Kittler joins faculty as first CPRIT Scholar

By Connie Piloto 

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) recently awarded its initial grant for a first-time, tenure-track faculty member to UT Southwestern.

The four-year, $2 million grant was used to recruit Dr. Ralf Kittler to the medical center. His research focuses on developing whole-genome approaches to probe the biology of cancers. Dr. Kittler’s goal is to discover diagnostic and therapeutic targets that can be used for the detection, staging and treatment of cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Dr. Ralf Kittler

In his new position as assistant professor in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at UT Southwestern, Dr. Kittler will establish a laboratory and serve as the first CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research. He also has been appointed the John L. Roach Scholar in Biomedical Research.

“Dr. Kittler brings important new skills, technical expertise and experimental approaches to UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Helen Hobbs, director of the McDermott Center and investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “He will bring to cancer research in general and UT Southwestern in particular an unusual combination of skills that extend from cell biology to human genetics and genomics.”

The CPRIT award is designed to recruit promising early-career investigators to Texas universities or cancer research institutions in the state and provide them with scientific and programmatic support.

Before arriving at UT Southwestern, Dr. Kittler was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human Genetics and the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago. He received his doctoral degree from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.

CPRIT was established in 2007 after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that authorized the state to issue $3 billion over 10 years to fund cancer research and prevention programs.

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Dr. Hobbs holds the Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair for the Study of Human Growth and Development and the Dallas Heart Ball Chair in Cardiology Research.