As The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences enters a new era, faculty member Sharon Y.R. Dent, PhD, has been appointed the school's dean ad interim.
Dent is chair of the Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis and holds the Ruth Legett Jones Distinguished Chair in the Division of Basic Sciences at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a global leader in the field of chromatin research, and her work has served as a foundation for understanding the role of chromatin in cancer growth and development. Her lab is also part of MD Anderson’s Center for Cancer Epigenetics, which brings together faculty members focused on epigenetics, the study of heritable and acquired changes that affect gene expression and cellular differentiation without DNA sequence alteration.
Dent joined the Graduate School’s faculty in 1993 and she is affiliated with the Program in Genetics and Epigenetics. She served as president of the GSBS faculty in 2006-2007 and has served on several major standing committees. Over her tenure, she has mentored 20 students and 23 postdoctoral fellows.
In her new role, Dent will work with other members of the Graduate School leadership team to ensure a smooth transition while continuing her research work. Efforts are underway to select a permanent dean who will usher our school into a new era of education and discovery in the biomedical sciences. Spencer Stuart, an executive search and leadership consulting firm, is conducting the national search on behalf of MD Anderson and UTHealth Houston. The search committee, led by Guillermina Lozano, PhD, and Kevin A. Morano, PhD, will work with the firm to identify highly qualified candidates.
In her past roles, Dent served as the director, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, TX, from (2010-2021), vice-provost for science, ad interim (2012-2013), and the director for the Center for Cancer Epigenetics (2007-2017).
In 2021, Dent was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2012 she was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.