Sara and Frank McKnight Fellowships

In 2001, donations from various sources helped establish an endowment in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Frank McKnight, the parents of Steven McKnight, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Biochemistry.

This endowment allows the annual investment of roughly $300,000 in support of research conducted by young scientists, including support for young postdoctoral fellows who choose to conduct independent research within the Department of Biochemistry. McKnight Fellows are provided funds for a three-year period to cover their own salary, that of a technician, and the expenses necessary for their lab research. 

This Sara and Frank McKnight Fellowship Program is modeled after an independent fellows program at the Department of Embryology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington where Dr. McKnight was able to receive the opportunity for early independence in the late 1970s.

Past McKnight Fellows include:

  • Jared Rutter, Ph.D., who is now a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah
  • Charles Dann, Ph.D., who is now an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University
  • Trey (John) Fondon, Ph.D., who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington
  • Benjamin Tu, Ph.D., who is now an Associate Professor of Biochemistry here at UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Ryan Potts, Ph.D., who was an Assistant Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern
  • Helen Lai, Ph.D., who is now an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience here at UT Southwestern
  • Randal Halfmann, Ph.D., who is now an Assistant Investigator at Stowers Institute for Medical Research

The Sara and Frank McKnight Fellowship Program is currently supporting William Israelsen, Ph.D., and Miriam Osterfield, Ph.D.