UTSA's RCMI program was supported by a $12.6 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enhance the research capacity and infrastructure at minority-serving universities that offer doctorates in health sciences. The RCMI program contributed significantly to UTSA's expansion of research capabilities through the creation of advanced research core facilities that are available to all UTSA researchers, the recruitment of outstanding biomedical faculty members, and support for faculty development research projects.

Research Cores

Biophotonics Core

The Biophotonics Core utilized cutting-edge imaging technologies that enabled UTSA researchers to investigate and analyze biological processes in live cells at the molecular level with exceptional sensitivity and precision. This technology supported basic and translational research, including applications to develop therapeutic interventions and vaccine development.

Computational Systems Biology (CSB) Core

The CSB Core built high-performance computing infrastructure for modeling and simulation of biological systems, live cell imaging, and protein biomarker research. This infrastructure enabled the integration and processing of the enormous amount of data generated in studying complex biological interactions and was a key component for advancing basic and translational health research at UTSA. It was built upon the well-established computing infrastructure of the Computational Biology Initiative (CBI) and seeded the creation of a high performance computing center at UTSA. The CSB Core is a unique facility that provided central computational support through state-of-the-art computational facilities and expertise for existing and future UTSA faculty and their students.

Nanotechnology and Human Health Core

The Nanotechnology and Human Health Core focused on the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for imaging, labels for bioassays, and active targeting for in vivo or in vitro diagnostics. It studied the interaction of nanoparticles with living cells for application in the targeted delivery of drugs, genes, and proteins; tissue engineering scaffolds; artificial organs and implants; and bioimaging and cell labeling. Additionally, it supported development of new advanced characterization methods to study biological tissue using nanoparticles and advanced electron microscopy techniques to produce three-dimensional structural information for imaging cell membranes, organelles, and other subcellular structures.

Proteomics and Protein Biomarkers Cores

The Proteomics and Protein Biomarkers Cores built infrastructure and instrumentation necessary to identify and characterize highly sensitive and specific protein biomarkers, including biomarkers that are particular to minority populations. These biomarkers can be used clinically to screen for and diagnose diseases and to guide and assess molecularly targeted therapy. The Proteomics Core developed novel methods that the Protein Biomarkers Core applied to discover and validate novel protein biomarkers of disease.

Research Projects

The UTSA RCMI Research Projects promoted the development of faculty members and advanced their research programs. Areas of research included autoimmune diseases, cancer, multiple sclerosis, health disparities, nanoparticles, protein biomarkers, and high-performance computing.