50 Heroes: Dr. James Caffrey

Caffrey James FcRecognized for his outstanding contributions to research in integrative physiology, Dr. James Caffrey also will be remembered for the discoveries he made in others.  Dr. Caffrey, who joined UNTHSC in 1977 and earned accolades in the laboratory and classroom, also led HSC efforts to identify, cultivate and mentor minority students in careers as research scientists.

During his 40-plus-year career at UNTHSC, Dr. Caffrey helped develop programs and host elementary, high school, college and graduate students in his lab in an effort to boost minority participation in science and medicine.

These efforts were recognized nationally in 2003, when he was honored by Minority Access, a partner to the National Institutes of Health, as one of the nation’s most successful minority mentors.  He contributed to the launch of the STAR Fellowship Program at UNTHSC that strives to increase the number of investigators from underrepresented minorities involved in health disparity research. The program continues today within the Texas Center for Health Disparities at UNTHSC.

A PhD graduate who benefitted from Dr. Caffrey’s training said of his mentor, “His research shaped how we view opioid receptor activity in the human body beyond the central nervous system, and receptor roles in regulation of cardiac function and protection.”  He added that Dr. Caffrey was an outstanding instructor and a humble yet inspiring mentor.

For his drive to succeed in his personal research and his passion to invest time and energy to inspire the same in others, we are proud to honor Dr. James Caffrey as an HSC Hero!


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Honor your HSC hero today! Please make a tribute gift, submit a photo or share a story that you value.

Join us throughout 2020 as we celebrate the people, events and innovations that made UNTHSC all it is today — and look ahead to the next 50 years.

For the 50th anniversary, team members nominated people whose contributions make them HSC Heroes. Each week, a new Hero will be revealed.

View the list of all our Hero profiles published so far this year. There is a new one each week.

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