(June 17, 2013) --University of Texas at San Antonio biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Anand Srinivasan has been awarded a $25,000, one-year doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA). This highly competitive fellowship provides significant funding to doctoral students to support research and training in cardiovascular and stroke discoveries.
For nearly four years, Srinivasan has developed and tested a series of prototype nanochips under the guidance of UTSA biomedical engineering assistant professor Anand Ramasubramanian and biology professor Jose Lopez-Ribot in collaboration with the director of science at the U.S. Institute of Surgical Research, Kai P. Leung. Their nanochips aid in high-throughput screening, an automated process that allows researchers to quickly test small molecules against an array of thousands of microbial biofilms.
Supported by the AHA, Srinivasan will develop a new chip-based platform that can be used to test the effectiveness of drug treatments for infective endocarditis, a dangerous bacterial-fungal infection of the heart's inner lining. The research is a challenge because it requires Srinivasan to develop a chip that will facilitate bacterial and fungal co-culture biofilms at a nano scale.
Infective endocarditis is an example of a health care-associated infection (HAI), devastating and even deadly infections caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus. Patients generally acquire HAIs when they receive treatment for other conditions, often as a result of their compromised immune systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an HAI.
While the medical community is fighting back against HAIs by testing thousands of microbial biofilm samples from hospital surfaces throughout the world, the process is time consuming and costly. The technology currently in use also is outdated.
"The industry standard process currently in place was developed back in the 1950s and tests only a few hundred samples at a time," said Srinivasan. "Using chip-based, high-throughput technology, we have developed a process that is quicker and cheaper. Just one of our nanochips can test 1,200 samples simultaneously."
"We are fortunate to have Anand work on this project," said Ramasubramanian. "He has shown tremendous dedication, resolve and passion all along in integrating microbiology into chip design and fabrication, which is a big challenge."
Srinivasan has authored seven peer-reviewed journal articles and has been invited to give presentations on his discoveries at several conferences across the country, including the American Society of Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering Society. Most recently, his paper, "A High-Throughput Nano-Biofilm Microarray for Antifungal Drug Discovery," was accepted by mBio, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society for Microbiology, and was published this month.>> Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering.
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.
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