W. Lee Kraus, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of the Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, an endowed basic science research center at UT Southwestern with a research focus on signaling, gene regulation, and genomics in reproduction, development, and cancer. He also holds the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Reproductive Biology Sciences. As director for the Green Center, Dr. Kraus is responsible for developing and maintaining the research environment in the Center, hiring and mentoring new faculty, and developing and supporting the laboratory training programs in the Center.
Dr. Kraus also serves in multiple other roles at UT Southwestern that leverage his scientific knowledge and experience to broadly support the basic and translational research enterprises of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (as Vice Chair for Basic Sciences), the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (as Assistant Director for Basic Research), and the University (as the inaugural Assistant Dean for Research Development). Dr. Kraus is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Endocrine Society (2023-2026).
Prior to his move to UT Southwestern in 2010, he was on the faculty in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine for 10 years, where he moved through the ranks from assistant professor to full professor.
Dr. Kraus’s research interests include signal regulated transcription, chromatin and gene regulation, nuclear receptors, PARPs, and NAD+ metabolism and signaling. He has been active in these fields as a scientist, conference organizer, journal editor, editorial board member, NIH grant reviewer, frequent manuscript reviewer, teacher, and consultant. Dr. Kraus has published over 150 original research articles in peer-reviewed journals, many in leading science journals, with an h-index of 77 (Google Scholar 2022).
During his independent scientific career, Dr. Kraus has been supported by a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences/Reproductive Biology from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, as well as grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the Endocrine Society, and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Kraus has been an active and successful mentor, as of 2022 having trained 22 doctoral students, 26 postdocs, and 16 clinical fellows. Almost all of his former trainees have gone on to faculty positions in universities or private research institutes, research scientist positions in the biotech and pharma industries, or administrative positions in academia.
Dr. Kraus is also active in the biotech and pharma industries. He is a founder of Ribon Therapeutics, Inc. and ARase Therapeutics, Inc. - two oncology therapeutics companies in the PARP and ADP-ribosylation space. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of other biotech start-up companies.
Dr. Kraus earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 1989. He then completed graduate research on the regulation of steroid hormone receptor activity in the laboratory of Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Ph.D., at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and received his Ph.D. in 1994. Dr. Kraus did his postdoctoral research on the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation with chromatin in the laboratory of Jim Kadonaga, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego. During his postdoctoral work, Dr. Kraus was supported by fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society, California Division.
Dr. Kraus has won numerous research and teaching awards, including the Endocrine Society’s Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award for research excellence (2007), the Endocrine Society’s Ernst Oppenheimer Award for research excellence (2014), the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Young Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (2004), and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award (2008).
- Cornell University (1989), Animal Science
- Graduate School
- Univ of Illinois @ Urbana-Cham (1991), Physiology
- Graduate School
- Univ of Illinois @ Urbana-Cham (1994), Physiology
- Cancer biology (esp. breast and ovarian cancer)
- Chromatin structure and gene regulation
- Computational genomics
- Hormonal signaling
- Molecular physiology of reproduction, inflammation, and adipogenesis
- Analysis of estrogen-regulated enhancer RNAs identifies a functional motif required for enhancer assembly and gene expression.
- Hou TY, Kraus WL, Cell Rep 2022 Jun 39 11 110944
- Multiomics analysis of the NAD+-PARP1 axis reveals a role for site-specific ADP-ribosylation in splicing in embryonic stem cells.
- Jones A, Kraus WL, Genes Dev 2022 May 36 9-10 601-617
- Development and characterization of new tools for detecting poly(ADP-ribose) in vitro and in vivo.
- Challa S, Ryu KW, Whitaker AL, Abshier JC, Camacho CV, Kraus WL, Elife 2022 Apr 11
- Oncohistone Mutations Occur at Functional Sites of Regulatory ADP-ribosylation.
- Huang D, Camacho CV, Martire S, Nagari A, Setlem R, Gong X, Edwards AD, Chiu SP, Banaszynski LA, Kraus WL, Cancer Res 2022 Apr
- The expanding universe of PARP1-mediated molecular and therapeutic mechanisms.
- Huang D, Kraus WL, Mol Cell 2022 Mar
- Ribosome ADP-ribosylation inhibits translation and maintains proteostasis in cancers.
- Challa S, Khulpateea BR, Nandu T, Camacho CV, Ryu KW, Chen H, Peng Y, Lea JS, Kraus WL, Cell 2021 Jul
- Nuclear ADP-ribosylation drives IFN?-dependent STAT1a enhancer formation in macrophages.
- Gupte R, Nandu T, Kraus WL, Nat Commun 2021 06 12 1 3931
- Spirits in the Material World: Enhancer RNAs in Transcriptional Regulation.
- Hou TY, Kraus WL, Trends Biochem Sci 2021 02 46 2 138-153
- Identification of PARP-7 substrates reveals a role for MARylation in microtubule control in ovarian cancer cells.
- Palavalli Parsons LH, Challa S, Gibson BA, Nandu T, Stokes MS, Huang D, Lea JS, Kraus WL, Elife 2021 Jan 10
- Location, Location, Location: Compartmentalization of NAD+ Synthesis and Functions in Mammalian Cells.
- Cambronne XA, Kraus WL, Trends Biochem Sci 2020 10 45 10 858-873
Honors & Awards
- Ernst Oppenheimer Award for research excellence from the Endocrine Society
- Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Reproductive Biology Sciences
- Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Students in Independent Research Award
- Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award from the Endocrine Society
- Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Young Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Reproductive Biology