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UT Southwestern faculty member receives Norman Hackerman Award
Date:3/27/2014

DALLAS March 27, 2014 Dr. Benjamin P. Tu, associate professor of biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was honored today with the 2014 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research. Dr. Tu was recognized for innovative studies of once-unappreciated molecules that may someday improve treatments for cancer or conditions associated with aging.

The award is given by the Houston-based Welch Foundation, one of the nation's oldest and largest sources of private funding for basic research in chemistry. The Welch Foundation presents the $100,000 award annually to honor early career scientists at Texas institutions who are expanding the frontiers of chemistry. Dr. Tu, 36, is the fifth UT Southwestern researcher since 2002 to receive the award, which is named after Dr. Norman Hackerman, an internationally known chemist and former president of both the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University.

Dr. Tu's work indicates that metabolites small molecules produced when the body processes nutrients may be the drivers of key cellular processes rather than mere bystanders, as conventional wisdom had held. In research that may lead to new treatments for human disease, Dr. Tu identified a unique nutritional pathway in mammalian cells that is unnecessary for healthy cells but crucial to support the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. He then discovered a way to block that pathway.

"Dr. Tu is an outstanding investigator whose discoveries are at the nexus of biology and chemistry," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Dr. Tu's work is advancing our understanding of what could be a very critical connection between metabolism and the fundamental cellular processes of cell growth, division, and autophagy, the 'housecleaning' process through
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Contact: Deborah Wormser
deborah.wormser@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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