(June 23, 2015) – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Office of the Vice President for Research announce the selection of two new research projects to receive $125,000 each through the Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect) Program. Funding begins Sept. 1, 2015. The projects will investigate sustainable biofuels and a vaccine to inhibit a sexually transmitted disease.
In one project, SwRI is collaborating with UTSA to develop a supply chain model for the new field of commodity biomaterials and biofuels starting with feedstocks from non-food crop resources and their descriptions and specifications all the way to finished products. SwRI’s role will be to develop a prototype biofeedstock upgrading process using its new fluidized bed reactor pilot plant to supply data to the UTSA model.
SwRI’s Jimell Erwin, Ph.D., and Monica Medrano will collaborate with UTSA’s Krystel Castillo, Ph.D., Sc.D., on the project, “An Efficient Circulating Fluidized Reactor Technology Integrated into a Stochastic Model with Biomass Quality Variables for Sustainable Biofuels and Biobased Products.” Castillo is an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering. Erwin is the director of the Chemical Engineering Department in the SwRI Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division and Medrano is an SwRI research engineer.
For the vaccine project, UTSA and SwRI plan to develop, test, and evaluate a nasal delivery formulation of an encapsulated vaccine to prevent chlamydia. The vaccine formulation combines UTSA’s vaccine research with SwRI’s encapsulation expertise to formulate an easily administered, safe, stable vaccine that provides potent, long-term protection from the disease.
SwRI’s Xingguo Cheng, Ph.D., and UTSA’s Neal Guentzel, Ph.D., plan to research and develop, “Enhancing the Efficacy of a Chlamydia Subunit Vaccine Through Encapsulation.” Cheng is a senior research scientist in the Materials and Bioengineering Section in the SwRI Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division. Guentzel is a professor in the UTSA Department of Biology. Since its inception in 2010, the Connect Program has funded nine projects from 49 proposals submitted by teams from SwRI and UTSA.
“The program has exceeded our expectations for stimulating collaboration between UTSA faculty, graduate students, and SwRI staff members,” said SwRI Executive Vice President Walt Downing. “The results of recently completed and ongoing projects include numerous invention disclosures, patents pending, grant applications, peer-reviewed publications, and technical meeting presentations. In addition, the collaborative research has led to scientific discoveries and technological innovations that have advanced the research profile of both institutions and the San Antonio community.”
The Connect program was founded to enhance greater scientific collaboration between SwRI and UTSA and to increase their research-funding base.
“UTSA and SwRI created the Connect program in 2010 to encourage meaningful and impactful collaboration between our two institutions, and the program has been tremendously successful,” said Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., UTSA vice president for research. “Over the last five years, the Connect program has attracted an increasing volume of compelling research proposals, and the collaborative programs we have selected to receive funding have made significant gains as a result. It will be fascinating to watch how this year’s Connect funding advances our joint work in vaccine development and sustainability.”
The Honors College welcomes its new freshmen with a breakfast, meet and greet with Honors College administrators, faculty, staff and peers and an opportunity to learn about the experiences they will have with the Honors College.
Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
This UTSA tradition marks the start of a new academic year. All new students gather together as UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, administration and faculty welcome them to Roadrunner Nation.
Convocation Center, Main Campus and overflow seating in Recreation and Wellness Center
This is an opportunity for students to learn everything they need to know about their major and college. Each UTSA academic college has a lot to offer including mentoring, class information, support and research opportunities.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campus
This is a casual event where new students can meet their college mentor.
Recreation and Wellness Center, Main Campus
Come show your Roadrunner Spirit by joining President Eighmy, our very own Rowdy, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band (SOSA), your fellow students, faculty and staff as we light the Monument at our Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight to mark the start of a new academic year.
John Peace Blvd. entrance, Main Campus
Roadrunner Nation! Show off your UTSA pride by sporting blue and orange UTSA swag to celebrate the start of the fall semester. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and Roadrunner families on and off-campus are encouraged to participate.
The UTSA community is invited to attend a series of Community Networking Socials hosted by the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion during Roadrunner Days. Various opportunities will be available that will focus on our diverse population in a come and go setting.
H-E-B Student Union Harris Room (HSU 2.212) and Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
The UTSA Involvement Ambassadors invite students to stop by the Paseo and take a picture celebrating the first day of classes. Share with friends and family via social media using #UTSARRDays.Theywill also be passing out 1st Day of Classes goodie bags and telling students about ways to get involved.
Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
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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