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UT Southwestern scientist honored among best in Texas research
Date:1/10/2008

. Zhijian James Chen, professor of molecular biology, the 2007 recipient for science; and Dr. David Mangelsdorf, chairman of pharmacology, the 2007 recipient for medicine.

The ODonnell Award is a tremendous honor that I share with the talented past and present members of my laboratory, said Dr. Levine, who is an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Levines research team identified the first known mammalian gene involved in autophagy. Her investigations have shown that defects in the gene, called beclin 1, contribute to cancer, aging, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, infectious diseases and potentially to autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

The ultimate goal of our research is to develop new drugs that will increase beclin 1 expression and autophagy to help treat patients with diseases such as cancer, HIV and the herpes simplex virus, Dr. Levine said. We also hope to understand better the role autophagy plays in protecting individuals from aging and from developing cancer and viral infections.

Dr. Levine earned her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital and joined the UT Southwestern faculty in July 2004. A recipient of the American Cancer Society TIAA-CREF Award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research, Dr. Levine was elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2000 and the Association of American Physicians in 2006.

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas was launched in 2004 by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to provide broader recognition of the states top achievers in these fields and enhance Texas identity as a research leader. The academy also aims to foster the next generation of scientists and to increase awareness and communication among the states up-and-coming minds about future pri
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Contact: Amanda Siegfried
amanda.siegfried@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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