Professor and chair receives $1.5 million UT System Faculty STARs award to advance cancer drug development

Reuben S. Harris, PhD

Reuben S. Harris, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), has received a UT System Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) award in the amount of $1.5 million to establish his laboratory, assist fully with renovations and purchase new state-of-the-art equipment instrumental to developing new pre-clinical models for cancer drug development.

“Several things attracted me to UT Health San Antonio, including visionary leadership and a real opportunity to develop new drugs to fight cancer and pandemic viruses,” Harris said.  “Our lab focuses on mechanisms of tumor and virus evolution. Our primary focus is a family of DNA-mutating enzymes called APOBECs (apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide). These enzymes normally protect us from virus infection but often become dysregulated in cancer and provide fuel for tumor evolution.”

A respected Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who joined the institution in April 2022 from the University of Minnesota, Harris was recruited to UT Health San Antonio with a $6 million senior investigator recruitment grant awarded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention program was created in 2004 by The University of Texas System Board of Regents to support the enhancement of UT institutions statewide.

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