Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Regents professor Dr. John C. Perez named one of the most important hispanics in technology and business for second year in a row

KINGSVILLE - March 23, 2006

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Dr. John C. Pérez, director of the Natural Toxins Research Center and Regents professor of biology, has been selected by Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine as one of the 100 Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business for 2006.

Pérez was a part of the magazine’s 2005 list of the Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business as well, making this the second consecutive year for this honor.

According to the magazine, honorees are chosen for this annual list because of their outstanding work in the field of technology and their leadership of the institutions that reside there.

The list, to be featured in the Spring 2006 issue of Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology, includes many of the nation’s highest-achieving Hispanic executives, managers and researchers in industry, government and academia. The men and women represented on the list are chosen based on their leadership in both the workplace and their communities. According to the magazine, the members of the list “are presented to young people as role models” and their accomplishments “are upheld as examples of the important, often unrecognized contributions made on a daily basis by the thousands of Hispanics in technology-related jobs.”

A colloquium and awards dinner will be held for the list members on September 15 in Baltimore as a high point of the Minorities in Research Science Conference. Increasing minority entrepreneurship, executive development and educational readiness for the “Digital Economy” will be the main topics of discussion.

Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine is distributed to engineering colleges and universities with high Hispanic enrollments; Hispanic engineering, IT and science professionals; and high-level government and industry policy makers and executives across the country. It is published by Career Communications Group, Inc. (CCG), a minority-owned talent management and career development company whose mission is to promote career and educational opportunities for minority professionals and students in engineering, technology and science.

Pérez has served as director of the NTRC since it was established in 2000. As founding director, Pérez supervises the research projects in the NTRC and develops linkage programs with other universities and institutions. The mission of the center has been to provide global research, training and resources that will lead to the discovery of medically important toxins found in snake venoms. It was under Pérez’s direction that the NTRC has received more than $10.4 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Support of Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE); the NIH/Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI); and the NIH/Viper Research Center (VRC). Under the mentoring of Pérez, more than 20 students have gone on to professional or Ph.D. programs, including NTRC assistant director Dr. Elda E. Sánchez.

Renovation was completed last month on the NTRC research complex, increasing its space five times larger than it was. With two instrumentation labs, a molecular cloning lab and tissue culture facilities, all made up of state-of-the-art equipment, the NTRC is internationally known as one of the best centers in the world for conducting venom research. An upcoming open house will provide the public with a look at the updated facilities.

Pérez signed on at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) in 1972, starting as an assistant professor of biology. In the more than 30 years that followed, he became an associate biology professor in 1975 and professor of biology in 1981. Pérez would go on to be named a Regents professor in 1999, the third A&M-Kingsville professor to ever receive the prestigious system-wide award.

In 2004, Pérez was named to the list of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America, featured in the October 2004 issue of Hispanic Business magazine. In addition, he was named the Texas Academy of Science’s 2004 Distinguished Texas Scientist and honored as Outstanding Faculty Researcher at the Fifth Annual Minority Access Incorporated National Role Model Conference.

He also is a two-time recipient of A&M-Kingsville’s Olan Kruse Science Faculty Award and was the first recipient of the Undergraduate Institution Mentoring Award in 1998.

Publication credits for Pérez include serving as a co-contributor on more than 35 published works.

Pérez received his Ph.D. in bacteriology from Utah State University in 1972. He received his master’s in zoology at Mankato State University, a bachelor’s in molecular and genetic biology at the University of Utah and an Associate of Science degree from the College of Eastern Utah in Price.

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