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U.T. Dallas to Host Top Sickle Cell Disease Experts

Jan. 10 Symposium to Mark Opening of UTD Sickle Cell Research Center

RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 13, 2001) - Five of the world’s top experts on sickle cell disease will discuss progress in combating the serious blood disorder at a free public symposium next month at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).

The event also will serve as the official opening of UTD’s new Center for Sickle Cell Disease Research. The center was established with the arrival this fall of Dr. Steven Goodman, the center’s director, from the University of South Alabama, where he headed the USA Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. Goodman is also the new head of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UTD and is the C.L. and Amelia A. Lundell Professor of Life Sciences.

The symposium will be conducted from 12:30 p.m. to approximately 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, in the McDermott Library Auditorium, Room 2.410, on the UTD campus in Richardson. From 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., a “research roundtable” will be held, where the sickle cell experts will answer questions from members of the audience, followed by a one-hour reception for all of those in attendance.

Earlier that day, at 10 a.m. in the same auditorium, UTD and state and local government officials will mark the opening of the university’s sickle cell research center. Members of the public may attend this event as well.

“Rarely does a group of researchers of this caliber involved in basic and clinical sickle cell research come together in a single location, and we are honored to serve as host for this event,” said Goodman. “We want to provide residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth area - particularly the African-American community - an update on efforts to develop better treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease. In addition, we want to raise the visibility of the new sickle cell research effort at UTD and, frankly, garner support for that research.”

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease that can cause serious health problems - some leading to death - among victims, most of whom are African-American or other individuals of African descent. It is estimated that eight percent of African-Americans are carriers of the sickle cell gene and are said to have sickle cell trait. Approximately two out of every 1,000 African-Americans suffer from the disease.

In addition to Goodman, the following researchers will participate in the UTD symposium:

  • Dr. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, director of the Sickle Cell Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health Science Center.
  • Dr. Betty Pace, director of pediatric programs for the Sickle Cell Center at the University of South Alabama.
  • Dr. Robert Hebbel, vice chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.
  • Dr. George Buchanan, director of the Sickle Cell Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

“The quality of symposium participants speaks volumes about the esteem in which Dr. Goodman is held in the sickle cell research community,” said UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. “This is precisely the position in which UTD wants to be - serving the community by working with the very best minds in this field as part of a worldwide effort to cure this deadly disease.”

UTD, together with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, has applied for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which, if granted, would make the institutions’ joint research effort the first NIH-funded sickle cell center in Texas and one of only 10 in the United States. A decision from NIH on the funding application is expected sometime next spring.

Goodman brought to UTD a number of NIH-funded research projects from the University of South Alabama. In addition, support for the Center for Sickle Cell Disease Research is anticipated from other sources, including investigator-initiated research grants and funding from state agencies.

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 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate 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

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This page last updated
June 13, 2002