UT Southwestern, Southwestern Medical Foundation Launch Signature Event Supporting Early-Stage Research

Three young early-stage researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center will find out next month whether they’ll receive new funding for their investigative efforts. The three—Dr. Richard Wang, Ph.D; Jacques Lux, Ph.D; and Sara Piccirillo, Ph.D—were selected by the steering committee for The Cary Council, a young leaders group whose mission is to support and strengthen UT Southwestern and the Southwestern Medical Foundation.

The Cary Council held its inaugural signature fundraising event, called An Evening With DocStars, to raise money for promising early-stage young investigators at UT Southwestern. The event, held Oct. 10 in UT Southwestern’s C. Vincent Prothro Plaza and Garden, featured music, food, and interactive booths with simulated technologies and a chance for guests to mingle with and watch the “DocStars” in action.

Eight DocStar finalists were recommended by Dr. J. Gregory Fitz, UT Southwestern Medical School’s dean and provost, and David Russell, Ph.D., vice provost and dean of basic research. The Cary Council committee then voted on the top three finalists. The council will announce on Nov. 6 which of the three young investigators will receive funds generated by the DocStars event.

“Early-stage research, with all its risks, is vital to the process of discovering new medicines and treatments,” Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, UT Southwestern Medical Center president, said in a news release about the Oct. 10 fundraiser. “In showcasing some of our best and brightest young investigators, we hope to raise awareness of the promise that research at UT Southwestern holds to improve health through better treatment, cures, and ultimately prevention,”

Added Kathleen Gibson, president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation: “The Cary Council, Southwestern Medical Foundation, and UT Southwestern are dedicated to advancing early-stage research by raising awareness of the funding needs of these promising young investigators.”

Wang’s research focuses on pathways central to both the development of normal skin and non-melanomia skin cancer tumorigenesis. Lux’s work concentrates on inhibiting allergic reactions to the most common treatment used for pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And Piccirillo’s efforts are focused on gliobastoma, a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer.

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