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GSBS Dean Blackburn receives 2013 President’s Scholar Award for Research

March 07, 2013

Karen Kaplan


The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences would like to congratulate Dean Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., for receiving the 2013 President’s Scholar Award for Research. 

Blackburn’s area of research expertise involves the detrimental role of adenosine signaling in chronic lung disease. Adenosine is a cellular regulator involved in a vast array of physiological functions throughout the body. Findings of Blackburn’s lab led to the hypothesis that excessive adenosine signaling contributed to the progression of pulmonary conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. This pre-clinical research has led to promising phase I and II trials now underway to treat chronic lung disease. 

Blackburn’s efforts also led to the establishment of a tissue banking consortium in the Texas Medical Center to examine components of adenosine signaling in lungs obtained from patients receiving heart/lung transplants because of terminal pulmonary disease. 

The author of more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 25 invited reviews or book chapters, Blackburn also is noted for his success in recruiting and training outstanding students and fellows, and guiding MD/PhD candidates through completion of their doctoral degrees.  

In July 2012, Blackburn was appointed dean of the UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences—a co-deanship shared with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Michelle Barton, PhD. Holder of the John P. McGovern Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Sciences, he also is professor in and vice chair of the Medical School’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has been with the university since 1997. 

"It is a great honor to be recognized by President Colasurdo and the leadership of our institution for my research accomplishments,” Blackburn said. “Research has always been a major passion of mine, and the receipt of this prestigious award is truly humbling.”

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