Galindo to oversee medical student research in associate dean role

By Jeff Carlton

A few seconds – that’s all the time it took for Dr. Rene Galindo to decide on becoming UT Southwestern Medical School’s Associate Dean for Medical Student Research.

Dr. Rene Galindo

“I was called and asked to consider it,” said Dr. Galindo, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Molecular Biology, who also holds an appointment in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I paused for a moment and said, ‘Considered.’ ”

In his new role, Dr. Galindo will oversee the Medical Student Research Office and medical student research electives. He also will manage grants and funding opportunities, provide strategic insight into student research-related medical school curriculum, and guide students seeking medical degrees with distinction in research.

Each year, the Medical School has about 100 students participating in research activities, said Dr. Greg Fitz, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of the Medical School.

“This institution is committed to assuring that medical students interested in research have the opportunity to learn through direct experience,” Dr. Fitz said. “Dr. Galindo has all of the skills, both personal and professional, to attract students to UT Southwestern and to put them in a position to succeed.”

Dr. Galindo’s research focuses on developmental biology and the molecular events leading to the pathogenesis of rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer typically found in children. He acquired an interest in bench science as an undergraduate at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

He then attended UT Southwestern, earning a medical degree and doctorate as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He moved to Johns Hopkins University for residency training in anatomic pathology, followed by specialized training in pediatric pathology back at UT Southwestern, where he spent several years under the tutelage of Dr. Eric Olson, Chairman of Molecular Biology.

Dr. Galindo is a previous recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists and a UT Southwestern President’s Research Council Distinguished Young Researcher Award.

“Those experiences as an undergrad really cemented the idea that I wanted to be a disease-oriented physician-scientist,” Dr. Galindo said. “I understand how exposure to research leads people to appreciate the kinds of questions you can pursue. The idea that I am now in a position to do that for the next generation of physician-scientists is immensely gratifying.”

About Dr. Galindo

  • Age: 42
  • Hometown: San Antonio
  • Research breakthrough: Dr. Galindo’s recently published study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies the role of the gene TANC1, which converts otherwise normal muscle cells in fruit flies into cells that behave as aggressive rhabdomyosarcoma-type cells. 

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Dr. Fitz holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, and the Atticus James Gill, M.D., Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Olson is Director of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic and Clinical Research in Pediatric Oncology. He holds the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research.

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