National Kidney Foundation honors UTHSC scientist
The National Kidney
Foundation has selected Zheng Dong, Ph.D., of San Antonio as its 2001 Patricia
W. Robinson Young Investigator. Dr. Dong, assistant professor of pathology at
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), will
receive $90,000 to further his research.
Dr. Dong is studying cells’ response to hypoxia, a
condition of reduced availability of oxygen. Hypoxia plays an important role in
the processes underlying a variety of diseases, from cancer and acute renal
failure to heart attack and stroke.
By comparing cells that die during oxygen deprivation
with those that adapt and survive, Dr. Dong hopes to contribute understandings
of cell death under hypoxia. “Recently we have demonstrated the regulation of
genes that are directly involved in cell injury and its prevention,” he said.
“These findings are unprecedented and may provide a theoretical basis for
development of drugs and other interventions that would reduce hypoxia-related
The Texas Advanced Research Program and the American
Heart Association support Dr. Dong’s research, and a five-year grant from the
National Institutes of Health begins in July. “I feel highly honored by the
title bestowed by the National Kidney Foundation,” he said, “and I am very
grateful for NKF’s generous support of my research on kidney diseases.”
“Dr. Dong is an outstanding
young scientist who has developed a superb track record in a highly competitive
field,” said Robert L. Reddick, M.D., chairman of pathology at UTHSC.
received his doctorate in 1994 from the Shanghai Institute of Physiology of the
Chinese National Academy of Sciences. “He is an extraordinary young scientist,”
said his research mentor, Manjeri Venkatachalam, M.B., B.S., professor of
pathology at the Health Science Center. “It comes as no surprise that his work
is being recognized in this country with national awards.”
Dr. Dong recently received the prestigious Lyndon Baines Johnson Research
Award from the American Heart Association, Texas Affiliate.
Contact: Will Sansom