Dr. Woodring E. Wright received his BA degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Harvard University in 1970, a PhD under the direction of Dr. Leonard Hayflick in 1974 and an MD from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1975. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France with Dr. Francois Gros, he joined the faculty at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 1978, where he is now Professor of Cell Biology and Southland Financial Corporation Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Research.
Dr. Wright has been the recipient of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Research Award of the American Heart Association, a Research Career Development award from the NIH, a Merit Award from the National Institute on Aging, an AlliedSignal Award for Research on Aging, the Hayflick Award from American Aging Association and an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Buck Institute on Aging. He is the author of more than 200 scientific publications, and holds fifteen U.S. patents, with an additional eight pending.
Telomere shortening ultimately limits the number of times normal human cells are able to divide before they reach replicative senescence. Dr. Wright and his colleague Dr. Jerry Shay have found that preventing telomere shortening by expressing the catalytic subunit of telomerase in normal diploid cells is able to immortalize many different cells. He is exploring the molecular mechanisms regulating telomere shortening and telomerase action, and pursuing a variety of approaches to exploit these insights for the treatment of cancer and age-related diseases.
- Harvard University
- Graduate School
- Stanford University (1974)
- Medical School
- Stanford University (1975), Medicine
- Biology of aging and cancer
- Cell and molecular analysis of muscle cell differentiation
- Telomeres and telomerase
- Telomere position effect: regulation of gene expression with progressive telomere shortening over long distances.
- Robin JD, Ludlow AT, Batten K, Magdinier F, Stadler G, Wagner KR, Shay JW, Wright WE Genes Dev. 2014 Nov 28 22 2464-76
- Regulation of telomerase alternative splicing: a target for chemotherapy.
- Wong MS, Chen L, Foster C, Kainthla R, Shay JW, Wright WE Cell Rep 2013 Apr 3 4 1028-35
- Early and late steps in telomere overhang processing in normal human cells: the position of the final RNA primer drives telomere shortening.
- Chow TT, Zhao Y, Mak SS, Shay JW, Wright WE Genes Dev. 2012 Jun 26 11 1167-78
- Comparative biology of mammalian telomeres: hypotheses on ancestral states and the roles of telomeres in longevity determination.
- Gomes NM, Ryder OA, Houck ML, Charter SJ, Walker W, Forsyth NR, Austad SN, Venditti C, Pagel M, Shay JW, Wright WE Aging cell 2011 Apr 761-8
- Telomere extension occurs at most chromosome ends and is uncoupled from fill-in in human cancer cells.
- Zhao Y, Sfeir AJ, Zou Y, Buseman CM, Chow TT, Shay JW, Wright WE Cell 2009 Aug 138 3 463-75
- Human telomeres have different overhang sizes at leading versus lagging strands.
- Chai W, Du Q, Shay JW, Wright WE Mol. Cell 2006 Feb 21 3 427-35
- Telomere-end processing the terminal nucleotides of human chromosomes.
- Sfeir AJ, Chai W, Shay JW, Wright WE Mol. Cell 2005 Apr 18 1 131-8
- Extension of life-span by introduction of telomerase into normal human cells.
- Bodnar AG, Ouellette M, Frolkis M, Holt SE, Chiu CP, Morin GB, Harley CB, Shay JW, Lichtsteiner S, Wright WE Science 1998 Jan 279 5349 349-52
Honors & Awards
- Irving S. Wright Award for outstanding contributions to research in the biology of aging
American Federation for Aging Research (2009)
- Ellison Medical Foundation
Senior Scholar Award in Aging (2002)
Award for Research on Aging (2001)
- American Aging Association
Hayflick Award (2001)
- Buck Center for Research in Aging
Scientific Advisory Board (1999)