Friday, August 27, 2021

By News and Internal Communications

By Maria Gonzalez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV has received its first CPRIT grant – $2.5 million in funding for an Integrated Cancer Research Core facility that will serve as a foundation for building the Rio Grande Valley’s growing cancer research network. 

The core also will support the established South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research to address disproportionate, cancer-related health issues in the area. 

Dr. Michael B. Hocker, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine, said the CPRIT grant is extremely competitive.  

“To have been its recipient solidifies UTRGV’s commitment to providing better healthcare options across the Rio Grande Valley,” he said.  

Dr. Subhash Chauhan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the UTRGV School of Medicine, is founding director of the South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research.   

“We are thrilled and excited to receive this CPRIT funding for the first time, and it will allow us to bring UTRGV and the Valley to the forefront for our cancer research efforts,” Chauhan said.

‘‘This grant is going to help us reach those who seek essential cancer treatment without the need to travel out of the area. It’s monumental.
— Dr. Michael B. Hocker, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine’’

He said it will help support UTRGV’s developing role in fast-track cancer research in the state and place UTRGV researchers at the forefront of significant contributions in new, collaborative research projects.  

“With the help of this funding, our cancer researchers will be able to conduct very sophisticated experiments and will be able to develop newer cancer prevention strategies,” Chauhan said.  

The grant will help fund two major pieces of high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment critical in the university’s cancer research.  

“These new instruments will allow researchers to conduct experiments related to cancer imaging in small-animal flow cytometry analysis in a single cell, along with cellular imaging,” Chauhan said.  

The Integrated Cancer Research Core facility will serve as a critical location for researchers’ work with local cancer patient samples.  

Hocker said the grant will contribute to UTRGV's promise to transform the medical landscape in the region.

“This grant is going to help us reach those who seek essential cancer treatment without the need to travel out of the area,” he said. “It’s monumental.”  

Chauhan said UTRGV’s research collaborators play a critical role in this grant project.  

“I am highly thankful to our whole cancer research team, especially Dr. Meena Jaggi and Dr. Murali M. Yallapu, who are key players in this grant,” he said. “Both of these individuals will act as directors of the CPRIT-funded Integrated Cancer Research Core.”   

“As an emerging cancer research group, we came up with a theme that has potential to revolutionize the landscape of cancer research in the Valley,” Chauhan said.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.