(March 9, 2011)--Ashlesh Murthy, a research assistant professor in the UTSA College of Sciences Department of Biology, was named one of a dozen emerging scholars under age 40 in Diverse Issues in Higher Education. A medical doctor by training and the first graduate student to receive a Ph.D. in biology from the UTSA Cellular and Molecular Biology program, Murthy is one of a trio of San Antonio researchers working with Merck and Co. to develop and commercialize a vaccine to prevent chlamydia infection.
"I'm surprised and really quite speechless to be recognized by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as an emerging scholar," said Murthy. "I love working in the laboratory, and I enjoy finding ways to prevent disease. I feel like I am just doing my job each day, so this is a very humbling honor."
Murthy's research focuses on the pathogenesis of Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterium that causes chlamydia. In the United States alone, nearly 2.3 million people are infected with chlamydia, which is most prevalent among those in the age 14-39 group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Murthy earned his medical degree in 1999 at Bangalore Medical College in India and began his doctoral studies two years later in the UTSA Department of Biology. As a doctoral student, Murthy began conducting research on C. trachomatis under the tutelage of Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA professor of microbiology and immunology and associate dean of research for scientific innovation in the UTSA College of Sciences. Arulanandam is also a member of the UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In 2006, Murthy completed his doctoral studies at UTSA. Subsequently, he began an 18-month postdoctoral fellowship in Arulanandam's laboratory. In 2007, after conducting three years of chlamydia research, Murthy successfully administered a chlamydia prevention vaccine in mice in collaboration with Arulanandam and Guangming Zhong, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The researchers also demonstrated the vaccine could preserve female reproductive function, one of many consequences of chlamydia infection along with infertility. Chlamydia also can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and serious complications for newborn infants.
In 2009, Murthy, Arulanandam and Zhong signed an exclusive license and sponsored research agreement with Merck and Co. to develop a chlamydia vaccine. The Merck license is the first revenue-producing license for any technology developed at UTSA.
Each year, Diverse Issues in Higher Education profiles a dozen diverse scholars under age 40 from around the country who are making their mark through teaching, research and service. Honorees are chosen based on their research achievements, educational background, publishing record, teaching record, and the competitiveness and uniqueness of their fields and areas of study.
The community is invited to the inauguration of UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, the sixth president of UTSA.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The Provost's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council hosts this forum to share and further explain the results of the survey and to offer the opportunity for faculty and staff to provide feedback.
Durango Building La Villita Room (DB 1.116), Downtown Campus
For more than 20 years, Josie Méndez-Negrete, a UTSA associate professor in Mexican American Studies, has endured the emotional journey of watching her son, Tito, struggle with schizophrenia. Her powerful account is the first memoir by a Mexican American author to share the devastation and hope a family experiences in dealing with this mental illness.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.212), Main Campus
Graduate and undergraduate student researchers pursuing majors in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts will present their original work.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
March Into Your Major is a major exploration fair intended to provide students with information on selecting their major.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Student Success Presidential initiative.
Frio Street Building (FS 1.512), Downtown Campus
Author Annette Angela Portillo will read her book, which examines Native American women’s autobiographical discourses and multiple-voiced life stories that resist generic conventional notions of first-person narrative.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.02.24), Main Campus
Chelsea Wentworth, anthropology professor at High Point University, will discuss women’s roles in changing customary feasting patterns so that feasts can serve as a coping mechanism for children’s food insecurity in urban areas the South Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu.
H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
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