Darlene Blank

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Degrees and Certifications:

Bachelors in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Texas at Dallas. I also Have five Information Technology Certifications as well as early childhood development.

Darlene Blank

Before coming to TJHS I taught preschool for thirteen years. Science has always been my passion and I enjoy presenting comprehensive laboratory investigations and breaking science down to an interesting and engaging level.
 
 Ward Coats

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Degrees and Certifications:

PhD Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biophysics: Science Composite

Ward Coats

I received my PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Newgard where I studied several topics related to understanding type 1 and type II diabetes. We engineered viruses to deliver copies of genes to restore glucose homeostasis and developed the first cell-based therapy for type I diabetes. I then started my Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Biophysics where I studied the G-alpha heterotrimeric protein complex where we solved the structure of complex at the atomic level. This project was in collaboration with Dr. Stephen Sprang and Dr. Alfred Goodman Gilman. Dr. Gilman won the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology during my tenure on the project. I continued my Howard Hughes fellowship and worked on the beta-adrenergic receptor kinase in collaboration with Dr. Robert Lefkowitz at Duke University. Dr. Lefkowitz would receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology several years later. At this point in my career I decided to teach at the high school level and continue my passion for basic scientific research. I have worked for the Dallas Independent School District and for over 20 years and I have continued my research studies over the past 20 years in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond MacDonald where I perform studies on the developmental cascade of the pancreas. During my tenure in the MacDonald Laboratory Dr. MacDonald and I initiated a unique Biomedical Research Program for High School students. The Biomed students work on my research project and present their research posters at the annual American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting in the undergraduate poster competitions and in the open poster session alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and principal investigators. The meeting is largest science meeting in the world. The Biomedical Research Program provides a mechanism to expose our students to hands-on, authentic basic scientific research and allows them to add a unique addition to their college applications in order to obtain full ride academic and financial scholarships to the top universities in the country. In addition, it allows the students to explore future career choices in science, medicine, engineering and to identify future mentors at universities that they will attend in the future.
 
 Matthew Quiroz

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B.S. in Mathematics and Physics; M.S. in Physics

Matthew Quiroz

I teach Physics here at TJ. I graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2013 with a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics. I also received an M.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. I try to build a collaborative, creative classroom where ideas are free to flow. I like to incorporate the arts, writing, and history into my lessons so that students develop an appreciation for the beauty and essential role that physics plays in our lives, while developing skills that will stay with them no matter which field they choose to pursue.

 Dominique Sapp

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Degrees and Certifications:

Texas Southern University - Master's of Science in Biology; University of North Texas - Bachelor's of Science in Biology

Dominique Sapp

I teach Anatomy and Physiology/AP Biology. I am a strong advocate for student success and college readiness as I believes education is a weapon and that students are more tremendously capable than what they believe they can achieve. I involve my students in Project-Based Learning where they receive key knowledge, understanding and success skills through challenging problems and questions while having choices in how their project works and how it is created with true authenticity.

 Erika Vigil-CIC

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Erika Vigil-CIC

I teach Environmental Systems and BIOLOGY here at Thomas Jefferson. I'm the Science CIC. 

 James Slater

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Degrees and Certifications:

BA, DO

James Slater

I have a BA in Liberal Studies from Eugene Lang College, a part of the New School for Social Research in New York City. Later, graduating from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth with a DO degree, I went on to practice in the area of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I've lived in Madrid (studying Spanish language), Florence (studying Italian Language and Renaissance studies) and Rome (where I taught English to middle and HS students). I also taught Spanish I, II and III at Townview High School in Dallas, before attending medical school, and teaching is something I've always been drawn to. Being a part of Thomas Jefferson's Early College High School program, as it grows in collaboration with Brookhaven College, has been an honor and a lot of fun. I strive to make the student experience enriching and meaningful; and to provide a foundation of scientific knowledge and scientific reasoning that will continue to serve students throughout their lifetime.