The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Sciences announces the appointment of John McCarrey, Ph.D. as the Robert and Helen Kleberg Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology. The position, which supports UTSA’s growth to Tier One research status, is funded by a $1.5 million gift from the Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.
Dr. McCarrey, previously the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor of Biology, is the director of the San Antonio Institute for Cellular and Molecular Primatology and professor of biology at UTSA. His area of research expertise is in stem cells and regenerative medicine.
Under Dr. McCarrey’s leadership, stem cell research in the UTSA College of Sciences is emerging as an area of excellence. Three new junior faculty members have joined the Institute in the past three years, and there is a growing interest in the area among students. At the most recent college-wide research conference, more than a dozen UTSA students presented research in the area of stem cells.
Dr. McCarrey holds joint appointments at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, and he is an affiliate scientist of the Southwest National Primate Research Center. He is currently working with researchers at both of these San Antonio institutions as well as experts at Harvard University to develop a nonhuman primate model for studying stem cells and regenerative medicine.
The Robert and Helen Kleberg Chair will not only support Dr. McCarrey but will also provide a network for training future scientists as several graduate students, undergraduates and postdoctoral fellows will work with him. The position offers a permanent stream of support for critical research, ensuring the continuity of long-term projects.
“This gift provides a tremendous boost to the momentum we’re gaining in this area of research,” said Dr. George Perry, dean of the College of Sciences. “John [McCarrey] is a stellar researcher under whose guidance we are sure to excel. We are honored to receive support from the Robert and Helen Kleberg Foundation to realize this appointment.”
The Kleberg Foundation is a longtime supporter of the College of Sciences. Previous grantshave allowed for the purchase of three electron microscopes including Helenita, the world’s most powerful electron microscope, capable of producing images of less than one atom. It is named after Helen K. Groves, president of the foundation, known by her friends and family as Helenita.
“The foundation has, and continues to be, a great partner in the success of our college, university, and the greater community,” said Dr. Perry. “We value their friendship and confidence in our efforts.”