Olson to head new Hamon Center for Regenerative Medicine

DALLAS – May 7, 2014 – UT Southwestern Medical Center today announced the formation of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine led by Dr. Eric Olson, Chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology.

Dr. Eric Olson

This new Center was made possible by a $10 million endowment gift from the Hamon Charitable Foundation. It is being established to promote discoveries that will provide new approaches to healing and regeneration, including advances in stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and organ fabrication.

“We look forward to the emergence of the Hamon Center as a leading source of transformative insights into regenerative science and medicine,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern.  “We are delighted to be able to announce this very generous gift from the Hamon Foundation, the establishment of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine, and this important new role for Dr. Olson.”

Dr. Olson’s work has produced new insights into heart development and regeneration.  His work has illuminated a detailed genetic model for heart development that provides a framework for how these genes function in normal and abnormal heart development.  These advances provide a basis for the development of new approaches to the treatment and prevention of cardiac defects in infants and cardiac repair in adults, including several therapeutics already in development.

“We all know what degeneration is. That’s what happens with age. Regeneration is the opposite. It centers on how to rejuvenate aged and diseased tissues,” said Dr. Olson. “The goal of this Center is to understand the basic mechanisms for tissue and organ formation, and then to use that knowledge to regenerate, repair, and replace tissues damaged by aging and injury.”

Under Dr. Olson’s leadership, the Hamon Center will both foster collaborative interactions among existing faculty and, with its appointing authority, recruit junior and senior new faculty. In addition, the Center will support new core facilities, expanded biobank activities, and the development of new training and educational activities related to regenerative science and medicine.

Dr. Olson’s work has been widely recognized by numerous awards and honors, including his election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. More recently, he received the Passano Award in 2012, the Research Achievement Award from the International Society for Heart Research in 2013, and also in 2013, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.

Dr. Olson has been a member of the UT Southwestern community since he was recruited in 1995 to be the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology. He holds the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research, the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects, and the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science. 

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,700, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 91,000 hospitalized patients and oversee more than 2 million outpatient visits a year.

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Media Contact: Russell Rian
214-648-3404
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu 

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