As an Immunologist, the PI has extensive experience in cell culture, rodent husbandry and drug screening. With the use of recently acquired drug screening equipment within the Cytometry, Screening and Imaging Core, his group has recently developed assays for screening of chemical libraries on a variety of human cancer cells. The ultimate goal of these assays is to discover compounds that can kill specific cancer cells but not others. In recent months, the simultaneous screening of compounds of various human cancer cell lines has resulted in the detection of novel lead compounds with potent anti-lymphoma and anti-breast cancer activities. This research involves the participation and training of several undergraduates and graduate students; the majority of whom are from underrepresented minority groups.
Dr. Renato Aguilera obtained his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1987 and was a tenured professor at UCLA for 14 years. Dr. Aguilera's research has been continuously funded by federal grants since 1989 and he currently works on anticancer drug discovery. Dr. Aguilera obtained his BS and MS degrees in Microbiology from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and joined this university in 2002 as a Full Professor and Director of the Biology Graduate Program. He is the director of the Cytometry, Screening and Imaging Core facility and RCMI Program Director of the Border Biomedical Research Center at UTEP. Dr. Aguilera has been the director of the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Scholars training program since 2003 and will continue to direct this program till 2022. The recently renewed RISE program will train 25 undergraduates and 15 graduate students from underrepresented minority groups. For his long-standing commitment to student training and mentorship, he received the prestigious American Society for Microbiology William A. Hinton Research Training Award in 2010 and the SACNAS Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2013 . Dr. Aguilera was the chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology from 2010-16). In addition, he has served on the Board of Scientific Councilor’s of the NIEHS, on the Committee of Visitors of NSF, and on several NIH grant review panels.