March 13, 2006
Travel West

Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Sunset over San Antonio
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Today we headed for Houston where we have been invited by the Scleroderma Family
Registry to tour their facility and give our blood to become a part of the Scleroderma Research

We left Hammond, Louisiana bright and early, getting through Baton Rouge before rush hour
hit.  Crossing the Mississippi quickly, we fed ourselves and continued our drive west to
Houston.  Arriving right after noon, we parked in the train park-n-ride and rode by train to the
Memorial Herman Hospital, where we were greeted by Marilyn Perry.  We met Marilyn about
two weeks ago on our travel through Houston.

We were givena grand tour of the research facility where we learned a great deal about the
genetic research currently underway.  It was truly amazing.  Funding of the research team, led
by Dr. XXXXX, is about to end later this year.  We were really impressed by their efforts and
advances and are going to do what we can to help keep this ground breaking research going.  
A cure is so close and the work cannot end now!

After our visit, capped by a release of Susie's hair in the front of the hospital, we headed west
for Austin, Texas.  I promised Ophie a fun night on The Riverwalk.  She was not disappointed
as we dined above the canal, watching Spring Break crowds in full swing.  From Bike Week to
Spring Break.  What a dizzying few weeks.

Well, we continue west tomorrow, hoping to make New Mexico by nightfall.  Check out our daily
journal below.
Busted flat in Baton Rouge . . .
Headin' for a bridge . . .
Feelin' nearly faded as my, err . . .  
Mississippi River.  Oh well I tried!
The economic engine of the Gulf
Coast.  A Chevron Refinery producing
gasoline as we near Houston.
Good Morning, Houston!
On our way by train to the hospital,
we caught this special moment.
Marilyn Perry greeting us in the lobby
of the Memorial Herman Hospital.
Entrance to the Clinical Research
Josephine greets us at the front of the
facility.  Hi Josephine!
Nai Hui Chaiu, RN, draws Jim's blood
for the Sclerodema Database.
Ophie gave too!
Dr. Maureen Mayes, MD MPH
(center) is the Principal Investigator
of the research program.
Dr. John Revielle, MD, Division Chief
of Rheumatology with Marilyn and
Dr, Frank Arnett, MD, Professor of
Medicine with you know whos.
Dr. Zhou Xiaodong, MD, Assistant
Professor of Medicine and key
researcher working with Dr. Mays.
The DNA Sample Processing Lab.  
Samples are received and processed,
isolating DNA.
Blood is processed overnight here,
separating DNA from the blood.
Heading to the next processing room.
DNA is processed in this lab to
determine volume and purity.
Julio Charles, Research Associate
overseeing storage and analysis lab.
DNA samples being readied for study.
Behind Ophie and Marilyn is the
Robotic Samples Machine; samples
processed nearly 100 times faster.
Vicki works closely with Marilyn
processing data, samples, and
maintaining records of the database.
These are the family history records
of The Registry, representing
hundreds of patients and family.
Susie visits the Memorial Herman
Our trusty transportation.  Giddyup!
Sunset on San Antonio.
The Alamo Dome, home of the San
Antonio Spurs.
Entering The Rive Walk.
River Walk night action.
I couldn't resist.  A little artsy
Relaxing at dinner at The Fig Tree
on The River Walk.

Take a ride on the gondola!