Our Leadership

Organizational Chart

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CCOB Leadership

Willerson-fete_180x156pxJames T. Willerson, MD

President and Medical Director, Texas Heart Institute
Member, CCOB Oversight Board

In addition to serving as president and medical director of THI since 2008, Dr. Willerson is also director of Cardiology Research, co-director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, and co-director of Vulnerable Plaque Research at THI.

Dr. Willerson was president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston from 2001 to 2008 and was named the Alkek-Williams Distinguished Professor there at the same time. He holds the Edward Randall III Chair in Internal Medicine
 at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and is an adjunct professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Willerson and his colleagues began bone marrow-derived stem cell transplantation directly into the hearts of patients with severe heart failure in 2001. This work was expanded in 2004 to the Stem Cell Center at the Texas Heart Institute, where clinical trials are being conducted for patients with severe heart injury and heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and those who suffered heart attacks.


EGreenEleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP

Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University
Member, CCOB Oversight Board

Dr. Green has held the Carl B. King deanship of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences since March 2009. She is the first woman to serve as dean in the college's nearly 100-year history.
Dr. Green is a board certified specialist in both large animal internal medicine and equine practice and is also a Diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

After receiving her BS degree in Animal Science from the University of Florida,
Dr. Green earned her DVM from Auburn University in 1973 and was named as a Distinguished Alumnus of Auburn in 2012. She arrived at Texas A&M after serving as chair of the large animal department at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and Chief of Staff of its Large Animal Hospital.

Dr. Green has served as the first woman president of three national organizations: the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.


DTaylorDoris A. Taylor, PhD, FAHA, FACC

Director, Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology
Director, Regenerative Medicine Research, Texas Heart Institute
Adjunct Professor, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Doris A. Taylor is the Director of Regenerative Medicine Research at the Texas Heart Institute (THI). Before joining THI, Dr. Taylor directed the Center for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota (UMN). She also held academic appointments as the Medtronic Bakken Chair of Integrative Biology and Physiology and Professor of Medicine at UMN. Taylor received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the UT Southwestern Medical Center and did her postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. She was on the faculty in Cardiology at Duke University Medical Center for twelve years.

Dr. Taylor is a pioneer in cell therapy and organ engineering. She was the Principal Investigator (PI) of one of the AHA Jon Holden DeHaan Cardiac Myogenesis Research centers and is the Co-PI/Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) Biorepository Core Lab. Among other research responsibilities, Dr. Taylor has served as an advisor to multiple committees, including the FDA Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee, Department of Health and Human Services from 2005-2010 and is currently serving as a consulting member to the FDA Research Review Sub-Committee, Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Board, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Taylor also serves on the Board and Executive Committee for the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM). She also sits on the jury of the Grand Prix Lefoulon-Delalande Foundation at the Institut de France, which awards a half-million Euro prize yearly to a scientist with the greatest impact on the treatment of cardiovascular disease.


Ken Muneoka, PhD

Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Chair, CCOB Internal Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Muneoka was recruited through a Texas A&M Chancellor’s Research Initiative Funding Request as a senior hire in regenerative medicine. Dr. Muneoka’s long-term goal is to develop therapies to induce regenerative responses in human and animal tissues and organs. His lab’s general approach is to understand cellular and molecular events critical for endogenous regeneration, and to use this understanding to devise therapies that can be tested and refined on non-regenerating amputation models.


Richard Dixon, PhDRichard Dixon

Chair, CCOB External Commercialization Advisory Group
Director, Wafic Said Molecular Cardiology Research Laboratories,Texas Heart Institute

Dr. Richard Dixon is the Director of the Wafic Said Molecular Cardiology Research Laboratories at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas.  Over his long career, he has been involved in most aspects of pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development. Formerly, he was a Founder, Director, and CSO of Encysive Pharmaceuticals (ENCY).  Prior to that, Dr. Dixon held various management positions, including head of the molecular biology department at Merck and Co (MSD).  He obtained a B.S. in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Texas A&M University, a Ph.D. in Virology from Baylor College of Medicine and conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Nathans.  Dr. Dixon’s basic research efforts focused on the molecular biology and pharmacology of intracellular signaling and cell trafficking.  He and his group were the first group to clone and characterize a G-protein coupled receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor (resulted in 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Kobilka and Lefkowitz), and he continues to focus on developing drugs to modulate various signaling pathways. He has spent the last 12 years conducting basic research on the molecular biology and pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension and the last 20 years studying the pharmacology of the endothelin system.  Dr. Dixon’s research groups have produced more than 10 new chemical entities which have entered human testing, 1 of which has lead to an approved drug (Thelin), and 2 of which were adhesion molecule antagonists.  He has also been involved with several other NDA programs that have resulted in approved drugs including:  Argatroban (at ENCY), Crixivan and Singulair (at MSD). After moving to the Texas Heart Institute, his group has joined with several other investigators who are studying stem cell biology and the direct clinical applications of stem cells.