DALLAS – April 1, 2014 – Genetics and cardiovascular disease expert Dr. Dianna M. Milewicz returned to her alma mater recently to give a lecture at UT Southwestern Medical Center, hosted by the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee (WISMAC).  Dr. Milewicz is the 2014 Southwestern Medical Foundation Ida M. Green Distinguished Visiting Professor Honoring Women in Science and Medicine.

Each year, WISMAC selects an outstanding female physician scientist to visit UT Southwestern for a two-day professorship. The Ida M. Green Professorship was established by the Southwestern Medical Foundation in honor of philanthropist Ida Green, who was also the wife of the late Texas Instruments founder Cecil H. Green.

Mrs. Green, who died in 1986, had a vision of opening new career paths for women in science and provided a major bequest to the Foundation. The Distinguished Visiting Professorship promotes the accomplishments of women in science and medicine and provides encouragement to the community, especially UT Southwestern’s junior faculty and trainees.

“We are thrilled to support the Ida M. Green Distinguished Professorship, which inspires so many women in science and medicine,” said Kathleen Gibson, President of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “Dr. Milewicz’s extraordinary career is a perfect example of the great achievements women are making and the profound impact they are having on the science and medical communities.”

Dr. Milewicz – who has done award-winning research on the way genetics affect vascular disease – met with individuals and groups at UTSW and presented a talk titled “The Genetic Basis of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections: Identifying Molecular Pathways and Gene-Based Management.”

“We’d like to thank Dr. Milewicz, not only for her fascinating lecture, but for inspiring all the women she met during her Professorship at UT Southwestern,” said Carole Mendelson, Professor of Biochemistry and Obstetrics & Gynecology, Director of the North Texas March of Dimes Birth Defects Center and co-chair of WISMAC at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Milewicz’s visit was a warm homecoming to the institution where she began her career. In 1984, she was a graduate of UT Southwestern’s inaugural Medical Scientist Training Program class. She’s currently Professor and Director of Medical Genetics, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Internal Medicine and holder of the President George H.W. Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at UT Health Science Center at Houston. She also directs the M.D./Ph.D. program there – a joint program between UTHSC-Houston and UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Milewicz’s research has been informed by her patients. Her goal is to identify genes that predispose individuals to life-threatening aortic and cerebral aneurysms and to identify biomarkers to facilitate their early diagnosis. Her awards include a Pfizer Scholars Award, the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award and the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award. A member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians, she received the 1999 Antoine Marfan Award from the National Marfan Foundation.

“As the Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary, it’s an honor to welcome Dr. Milewicz back to UT Southwestern and to remember the legacy of Ida Green and the wonderful vision she had for our community,” said William T. Solomon, Chairman of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “Thanks to donors like Ida and Cecil Green, a whole new generation of physicians has been inspired to reach new heights of excellence in academic medicine and patient care.”