UTSA stem cell scholar John McCarrey named Kleberg distinguished chair

John McCarrey

John McCarrey

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(March 15, 2012) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Sciences announces the appointment of John McCarrey, Ph.D., as the Robert and Helen Kleberg Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology. The position, which supports UTSA's growth toward Tier One research status, is funded by a $1.5 million gift from the Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.

Previously the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor of Biology, McCarrey is the director of the San Antonio Institute for Cellular and Molecular Primatology and professor of biology at UTSA. His area of research expertise is in stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Under McCarrey's leadership, stem cell research in the UTSA College of Sciences is emerging as an area of excellence. Three new junior faculty members have joined the institute in the last three years, and there is a growing interest in the area among students. At the most recent college-wide research conference, more than a dozen UTSA students presented research in the area of stem cells.

McCarrey holds joint appointments at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, and he is an affiliate scientist of the Southwest National Primate Research Center. He is working with researchers at the two San Antonio institutions as well as experts at Harvard University to develop a nonhuman primate model for studying stem cells and regenerative medicine.

The Robert and Helen Kleberg Chair not only will support McCarrey but also will provide a network for training future scientists as several graduate students, undergraduates and postdoctoral fellows will work with him. The position offers a permanent stream of support for critical research, ensuring the continuity of long-term projects.

"This gift provides a tremendous boost to the momentum we're gaining in this area of research," said George Perry, dean of the College of Sciences. "Dr. McCarrey is a stellar researcher under whose guidance we are sure to excel. We are honored to receive support from the Robert and Helen Kleberg Foundation to realize this appointment."

The Kleberg Foundation is a longtime supporter of the College of Sciences. Previous grants allowed for the purchase of three electron microscopes including Helenita, the world's most powerful electron microscope, capable of producing images smaller than one atom. The microscope is named after Helen K. Groves, president of the foundation, known to her friends and family as Helenita.

"The foundation has been and continues to be a great partner in the success of our college, university and the greater community," said Perry. "We value their friendship and confidence in our efforts."