The topic of this week’s SCI Café, where “science and communities interact,” is “Environmental health in a disaster: Lessons from the Gulf Coast.

Cornelis Elferink, director of UTMB’s Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine, will lead the conversation with his colleague Sharon Croisant, associate professor specializing in environmental toxicology. They will be joined by Charlie Kelly, emergency management coordinator for the city of Galveston; Peter Davis, chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, and Michael Wisko, chief of the Galveston Fire Department.

The event is hosted by UTMB’s Center in Environmental Toxicology, Institute for Translational Sciences and Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine and starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Mod Coffeehouse, 2126 Postoffice St., in Galveston. For information, contact Lauren Scott, or 409-772-9110. 

New department chairman 

Dr. Mariano Garcia-Blanco will be joining UTMB as the new chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology later this year.

Garcia-Blanco holds the Charles D. Watts Molecular Genetics and Microbiology professorship and is director of the Duke Center for RNA Biology. He received his medical degree and doctorate in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Phillip Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Garcia-Blanco’s research focuses on RNA biology and virology and, during the last decade, it has focused on pathogenic flaviviruses, which threaten global public health and for which there are no approved therapies. 

Diabetes support group

“Beat the heat” is the topic for this month’s meeting of the UTMB diabetes support group on Monday. The group meets from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month in Suite 9 of the UTMB Multispecialty Center and Stark Diabetes Clinic, 2660 Gulf Freeway South in League City.

To reserve a place, call 832-505-2300.

The Lunch Bunch

Dr. Cris Berlingeri-Ramos, UTMB clinical assistant professor in dermatology, will present “Wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer, oh my! Caring for our aging skin” on June 10 at the Lunch Bunch from noon to 1 p.m. at the UTMB Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes, 2240 Gulf Freeway South in League City.

For questions about this or future sessions, call 832-505-1600 or email

A schedule of future programs can be found at

City honors 

UTMB’s Center for Addiction Research was honored with a proclamation from the city of Galveston for its work with the Bay Area Council on Drug Abuse for National Prevention Week. 

In memoriam 

UTMB honored those employees who have died since last May, among them were Dr. Theodore Stubbs, Ronald Middaugh, Patricia Riley, Betty Landen, Margaret McGouldrick, Billy Selman, Don Dietiker, Michelle Kamuth, James Kelly, Lisa Higgins, Dr. Silvia Perangeli, Perry Richter, Robert Walters, Mykeisha Drummond, Adele Hertzfeld, Karen Dale Kitchen and Robin P. Rhone.

Inside UTMB is compiled by the communications department at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

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