The Mary Kay Foundation Announces First German and Portuguese Recipients of Global Postdoctoral Grant

The Mary Kay Foundation, on World Cancer Day, announced two new recipients of the International Postdoctoral Scholars in Cancer Research Fellowship. This one-year postdoctoral fellowship, in collaboration with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, is part of The Mary Kay Foundation’s mission to eliminate cancers affecting women.

Dr. Liliana Patrícia Reis Teixeira, PhD, a radiation biologist and biophysicist from Costa de Caparica, Portugal, is the first Portuguese recipient of this honor. Teixeira will conduct cutting-edge cancer research at both UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center and in Portugal with a return grant, focusing on molecular and cellular biology, cultivation of microorganisms, protein characterization, electrochemistry and NMR spectroscopy.

“My main goal in my professional life is to follow an academic career,” Teixeira said. “I am highly interested in the commitment of the Mary Kay Foundation to eradicate women-related cancers. The dedication on the study of triple-negative breast cancer is of great importance for women affected by this disease, and I want to be part of the mission to find the best prognosis, treatment, and cure. Furthermore, I have always dreamt about conducting scientific research in the United States of America, especially in such a highly regarded laboratory.”

Dr. Sebastian Diegeler, PhD, a radiation biologist and immunologist from Germany, is the first German recipient of this honor, and will focus on immune radiation and cancer biology. Diegeler’s extensive experience in space radiation, radiation-induced cell-to-cell interactions, NF-kB signaling pathway, heavy ion and photon irradiation, DNA repair, molecular biology, cell biology, flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy will be an asset as he conducts cancer research at both UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center and in Germany with a return grant.

“My research will focus on understanding the interaction of the tumor with immune cells in the microenvironment in order to facilitate supplemental treatment options for radiation therapy,” Diegeler said. “With support from The Mary Kay Foundation, I will be able to deepen my research, acquire new functional skills and help further academic knowledge in that sphere. I look forward to collaborating with the professors and researchers at the world-renowned cancer laboratory at the UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center and, in turn, contribute to their work with my knowledge and skills.”

The Mary Kay Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center have partnered for more than two decades to search for cures for cancers affecting women. This new program is the first time the Foundation’s cancer research grants have been awarded globally. Teixeira and Diegeler will join other first-time recipients Ana Martin Vega, PhD of Spain, Natália Bernardes, PhD of Brazil, and Shengyan Gao, PhD of China.

“Our expanded partnership will allow advancements in cancer research to be shared on a global level and impact women on an even larger scale,” said Dr. Lucy Gildea, Chief Scientific Officer at Mary Kay Inc. “Together with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are proud to continue our company’s long legacy of making the world a better place for women and their families.”