John C. Pérez

John C. Pérez received his Ph.D. in bacteriology from Utah State University in 1972. He received his master’s in zoology at Mankato State University and his bachelor’s in molecular and genetic biology at the University of Utah and the College of Eastern Utah. He was hired as assistant professor to teach microbiology at Texas A&I University-Kingsville in 1972, now know as Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He was named a Regents professor in 1999, the third A&M-Kingsville professor to ever receive the prestigious system-wide award. Dr. Pérez is also an Adjunct Professor of the Graduate Faculty at Texas A&M University and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center at Houston.

Dr. Pérez’ research career has focused around animals that have a natural resistance to snake venom and venoms that are important in biomedical research. He is the founding Director of the Natural Toxins Research Center (NTRC) and has served in this position since the NTRC was established in 2000. The mission of the NTRC is to provide global research, training and resources that will lead to the discovery of medically important toxins found in snake venoms. The NTRC has a large research collection of venomous snakes (450), and an Internet database with locality data and venom HPLC, ET profiles, and enzymatic activities of venom fractions that can be accessed by researchers worldwide. Dr. Pérez has brought more than 20 million dollars into the University for research. The most recent was a $2.5 million research grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support biomedical research on natural toxins. The venom research conducted at Texas A&M-Kingsville has been conducted with undergraduate and master level students. These students have presented papers at professional meetings, published in professional journals and have gone on to obtain professional degrees. Dr. Pérez and his students were the first to report that the Gray Woodrat, Neotoma micropus, had a natural resistance to snake venoms. Dr. Pérez and students have published more than 30 papers in international professional journals dealing with venom and animals that have a natural resistance.

Dr. Pérez has been the recipient of numerous teaching, research, and mentoring awards at the local and national level. He was selected as one of the top 10 professors by the Cap and Gown Honor Society at Texas A&I University, in 1974, selected as one of the outstanding citizens of Kingsville by the Kingsville-Bishop Record News in 1976, received the Distinguished Research Award in 1979, presented by Texas A&I Faculty and the Alumni Association, nominated by Texas A&I University in 1984 for the Professor of the Year Award sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), received the Olan Kruse Science Faculty Award at Texas A&I University in 1992, received a second Olan Kruse Science Faculty Award in 1997, the first recipient of an Undergraduate Institution Mentoring Award sponsored by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in 1998, selected as the Koch Industries Outstanding Educator in 1999, and Regents Professor of the Texas A&M System 1999.