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UTSA immunologist selected by peers as fellow of national association

Bernard Arulanandam

Bernard Arulanandam

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(Nov. 25, 2014) -- Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in Biology and assistant vice president for research support, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Arulanandam was elected by his peers for the honor, recognizing his scientific and socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications.

Arulanandam will receive the honor on Saturday, Feb. 14 at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, Calif.

"I want to congratulate Bernard on this well-deserved distinction. He joins a growing number of AAAS fellows here at UTSA, working in such diverse fields as anthropology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, cybersecurity, electrical engineering, physics and more," said John Frederick, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Bernard's selection as an AAAS fellow is further testament to our outstanding faculty."

Arulanandam joined the UTSA faculty in 2001 and conducts research on bacterial infections and the body's immune response to infectious diseases. His goal is to develop vaccines and therapies for prevention and treatment. Much of his work centers on studying mucosal surfaces, which are significant entry points for pathogens and often serve as the body's first line of defense.

In the laboratory, Arulanandam studies Franciscella tularensis, a biothreat agent and the bacterium that causes the respiratory infection tularemia or rabbit fever. He is also working on developing a vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis, the major global cause of bacterial sexually transmitted disease.

In 2009, Arulanandam and his UT Health Science Center colleague Guangming Zhong established an exclusive license and sponsored research agreement with Merck and Co. to develop a vaccine for chlamydia, which causes an estimated 2.3 million infections in the United States. The Merck license was the first revenue-producing license for any technology developed at UTSA.

The immunologist has published 100 research papers and has received funding from several agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

Additionally, Arulanandam is one of the scientific directors of the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio (a partnership between UTSA, the UT Health Science Center, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute), and he directs the Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics, which is funded by the Department of Defense. The DoD center supports microbiology research, teaching and outreach activities aligned with Army priorities. He also serves as director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In his administrative role as assistant vice president for research support, Arulanandam is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives aimed toward growing UTSA to be a top-tier research university. Within this role, he provides leadership to the Office of Undergraduate Research, develops impactful faculty development programming and leads a team of grant development professionals focused on increasing funded research at UTSA.

Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journals Science, Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. The AAAS includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science and serves 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world with an estimated total readership of one million.

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Learn more at the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases or Microbiology and Immunology at UTSA websites.

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