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Dr. Rodney Infante: Career Award for Medical Scientists

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Dr. Rodney Infante

Dr. Rodney Infante, who studies cancer cachexia, has been named a 2019 recipient of a Career Award for Medical Scientists by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF). He is among 13 scientists selected for this research grant, which provides support of $700,000 over five years.

Dr. Infante, Assistant Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and of Internal Medicine and a UTSW Medical Scientist Training Program alumnus, studies body fat regulation in cachexia and obesity. Dr. Infante did his predoctoral work in the laboratories of Nobel Laureates Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein and received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 2012. As a graduate student, he had multiple first- and senior-author papers published, including some on 12-transmembrane domain protein (NPC1) now regarded as classics in the field of cholesterol transport.

I am extremely excited to be selected for such a prestigious award, Dr. Infante said. The type of support provided by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund is critical for an early career investigator such as myself.

Cancer cachexia syndrome is a form of metabolic mutiny – a devastating wasting syndrome consisting of severe weight, fat, and muscle loss that is responsible for one-third of all cancer-related deaths while shortening by half the lifespans of those so affected. Factors leading to cachexia could also be used to study body fat regulation in obesity, Dr. Infante said. His long-term goal is to discover new therapeutic targets to treat both conditions.

Dr. Infante is an outstanding physician-scientist with an exceptionally bright future, said Dr. David Russell, Vice Provost and Dean of Research. The proposed research offers unique discovery opportunities and all the necessary resources for success in the project are at hand. Dr. Infante’s career has been characterized by creativity, productivity, hard work, and superb training, and there’s every reason to believe that he will continue on an exponential vector.

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