UTSA receives $12 million NIH grant to establish interdisciplinary health center

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(Sept. 22, 2010)--The University of Texas at San Antonio announced today its College of Sciences will receive a five-year, $12 million Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) grant from the National Institutes of Health to strengthen UTSA basic and applied health research. The funding is one of the largest NIH grants the university has received in its 41-year history.

Over the long term, program administrators believe the new grant will propel UTSA research to groundbreaking progress regarding health disparities, the differing rates diseases occur in various populations.

"This NIH grant is a remarkable achievement for our College of Sciences and the RCMI team of researchers at UTSA," said President Ricardo Romo. "This funding will give us the ability to add new laboratories and acquire the latest scientific equipment so we can continue to advance our ability to improve lives with better health."

"Through the generous support of the National Center for Research Resources at the NIH, we are investing in infrastructure that will serve our researchers well many years into the future," said Andrew Tsin, RCMI program director. "It is our hope that these tools will help us understand the mystery of why some diseases like diabetes and obesity affect certain populations more than others."

The RCMI program has existed for a decade and is a critical component of UTSA's progress toward Tier One research status. The program has helped the university transform strong scientific areas into competitive health research programs. The new funding will support UTSA's evolution to premier research status by expanding resources and infrastructure as outlined in the UTSA strategic plan.

The RCMI grant will fund faculty members whose research has great relevance to human health. Additionally, it will provide funding for advanced scientific equipment and four staffed laboratory facilities to house the equipment. Those facilities include the new Nanotechnology and Human Health Laboratory, where researchers will synthesize nanomaterials for diagnostics, drug and gene delivery, tissue engineering and electron microscopy; the enhanced Protein Biomarkers Laboratory, where scientists will identify and study protein biomarkers for disease diagnosis and targeted therapy including biomarkers specific to minority populations; the Biophotonics Laboratory, where researchers will study biological processes at the molecular level in live cells with exceptional detail; and the Computational Systems Biology Laboratory, where researchers will simulate biological systems, live-cell imaging and protein biomarker research using high-performance computing infrastructure.

>> Learn more about the equipment in each facility at UTSA's RCMI website.

UTSA's RCMI program is one of only 18 RCMI programs at universities across the nation. The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.