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Texas Biomedical Research Institute is losing a scientific pioneer
January 24, 2014

Pioneer geneticist John VandeBerg of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute is retiring after 30 years. He helped put San Antonio on the map in terms of genetics research. (Courtesy Texas Biomedical Research Institute)

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

Dr. John VandeBerg, a scientist and senior administrator at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, is retiring in June after spending more than 30 years with the organization.

VandeBerg came to San Antonio in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin to launch a Department of Genetics at Texas Biomed. It was the first such program of its kind in the Alamo City.

Texas Biomed President and CEO Kenneth P. Trevett says VandeBerg built the genetics department into one of the best of its kind in the U.S. and the world. That department now has 14 faculty members and a staff of 92 personnel.

Texas Biomed's Department of Genetics has developed invaluable research resources, including human and non-human primate population studies, as well as the AT&T Genomics Computing Center. Both are crucial to better understanding heart and circulatory disease, diabetes and obesity, various mental illnesses, arthritis, cancer, and infectious diseases such as malaria, Texas Biomed officials explain.

"Dr. VandeBerg overcame significant resistance and financial challenges to receive designation for the institution's primate facility as a National Primate Research Center in 1999, and he has served as its director since that time," Trevett says. "The establishment of the Primate Center not only added to the reputation of our organization, but provided significant new funding for the programs and facilities ... .

That facility remains the only one of its kind based at an independent research institute.

VandeBerg, who previously served as scientific director at Texas Biomed, became chief scientific officer in 2006.

"There is a time for everything, and now is the time I have selected to step back from my day-to-day duties as chief scientific officer, director of the Primate Center and scientist," VandeBerg says. "The past 34 years have been extraordinary for me and for this institution. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to pursue my vision of a world-class research organization that provides its scientists with a unique combination of resources to do their work."

Texas Biomed officials say the institute will soon announce interim appointments for the chief scientific officer and Primate Center director positions.


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