The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has announced a $10.5 million gift from molecular endocrinologist and alumnus John J. Kopchick and his wife, Charlene.
The gift from the couple will fund up to fifteen student fellowships at the UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, where John Kopchick received a PhD in 1980; a symposium series named after Kopchick that will draw leading scientists from around the world and recognize graduate school students who hold Kopchick Endowed Fellowships; and competitive research awards for students and their faculty mentors. The inaugural Dr. John J. Kopchick and Charlene Kopchick Fellowships are expected to be awarded in 2018.
John Kopchick earned his degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and subsequently enrolled in the PhD program at UT MD Anderson. His pioneering research centers on the molecular structure of a growth hormone — a protein produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Kopchick's research led to Somavert (pegvisomant), a drug that inhibits growth hormone functions and was approved for use in patients with acromegaly. At Ohio University, Kopchick is a distinguished professor and the Goll-Ohio Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and directs the Growth, Diabetes and Obesity Section of the Edison Biotechnology Institute in Konneker Research Laboratories.
"This gift represents the important role that collaborations between two UT institutions will play in advancing discoveries and cures by making sure that they develop scientific and medical leaders to do just that," said University of Texas System chancellor William H. McRaven. "When you combine the expertise that exists in the nation's leading cancer center and the state's most comprehensive academic health institution, graduate students in the biomedical sciences will have unprecedented opportunity for learning and discovery. We are profoundly grateful to the Kopchicks for understanding and generously supporting the power of collaborative science."