W symposium to convene top researchers in heart disease

October 13, 2016

COLUMBUS, Miss. — A February symposium at Mississippi University for Women will bring together nationally and internationally known research scientists to focus on heart disease in underserved communities.

The inaugural “Imagine, Inspire, Challenge” STEM symposium, to be held Feb. 23-24, 2017, is designed to highlight current research in heart disease, as well as provide information for aspiring student researchers about career paths. It is being convened by Dr. Doris Taylor, head of the Regenerative Medicine Research Department at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas, and is facilitated by The W’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“Dr. Taylor is a 1977 graduate of The W, and we could think of no one more qualified to launch this II&C symposium that will bring together some of the best scientific and medical minds doing research today,” said President Jim Borsig. “The symposium, which we hope will become an annual event, is an outstanding opportunity for students, as well as medical and scientific professionals, to see the impact of some incredible scientific accomplishments around a major medical issue today.”

Taylor, who also heads the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology at the Texas Heart Institute and Texas A&M University, is a globally recognized researcher credited with a number of scientific breakthroughs related to cell therapy, stem cell biology, and tissue-engineering-based therapies. She holds a number of invention disclosures, patent applications and patents and is the founder of multiple companies dedicated to cardiovascular repair technologies. In November, she will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Only one award is presented annually.

“I found my passion—ideas!—at The W,” said Dr. Taylor. “The W firmly started me on that path by challenging me intellectually, emotionally and personally. It’s an honor to help do that for the next generation of Mississippians.”

In addition to Dr. Taylor, those participating in the symposium include:

 Dr. RobbinsDr. Robert C. Robbins, president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical center in the world, including more than 50 nonprofit institutions providing healthcare services to 7.2 million patients per year. He is also an internationally recognized cardiac surgeon with a focus on acquired cardiac disease and special expertise in the surgical treatment of congestive heart failure. A native Mississippian, Dr. Robbins holds an undergraduate degree from Millsaps College and a medical degree from the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Reckelhoff Dr. Jane F. Reckelhoff, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor, director of the Women’s Health Research Center, director of research development for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Dr. Rich-Edwards Dr. Janet Rich-Edwards, director of developmental epidemiology at the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Chang Dr. Jianyi “Jay” Zhang, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, a joint department in the UAB Schools of Medicine and Engineering. He joined UAB in 2015 from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he was the Engahl Family Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Regenerative Therapies, in addition to being a professor of medicine, of biomedical engineering and of electrical and computer engineering.

For more information and updates about the symposium, see muw.edu/iic.

Oct. 12, 2016
Contact: Maridith Geuder
(662) 329-1976