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UTSA showcases leadership in cybersecurity and biosciences during Washington, D.C. visit

UTSA showcases leadership in cybersecurity and biosciences during Washington, D.C. visit

Nicole Beebe and Jenny Hsieh are among UTSA's nationally recognized researchers in cybersecurity and biosciences.

(June 11, 2018)  -- President Taylor Eighmy led a delegation from UTSA in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with lawmakers, educational leaders, policy experts, industry leaders and national cyber experts.

During the two-day visit, UTSA faculty and senior leaders spread throughout the capital region to discuss collaborations with some of the top industry and governmental influencers in cybersecurity and biomedicine, two areas in which the university has earned a national reputation.

The delegation’s visit culminated in a UTSA reception at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where attendees heard a presentation from Eighmy highlighting the research and development synergy that exists within San Antonio in the biomedicine and cybersecurity spheres.

Attendees included representatives from the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. House of Representatives, National Science Foundation, Army Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Air Force Association. Also in attendance were leaders from UTSA’s industry partners as well as local alumni. Texas Congressman Will Hurd, representing the 23rd District, provided opening remarks.

“Many don’t realize the density of talent we have in the areas cybersecurity and biomedicine,” said Eighmy during his presentation. “We have over 3,300 MDs and PhDs in San Antonio, and more than $1 billion in federal R&D expenditures.”

UTSA has created strategic partnerships with UT Health San Antonio, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Southwest Research Institute and the Brook Army Medical Center/San Antonio Military Medical Center, applying collective brainpower to advances in precision medicine, drug discovery and delivery, regenerative medicine, obesity prevention, neurodegenerative disorders and infectious diseases.

“UTSA is focused on bringing the world’s best and brightest researchers to San Antonio,” said Eighmy. “We are growing our capacity to solve society’s grandest challenges.”

As just one example, Eighmy cited the recent formation of a world-class brain health research cluster at UTSA, highlighting the hiring of Jenny Hsieh, Semmes Foundation Chair in Cell Biology, to lead the effort.

UTSA’s leadership in the field of cybersecurity was also well represented during the visit, building on both the university’s top-ranked academic programs and San Antonio’s status as the second largest cyber hub in the country outside the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

At the reception, Eighmy announced two new distinctions that further solidify UTSA’s prowess in the area of cybersecurity.

The first is a new three-year agreement between UTSA and Idaho National Laboratory to facilitate collaborative academic and research programs in cyber and critical infrastructure protection. The agreement will include joint appointments of cyber-focused researchers, allowing UTSA faculty and INL staff to conduct collaborative research programs and be co-located on both campuses. 

Additionally, Eighmy announced UTSA’s new designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, making it one of the few universities in the nation to hold three National Center of Excellence designations from the National Security Agency.

Eighmy also highlighted UTSA’s plans to launch a National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) for research, education and workforce development in the areas of cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud computing. The NSCC will advance San Antonio’s position as a leader in national security, proving an anchor for the Texas Cyber Corridor.

- Jaclyn Shaw and Sarah Hada

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