UT Health San Antonio’s Liu receives $100,000 grant from The Mary Kay Foundation

The Mary Kay Foundation on Oct. 22 announced that UT Health San Antonio is among its 2020 cancer grant recipients. The grants are awarded annually to top accredited research institutions in the United States conducting innovative translational research to better understand cancers that affect women.

Zhijie “Jason” Liu, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and an investigator with the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, will leverage the $100,000 Mary Kay Foundation grant to study estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), a biomarker of breast cancer. Dr. Liu is exploring the role of ERα cofactors that enable reprogramming of proteins during breast cancer progression, leading to hormone therapy resistance.

The Liu laboratory will use genome-wide approaches to uncover the key roles of these ERα cofactors. Next, lab members will target the cofactors with drug therapy to reverse resistance in breast cancer cells. This is expected to provide potential therapeutic insights for treating hormone-resistant cancers.

The Mary Kay Foundation has provided $30 million for cancer programs and services since 1996, including grants to support innovative cancer research and clinical trials to find a cure for cancers affecting women.

After a review of nearly 75 applications by The Mary Kay Foundation Research Review Committee, $100,000 grants were awarded to 10 cancer research institutions including UT Health San Antonio.

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The Long School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is named for Texas philanthropists Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long. The school is the largest educator of physicians in South Texas, many of whom remain in San Antonio and the region to practice medicine. The school teaches more than 900 students and trains 800 residents each year. As a beacon of multicultural sensitivity, the school annually exceeds the national medical school average of Hispanic students enrolled. The school’s clinical practice is the largest multidisciplinary medical group in South Texas with 850 physicians in more than 100 specialties. The school has a highly productive research enterprise where world leaders in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, aging, heart disease, kidney disease and many other fields are translating molecular discoveries into new therapies. The Long School of Medicine is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center known for prolific clinical trials and drug development programs, as well as a world-renowned center for aging and related diseases.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, also referred to as UT Health San Antonio, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. With missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement, its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have graduated more than 37,000 alumni who are leading change, advancing their fields, and renewing hope for patients and their families throughout South Texas and the world. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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