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Long-time M. D. Anderson Supporter Regina Rogers Presents Leading Researcher With Prestigious Award

Long-time M. D. Anderson Supporter Regina RogersPresents Leading Researcher With Prestigious Award
M. D. Anderson News Release 12/10/03

For her outstanding accomplishments and international reputation for excellence in basic research, Sharon R. Dent, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, recently received the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence.

Dent is a leading researcher in the field of chromatin remodeling enzymes in gene expression and their contribution to cell growth and development.

“Every cell has the same genetic blueprint, and different parts of that blueprint are read to give a cell its unique identity. Chromatin refers to the way that blueprint is folded,” explains Dent. “If a cell misreads the blueprint, it loses its identity and often loses growth control, and of course those are hallmark cancer features.”

Dent holds four research grants and has published 56 research articles and book chapters. She lectures in four courses on molecular genetics and has directly supervised 21 postdoctoral, postgraduate, undergraduate or medical students.

Regina Rogers, member-at-large of M. D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, established the award in 1987 in honor of her parents, Ben and Julie Rogers, who also were active on the institution’s advisory board. The Rogers family has been generous supporters of M. D. Anderson for more than four decades, donating both time and money to the institution. Ben Rogers maintained life membership on the board for 21 years until his death in 1994. Julie Rogers died in 1998.

The award, which rotates among the areas of research, patient care, education, prevention and administration, was created to recognize an exceptional employee who consistently demonstrates excellence in his or her work and dedication to M. D. Anderson’s mission of eliminating cancer. It includes a certificate of merit and a $10,000 cash award.

Dent graduated magna cum laude from North Texas State University in 1980 with a B.S. in biochemistry, and in 1986 she received a Ph.D. from Rice University in biochemistry. She served as a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the Baylor College of Medicine from 1985 to 1988, and then joined the National Institutes of Health as a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology. In 1993, she began her career with M. D. Anderson.

“Beyond her research accomplishments, Sharon is very generous with her time, and she has been an exceptional mentor not only to me, but also to her students both in and outside her lab,” says her nominator, Jill Schumacher, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics. “She’s extremely accomplished, but she is also very approachable and humble.”

“I have a lot of passion for cancer research — it’s a little like reading a mystery novel. I gather clues, try to figure out what happened, why it happened and what the motives are. It’s very exciting,” remarks Dent. “But the most important aspect of my job is training young scientists. I find it extremely rewarding to help them get started in their careers.”

“This is always a special occasion for me,” says Regina Rogers. “I am inspired by the dedication and excellence of the M. D. Anderson staff and pleased to be able to honor them with an award that also recalls the memory of my wonderful parents.”

Dent also paid tribute to Rogers in her acceptance speech, “Your warmth and dedication are special,” she said. “I hope to honor the legacy of your parents as I continue to strive for excellence.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center