NTX Magazine Volume 5 - Page 38

netic targets for treatment of congenital heart defects and adult heart disease, illuminating the fundamental principles of organ formation. He and his team discovered networks of genes that orchestrate the formation of the heart and have shown how inherited genetic mutations in these genes cause congenital heart disease, the most frequent form of birth defect. + Cholesterol, where UT Southwestern Students come from around the world for medical training. The People Making all this innovation possible are the dedicated hands and brilliant minds of the medical, educational and research professionals within this unique institution that number almost 14,000 total, a small city in North Texas dedicated to a more healthy human experience worldwide. UT Southwestern has three degree-granting institutions: the Medical School, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Health Professions. Of these, the prestigious UT Southwestern Medical School is the largest and the oldest. Each year, approximately 5,000 applications are sent by students who wish to train at this top-flight school, hoping to receive one of 230 student slots. UT Southwestern graduates are regularly sought after by the most competitive medical residency programs. The extension and sharing of knowledge for which UT Southwestern is known starts with the students. Over the past four years, more than 200 students have participated in global health experiences ranging from one week to 12 months, spanning every continent except Antarctica. Students are also actively engaged in the Dallas/Fort Worth community, mentoring students from local elementary and secondary schools, coordinating health fairs, promoting healthy lifestyles and fitness, and a host of other activities, including supervised delivery of healthcare services at student-run clinics. Southwestern Medical School by the Numbers* (*2014-2015 school year) 953 students enrolled 242 students graduated with MD degree 54% male 46% female 25% spoke language other than English in home while growing up 80 different undergraduate colleges and universities in 30 states 15% are first college graduate in family 5,000 applications received on average per year for 230 student slots In addition to the physicians and scientists of tomorrow, UT Southwestern Medical Center is home to nationally and internationally recognized physicians and scientists, including six Nobel Laureates, 23 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 19 members of the Institute of Medicine. Their investigations range from the microscopic level to the whole patient and have resulted in several notable discoveries, including in the fields of: + Cardiology, where the work of Eric Olson, Ph.D., is regarded as a major step in finding ge- 36 www.ntc-dfw.org FALL/WINTER 2015 20 age of youngest medical student 44 age of oldest medical student researchers have identified nearly 30 disease-causing genes, including in 1983 the gene responsible for familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that causes extremely high levels of cholesterol and heart attacks at an early age. That discovery by Michael Brown, M.D., and Joseph Goldstein, M.D., contributed to the pair winning the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their research uncovering the underlying mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism. Ten years ago, researchers at UT Southwestern made the discovery that individuals who lacked the protein PCSK9 had startlingly low levels of LDL cholesterol, yet seemed to suffer no ill effects from these very low levels of “bad cholesterol.’’ Pharmaceutical companies were immediately intrigued by the possibilities and began developing drugs that worked as antibodies to inhibit the function of PCSK9 protein. In March 2015, the first results of two clinical trials of PCSK9 inhibitors were released at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, and the results were highly encouraging. + Innate Immunity, for which in 2011, UT Southwestern established the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense, under the direction of Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler, M.D., to accelerate the discoveries of basic research and its applicability to patients. The fifth UTSW faculty member to win the Nobel Prize, Dr. Beutler was honored for the discovery of receptor proteins that recognize disease-causing agents and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body´s immune response. + T rauma, where a UT Southwestern alumnus and faculty member, renowned neurosurgeon Hu