UT Dallas to Increase Visibility
of Its Disease-Related Research

New Administrator to Expand Outreach For Sickle Cell
Center and Biomedical Institute to Scientific, Lay Communities

RICHARDSON, Texas (Sept. 28, 2004) – Research being done at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) on blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as on developing a new methodology for early cancer detection and biodefense, will get added visibility with the addition of a new administrator whose responsibilities include expanded outreach to scientific and lay communities both locally and nationally.

Rosie M. Peterson, formerly associate director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at the University of South Alabama, assumed a similar position this month at the UTD Sickle Cell Disease Research Center, headed by Dr. Betty S. Pace. Peterson also will serve as assistant director of another research organization at the university, the Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Technology, headed by Dr. Steven R. Goodman.

Rosie M. Peterson
Rosie M. Peterson

Peterson worked with both Pace and Goodman at The University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile from 1993 until 2003.

“Rosie brings invaluable expertise to UTD that will help elevate the profile of our center and the work we are doing to find a cure for this devastating disease, which primarily impacts African-Americans,” said Pace. “Her genius for developing innovative outreach programs and activities will establish lines of communication with, as well as benefit, our target population and their families, health care professionals and researchers.”

“I am excited to be teamed again with my two former colleagues to help promote the outstanding research being done at UTD on sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders, on neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, on cancer-detection methodologies and cardiovascular disease, as well as on biodefense and biosecurity,” Peterson said. “I am anxious to begin telling these success stories to a much broader audience than has previously been reached.”

Among Peterson’s responsibilities at the sickle cell center will be the development of grant-funded research training programs, education programs for health care workers, disease literacy programs for patients and their families and a sickle cell trait counseling training program. Peterson also will serve as a liaison between the UTD center and related programs and organizations around the country.

UTD’s sickle cell disease research program was established in 2001. The following year, the university teamed with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas to create the first National Institutes of Health-funded sickle cell center in the Southwest. Sickle cell is an inherited red blood cell disease that strikes one in 500 African-Americans. Those who suffer from the disorder have a genetic defect in their hemoglobin, causing the red blood cells to become inflexible and sickle-shaped, which leads to blockages in blood vessels and prevents body tissues from receiving oxygen.

In addition to her work for the sickle cell center, Peterson will provide a variety of outreach and communications services to Goodman’s institute, which was founded in 2003 to provide added focus and effort to the university’s research and education initiatives in areas related to combating disease and improving health. To achieve its aims, the organization promotes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and other forms of collaboration among molecular and cell biologists, chemists, physicists, nanotechnologists, engineers, cognitive neuroscientists and mathematicians at UTD and elsewhere.

The goal of the institute’s work is to find better treatment and cures of disease and develop products that can be manufactured and distributed by the biotech industry throughout the world.

“Rosie will be a marvelous addition to the institute as well as to the sickle cell center,” Goodman said. “This will give her an opportunity to utilize the considerable skills that she has developed in the sickle cell area on other diseases that effect hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.”

Besides her role as associate director of South Alabama’s sickle cell center, Peterson also served as director of the center’s psychosocial research program. She is a former chief executive officer of the Mobile chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, and served in a number of positions with the national organization. Peterson also held several management posts with a healthcare organization in the Mobile area.

Peterson earned a B.S. degree in general studies from Springhill College in Mobile. She also earned a certification as a managed care professional from the Academy for Healthcare Management.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.