Select Baylor College of Medicine faculty are honored annually through the Michael E. DeBakey, MD, Award for Excellence in Research for outstanding published scientific contributions to clinical and basic science research over a 3-year period. Included among the honorees for this year’s DeBakey awards was cancer researcher Grzegorz Ira, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics and a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Grzegorz Ira, PhD
Dr. Ira has earned recognition in the fields of DNA repair and recombination for his novel insights into basic molecular mechanisms linked to development and homeostasis as well as their implications for cancer and its treatment.
In the field of cancer biology, Dr. Ira’s work suggests novel strategies to optimize cancer therapy. His research has also revealed a novel mechanism that increases our understanding of basic DNA biology. He showed that pieces of DNA from one chromosome, when not properly degraded, often end up being inserted into another chromosome. Similar DNA insertions are common in cancer genomes, in processes essential to generate diverse antibodies, and likely contribute to the evolution of genes and chromosomes. Further, Dr. Ira’s findings also reveal how cells regulate the degradation of 5' end DNA strands to maintain genome stability.
The DeBakey awards are named in honor of pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, the first president of Baylor College of Medicine, and sponsored by the DeBakey Medical Foundation. Recipients of the awards receive a commemorative medallion and funds to support further research.