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South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases awards scholarships

UTSA students Madhulika Jupelli (top) and Gregor Weber (Photos by Mark McClendon)

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(Sept. 1, 2009)--The UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID) has awarded its inaugural $21,500 doctoral scholarships to students Madhulika Jupelli and Gregor Weber. The funding will help Jupelli and Weber, who are both studying cellular and molecular biology, to complete their doctoral thesis research.

"The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases is committed to attracting and training talented Ph.D. students interested in infectious disease research," said Karl Klose, professor of microbiology and STCEID director. "Given the time commitment and cost to complete a doctoral degree, we believe this new scholarship program will help support UTSA students interested in infectious disease research. We congratulate Ms. Jupelli and Mr. Weber on earning these inaugural awards."

Jupelli is researching the development of abnormal lung function in adults who had chlamydial infections at birth. She is conducting her research under the direction of biology professor Bernard Arulanandam. When Jupelli graduates, she plans to continue her research on lung physiology and development in the context of infectious diseases. Specifically, she is interested in learning how neonatal pulmonary infections alter lung development and function in adults.

"I am really happy to receive this scholarship," said Jupelli. "Up until this point, I have worked in the undergraduate biochemistry laboratory to help fund my education. While that has been a valuable experience, this scholarship will allow me to leave my teaching position so I can spend more time in the laboratory and focus on the completion of my degree."

An Honors College alumnus ('05 B.S.) of UTSA's undergraduate biology program, Weber is in his fourth year of UTSA's biology Ph.D. program. His research focus is the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera infections.

"I chose to pursue my Ph.D. at UTSA because of the rapid growth of research on campus, the positive energy displayed by the faculty and the quality of the Ph.D. program in cellular and molecular biology," said Weber.

Working under the supervision of Klose, Weber is researching how V. cholerae regulates and expresses certain genes leading to the onset of disease. Ultimately, he hopes to design effective treatments for cholera including pathways that could lead to the development of a vaccine.

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