Friday, July 31, 2015

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."

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA researcher is a star behind the cloud

A revolution in cloud computing is underway, and Ravi Sandhu believes it will be much bigger than the PC and Internet revolutions that have already changed the way we live. Sandhu, director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security, says UTSA is taking a leadership role in tackling three fundamental cloud technology problems: how to build and operate the cloud, how to use it profitably for diverse applications and how to keep it secure.

Sandhu, the Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in the College of Sciences, and Ram Krishnan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering, are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve cloud security.

Did you know? Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert, holds 30 patents, has authored more than 250 papers and been cited more than 30,000 times.

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