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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

Research Interest

  • Biology of aging and cancer
  • Creating organs for transplantation
  • Telomeres and telomerase


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Reconstituting Mouse Lungs with Conditionally Reprogrammed Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells
Ryan LaRanger, Jennifer R. Peters-Hall, Melissa Coquelin, Busola R. Alabi, Christopher T. Chen, Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright Tissue Engineering 2017

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)
  • AlliedSignal
    Award for Research on Aging (2001)
  • American Aging Association
    Hayflick Award (2001)
  • Buck Center for Research in Aging
    Scientific Advisory Board (1999)