The Cary Council, a young leaders group supporting Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern, held its inaugural event, “An Evening with DocStars,” on October 10. The event raised funds to support young UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators working on promising early stage research.

“Early stage research, with all its risks, is vital to the process of discovering new medicines and treatments,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President, UT Southwestern Medical Center. “In showcasing some of our best and brightest young investigators, we hope to raise awareness of the promise that research at UT Southwestern holds to improve health through better treatment, cures and ultimately prevention.”

This new fundraising event, held in UT Southwestern’s beautiful C. Vincent Prothro Plaza and Garden featured live music, outstanding food, and thrilling opportunities to see medicine in action through interactive booths featuring simulated technologies and DocStars in action. Attendees had the chance to mingle with Medical Center investigators and learn about innovative research driving science and medicine forward. This video gives a preview of some the simulated technologies that were at the event.

By organizing this opportunity to interact with UT Southwestern faculty, students, and simulation technologies, The Cary Council brought the future of medicine to life for all participants. Michael Kahn, founder of The Cary Council, stated that “by supporting early stage research, The Cary Council is making an investment in the future of medicine and clinical care today.  This is a fitting choice.  By engaging, educating and mobilizing a group of young professionals and philanthropists, The Cary Council brings a new voice to UT Southwestern and Southwestern Medical Foundation with a consistent mission: to ensure our community has world-class healthcare for generations to come.”

“These wonderful leaders carry on an extraordinary tradition of philanthropic support which is the cornerstone of medical excellence in our community.”

Kathleen Gibson, Foundation President

“If we can accelerate the development of research by funding young investigators, we can have a prodigious impact on our community and beyond,” said Michael Gregory, Head of Healthcare at Highland Capital Management and Steering Committee member of The Cary Council. “Highland Capital proudly invests in initiatives that improve lives, and that is why we are pleased to be the lead sponsor of this event, which is a great example of how community support alongside the tremendous wealth of research expertise at UT Southwestern can help improve health care overall.”

“The Cary Council was formed as a group of emerging community leaders whose mission is to understand, support, and strengthen the work of the Medical Center and Foundation for the future,” says Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “These wonderful leaders carry on an extraordinary tradition of philanthropic support which is the cornerstone of medical excellence in our community.”

The Cary Council: Supporting Early Stage Research

To learn more about “An Evening with DocStars,” click here.

To view photos from “An Evening with DocStars,” click here.

This event was made possible thanks to the commitment and inspired leadership of The Cary Council Steering Committee members:

Michael Kahn, Chairman

Lana Constantine, Event Co-Chair

Amanda Eagle George, Event Co-Chair

Nancy Allred

Annika Cail

Grace Cook

Andersen Fisher

Michael Gregory

Jacob Jones

Kate Morris

Josie Sewell


Eight finalists were recommended by J. Gregory Fitz, M.D., UT Southwestern Medical School’s Provost and Dean, and David Russell, Ph.D., Vice Provost and Dean of Basic Research. The Cary Council Steering Committee voted on the top three finalists.

Richard C. Wang, M.D., Ph.D. 

Helping solve the beginnings of skin tumors

Dr. Wang received his B.S. from Stanford University. He then enrolled in the Tri-Institutional M.D./Ph.D. Program in New York. He completed his graduate work with Dr. Titia de Lange at The Rockefeller University.

After receiving his M.D. from Cornell in 2006, he returned to Texas to complete his internship in internal medicine and residency in dermatology at UT Southwestern. He received support from the UTSW Physician Scientist Training Program and the Dermatology Foundation to do a research fellowship with Dr. Beth Levine.

His research focuses on pathways central to both the development of normal skin and non-melanoma skin cancer tumorigenesis. Specific areas of interest include autophagy and glucose transport.

Jacques Lux, Ph.D.

Helping treatment for childhood leukemia become more tolerable

Dr. Jacques Lux obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Strasbourg under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage.  He came to the U.S. to train in supramolecular chemistry at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Dr. Lux became a research scientist to develop and translate theranostics – a combination of therapy and diagnostics – for imaging and drug delivery.

He recently joined the Translational Research in Ultrasound Theranostics (TRUST) program at UT Southwestern in the Department of Radiology.  His research focuses on inhibiting allergic reactions to the most common treatment utilized for pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most prevalent childhood cancer in the U.S. 

Sara Piccirillo, Ph.D.

Stopping brain tumor cells migrating so tumors can be managed long-term

Dr. Sara G.M. Piccirillo received her Ph.D. in Translational and Molecular Medicine at the University of Milano-Bicocca. She was awarded a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development and joined the University of Cambridge (U.K.) as Research Associate, and in 2016 completed her post-doctoral training.

Dr. Piccirillo’s expertise spans from molecular and cellular biology of brain tumors and neural stem cells to cancer genomics and animal models.  Her research focuses on glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer.  Dr. Piccarillo’s study will combine an improved understanding of the mechanisms that glioblastoma cells use to migrate with drug screening to identify cell migration blockers that could be deployed in clinical trials.