Four faculty members joining The University of Texas at Austin, including three in the College of Natural Sciences and one in the Cockrell School of Engineering, were each awarded $2 million recruitment grants from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
The awards are given to attract Texas top scientists who are able to make outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research, promote inquiry into new areas, foster collaboration and stimulate growth in the field.
The new faculty are:
- Guangbin Dong, assistant professor in chemistry and biochemistry. One of Dong’s research goals is to harness the power of transition-metal catalysts to aid in the discovery of new cancer therapeutics and the development of anti-cancer drugs. Dong joins the university from the California Institute of Technology.
- Jonghwan Kim, assistant professor in molecular cell and developmental biology. Kim seeks to understand genome-wide gene transcription and its role in the abnormal development of cells, such as seen in tumor formation. Kim joins the university from Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston.
- Jenny Jiang, assistant professor in biomedical engineering. Jiang’s research is focused on systems immunology. She is interested in understanding how the immune system develops and ages and why the immune system tolerates tumors. Jiang comes to the university from Stanford University.
- Kyle Miller, assistant professor in molecular genetics and microbiology. Miller studies DNA damage and its role in human cancers with a goal to develop novel cancer therapies. Miller comes to the university from the University of Cambridge.
These faculty will use their start-up funds to pay for graduate students and postdoctoral research and purchase lab supplies and research equipment.
“The great thing about the CPRIT grant is that it will allow me to focus on my research and in training new lab members instead of writing grants and trying to find funding for my lab,” Miller said. “This is a huge advantage and is important for someone who is beginning their independent career. This type of funding will also allow me to invest in new technologies, which will have the potential to really make an impact on my work.”
CPRIT is a state agency that was created when Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2007 constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas. CPRIT’s goal is to expedite innovation and commercialization in the area of cancer research and to enhance access to evidence-based prevention programs and services throughout the state.