Newsmakers – December 2013

DeBerardinis to hold the Steinberg Chair in Pediatrics

Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis has been named holder of the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D., Chair in Pediatrics. A faculty member since 2008, Dr. DeBerardinis is an Associate Professor in the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center, in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, and of Pediatrics. In 2011 he was the first faculty member recruited to the Children’s Research Institute (CRI), a joint venture between Children’s and UT Southwestern. In September 2013, he was named Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program in the CRI. In the clinical setting, Dr. DeBerardinis cares for children with inborn errors of metabolism, rare diseases that impair the ability to derive energy from sugars, amino acids, and fats. In the laboratory, he tries to understand how changes in metabolic activity enable cancer cells to grow and evade the stresses that kill off normal cells. This “metabolic reprogramming” is a hallmark of the rapid cell growth in aggressive tumors and may hold the key to better strategies to detect and treat cancer. A graduate of St. Joseph’s University, Dr. DeBerardinis earned his medical and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He then became the first trainee in the combined residency program in Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He performed his postdoctoral research at Penn. He also is a Sowell Family Scholar in Medical Research at UT Southwestern.

Rizo-Rey selected to hold the O’Hara Chair in Biochemistry

Dr. Jose Rizo-Rey, Professor of Biophysics, Pharmacology, and Biochemistry has been named holder of the Virginia Lazenby O’Hara Chair in Biochemistry. His main focus is the study of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and intracellular membrane fusion using structural biology, a variety of biophysical techniques and reconstitution approaches. While earning a degree in organic chemistry at the University of Barcelona in Spain, he became fascinated by quantum field theory and statistical mechanics. He secured a second Bachelor of Science, in theoretical physics, before completing his doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Barcelona. Dr. Rizo-Rey came to UT Southwestern Medical Center as a postdoctoral researcher in 1989 and established his independent research group in 1995.