News and Events
UT Southwestern to lead national effort to develop new weapons against pathogens
April 24, 2019 – Amid growing concern about pathogens becoming more drug-resistant worldwide – and emerging new pathogens that have no current treatment – UT Southwestern has been selected to lead a five-year investigation into a promising new approach for controlling infections funded by a grant of up to $37 million.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded program will be headed by Dr. Beth Levine, Director of UT Southwestern’s Center for Autophagy Research and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology. She will serve as Program Director over five separate research projects at UT Southwestern and across the country – all focused on the potential to exploit a cellular process known as autophagy to destroy invading bacteria and viruses.
Scientists identify protein central to immune response against tuberculosis bacteria
Jan. 11, 2017 – UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that is central to the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy the bacterium responsible for the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.
The new finding, reported recently in Cell Host & Microbe, could someday lead to the development of immunity-based therapies to treat tuberculosis – which typically takes months to eradicate and has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics – by strengthening this immune pathway, said Dr. Michael Shiloh, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology.
“The protein Smurf1 functions in specialized white blood cells called macrophages in both mice and humans, thereby suggesting a conserved evolutionary pathway,” said Dr. Shiloh, co-senior author of the study along with Dr. Beth Levine, Director of the University’s Center for Autophagy Research.
Researchers identify process cells use to destroy damaged organelles with links to cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging
Dec. 22, 2016 – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered the mechanism cells use to find and destroy an organelle called mitochondria that, when damaged, may lead to genetic problems, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory disease, and aging.
Understanding how this process works could potentially lead to new treatments to prevent certain illnesses and even some aspects of aging, said Dr. Beth Levine, Director of the Center for Autophagy Research at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, published today in Cell. The Center for Autophagy Research – the only one of its kind in the nation – investigates the process called autophagy in which cells rid themselves of damaged or unnecessary components.
Team identifies new function of genes linked to Fanconi anemia and certain types of cancer
May 2, 2016 – Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified an important new function of genes in the Fanconi anemia pathway– a finding that could have implications for development of new therapies to treat this disorder and some cancers.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is an incurable blood disorder affecting about 1 in every 130,000 people caused by mutations in any of 19 FA genes. Mutations in FA genes can lead to birth defects, cognitive impairment, bone marrow failure-related blood disorders, cancers that include pediatric leukemia, premature aging, and other abnormalities.
FA pathway genetic mutations also can be found in cancers of patients without the disorder, said study first author Dr. Rhea Sumpter, a former Instructor of Internal Medicine at the Center for Autophagy Research at UT Southwestern. These include mutations in the FANCS (also called BRCA1) and FANCD1 (also called BRCA2) genes, which greatly increase the risk of developing familial breast and ovarian cancers, regardless of whether the person has FA.
Study links deficiency of cellular housekeeping gene with aggressive forms of breast cancer
Jan. 30, 2015 – UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have identified a strong link between the most aggressive type of breast cancer and a gene that regulates the body’s natural cellular recycling process, called autophagy.
Levine receives 2014 Korsmeyer Award
Jan. 22, 2014 – Beth Levine, M.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Director of the Center for Autophagy Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has received the 2014 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). The award recognizes Dr. Levine’s fundamental contributions to the understanding of autophagy – literally, “self-eating” – a housecleaning process in which cells destroy damaged proteins and organelles.
Interference with cellular recycling leads to cancer growth, chemotherapy resistance
Sept. 18, 2013 – Overactivity of a protein that normally cues cells to divide sabotages the body’s natural cellular recycling process, leading to heightened cancer growth and chemotherapy resistance, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.
Levine elected to National Academy of Sciences
April 30, 2013 – The National Academy of Sciences today announced the election of Beth Levine, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at UT Southwestern Medical Center, to membership, representing one of the highest honors attainable by an American scientist.