Clark receives Health Science Center’s highest award for 2011

SAN ANTONIO (March 1, 2011) — Robert A. Clark, M.D., assistant vice president for research at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, has been named the Presidential Distinguished Research Scholar at the university for 2011. The award is the Health Science Center’s highest.

William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center, recognized Dr. Clark and other award winners. “Dr. Clark is an exceptional physician-scientist, scholar and educator with a truly extraordinary record of academic leadership and productivity,” Dr. Henrich said.

Dr. Clark runs a long-term, federally funded research program that focuses on the role of inflammation and oxygen in aging and degenerative and infectious diseases. He also serves in the pivotal role of director of the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, which is the home of the Health Science Center’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

The goal of the CTSAs, which are multiyear awards made by the National Institutes of Health, is to translate innovative scientific discoveries into health benefits to communities.

“Dr. Clark is an advocate for translational research, which bridges the divide between the laboratory bench and the patient bedside so that basic science discoveries will benefit patients more quickly,” Dr. Henrich said.

Through the work of Dr. Clark and his colleagues, the scientific community has gained a better understanding of reactive oxygen species. These chemically reactive molecules play important roles in the cells of living creatures, but high levels can cause cellular damage.

Reactive oxygen species are thought to have a hand in everything from cardiovascular disease to the aging process. Dr. Clark’s recent research has focused on the role of reactive oxygen species in aging and degenerative disorders.

Dr. Clark also has made substantial contributions in the area of calcium signaling, which affects everything from heart function to muscle contractions.

In addition to his work in the lab, Dr. Clark is a clinical physician. He is a widely recognized author who takes young biomedical investigators under his wing through mentorship and training both in the lab and clinic. Throughout his career, Dr. Clark has maintained strong competitive national grant support.

“I am deeply honored and privileged to have been selected for this award,” Dr. Clark said. “I know that I owe whatever success I have achieved to my talented and devoted colleagues and staff.”

Career highlights

Dr. Clark received his medical degree in 1967 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After internship and residency, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases at the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. His long and distinguished career includes service on the faculties of the University of Washington School of Medicine, 1972-1977; Boston University School of Medicine, 1977-1983; University of Iowa College of Medicine, 1983-1994; and the UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine, 1994-present. Before assuming his leadership role with the Health Science Center CTSA, Dr. Clark was the longtime chairman of the university’s Department of Medicine.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving U.S. federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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