Where are They Now?
TSRI Alumnus Rick Bruick
Graduating Class: '98
Labs at TSRI: The Mayfield lab in the Cell Biology
Department and the Joyce lab in the Molecular Biology Department.
Dissertation Title: "Controlling Protein Synthesis."
Experience at TSRI: Bruick says, "My experience at
TSRI was great. When I was looking at graduate schools, I
was impressed by TSRI's research, faculty, and students, even
though at the time the program was only a few years old. I
liked the emphasis on bringing together the disciplines of
chemistry and biology, and I enjoyed the opportunity to do
things in a nontraditional way. [In my case,] I had the freedom
to work in two different labs. As long as the P.I.s [principal
investigators] were happy and I was making progress, it was
"I left TSRI with a good overall foundation and training,
and a skill set that allowed me to pursue a project of interest
from a lot of different angles and perspectivesa broad-based
training that was important to me. That is a credit to TSRI
and the P.I.s I worked with. I had a lot of good role models
there, [who demonstrated] a strong work ethic and true approach
His Advisors Recall...: Associate Professor Steve
Mayfield says: "Rick was... one of these kids who had an undergraduate
degree in biochemistry but knew he wanted to study biological
systems. He was an interesting guy to have in my lab. Because
he was a chemist, he brought with him technology that we didn't
have. It was productive for both of us. Rick was hard-working,
focused, and critical. I liked that. He offered a different
perspective. He would come into our lab meetings and question
the assumptions made in our field. It was good for the science."
Professor Gerald Joyce adds: "Rick did a double Ph.D.,
working in two labs. That was typical Rick. He manages to
keep all the balls up in the air. He is the kind of person
you want in a lab... strong-minded and determined. He is a
star, no doubt about it."
Undergraduate Institution: University of North Carolina,
Family Life: Married.
Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow in the McKnight
lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Research Focus: Bruick's current research focus is
related to an interest he developed at TSRI in biological
responses to environmental cues. He is currently investigating
the manner in which cells sense changes in oxygen concentration
in their environment and respond, a process called the mammalian
hypoxic response pathway. Specifically, Bruick is studying
the regulation of a transcription factor in this pathway called
HIF (hypoxia inducable factor).
"The mammalian hypoxic response pathway is critical during
development and in tumor progression," Bruick explains. "As
tumors begin to grow and expand, their oxygen supply becomes
restricted. Tumors ensure their own survival by growing new
blood vessels or switching to glycolytic metabolism."
Plans for the Future: "Now I've been a postdoc for
three years, I'm looking for another position. My intention
is to stay in my current field of hypoxia."
TSRI Alumnus Rick Bruick says, "I left
TSRI with a good overall foundation and training, and a skill
set that allowed me to pursue a project of interest from a
lot of different angles and perspectives."
is currently investigating the manner in which cells sense
changes in oxygen concentration in their environment and respond,
a process called the mammalian hypoxic response pathway.
Click for figure