Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology assistant professor earns UT System Rising STARs award to further metabolic disease research

Kevin Koronowski, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at UT Health San Antonio, received a UT System Rising STARs (Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention) award in the amount of $250,000 to further his research and bring forth novel treatments for metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Kevin Koronowski, PhD

The funds will be used to invest in additional specialized equipment to be able to test and answer hypotheses exploring the link between the body’s circadian clock and metabolic disease.

“The UT System Rising STARs award means everything to me and my lab at this early stage,” Dr. Koronowski said. “Investigators in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, as well as the Barshop, will have these technologically advanced tools at their immediate disposal.”

Dr. Koronowski, who studied a group of genes called “sirtuins” in the pursuit of his PhD degree, investigated how these genes regulate metabolism in the brain and how they protect against brain damage inflicted by an ischemic stroke.

“For my postdoctoral work, I transitioned to the circadian clock field but continued to study metabolism,” Dr. Koronowski said. “These projects focused on understanding how circadian rhythms, epigenetics and metabolism are connected, and what those connections tell us about health and disease.”

The UT System Board of Regents created the UT System STARs awards program in 2004 to support promising faculty members in the state of Texas. The $250,000 grant is awarded to early-career investigators.

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