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South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases awards doctoral scholarships

scholarship recipients

Christopher Pierce and Tricia Van Laar

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(Sept. 30, 2010)--Cellular and molecular biology students Tricia Van Laar and Christopher Pierce are the recipients of the 2010 UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID) doctoral scholarships. Both students will receive $21,500 to help complete their doctoral work.

Under the direction of Janakiram Seshu, UTSA associate professor of bacterial pathogenesis, Van Laar is researching Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease. Her research focuses on whether the symptoms of Lyme disease can be reduced by clinically approved medications that inhibit a key metabolic pathway of the pathogen. When Van Laar graduates, she plans to complete a post-doctoral fellowship and move on to a tenure-track position where she can continue her infectious disease research.

"Being selected to receive this scholarship is an incredible honor, and I am extremely grateful to have been chosen as one of the recipients this year," said Van Laar.

Pierce is the second recipient of the 2010 STCEID scholarship. Under the guidance of Jose Lopez-Ribot, UTSA professor of microbiology, Pierce is working on a project to identify and characterize small molecules that inhibit Candida albicans biofilm formation and filamentation. The fungus C. albicans causes a wide variety of infections from a common yeast infection to the life-threatening hospital-acquired infection called candidiasis.

Like Van Laar, Pierce hopes ultimately to obtain a tenure-track faculty position upon completing his doctoral degree.

"My desire to become a professor at a research institution is driven by my interest in understanding and studying complex biology and my aspiration to instill this knowledge and encourage curiosity in the minds of others," he said.

This is the second year the UTSA center has awarded the scholarships to promising doctoral students.

"The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases is committed to recruiting and training talented students who are interested in infectious disease research," said Karl Klose, UTSA professor of microbiology and STCEID director. "We implemented our annual scholarship program as a way to help students through the costly and time-intensive process of obtaining a doctoral degree. We congratulate Ms. Van Laar and Mr. Pierce for their dedication in working toward their doctoral degrees."



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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