PROKAI JOINS UNT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AS FIRST WELCH PROFESSOR

November 28, 2005

Laszlo Prokai, PhD, joined the UNT Health Science Centerâ??s Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology this August as its first Robert A. Welch Professor. He will establish the new proteomics laboratories, as well as a state-of-the-art mass spectrometer, the largest in North Texas.

The Welch Professor position was funded by the Welch Foundation, one of the oldest and largest private funding sources for basic chemical research in the United States.

Dr. Prokai plans to focus his proteomics research, with the help of the new mass spectrometer, on the research areas of aging, neurodegenerative diseases and biodefense. His interests also lie in the discovery of new drugs to combat these diseases.

â??Itâ??s no longer enough to have research for the sake of research alone,â? Dr. Prokai said. â??It has to have an end of helping people. We believe that the compounds we are working on are useful in combating multiple diseases.â?

Dr. Prokaiâ??s background in a variety of subjects makes him somewhat unique in the world of science. His bachelorâ??s degree is in chemical engineering, his masterâ??s degree is in radiochemicaltechnology, and his doctorate is in radiochemistry, but his research has brought him into medicinalchemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutics, drug discovery, neuroscience and, finally, into the department of molecular biology at the health science center.

â??I aspire to be a renaissance man,â? he said. â??When something catches my interest, I strive to learn more and more about itâ??even outside my field of training and expertise. When you confine yourself to one piece of the puzzle, youâ??re not able to put together the whole picture.â?

Dr. Prokai and his wife Katalin Prokai, PhD, work together as primary research partners, and she will work in the Prokai labs as a research associate professor in pharmacology and neuroscience. Her background is also in chemistry, with a specific interest in drug discovery.

The Prokaisâ?? arrival was also timed to include the arrival of the new mass spectrometer that will be located in the Prokai labsâ??in addition to two instruments that were moved to the health science center from the University of Florida. The new mass spectrometer is the most powerful mass spectrometer in the Metroplex. The magnetic field within the instrument is one million times stronger than the earthâ??s own magnetic field, Dr. Prokai said.

â??When I saw the specifications for this machine, I was just blown away,â? Dr. Prokai said. â??This mass spectrometerâ??s capabilities will support drug discovery in and outside of UNT Health Science Center. We are very excited to have it available here.â?

In the mean time, the Prokais are setting up their labs and offices to continue the work that they enjoy most and plan for doing research together with other health science center faculty members.

â??The know-how, knowledge and experience that I bring will be helpful to people who are interested in collaborating with me,â? Dr. Prokai said. â??I look forward to these new challenges.â?

###Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

Hsc Tcom Gold Humanism Society Inductees Fc
TCOM Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomes new inductees 

By Steven Bartolotta The humanistic side of medicine is alive and well at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The TCOM Chapter of the Arnold P Gold Foundation inducted 45 students and four faculty members into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on the campus of The University of North Texas H...Read more

Jun 15, 2021

John Licciardone Hsc Fort Worth Fc
eHealth interventions could help African-American patients in battle with chronic pain

By Steven Bartolotta The PRECISION Pain Research Registry at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth has identified important racial disparities in pain management that became more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its study recently published in the special COVID...Read more

Jun 14, 2021

Diana Cervantes. Assistant Professor Biostatistics & Epidemiology
Dr. Diana Cervantes named among Fort Worth’s ‘most influential’ for public health service during the pandemic

By Sally Crocker Dr. Diana Cervantes has spent the last year keeping people informed and updated on all things coronavirus, and now she’s being recognized as one of Fort Worth Inc.’s “400 Most Influential People” for helping protect the community’s health during the pandemic. Dr....Read more

Jun 8, 2021

Opal Lee photo by Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Celebrating Juneteenth

By Diane Smith-Pinckney On June 19 1865, Major General Gordan Granger marched into Galveston with a critical message: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”  This was the opening se...Read more

Jun 8, 2021