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Texas two-step: the Lone Star state lures two top scientists

Cross posted from Nature Medicine’s Spoonful of Medicine blog on behalf of Michelle Pflumm.

On Friday, the physician turned politician Ron Paul announced plans to seek the Republican presidential nomination. But Paul wasn’t the only medical professional making headlines in the Lone Star state. University officials last week announced that the Texas had also corralled a pair of leading scientists to lead research efforts at two of the state’s premier institutions.

University of Texas regents on Wednesday named Ronald DePinho as the next president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. A long-time cancer geneticist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, in recent years DePinho has turned his attention to the aging process. For example, in January his research team reported in Nature that reactivating the enzyme telomerase reversed age-related tissue damage in mice.

The same day, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas announced that Sean Morrison, currently director of the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor’s Center for Stem Cell Biology, will lead a new effort to develop treatments for pediatric diseases. An outspoken advocate for stem cell research, Morrison successfully lobbied for Michigan’s Proposal 2, which gave the green light to human embryonic stem cell research in the Great Lake state in 2008.

DePinho will enter the ring next month when the UT board of regents formalizes its selection at its June meeting. Morrison is expected to mount his steed in Dallas by the end of August.


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