The Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology
From its inception, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston has played a pivotal role in improving the quality of health care through education and advanced and innovative molecular research in bioscience and medicine. And none of these achievements would have been possible without the support of Albert B. and Margaret Alkek.
In all, the Alkeks have given more than $6 million to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, both for construction of the institute building and – through the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation – recurring annual grants to support institute research infrastructure and the Margaret M. Alkek endowed Professorship of Medical Genetics.. The foundation has a longtime history of supporting Houston’s medical and arts communities, including the TAMHSC-Institute of Biosciences and Technology. Mrs. Alkek has made many financial contributions to scholarship and endowment programs, as well as to numerous state-of-the-art health care research and teaching institutions.
Well-known oil man and philanthropist Albert B. Alkek was instrumental in development of the $22 million, 11-story research tower on the South Main campus of the Texas Medical Center. Dedicated April 3, 1992, the institute includes a bust of Mr. Alkek sculpted by Houston artist Lawrence Ludtke.
While Mr. Alkek’s name graces a number of Houston landmarks – including the institute itself – the Margaret M. Alkek Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine on the building’s fourth floor was also named in honor of Mrs. Alkek. Scientists at the Alkek Center currently directed by Stephen Safe, D. Phil., are focused on the complex interactions between environmental agents (including nutritional status, pharmaceutical compounds and noxious workplace exposures) and their impact on genes and human health. They also are concerned with in uteroexposures leading to the development of congenital malformations, as well as developmental changes that can result in tumor formation in adults.
Holders of the Margaret M. Alkek Professorship of Medical Genetics have been Richard Finnell, Ph.D.professor in the Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine, and James Martin, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Center for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology and Director of the Center for Molecular Development. Currently the chair is held by Peter J.A. Davies, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Center for Translational Cancer Research.
Today, the Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology provides a bridge between TAMHSC investigators and scientists across the Texas Medical Center, as well as to the growing biotechnology sector in Houston. It encourages its scientists to transfer discoveries made in their laboratories to the marketplace so the institute’s research results can help people. Faculty members work with biotech companies. Many licensing agreements are based on the institute’s research, and several new companies have been established.