Bert W. O'Malley

Baylor College of Medicine


Primary Section: 42, Medical Physiology and Metabolism
Secondary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Member (elected 1992)

Biosketch

Bert W. O’Malley, M.D. Bert O’Malley is the Tom Thompson Distinguished Leadership Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chancellor at Baylor College of Medicine. He graduated medical school at U. Pittsburgh, followed by periods at Duke for medical residency, NIH for research training, and Vanderbilt as Director of the Reproductive Research Center. He relocated to Baylor Medical School in 1972 as Chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology and assumed the Chancellorship in 2019. He discovered that nuclear receptors are transcription factors that regulate mRNA production in target cells in response to intracellular hormones. He uncovered mechanisms for activating steroid receptors, and discovered the existence of ‘coregulators’ - the coactivators and corepressors of NR-dependent gene transcription. O’Malley is the founding father of the field of Molecular Endocrinology and a member of the ‘National Academies of: ‘Sciences’; and ‘Medicine’; and ‘Inventors’. He received over 65 honors and awards for his work, including the National Medal of Science. He has trained over 220 scientists and published over 750 papers and holds 29 patents in the fields of Gene Regulation, Molecular Endocrinology and Steroid Receptor, Coactivator Action and Molecular Drug Therapies. His current interest lies in the impressive cooperation of nuclear coactivator proteins in dysfunctional processes of transcription in cancer, metabolic disease, and organ damage-repair.  

Research Interests

Bert O'Malley elucidated the overall genetic transcriptional pathway of steroid and intracellular hormone action, discovered nuclear receptor(NR) coactivators (CoAs), discovered the functional 3-D structures CoA-NR complexes on DNA, and the critical roles for coactivators in reproductive, genetic, metabolic, cardiovascular and oncogenic diseases. He also devised first-in-class disease therapy approaches for small molecule regulation of coactivators.    His basic Discoveries in Hormone Action include: 1) Discovery of the molecular pathway of intracellular/steroid hormone action at DNA to produce new mRNAs and proteins; 2) Discovery of how nuclear receptor (NR) structures are altered and activated by ligands; 3) "Biochemical" Discovery of existence of corepressors for NRs; 4) Cloning and biology of the first authentic enhancer-dependent NR Coactivator (SRC-1); 5) Determination of the molecular structures (cryo-EM) of functional ER/AR nuclear receptor-coactivator complexes on DNA; 6) Discoveries of the multiple critical roles of coactivators to physiology and diseases; and 6) Devised new first-in-class  small-molecule approaches for coactivator drugs in therapies of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

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