A 6-month stint aboard the International Space Station is coming to an end for University of Texas Medical Branch clinical assistant professor and NASA astronaut Dr. Serena M. Auñon-Chancellor.

Scheduled to return to Earth on Thursday, Auñon-Chancellor has been conducting various scientific studies in space, including some involving endothelial cells and how they respond to chemotherapy drugs. A graduate of the medical branch’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Auñon-Chancellor completed her residencies in Internal Medicine and Aerospace Medicine here at the medical branch.

She’s one of 36 medical branch aerospace medicine graduates who have gone on to work for either NASA’s Johnson Space Center or one of its contractors, such as Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group. Overall, the program has graduated 50 people to date.

LAST CHANCE TO GIVE TO THE TOY, BOOK DRIVE

Wednesday is the final day of the Department of Pediatrics’ annual toy and book drive. Toys, books and monetary donations all go to benefit the Children’s Hospital, pediatric patients, the Maternal-Child HIV program and Childhood Cancer Connection Inc.

Unwrapped books and toys, suitable for newborns to teens, can be dropped off at several locations including the Pediatric Administration Office, Research Building No. 6, Room 3.300 on the Galveston campus, the Primary Care Pavilion Pediatric Clinic at 400 Harborside Drive, Suite 103, in Galveston, and the Pediatric Center at Bay Colony at 2785 Interstate 45 S., Suite 2.200, in League City.

For more information, contact Tayna Vazquez at 409-772-8790.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR VACCINE STUDY

The Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences Clinical Trials Program is currently recruiting volunteers who are 18 to 49 years old for a Pneumococcal Vaccine Study. This study requires participants to be at increased risk of Pneumococcal Disease with a current diagnosis of heart, liver, or lung disease.

Participants must be available for about five study visits over approximately seven months. Reimbursement for time and travel will be provided. For information, contact Amy McMahan at 409-772-5278, 409-772-5409 or anmcmaha@utmb.edu.

HELP DECIDE THE FUTURE OF GALVESTON

As the largest employer in Galveston County, the medical branch is part of the steering committee for Vision Galveston, a grassroots project aimed at defining the future for the city of Galveston. As part of that effort, Vision Galveston has launched an online survey open to anyone who lives and/or works in Galveston and is interested in providing their input regarding resiliency, the economy, housing, jobs, education, parks, land use, transportation and other topics.

To take the survey, visit https://www.visiongalveston.com.

MALE SUBJECTS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH STUDY

The medical branch is currently seeking healthy men between the ages of 18 and 45 for a research study investigating properties of human mucus secretions. Participants will be asked to provide seminal secretions from home or a private room. Participants will be compensated for each sample.

If interested, please contact Lauren Dawson, the study coordinator, at lndawson@utmb.edu.

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