Mary Kay Foundation Establishes Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research

Photo: The Mary Kay Foundation honors Dr. Jerry Shay (left).


The Mary Kay Foundation is honoring Dr. Jerry Shay, Chair of its Research Review Committee, with a $250,000 gift to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to further women’s cancer research.

The gift will establish a Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research at UTSW. Mary Kay focuses its considerable philanthropic efforts on funding research of cancers affecting women and helping prevent domestic violence. Each year, the Mary Kay Foundation awards grants of $100,000—totaling $23.5 million to date—to medical institutions at the forefront of cancer research and practice. Shay, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at UTSW, has headed up the grant review process for the past two decades.

“The support of grant funding is critical at every stage of research, and it has been very rewarding to partner with The Mary Kay Foundation to help guide their grant portfolio in an effort to fund the most promising ideas in women’s cancer research,” said Shay, who professed himself “deeply moved and humbled” by the endowment in his name.

Shay and his collaborator, Dr. Woodring Wright, are renowned for their own research, particularly on the relationship of telomeres and telomerase to aging and cancer. At UTSW, Shay also holds the title of Distinguished Teaching Professor, and is Program Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. According to Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, which has named him one of its “Doctors of the Decade,” Shay is one of the most cited authors in the area of General Biomedicine.

“By establishing this distinguished professorship, the Mary Kay Foundation hopes to show our sincere appreciation to Dr. Shay and the UTSW community for his help in shaping the foundation’s research portfolio, which has worked to improve lives around the world,” said Michael Lunceford, Mary Kay Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and President of the Mary Kay Foundation.

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