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We are very proud of you, our alumni and students, as you work tirelessly to make lives better in our communities every day. We want to tell your stories and celebrate your successes while also introducing you to some of the next generation of health care leaders.

If you would like to share your story, please email alumni@uthscsa.edu.

David J. Jones, PhD  GSBS, Class of 1974

What year did you graduate from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio? What degree do you have?  

1974; PhD in Pharmacology

What is your specialty? 

My research was focused on spinal cord neurotransmitter systems.

What inspired you to want to pursue pharmacology? 

While in pharmacy school at UT Austin, I was a research assistant in pharmacology which then extended to a master’s degree in pharmacology/toxicology. Both experiences led to my interest to obtain a PhD in pharmacology.

What is your current occupation and where? What’s a day on the job like for you?

I am retired (to Austin) but continue to teach in the clinical pharmacology course at UT Health San Antonio. I also serve as adjunct faculty in a pharmacotherapeutics course at the UT Austin College of Pharmacy.

I also serve as a consultant in legal cases that draws on my background in pharmacology/toxicology. Graduate courses in these areas provided a solid foundation as well as the capability to critically review the literature for relevant studies.

Prior to retiring and for the last 15 years at the Long School of Medicine, I was the Senior Associate Dean for Admissions. Over 3,000 students were admitted to the Long School of Medicine during this time.

What was the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – you have learned at UT Health San Antonio?

While focusing on one area of research, broaden your overall capabilities to match with future funding or professional opportunities.

My lab received funding from foundations, pharmaceutical industry, NIH, NSF and Department of Defense all the while responding to fundamental questions on the role of receptors and transmitters in neuronal signaling.

What is your greatest professional achievement? What are you most proud of?

Selection as a UT System Distinguished Teaching Professor based on awards for medical student teaching.

What was your favorite or most memorable moment at UT Health?

Giving the commencement address for the 2019 medical school graduation (my last class selected as Admissions Dean). I reviewed the medical school applications of all 200 or so graduating seniors and used many of their experiences and attributes to describe who they were four years earlier.

What advice do you have for current students?

Always learn with the idea of teaching in the future what you have learned.

How are you giving back and paying it forward to future students?

Established the Dr. David and Jody Jones Green Veritas Society peer mentoring program in the Long School of Medicine.  

Is there anything you would like to add?

I joined the Department of Pharmacology with three other graduate students, which brought the total to eight. Great progress has been made since then and am proud to be a graduate of such a successful program. 

Victoria N. Bry, GSBS  Class of 2022

What is your anticipated graduation date from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio?

May 2022

What first prompted your interest in Radiologic Sciences?

I initially became interested in Radiological Sciences, or more specifically Radiation Therapy Medical Physics, when I learned that I could use my physics background to directly impact the lives of cancer patients. I shadowed medical physicists in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in San Diego, California, and was eager to become involved in research. I found it to be exciting that while still in the beginning stages of my career, my research can be used to improve accuracy of radiation delivery to reduce risk of error and treatment related toxicities, thus improving overall quality of care given to cancer patients.

Why did you choose UT Health San Antonio?

I choose UT Health San Antonio because it is one of the first initially accredited CAMPEP (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs) programs in the country. Upon visiting the campus in 2018, I felt sure of my decision after speaking with students and professors who were extremely welcoming and willing to share their same passion for this field.

What has been the most impactful course you have taken at UT Health? If you cannot identify one – what is a lesson or message that stuck with you?

A lesson that has stuck with me is striving to communicate my research with others at a variety of levels. This is a powerful skill to engage the community, educate people who are and are not in the medical/science field, obtain funding for research, get people excited about your research and inspire future scientists. I think this is something that takes time and should continuously be worked toward as a scientist. I would say that the F-Troop grant writing workshop and Translational Science Courses I have taken at UT Health have been essential in challenging me to improve these skills.

What has been your favorite or most memorable moment at UT Health?

I have many memorable moments at UT Health from publishing my first first-author paper and co-authoring a book chapter to receiving grant awards. However, I will always remember my first observation of Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia. For this treatment, patients receive a brain frame, which requires multiple screws screwed into their skull, as well as an MRI Angiogram and CT scan to generate images of their internal anatomy. Images are used to create a treatment that will target the trigeminal cranial nerve of the patient, and the radiation oncology team works together to plan this treatment with millimeter accuracy. The patient I observed was a young girl who was so positive and brave. I find it incredible how we can use physics, medicine, and advancements in technology as an alternative to brain surgery to treat tumors and abnormalities in the brain. I am excited to attend residency and be a part of the complex planning process for these types of treatments.

Which student organizations did you participate in? What did you learn from them?

I am active member in multiple student organizations at UT Health San Antonio including Linking Interprofessional Networks for Collaboration (LINC) Student Council; Women in Science, Development, Outreach and Mentoring (WISDOM), and the Student Legacy Council (SLC). Participation has permitted me opportunities to give input on interprofessional student events, volunteer to raise money for student scholarships, and work with local high students at science fair expos and as a science fair judge. In addition, I am an affiliate member of Mays Cancer Center (Experimental and Developmental Therapeutics) and was the 2020-2021 Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) Radiological sciences student representative. As student representative, I was inspired to begin our department’s Radiological Sciences social media committee (check out our twitter page! @UTHSARadSci) and help pilot our department’s first medical physics patient communication workshop for medical physics graduate students.

Finally, I am involved in the medical physics professional community as a student member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and a member of the AAPM Student and Trainee subcommittee. Here I can connect with colleagues all over the world, assist in planning student events at annual meetings and help run social media pages. I have learned an immense amount from all these organizations about how events and programs are run throughout the graduate school and at a national level. I am excited to use these skills throughout my career to inspire and positively impact the medical physics community and future scientists.

What advice do you have for incoming students who are interested in Radiologic Science?

  • Have fun. Graduate school is an exciting place to meet people who are passionate about the same ideas that you are. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial to not burn out. You need to have fun to produce your best work.
  • Get involved. Don’t be afraid to join a student organization or become involved with the San Antonio community. Sign up for a three-minute thesis presentation at a conference or volunteer to be a science fair judge for a local high school science fair. 
  • Manage Your Time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Doing a little bit each day toward your projects will eventually add up to a more thoughtful outcome.

Who is your favorite professor, mentor or staff member? And why?

Karl Rasmussen, PhD, is my advisor and my favorite mentor. He challenges me to work independently, think critically, and inspires me to become involved and take on more responsibility in the professional community. He always says it like it is and does a wonderful job teaching clinical skills and communicating medical physics to people at different levels.

What is your plan for after graduation?

This next December I will apply for the CAMPEP accredited Medical Physics Radiation Therapy Residency match program. After graduation, I plan to attend a therapy residency and become an American Board of Radiology certified Medical Physicist and continue my career in research to improve the quality and accuracy of radiation therapy, ideally work in a pediatric radiation oncology environment.

How do you intend to give back and pay it forward for future students?

I plan to pay it forward to future students throughout my career. My goal is to one day work as a clinical medical physicist at an academic institution with a medical physics residency or graduate program. This environment will permit me to continue in research to mentor and teach future scientists. I have been fortunate to learn and be inspired by many professors and scientists throughout undergraduate and graduate school and I hope to be able to do the same for more students. 

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my pre-professional ballet career and dancing the sugar plum fairy in the Nutcracker.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a 3-year-old Boston terrier named Winston.

It’s your turn in the spotlight!

If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alumni or student to be featured in our next Spotlight, please email alumni@uthscsa.edu. Nominations should include: name, graduation year and degree, notable career achievements, current occupation.

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