Faculty Educator of the Month: February 2013

Dr. Pierre D. McCrea

Dr. Pierre D. McCrea, Deputy Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has been named the February 2013 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Dr. McCreaDr. McCrea has been highly dedicated to education at MD Anderson and The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS) throughout his time here. This is well displayed in his trainee committee activity. Specifically, he has served on 177 examining committees, 173 advisory committees, and 123 supervisory committees. Furthermore, he has been a research mentor for 25 graduate students (inclusive or rotations), 8 postdoctoral research fellows, and 7 undergraduate and Allied Health students.

Dr. McCrea’s educational reach extends to the classroom, as well. At present, he is an instructor for four GSBS courses, two of which—Developmental Biology and Cell Biology—he has participated in since the early 1990s. Additionally, he has been an instructor in eight other GSBS courses as well as one on the biomedical sciences geared toward high school teachers.

Currently, Dr. McCrea is vice-chair of the MD Anderson Graduate Education Committee, for which he was a founding member. He also is a member of the advisory board for the GSBS Program in Molecular Pathology. Previously, Dr. McCrea served as Director of the highly successful GSBS Program in Genes and Development (2001-2003).

During his time at MD Anderson and the GSBS, Dr. McCrea has been lauded several times for his educational efforts. Most recently, he was named an MD Anderson Distinguished Teaching Professor, nominated for the 2012 Paul E. Darlington Award for Outstanding Mentoring, reappointed to the GSBS faculty with highest commendation in 2011, elected to the MD Anderson Academy of Health Science Education in 2010, and received the MD Anderson William Randolph Hearst Faculty Achievement Award in Education and highest commendation for graduate education from the GSBS in 2006.

Dr. McCrea received his Ph.D. degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University in 1986, after which he served as a postdoctoral associate for 1 year. While with Dr. Barry Gumbiner, he completed postdoctoral work in cell and developmental biology at the University of California, San Francisco (1988-1992), and at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute (1993). His work included the first purification, cloning, and in vivo characterization of vertebrate beta-catenin.

Dr. McCrea came to MD Anderson as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1993. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999 and his current position of Professor in 2006. He was named Deputy Chair of the department in 2010.

While at MD Anderson, Dr. McCrea has been the principal investigator, a co-principal investigator, the project leader, or a training faculty member for 25 funded research projects. He also has been a reviewer or ad hoc reviewer for numerous granting agencies, including the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. McCrea is a member of the editorial board for the journal Cell Communication and Adhesion. In addition, he is a reviewer for 25 journals. Over the course of his career and together with his laboratory colleagues, Dr. McCrea has authored more than 55 peer-reviewed works on the cell and developmental biology of the larger family of catenin proteins.