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UTSA receives $4.6 million to create Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics

STCEID researchers

STCEID researchers are (back row from left) Jose Lopez-Ribot, James Chambers, Karl Klose, Brian Wickes (UTHSCSA) and Neal Guentzel, and (front row) Guangming Zhong (UTHSCSA), Janakiram Seshu, Bernard Arulanandam, Floyd Wormley and Jieh-Juen Yu.
Not photographed are Stephen Saville and John Hart (UTHSCSA)/
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(June 15, 2011)--The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID) at The University of Texas at San Antonio will receive $4.6 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Defense Army Research Office to establish a Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics (CEIG). The grant will support microbiology research, teaching and outreach activities aligned with Army priorities. Infection genomics is the scientific discipline in which biologists characterize functional properties of the entire genome of infectious organisms.

"This new center is a winning proposition for both UTSA and the military," said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA's Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in Biology and associate dean of research for scientific innovation in the UTSA College of Sciences. "UTSA researchers will study infectious organisms that threaten the Army here and abroad and develop technology to translate that research into practical solutions for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases. All the while, we will train students to become great microbiologists for the Department of Defense."

UTSA's CEIG will focus on four core areas of expertise: the genomics of intestinal and respiratory pathogens; the biochemistry and molecular biology of vector-borne pathogens; the immunopathogenesis of fungal infections and anti-fungal drug development; and vaccine development.

Long-term center goals include:

  • Enhancing UTSA's core research capacity in molecular genetics and genomics by building on the university's existing strengths and infrastructure
  • Increasing the number of underrepresented minority graduates at all levels in molecular microbiology and immunology
  • Increasing the pool of students from area high schools who are interested in pursuing microbiology careers through outreach and teacher training

"Since its inception, the STCEID has contributed to moving UTSA to Tier One research status," said Edwin Barea-Rodriguez, chair of the UTSA Department of Biology. "The high school training component included in this new Department of Defense grant provides broader impact by training future scientists in San Antonio and the United States."

In addition to working closely with the Army Research Office, the center's researchers will collaborate with experts at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the San Antonio Military Medical Center, a premier Army hospital and level I trauma center for wounded members of the military.

"The research and educational programs offered though our South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases are second to none and continue to grow year after year," said Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research. "This new Center in Infection Genomics adds to that momentum, leveraging the researchers' collective expertise and offering students of all levels the best possible training in microbial genetics, medical mycology, pathogenesis and immunology through Army-related projects."



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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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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