Dwight Towler, M.D., Ph.D.

Dwight Towler, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice Chair, Research - Internal Medicine

  • Louis V. Avioli Professorship in Mineral Metabolism Research
  • J.D. and Maggie E. Wilson Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research
  • Internal Medicine - Endocrinology


Dr. Towler obtained his medical degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Washington University, St. Louis, where his thesis work focused upon protein modification by covalent fatty acid acylation (N-myristoylation). He completed his medical residency and endocrine / metabolism fellowship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and is a board-certified internist and endocrinologist.  Dr. Towler brings to UTSW expertise in the endocrine physiology of bone and vascular disease that synergizes with our Institution’s strengths in patient-oriented, bench-to-bedside translational research.  Before joining UT Southwestern, Towler was the Lang Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Lipid Research at Washington University and also served as Chief, Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases for a decade.  In addition to his career in academic medicine, Towler spent four years in the pharmaceutical industry, and is co-inventor of novel, patented selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) with potential clinical applications in treatment of musculoskeletal frailty. His clinical interests emphasize the diagnosis and treatment of bone and mineral disorders.  Dr. Towler is currently the Principal Investigator for two active Research Project Grants (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that delineate the hormonal regulation of arterial calcification (hardening of the arteries) in diabetes as relevant to musculoskeletal disease and lower limb amputation risk. Dr. Towler’s research has been recognized by the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation (1996), the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (Fuller Albright Award 2000), and the American Society for Clinical Investigation (elected in 2004).  He currently serves on the editorial boards of Circulation Research and Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  A former regular member of the NIH Skeletal Biology Development and Disease (2004-2008) and Atherosclerosis and Inflammation of the Cardiovascular System Study Sections (2010-2014), he now serves as a member of the External Advisory Panel to the Illuminating the Druggable Genome Consortium for the NIH Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS; 2014- present).  Dr. Towler’s interests outside of biomedicine include his family, kayaking, and fly fishing. 

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Education & Training
  • Medical School - Washington University School of Medicine (1983-1989)
  • Residency - Washington University/Barnes Hospital (1989-1991), Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship - Washington University/Barnes Hospital (1991-1992), Metabolism
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (1993), Member
  • The Endocrine Society (1995), Member
  • American Heart Association (2003), Member
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation (2004), Member
Honors & Awards
  • Ira M. Lang Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center 2004-2012, Endowed Chair
  • Guest Editor, Circulation Research Series of Pathobiology of Calcific Vasculopathy and Valvulopathy 2011, Invited Guest Editor
  • J.D. and Maggie E. Wilson Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Sciences, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Internal Medicine - Division of Endocrinology 2015, Endowed Chair
  • University of Texas System Faculty STARS Program Award, UT Southwestern Medical Center 2015, Translational Research Award
  • The 12th Annual John G. Haddad, Jr., MD Memorial Lecture, University of Pennsylvania 2009, Honorary Visiting Lectureship
  • Bayard D. Catherwood Lecturer and Visiting Professor, Emory University 2006, Honorary Visiting Lectureship
  • Elected, American Society for Clinical Investigation 2004, Physician-Scientist Honorary Society
  • Charles E. Culpeper Medical Science Scholar 1996-1999, Career Development Award
  • Fuller Albright Award, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2000, Young Investigator Award
Books & Publications
  • Wnt signaling
  • Transcriptional regulation
  • Protein Arginine Methylation / Demethylation
  • Cardiovascular calcification
  • Bone and Mineral Disease