(Sept. 1, 2011) -- Jose L. Lopez-Ribot, professor of microbiology in the UTSA College of Sciences Department of Biology and associate director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, has been elected to serve as the 2012 president of the Medical Mycology Society of the Americas. Medical mycology is the study of fungal organisms that cause infectious diseases.
Lopez-Ribot will be the second UTSA professor to serve as president of the international Society. UTSA Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and STCEID member Floyd L. Wormley Jr. served as the society's youngest president in 2010.
A native of Spain, Lopez-Ribot is a pharmacist who transitioned into medical mycology research following receipt of his doctorate degree in microbiology and his Pharm.D. from the University of Valencia in Valencia, Spain, in 1991. His research focuses on understanding and preventing the spread of Candida albicans, commonly associated with superficial yeast infections and a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections in the United States.
The fungus, which proves fatal in 30-50 percent of patients with compromised immune systems, forms biofilms on catheters and other medical devices. Those biofilms give the fungus a safe place to grow and spread, making infections extremely difficult to treat.
Lopez-Ribot's career is marked by an enormous body of work. He is an author of more than 100 articles, 14 books or book chapters, and more than 200 abstracts for meetings. Additionally, he holds three U.S. patents for discoveries he and his collaborators made during the course of their C. albicans research. He also is an ad-hoc reviewer for more than 60 scholarly journals, some published in Spanish.
"The Medical Mycology Society of the Americas brings together microbiologists from North, Central and South America in a forum that allows them to share knowledge, develop professionally and establish new international research collaborations," said Lopez-Ribot. "I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve this organization, which represents many of the best medical mycologists in the world."
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