(Jan. 28, 2016) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio has received a $1 million gift from the Semmes Foundation to establish the Semmes Foundation Endowed Chair in Cell Biology. UTSA will use the gift to recruit a distinguished cell biologist to advance research efforts in brain health, opening up a host of new possibilities for treating, and preventing neurodegenerative disease.
The Semmes Foundation gift comes on the heels of another $1 million gift to create the Semmes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Neurobiology, which is held by George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences, and one of the nation’s top Alzheimer’s disease researchers. Perry said he was humbled by the Semmes Foundation’s continued support of brain research.
“There is a long history of brain research at UTSA,” Perry said. “With this new chair, we’re better positioned to battle diseases of the brain.”
The position will be a part of the UTSA Neurosciences Institute, which has done vital work in studying the origin of brain diseases and looking for treatments for them, including efforts to understand the drug-addicted brain and advancements in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They’ve also researched how the bilingual brain works and studied how the brain responds to different kinds of learning.
Cell biology is especially important to understanding brain diseases because it is the study of the most basic parts of the cell. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are the result of abnormalities in neurons and related cells.
“Simply put, we need to understand how the cells in the brain normally function so we can understand exactly what is going wrong to lead to each type of brain disease,” Perry said.
Recently UTSA has begun to establish a group of biologists across many specialties to conduct novel “disease-in-a-dish” studies in which they work with skin cells from someone with a neurodegenerative disease. The researchers then convert these cells into stem cells and then into neurons so they can discover what has gone wrong with the neurons from each patient.
“With these novel methods, we’ll be able to diagnose, and more importantly figure out how to effectively treat, reverse or even prevent these diseases,” said John McCarrey, Professor and Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology.
“Basic scientific research is vital for the prevention and cure of diseases of the brain,” said Pat Semmes, Director of the Semmes Foundation. “We are pleased to enable UTSA to expand its team of world-class scientists and graduate students who are working toward a better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.”
Learn more about the UTSA Neurosciences Institute.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biology.
This comprehensive music experience for middle and high school students focuses on developing the musician and the campers playing techniques. Campers will perform with one of UTSA’s concert bands and attend classes that include rehearsals, sectional and master classes and performing soundtrack music.
Arts Building, Main Campus
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Kids from kindergarten through high school will immerse in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on activities.
Applied Engineering and Technology (AET 0.102), Main Campus and Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 3.328), Downtown Campus
Novice and experienced boys and girls in grades 1-8 will be divided up by age and ability to gain the most skills and knowledge for their level of play.
Park West Athletics Complex
Emerging and fluent writers can practice and refine their writing skills, share with others and grow as artisans and thinkers. Each day, students will investigate the art of writing, apply the craft to their own writing, and celebrate what they have done with fellow campers.
Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 3.324), Downtown Campus
UTSA Men's Basketball coaching staff and players host shoot, skills, day, elite and parent/child camps and clinics.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Camps is full for this summer. This exciting and interactive camp is designed for high school students. The camp will have interactive workshops, hands-on challenges, tours, panels and friendly competitions.
Biotechnology, Science and Engineering Building, Main Campus
This unique camp gives rising junior and senior high school students the opportunity to understand how the ever-changing American criminal justice system works. Students will learn a basic understanding of crime and justice and the roles of the police, courts and corrections.
Durango Building, Downtown 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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.