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Hu named 2022 McGovern teaching award winner

Photo of McGovern teaching award winner Jian Hu, PhD

Students from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical  Sciences selected Jian Hu, PhD, as the recipient of the 2022 John P. McGovern Award for Outstanding Teaching. This is the second time Hu has received this distinction. In 2019, he was also selected by students to be the McGovern teaching awardee.

Hu is an associate professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has been a faculty member at the Graduate School since 2014 and he is affiliated with the GSBS Programs in Cancer Biology and Neuroscience.

His current research focuses on glioblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor, and a regulatory protein called Quaking (QKI) as a glioma suppressor. Recently his lab is also interested in an important population of immune cells in malignant gliomas called glioma-associated microglia/macrophages (GAMs). Despite the promising therapeutic potential of GAM modulation, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying their immune suppressive nature during the course of tumorigenesis. His lab is trying to fill the knowledge gaps of how GAMs are converted from the antitumor to pro-tumor state and develop rational immunotherapeutic interventions to reverse immune-suppressive, tumor-promoting polarization of GAMs.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award recognized by our students for the second time,” said Hu. “I have tremendous passion for teaching and mentoring. To me, mentoring is not about teaching facts. Instead, it is about equipping students with critical thinking that challenges everything they are told about, which I personally think is the key that leads to breakthrough discoveries. In a world where the scientific landscape changes rapidly every day, it is absolutely vital to inspire the curiosity of students and teach them how to ask the right questions. I am extremely grateful to our students for giving me the incredible opportunity to fulfill my passion for teaching and mentoring."

Every year GSBS students nominate and vote for the winner of the McGovern Award for Outstanding Teaching. The award recognizes excellence in teaching based on the following criteria: knowledge of the subject, interest in and enthusiasm for teaching, interest in and understanding of students, responsiveness to student questions and encouragement of independent thinking, and accessibility to students.

Hu will receive this year’s award at the GSBS Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 13. The 2021 McGovern Award recipient Jichao Chen, PhD, will also be acknowledged at this year’s graduation event.

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