CRI Researcher named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), was among 84 scientists from 43 U.S. institutions chosen as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar. The new grant program is a collaboration of HHMI, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The program, a first-time collaboration of the philanthropies, awards grants of $600,000 to $1.8 million over five years to early-career scientists with great potential to make unique contributions to their field. Distinguished scientists evaluated 1,400 applications and selected the Faculty Scholars based on prior research, current investigations, and future potential for bold, innovative investigations.

Dr. DeBerardinis is one of five researchers from UT Southwestern selected to receive this grant. UT Southwestern tied with three other institutions for the second highest number of researchers receiving these awards nationally and had the highest number of awards of any Texas institution.

At CRI, Dr. DeBerardinis studies the metabolic pathways that go awry in cancer and other diseases. He hopes to develop therapeutic agents that selectively manipulate tumor metabolism, reducing tumor growth while leaving the body’s metabolism elsewhere undisturbed. At UT Southwestern, Dr. DeBerardinis also is an associate professor in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth & Development and in Pediatrics, holds the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D., Chair in Pediatrics, and is a Sowell Family Scholar in Medical Research. As a physician-scientist, he also diagnoses and treats children with genetic metabolic disorders at Children’s Medical Center Dallas where he serves as the director of the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism.

“Ralph is one of the best young cancer metabolism researchers in the country, as well as a clinical leader in the diagnosis and treatment of inborn errors of metabolism in children. He is making transformative scientific discoveries and pioneering new approaches in the clinic,” said Dr. Sean Morrison, CRI Director, Professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern, a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar in Cancer Research, and an HHMI Investigator. Dr. Morrison holds the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern and the Mary.