UTSA scholar Janakiram Seshu leads USDA research team to China

Training

The research team visits the Sino-American Biological Control Laboratory in Beijing, China. Pictured are U.S. team members Janakiram Seshu, Adalberto Pérez de León and Andrew Li (third, second and first from the right) with scientists from the Sino-American Biological Control Laboratory.

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(Dec. 19, 2012) -- Janakiram Seshu, associate professor of bacterial pathogenesis in the UTSA Department of Biology and a member of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), recently led a three-member team of investigators to China to launch research collaborations related to tick-borne diseases.

The other members of the traveling team included Adalberto Pérez de León, director, and Andrew Li, research physiologist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas.

The team visited six Chinese institutions including the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. The two-week trip was funded by the USDA Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program (SCEP) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China.

The goal of the visit was to establish links with potential long-term collaborators at Chinese institutions for scientific and technological exchange, ultimately to mitigate the impact of tick-borne diseases. One research staff member and one student from two different institutions in China are expected to soon visit UTSA and the USDA-ARS facility in Kerrville as part of the scientific exchange program.

Seshu's research focuses on Lyme disease, the most-prevalent tick-borne infectious disease in the United States. His laboratory is examining regulation of gene expression affecting the survival and infectious capabilities of Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent that causes the disease. As a member of the Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics at UTSA, Seshu and his research team uses several novel methodologies to determine how the agent of Lyme disease is transmitted to animals bitten by infected ticks and aims to identify methods to prevent the transmission and onset of the disease in humans.

The UTSA Center for Infection Genomics is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The research center focuses on four core areas of expertise: the genomics of intestinal and respiratory pathogens, the biochemistry and molecular biology of vector-borne pathogens, the immunopathogenesis of fungal infections and anti-fungal drug development, and vaccine development.

Learn more at the UTSA Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics website.