(July 23, 2018) -- Chiung-Yu Hung, assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support her efforts to create a vaccine for fungal infections.
Unlike bacteria or viruses, there is currently no vaccine available for any type of fungal infection. Fungi are more complex organisms, containing far more components, which makes developing an effective vaccine to battle them much more difficult than efforts to combat a virus or bacterial infection.
Hung’s work focuses on two types of the fungus Coccidioides, which exists in the soil of Southwest Texas, Southern Arizona, California and Northern Mexico. When the soil is disturbed by animals or humans, the fungal spores are released into the air, causing a respiratory infection called valley fever.
“Any human living in the endemic area could inhale the spores into their lungs, which causes an infection,” Hung said. “The majority of people don’t feel it, but some of them will develop flu-like symptoms and a small portion could even develop chronic pneumonia.”
Without proper treatment, the fungus could also spread to the central nervous system, where it could cause meningitis, a potentially fatal condition. Hung’s goal is to stop these infections before they occur by developing what could be the first anti-fungal vaccine.
“It’s a testament to the advances in vaccines for viruses and bacteria that this effort is now possible,” Hung said. “It’s very exciting to be breaking new ground and working to create something that could prevent illness and even save lives.”
As a member of the UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Hung is one of many researchers specializing in the study of vaccine development, biodefense, immunology and molecular microbiology. She is the author of several studies on Coccidioides and similar fungi.
“I welcome the HHS funding for University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, which focuses on fungal infections with the Coccidioides species,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “San Antonio continues to lead in medicine development with groundbreaking research, and this grant will help boost wellness and quality of life for Americans across Texas and our nation.”
UTSA is ranked among the nation’s top five young universities, according to Times Higher Education.
Learn more about the UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biology.
Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to email@example.com. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.
The Texas Coalition for Heritage Spanish (TeCHS) seeks to provide a cooperative platform to support the success of Spanish heritage language speakers and their communities in Texas, assisting and promoting bicultural and bilingual development in the state.River Walk Room (DBB 1.124,) Durango Building, Downtown Campus
Dr. Michael Doyle has had an immense impact on the field of catalysis and organic chemistry. Join in a one-day symposium. In order to honor Dr. Doyle’s colossal career accomplishments with his upcoming retirement, we are holding a one day symposium eventRiklin Auditorium (FS 1.406,) Frio Street Building, Downtown Campus
The San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum (SURF) attracts presenters from around the nation to showcase the work of students, trainees, faculty and staff. The mission of the SURF conference is to “advance research collaborations among academic, military, and industry partners to improve health outcomes and readiness.”TBD
The NHERI Summer Institute is a free event for early-career faculty, NHERI Graduate Student Council, K-12 educators from the San Antonio area, engineers, and researchers to learn more about the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) community.La Villita Room (DBB 1.116,) Durango Building, Main Campus
Connect with peer mentors and fellow first-gen and transfer students, and learn how you can join UTSA's First-Gen programs for the Fall 2023 semester.Mentoring Hub (MS 2.02.02,) Multidisciplinary Studies Building, Main Campus
Building the Dual Language Leader Symposium will provide a safe space for current and aspiring leaders to learn best practices, theories, policies, and systems that support a dual language bilingual education.UTSA Southwest Campus, 300 Augusta St.
Streaming of Spray the Word that will conclude with a discussion with San Antonio's Poet Laureate, Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson.Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328,) Buena Vista Street 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.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.