Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Henry Baker ’78, Ph.D. ’84, Biological Sciences

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences category is Dr. Henry Baker ’78, and Ph.D. ’84, biological sciences. At the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Baker is the Hazel Kitzman Professor of Genetics, as well as a professor of surgery and chair of the department of molecular genetics and microbiology. He is also associate director of the University of Florida Genetics Institute.

h-baker_headshotAs a researcher at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Henry Baker looks at patients’ genes to determine how they will respond to certain types of treatment for traumatic injuries, as well as what their prognosis might be. The Catonsville native got his start when UMBC was, in his words, “that new college down the street,” conducting undergraduate research in Dr. Frank Hanson’s laboratory. “The biological sciences curriculum was exceptionally well laid out,” he says, “and the integration with undergraduate labs was phenomenal.” After completing his doctorate under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Wolf — someone who Dr. Baker says had the greatest impact on his career — he went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School before accepting a faculty position at Florida, where he’s been ever since. Over the past three decades (and counting), he’s risen in the ranks from assistant professor to endowed professor and department chair, and also sits on the executive and medical admissions committees. He has stayed in contact with his Ph.D. mentor over the years, and says he is proud of how far UMBC has come since he was a student here, particularly in the achievements of President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. He also takes pride in his relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, and in working with diverse groups of people to help them achieve their goals.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, in the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Vince Calhoun, Ph.D. ’02, Electrical Engineering

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Engineering and Information Technology category is Dr. Vince Calhoun, Ph.D. ’02, electrical engineering. Dr. Calhoun is executive science officer and director of image analysis and MR research at the Mind Research Network, as well as a distinguished professor at the University of New Mexico.

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Dr. Vince Calhoun first became interested in imaging technology as an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, specifically MRI and how else engineering principles could be applied to map the human body. After earning master’s degrees in both biomedical engineering and information systems from Johns Hopkins, he saw UMBC’s electrical engineering program as the next logical step, given his research interests. Today, Dr. Calhoun is executive science officer for the Mind Research Network, and a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, biology, computer science, neurosciences, and psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. His lab develops algorithms by which scientists can study the brain through imaging and genetic data. He says one of his greatest challenges as a researcher has been translating his findings in a way that helps people, specifically those with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: “We are making great strides in developing approaches to aid in disease categorization and diagnosis, but we still have a long way to go.”  Dr. Calhoun is also a five-year cancer survivor, and credits his wife, his three children, and his Christian faith (he holds a certificate in theological studies from the Seminary of the East) for helping him overcome that obstacle.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.