Newsmakers - March

Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of psychiatry, has been selected lead investigator for a five-year, $500,000 grant awarded UT Southwestern by Bristol-Myers Squibb. A part of the company's "Freedom to Discover" program, the grant is one of 10 totaling $4.6 million given to leading research institutions around the world.

The grant will be used to support studies that focus on identifying molecular and cellular changes that drugs of abuse, such as opiates and cocaine, produce in the brain after chronic use. It also will study the genetic and environmental factors that determine individual differences in the ability of the drugs to produce those changes.

Dr. Nestler, a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, is holder of the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Chair in Psychiatric Research. He joined UT Southwestern as chairman in September 2000 and is well known for his research on drug addiction and the chemistry of how drugs work in the brain.

Dr. Xiaodong Wang, professor of biochemistry, has been named this year's recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research award by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The award includes a commemorative plaque and $5,000 honorarium. Dr. Wang, one of seven AACR award recipients, also will deliver a lecture during the organization's annual meeting March 27-31 in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Wang, holder of the George L. MacGregor Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was honored by the AACR Laboratory Research Award Committee for his work in biochemical studies of apoptosis, or cell death, a phenomenon in which cells activate a self-destruction program.