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Clinical Sciences

Clinical Sciences Experts

John Abrams

Cell Biology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center


John Abrams graduated from Cornell University in 1982 and received a National Science Foundation Fellowship for graduate work at Stanford University the following year. Under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Schimke, he analyzed the regulation, amplification and mutagenesis of transfected genes, receiving a PhD. in 1989. Later that year, Dr. Abrams moved to MIT as an American Cancer Society fellow, where he joined the lab of Hermann Steller and launched molecular studies on programmed cell death. Using the Drosophila model, he uncovered the first global cell death defective mutation in this animal and later he identified the gene ’reaper’ as the relevant locus encoding the predicted apoptotic function. Small molecules that simulate the activity encoded by this gene are now attracting widespread attention as promising anti-cancer drugs. In 1994, Dr. Abrams joined the faculty at UT Southwestern, where he continues research on the molecular physiology of cell death. His lab has identified additional apoptosis genes and, in ongoing efforts, his group continues to use genetic systems to explore cell death pathways and their intersection with p53, a tumor suppressor gene that is commonly mutated in human cancers. Dr. Abrams received the Research Scholar award from the American Cancer Society and the Senior Scholar award from the Ellison Medical Foundation. He is currently a Professor in the department of Cell Biology and Chair of the Genetics, Development and Disease graduate program.  

Research Interest

Apoptosis ; Cell death Gene Regulation, Chromatin Assembly and 3D Genome Organization Noncoding RNAs, Mobile Genetic Elements Tumor suppressor genes

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