(July 1, 2010) Doug E. Frantz, UTSA assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Sciences, has received the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund 2010 Young Investigator Award, which includes $450,000 over the next three years to propel Frantz's medicinal chemistry research program. This is the first time a UTSA researcher will be honored with the award, which recognizes and supports promising medical research that has the potential to have a significant impact on patient care.
"By supporting research in its own backyard, the Voelcker Fund is providing a great opportunity to San Antonio medical researchers and particularly UTSA," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "With the outstanding support and leadership of community partners like the Voelcker Fund, UTSA will achieve premier research university status at a much faster pace."
In 2009, the Voelcker Fund began to present the award annually to assistant professors making significant research contributions that advance clinical treatment in five key areas. The target areas include heart disease, cancer, arthritis, muscular dystrophy and maculative degeneration of the retina.
"The purpose of the Voelcker Fund is to elevate research to cure targeted diseases. We are impressed with the level and focus of the scientific research being conducted by Dr. Frantz," said Voelcker Fund trustee Banks M. Smith.
Over the long term, Frantz and collaborators Jay Schneider and Jenny Hsieh of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas will discover, synthesize and test libraries of small drug-like molecules that target stem cells with the potential to treat heart disease and brain cancer. In the area of heart disease, Frantz is working to identify molecules that will nudge adult stem cells to grow into new heart muscle cells instead of generating scar tissue after a heart attack.
In brain cancer, his research involves the discovery of new molecules that will turn cancerous stem cells into normal benign neurons. Currently, the researchers are targeting two classes of molecules, isoxazoles and pyrazoles, which have demonstrated success in inducing stem cells to become heart cells and neurons and have been published for the scientific community to review.
The research we are conducting in the laboratory is perfectly aligned with the broader issues of treating cardiovascular disease and cancer by combining stem cells and medicinal chemistry, said Frantz. I am extremely grateful to the trustees of the Voelcker Fund for recognizing the potential of this research and generously supporting my laboratory's research program. In addition to advancing our research, the funds support will provide undergraduates and graduate students with the opportunity to gain valuable laboratory experience at the interface of chemistry and biology and contribute to the development of therapeutic solutions for a variety of diseases.
Frantz joined UTSA in 2009 from UT Southwestern Medical Center, where he was an assistant research professor and served as director of the medical center's synthetic chemistry core facility from 2005 to 2009. At the medical center, he focused on the development of new methods in organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, physical organic chemistry and the synthesis of natural products.
From 2000 to 2005, Frantz worked in industry for pharmaceutical corporation Merck and Co. Inc. initially as a senior research scientist and then as a research fellow in the corporation's Department of Process Research. While at Merck, Frantz managed a group of process chemists in developing pre-clinical and clinical drug candidates for eventual manufacturing and distribution. He also consulted for Reata Pharmaceuticals based in Los Colinas, Texas, and Joyant Pharmaceuticals based in Dallas.
Celebrate 40 years of BestFest, an annual event hosted by Roadrunner Productions as a part of UTSA Homecoming festivities. The event will feature a carnival, food and drink booths, a golf cart parade, firework and live music from Anthem.
Brackenridge Lot 1, Main Campus
Celebrate homecoming as the Roadrunners take on Rice. Come early for the Spirit Walk, tailgating, games, music and food. Stick around for a halftime show with SOSA and the crowning of Mr. and Ms. UTSA.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., Downtown San Antonio
The Leadership Storytelling Homecoming Brunch brings together UTSA alumni and students to share a delicious meal as well as a roundtable conversation about how experiences in college carry us forward on unique leadership journeys.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
The conference is dedicated to sharing recent knowledge and experiences gained in the area of Big Data by researchers in academia, industry and the government sectors within the areas of business, national security, infrastructure, healthcare and visualization.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, via webcast, will examine America’s economic, political and security relations with China during CHINA Town Hall, an 80-city live discussion and Q&A on China and Sino-American relations.
Building Building, Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
The African American Studies program proudly presents William "Cruz" Shaw, San Antonio City Councilman and UTSA Alumnus. Event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The graduate fair is an opportunity for the UTSA student body and local San Antonio community to learn about graduate education opportunities. The event is free and open to the public.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (1.104), Main Campus
President Taylor Eighmy is inviting all UTSA students to "Pizza With The Prez." Come grab a slice of pizza and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President. Pizza while supplies last.
Frio Street Building, Food Court Commons Area, Downtown Campus
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