WELCOME FROM THE DEANS
You may be aware that veteran GSBS Dean, George Stancel, Ph.D., has moved to a new position of vice president
for academic and research affairs at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). We
sincerely thank Dr. Stancel for his 13 years of outstanding leadership at GSBS. Following a year’s national search
and deliberation, UTHealth and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) together
have created a dual deanship to provide overarching leadership and guidance for GSBS.
For this purpose, we introduce ourselves: Michelle Barton, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology at MD Anderson, and Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., professor and vice chair in the
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTHealth Medical School. Because of the unique
collaboration of these institutions we are delighted to serve jointly in the positions of deans of the Graduate
School of Biomedical Sciences.
Strengths in both research and education are needed to be effective leaders of a major graduate school. Here is a
brief picture of our capabilities:
Dr. Barton: I earned my Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
From 1989 to 1994, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.
I served on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati before joining MD Anderson in 2000. I have been
a member of the GSBS faculty since my arrival at MD Anderson, and my research is supported by the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and more recently by two major awards from the Cancer Prevention and
Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
Dr. Blackburn: I earned my Ph.D. in developmental biology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in
1993. From 1993 to 1997, I was a NIH postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at Baylor College
of Medicine. I’m a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTHealth
Medical School and have been a member of the GSBS faculty since 1997. My work has been continuously funded
by the NIH for 15 years, and I have received several awards including an American Lung Association Career
Development Award and a Young Investigator Award from the American Asthma Foundation.
Our vision for the Graduate School, which we shared with GSBS faculty and students in town hall meetings
in July, is to create a collaborative and innovative academic environment that inspires and lays the foundation
for new generations of biomedical scientists to realize their potential, commit to success and make discoveries
that have major impact on the treatment of diseases worldwide, and provide an unprecedented breadth of
opportunities for today’s outstanding graduate students to train with leading biomedical scientists at MD Anderson
Michelle Barton, Ph.D.
Michael Blackburn, Ph.D.