The popular SCI Café expands to the Clear Lake campus this month. Started in 2013 so University of Texas Medical Branch scientists and physicians could have conversations with community members on a variety of topics, SCI Cafés have typically been held in Galveston. The meetings on the island will continue and now residents in north Galveston County will be able to meet medical and research experts a little closer to home.

The first meeting, which will be about making sense of nutrition trends, will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. June 27 in Room 2.211 at 200 Blossom St. in Webster.

The meetings are free and open to the public and additional sessions for the location have been scheduled for July 25 and Aug. 22. Parking is available in the hospital garage.

For information, contact Rebecca Trout Unbehagen at 409-747-2734 or


Dr. Anish Bhardwaj was appointed vice provost, effective June 1. In this role, he will oversee the creation of a strategic plan for faculty development and mentoring. He will coordinate and cultivate faculty development opportunities through the three academies at the medical branch, establish approaches to support long-term faculty retention and direct efforts to enhance wellness and resilience.

Before this appointment, Bhardwaj had been associate provost for faculty affairs and professional development since March 2018. He also served as provost ad interim from August 2018 to April 2019. He joined the medical branch in 2013 and is chair of the Department of Neurology.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that Dr. David Hughes Walker, professor of pathology and executive director of the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the medical branch, will be a co-chair of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group.

The group was established in 2017 to provide expertise and to review all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services related to all tick-borne diseases, to examine research priorities and to help ensure interagency coordination and minimize overlap.

The group is required to submit a report to the HHS secretary and Congress on its findings and any recommendations for the federal response to tick-borne disease every two years. It issued its first report in November 2018.


The School of Medicine celebrated commencement June 1 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center. NASA astronaut Dr. Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor provided the commencement address and 222 students received their medical degrees, with two graduates completing the dual MD/PhD track.

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