Texas A&M Health Science Center’s newest faculty member merges clinical excellence with leading scientific discovery
Carolyn Cannon, MD, PhD, a pediatric pulmonologist and eminent scientific leader known for developing novel treatments for the most challenging childhood respiratory diseases, has joined the faculty of Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC). Cannon, who previously served as director of both the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center and Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship Training Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, is the most recent faculty recruit for the Texas A&M College of Medicine at TAMHSC’s Bryan campus.
A Children’s Hospital of Boston, Harvard-trained pediatrician with specialty in pulmonology, Cannon will care for patients at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, and also will mentor Texas A&M medical and MD/PhD students in Houston. Additionally, she will provide leadership to new initiatives, such as asthma prevention and screening that will occur under TAMHSC’s new Healthy South Texas initiative.
“Dr. Cannon truly is a role model for future physician scientists and bench researchers. Her passion for patients and students, combined with a dedication to the discovery of novel life-saving treatments are unmatched,” said Paul Ogden, MD, interim dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “It is this kind of brilliance, fueled by passion that we want to instill in our students and young faculty so they become the leaders of 21st Century Health Care.”
Cannon is currently a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Center for Integrated Nanosystems for Diagnosis and Therapy, led by Karen L. Wooley, PhD, W.T. Doherty-Welch Chair in the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry. The ability to more closely collaborate with Wooley was an important factor in Cannon’s transition to Texas A&M. Together, Cannon and Wooley are discovering new ways to deliver therapeutics to fight lung infections in children living with cystic fibrosis. Although the team will focus attention on cystic fibrosis patients, their work offers broader application for therapies aimed at preventing and treating other more common, and oftentimes life threatening, respiratory infections as well.
“This partnership between a pre-eminent bench scientist, Dr. Wooley, and a leading physician-scientist, Dr. Cannon, is the exact recipe for discovering and clinically testing new desperately needed therapeutics. Their discoveries have the potential to cure even the most resistant organisms that infect children with cystic fibrosis, and also offer hope to adult patients with highly resistant pneumonias,” said Brett P. Giroir, MD, CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center.
This recruitment marks a return to Aggieland for Cannon, who received a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering from Texas A&M and her doctorate from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston. Cannon credits the “can do” Aggie attitude with giving her the drive and know-how to tackle previously unchartered scientific territory by combining the problem-solving approach of engineering with a translational approach to research and medicine.
“Dr. Cannon’s and Dr. Wooley’s collaborative work will open new doors at Texas A&M for the development of health-related research that leverage the academically rich environments of the health science center and university – a unique combination of resources not found anywhere else in the world,” Giroir added. “We are becoming one of the fastest emerging, research intensive, innovation-driven health science centers in the nation, and the addition of leaders like Dr. Cannon is just one more example of this emergence.”