.
Dr. Höök has been a mentor for 29 graduate students receiving a Ph.D. and for 47 postdoctoral fellows or visiting scientists. In recognition of his mentoring contribution, he received the Faculty Recognition Award from Texas A&M University’s Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and was also named an Honors Convocation Recipient by the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2001 and 2002.
David S. Carlson, Ph.D., received his doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1974 and completed postdoctoral training in craniofacial anomalies at the University of Michigan in 1978. Dr. Carlson remained on the faculty of the University of Michigan after graduating, and became professor of anatomy and cell biology in the School of Medicine, professor of orthodontics
and pediatric Dentistry in the School of Dentistry, and research scientist in the Center for Human Growth and Development.
Dr. Carlson came to Baylor College of Dentistry in 1993 as Robert E. Gaylord Endowed Professor and chair of the department of biomedical sciences, and director of the Center for Craniofacial Research & Diagnosis. Shortly after arriving at BCD, Dr. Carlson revamped the postdoctoral Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences and the Student Research Group, which is the pre-doctoral research training program. As part of this initiative, he was principal investigator of a National Research Service Award training grant from NIH to support the new Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences. That program was the first NIH and only post-graduate training program at BCD and the A&M Health Science Center, and it continues to support a successful program that emphasizes joint clinical and basic science training for D.D.S./Ph.D. students.
In 1999 Dr. Carlson was appointed associate dean for research and advanced education at BCD. Dr. Carlson’s research interests focus on the development and growth of the craniofacial complex and craniofacial anomalies, and especially on the growth and adaptation of the mandible and temporomandibular joint have resulted in over 90 research articles and reviews and 11 edited books.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components, located in communities throughout Texas, are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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