(Nov. 20, 2009)--One UTSA undergraduate student and two doctoral students researching topics in microbiology and infectious diseases won competitive awards for their poster and oral presentations at the Nov. 5-7 annual meeting of the Texas Branch of American Society for Microbiology at the University of Texas at Tyler.
Ann Reyes, an undergraduate majoring in biology and math and Minority Biomedical Research Support-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE) scholar, was awarded the Sam Kaplan Poster Award for second place among posters presented by undergraduates at the conference. The poster showcased her research characterizing the role of polyamines in the patho-physiology of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme's disease. Reyes' research is supported by the UTSA MBRS-RISE program.
Tricia Van Laar, a third-year cellular and molecular biology doctoral student, won the O.B. William Award (third place) for her oral presentation in general microbiology. The presentation described the characterization of a novel chemical pathway in Borrelia burgdorferi that leads to the development of a metabolic intermediate that could contribute to several aspects critical for the survival and infectivity of B. burgdorferi.
Steve Rodriguez, a fifth-year cellular and molecular biology doctoral student, won the S. E. Sulkin Award (third place) for his oral presentation on medical microbiology. Rodriguez discussed a pathogenic component of the Franciscella tularensis genome that is essential for virulence.
"The American Society for Microbiology's competitive awards are excellent indicators of the caliber of work carried out by our graduate and undergraduate students at UTSA," said Janakiram Seshu, assistant professor of microbiology and a member of UTSA's South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. "These accolades also increase the profile of our research efforts by helping us attract top-notch students from different regions of Texas to graduate and undergraduate programs at UTSA."
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
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