$6 million CPRIT award to bring veteran cancer researcher
UT Health San Antonio and its Mays Cancer Center will receive a $6 million award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to recruit Alexander Mazin, PhD, a senior, highly accomplished biochemist and cancer biologist currently at Drexel University College of Medicine.
CPRIT announced the grant Feb. 17. It is the third CPRIT Recruitment of Established Investigator Award landed by UT Health San Antonio since 2018. The other grants helped the university and Mays Cancer Center to attract DNA repair expert Patrick Sung, DPhil, from Yale University, and breast cancer and radiation biology researcher David Gius, MD, PhD, from Northwestern University.
Dr. Mazin will be a full professor with tenure in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UT Health San Antonio and a critical contributor to the Cancer Development and Progression Program of the Mays Cancer Center. The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, is one of the four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas.
Dr. Mazin will be appointed as the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Professor of Biochemistry. He will add tremendous strengths to the cancer-focused mechanistic biology and drug discovery programs within the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and the Mays Cancer Center, said Dr. Sung, the medical school’s associate dean for research.
“In interfacing with UT Health San Antonio investigators with complementary expertise and research interests related to his, Dr. Mazin will further elevate the impact of our scientific undertakings and create new opportunities for team science grant applications to various funding agencies,” said Ruben Mesa, MD, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center.
Cells are constantly dividing, and as they do, the DNA molecule — our genetic code — sometimes gets broken. DNA has twin strands, and a break in both is considered especially dangerous. This kind of double-strand DNA break can lead to genome rearrangements that are hallmarks of cancer cells. Dr. Mazin is an expert in homologous recombination, which is a double-strand break repair process.