Renato Aguilera

Bioscience Research Building
El Paso Texas, 79968
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Renato J. Aguilera
Professor, Biological Sciences - University Studies/Entering Student Program - Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC)
Director, Biology Graduate Program
Director, Research Infrastructure Core Facility of the BBRC
Associate Director, Research Deputy Director of the BBRC
Director, Cellular Characterization and Biorepository Facility of the BBRC

I have extensive experience in immunology, cancer research, molecular and cell biology, and drug screening. As the director of the Research Infrastructure Core and the Cellular Characterization and Biorepository Facility of the Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC), I oversee the biomedical research facilities that provide support to over 200 faculty, staff and students. I also served as our RCMI (BBRC) program Deputy Director since 2002 and have been in charge of organizing pilot project reviews. I have performed pilot project reviews for our campus as well as other RCMI institutions. Over the past decade, my research group has developed high-throughput assays for screening of chemical libraries on a variety of human cancer cells and pathogens. The recent screening of >5,000 compounds on a human triple-negative breast cancer cell line resulted in the detection of novel lead compounds with potent anti-cancer activity. Secondary screens revealed that the most promising compound, a pyrazole-3-carbohydrazide compound (named P3C) induces apoptosis and is cytotoxic to the majority of breast cancer cell lines at sub-micromolar concentrations (a provisional patent has been recently submitted). Our research has also focused on the effects of repurposed drugs with potential anticancer activities. One such drug is Pyronaridine that is a potent anti-malarial drug that we determined has significant anticancer activity (patent approved). In addition, in collaboration with other local researchers at Texas Tech Health Science Center, our groups determined that a well-known blood pressure medication propranolol exhibits anticancer activity and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells. The following are recent publications describing distinct anti-cancer projects: His group is currently establishing human cancer cell lines and they are in the process of characterizing their phenotype and genotype. These Hispanic cell lines will be used to determine the anti-cancer efficacy of known and novel drugs. This research involves the participation and training of several underrepresented minority undergraduates and graduate students.


  1. Cancer
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Immunology
  4. Health Disparities
  5. Cell Biology
  6. Anti-cancer Drug Discovery