Tu receives fellowship for research in effects of metabolism

Dr. Benjamin Tu, assistant professor of biochemistry, has received one of 17 Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The fellowship, which provides an unrestricted $875,000 over five years, is intended to support early-career scientists and develop scientific leaders.

Dr. Benjamin Tu

“This award is a recognition not only of Dr. Tu, but also of
UT Southwestern as a place that fosters the growth of young scientists,” said Dr. Perrie Adams, associate dean for research in the graduate school, who coordinated UT Southwestern’s nominations for the award.

Dr. Tu was one of 17 fellows selected, out of 100 candidates nominated by presidents of 50 universities.

“My laboratory now has the freedom to investigate a number of new and riskier avenues of research,” Dr. Tu said. “I value the foundation’s support.”

Dr. Tu’s research uses budding yeast to study how metabolism affects cell growth, transcription, autophagy and other fundamental processes. “The idea is that if we can understand these processes, we can better understand conditions such as cancer and aging,” he said.

Dr. Tu received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at Harvard University, and his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. He did his postdoctoral research at
UT Southwestern in the laboratory of Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of biochemistry, and joined the faculty in 2007.

His honors include the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences, a Sara & Frank McKnight Foundation Fellowship, an AAAS/Science/GE Healthcare Young Scientist Regional Award – North America, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship in Biological Sciences.

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Dr. Adams holds the Margaret D. Harris Professorship in Alzheimer’s Research.