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Natural Sciences Alum Invests in Neurodegenerative Research

Natural Sciences Alum Invests in Neurodegenerative Research

Dr. John Doran (Microbiology, Chemistry, 1969) has established an endowment with the intention of advancing science in neurodegenerative diseases.

The Dr. John H. Doran Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Neuroscience will provide permanent support for graduate students focused on research in degenerative nerve diseases such as peripheral neuropathy.

Originally from Brady, Texas, known by many as the "heart of Texas," Dr. Doran has already given a lot of his own heart to the UT system to advance this important research. His journey began on the Forty Acres where he spent countless hours studying and working on campus, in the dorms and in chemistry labs. He went on to pursue his medical degree from UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. For nearly 40 years, John has been practicing internal medicine in Odessa, Texas, and has given back not only to support research and students at UT Austin, but also at the University of Texas of Permian Basin, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

After medical school, Dr. Doran had the opportunity to move to London for a research cardiology fellowship at the Royal Brompton Hospital where he ultimately discovered "that I didn't want to pursue invasive cardiology, after all," he says. "I decided I wanted to become an internal medicine clinician." Today, as a primary care physician, John's specialization is in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases but he has built such deep relationships with his patients that he is now treating their children and grandchildren.

In 2010, Dr. Doran was diagnosed with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to your peripheral nerves, often causing weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. There are more than 100 kinds of peripheral nerve disorders with very little research on their causes. For him, this new endowment in neuroscience research, along with the four other UT System investments, is personal.

"There's very little knowledge about this disease, and I wanted to see what we could do to change that," Dr. Doran explains. "I hope this endowment helps a graduate student in their research career. And since there is much to learn about pathophysiology and physiology of the nervous system, I hope this is a win-win for graduate students and for this disease. With the caliber of research that happens at UT, it's possible to break new ground in understanding this disease to hopefully, one day, find a cure."

With a national and statewide spotlight on Brain Initiatives, and with the opening of the Dell Medical School, the Department of Neuroscience is well positioned to leverage expertise across the field and the Doran Fellowship will be a significant asset in the effort to fund basic research for translational cures.

To learn more about creating an endowment, please visit cns.utexas.edu/giving 

Learn more about opportunities to support graduate student researchers in the college here.

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Saturday, 04 February 2023

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