(Sept. 18, 2012)--In August, UTSA microbiologist Karl Klose traveled to Valparaíso, Chile, to teach students at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso (PUCV)’s Institute of Biology how to genetically manipulate and dissect bacterial pathogens. The training will enhance the students’ study of the pathogenesis and environmental persistence of related bacteria and will ultimately position them to help protect the Chilean salmon industry.
This year, Chile is expected to produce 700,000 tons of salmon. Despite the industry’s significant growth since the mid-1970s, disease outbreaks such as those caused by the bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis continue to threaten the industry, resulting in significant economic losses. At PUCV, scholars are conducting research focusing on ways to prevent infectious agents from causing diseases in salmon. Like UTSA, PUCV students are highly involved in the research as part of their training.
Klose received a South American Visiting Professorship from the American Society for Microbiology that allowed him to teach a short course in bacterial genetics to 21 students from PUCV and surrounding universities in Temuco and Concepcion. The goal was to help students become proficient in basic techniques that can be applied to bacteria that affect salmon. While there, Klose used the bacterium Vibrio cholerae as a teaching model, an ideal choice because not only is it the cause of the human disease cholera, it is also a marine bacterium related to the bacteria many PUCV scholars are already studying.
Each day, Klose provided a 90-minute lecture followed by a six-hour laboratory session allowing the students to practice the techniques they learned. The syllabus addressed gene disruption, motility and flagellar genes, virulence factor expression and biofilm formation. At the end of the course, Klose taught the students how to adapt the techniques to other bacteria.
Klose believes the partnership will stimulate new types of research at PUCV. The techniques Klose taught the students will be continued in individual laboratories at PUCV. Klose and his Chilean host, Sergio Marshall Gonzalez, also expect to collaborate on microbiology research that would result in funding from the Chilean government and a series of peer-reviewed publications.
“The Chilean economy is extremely dependent on salmon exports, but the industry continues to be challenged by different types of infectious diseases,” said Klose. “By teaching students at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso the most updated ways to manipulate bacteria, they are equipped to study the infectious agents that affect salmon, and ultimately develop novel vaccines and therapeutics to help protect the salmon industry.”
Klose is a professor in the UTSA Department of Biology and the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. For more than 20 years, he has studied the pathogenesis and persistence of V. cholerae, which is found where there are widespread sanitation problems, particularly in water and food supplies. His research focuses on how the bacterium survives, how it causes disease and how it persists in aquatic environments. Ultimately, Klose and other cholera researchers around the world aim to develop a vaccine to the onset and spread of cholera.
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
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
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
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.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.