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About CRI

Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) is a nonprofit research institute built on the clinical expertise of Children’s Health System of Texas and the scientific excellence of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Under the leadership of Sean J. Morrison, Ph.D., CRI has created a world-class research and training environment that is collaborative and inclusive.

We are located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, and are home to an interdisciplinary group of scientists and physicians from all over the world. Our research is focused at the intersection of stem cells, cancer, and metabolism because we believe these areas hold uncommon opportunity for discoveries that are changing the way we think about important scientific questions and yielding new strategies for treating disease.

11

Research Labs

2

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators

2

Members of the National Academy of Medicine

40%

Trainees who have gone on to tenure-track positions

Mission

CRI is improving our understanding of the biological basis of disease by focusing at the interface of stem cells, cancer, and metabolism.

Our ultimate goals are to:

Research Areas

Research requires commitment, vision, and a relentless determination to push the boundaries of knowledge. Our scientists and physicians are working in the fields of stem cells, cancer, and metabolism.

Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program

CRI researchers study the ways in which perturbations in metabolism contribute to diseases such as cancer and to conditions such as inborn errors of metabolism. Inborn errors of metabolism occur when children are born with genetic defects that impair the function of metabolic pathways. CRI established the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program (GMDP) to integrate patient care and research to advance the diagnosis and treatment of genetically determined metabolic diseases.

Tissue Regeneration Program

Researchers in CRI’s Tissue Regeneration Program are identifying the cellular and genetic basis of tissue healing in a wide range of organs. Elucidation of these mechanisms will advance our ability to repair tissues damaged by age, disease, and trauma.

Cancer Biology

Cancer is a complex group of diseases characterized by rapid and uncontrolled cell proliferation and metastasis to other parts of the body. CRI researchers use a variety of approaches to identify the mechanisms that drive the formation and progression of several cancers in order to find new treatments.
April 2023
Wu lab: Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) found to harbor cancer-associated oncogenes and immunomodulatory genes that promote cancer development in pre-cancerous cells. These findings raise the possibility of earlier interventions and preventive measures for patients with tumors containing ecDNA and provide a new understanding of ecDNA’s role in cancer development. Nature 616, 798-805
April 2023
Zhu lab: Showed that clones of hepatocytes containing somatic mutations are selected for their ability to protect against the damaging effects of fatty liver disease. The Zhu lab thus established methods by which adaptive pathways that ameliorate the effects of metabolic disease can be identified. Cell 186, 1968-1984
October 2022
Morrison lab: Identified markers that distinguish skeletal stem cells in the bone marrow from skeletal stem cells on the outside surface of bones and compared their functions. The Leptin Receptor-expressing skeletal stem cells in the bone marrow are responsible for the steady-state production of new bone cells that maintain the adult skeleton and repair certain types of bone injuries. The Gli1-expressing skeletal stem cells on the outside surfaces of bones (in the periosteum) are responsible for fracture repair. Cell Stem Cell 29, 1547-1561

Training in CRI

CRI has a history of making high-impact discoveries and training students and postdoctoral fellows who have gone on to tenure-track academic faculty positions and leadership positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Our trainees benefit from exceptional grant funding, a collaborative environment, and access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Learn more about the training environment in CRI and the impressive careers of our alumni.

Inside CRI Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with our latest discoveries and news by subscribing to our quarterly email newsletter.

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