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Texas Biomed taps new research leadership to help craft aggressive game plan
October 20, 2017

Joanne Turner has joined Texas Biomedical Research Institute as its new vice president of research. COURTESY OF TEXAS BIOMED

W. Scott Bailey, Senior Reporter
San Antonio Business Journal

Texas Biomedical Research, which is making significant investments to advance science, is adding more talent to help navigate its path.

The San Antonio-based organization has recruited Joanne Turner as its new vice president of research. One of her chief tasks will be to help Texas Biomed develop a long-term strategy to address new growth opportunities.

I reached out to Turner to see what lured the England native to San Antonio and to Texas Biomed. Weather was a factor, but it was the opportunity to join an organization with a deep history in and commitment to attacking infectious diseases that proved too tempting to pass up.

In her new role, Turner will help shape the advancement of science in the U.S.’ seventh largest city.
“We are currently undergoing a strategic planning process that will help us determine the trajectory of Texas Biomed for the next 10 years. We are benchmarking and studying how we can best move the science forward,” Turner told me.

Texas Biomed expects to complete that strategic planning initiative by mid-2018.
“The goal is to have a clear direction of how we will grow our science, which will include recruitment, infrastructure changes, business development and so much more,” said Turner, who will be a key part of ongoing efforts to grow the institute.

Texas Biomed is already home to biosafety level 3 and level 4 labs that enable scientists to develop vaccines under maximum safety conditions in a high-containment space designed to isolate dangerous biological threats.

Those assets could prove more critical as Turner is considered among the more preeminent scientists in tuberculosis research, with an extensive portfolio of scientific work focused on the immune system in relation to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and aging. She was most recently the BSL-3 program director at Ohio State University.

Turner has taken her talents to San Antonio at a time when Texas Biomed is working to expand its BSL infrastructure. Texas Biomed operates the only privately owned BSL-4 lab in the U.S. In August, San Antonio’s City Council had approved a $250,000 loan to help the institute develop a second BSL-4 lab.
While Turner is new to San Antonio, she’s impressed with the city’s focus on health care and bioscience.

“What I have found is a city that embraces bioscience and encourages collaboration, which is critical to advancing research,” she said. Texas Biomed scientists and other local researchers in the community are tackling some of the largest global health threats. I look forward to adding to this diverse scientific portfolio and raising San Antonio’s profile internationally.”

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