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UTSA biologist to receive service award from Society for the Study of Reproduction

John McCarrey

John McCarrey

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(March 30, 2015) -- John McCarrey, professor of biology in the UTSA College of Sciences, has been selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for the Study of Reproduction.

McCarrey was recognized for demonstrating unselfish service and leadership in advancing the discipline of reproductive biology and will receive the honor on June 18 at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

McCarrey’s area of expertise is in reproduction, stem cells and regenerative medicine. His research focuses on the development, differentiation and function of mammalian germ cells. Additional research interests include mechanisms governing genetic integrity in germ and stem cells and the effects of cloning and assisted reproductive technologies on genetic integrity.

Notably, McCarrey and researchers at the University of Hawaii, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Harvard University are studying assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Using mice, the team is focused on the epigenome, a mechanism that programs the genome to control gene expression in each type of cell, determining outward appearance and development. The researchers found that hormones known as gonadotropins led to an increase in epimutations, inheritable abnormalities which occur inside a cell that do not affect the sequence of DNA. Epimutations can lead to changes in appearance, development or cellular function. The number of epimutations the researchers studied was small, but they believe new studies they are now initiating will shed further light on the effects of similar methods utilized when humans decide to have children using ART. Thus far, more than five million children have been conceived using some form of ART.

As the Kleberg Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology at UTSA and Director of the San Antonio Cellular Therapeutics Institute, McCarrey’s leadership has helped position the College of Sciences as an area of excellence in stem cell research. Additional stem cell researchers have been added to UTSA’s faculty since McCarrey’s hire, and more UTSA students are presenting their research in stem cells at conferences.

McCarrey holds joint appointments at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

He received his doctoral and master’s degrees in genetics and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of California, Davis.

Established in 1967, the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) was founded to promote the study of reproduction by fostering interdisciplinary communication among scientists, holding conferences, and publishing meritorious studies. Membership spans more than 50 countries and includes scientists and physicians interested in research and reproduction. Some members are engaged in basic or applied research while others perform clinical practice. All are dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge by promoting outstanding research and training in reproductive sciences and to protect and preserve human and animal reproductive health.

Learn more about John McCarrey’s research.

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