UT Southwestern scientist awarded prestigious American Cancer Society research professorship

October 21, 2003

DALLAS - Oct. 21, 2003 - Dr. Luis Parada, director of the Center for Developmental Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, has been awarded this year's only American Cancer Society basic research professorship, making him one of 20 such designated professors nationwide.

The research professorship carries a five-year award of $60,000 per year with the possibility of a five-year renewal. It was announced at the American Cancer Society's Research Council for Extramural Grants recent meeting and becomes effective Jan. 1, 2004.

The ACS Professorships provide flexible funding for established full-time investigators in mid-career who have made novel or watershed contributions to cancer research and are expected to continue to provide leadership in their research areas. The American Cancer Society grants no more than two basic research professorships and two clinical research professorships a year.

"This is a great honor because there are very few of these professorships, and every ACS Research Professor I know is an accomplished scientist," said Dr. Parada, director of the Kent Waldrep Center for Basic Research on Nerve Growth and Regeneration. "It gives me an additional degree of freedom in my research, and, aside from the personal honor, it will help enhance the visibility of cancer research at UT Southwestern."

Dr. John Stevens, the American Cancer Society's vice president for extramural grants, said: "In awarding Dr. Parada this professorship, the society recognizes his extraordinary ability to integrate the fields of molecular genetics, embryonic development and signal transduction in ways that will provide critical insights into how brain cancers arise, develop and progress, thus paving the way to better treatments for these devastating tumors.

"This is the most prestigious grant awarded by the society and the only one that carries the society's name. Dr. Parada is highly regarded for several groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of brain development and basic biology of the cancer cell."

Funding is limited to 10 years, but Dr. Parada can use the title of American Cancer Society Research Professor during the remainder of his career.

"The ACS Research Professorship award brings recognition to Dr. Parada and the quality of basic research being done at UT Southwestern," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, UT Southwestern president. "Luis is one of our most influential and respected research leaders, and we are extremely pleased at this national recognition for his work."

Dr. Parada and his colleagues are also working to understand why, after initial development of the body is complete, it cannot repair damaged nerve tissue in the same way as other tissues can, like the skin.

Dr. Parada graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a bachelor's degree in molecular biology. He completed his doctorate in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served postdoctoral fellowships at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

Dr. Parada is the second UT Southwestern faculty member to receive an ACS Professorship. Dr. Barton Kamen, a former professor of pediatrics and pharmacology, received the ACS Clinical Research Professorship award in 1994.
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