Friday, October 18, 2019

UTSA microbiologist Floyd Wormley elected AAAS Fellow

UTSA microbiologist Floyd Wormley elected AAAS Fellow

Wormley’s pioneering research has the potential to lead to the development of vaccines, immune-based therapies and novel anti-fungal drugs that protect immune-compromised patients from infections.

(Jan. 9, 2019) -- Floyd L. Wormley Jr., the Microsoft President’s Endowed Professor in the UTSA College of Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His election by his peers recognizes his “distinguished contributions to the field of medical mycology, immunology and host-pathogen interactions.”

Wormley will be formally inducted at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 16, 2019.

A microbiologist by training, Wormley’s academic and research specialties include host-pathogen interactions, medical mycology (the study of fungal organisms that cause infectious diseases) and microbial pathogenesis (the study of the mechanisms that microbes use to cause disease). His current research focuses on interactions involving host and fungal pathogens such as  Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes cryptococcosis, a central nervous system disease usually seen in immunocompromised individuals, and Candida albicans, which can cause the invasive disease candidiasis in humans. In the laboratory, he employs both molecular and immunological techniques to study disease processes.

Wormley’s research has the potential to lead to the development of vaccines, immune-based therapies and novel anti-fungal drugs that protect immune-compromised patients from infections. The UTSA faculty member has extensive experience investigating various vaccine strategies, and he has a vast understanding of host cellular-mediated and antibody-mediated immune responses. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Department of Defense.

An active researcher and member of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), Wormley rapidly has made significant contributions to the medical mycology profession. The STCEID, comprised of more than two dozen researchers, was established to focus state and national attention on UTSA in the fields of molecular microbiology, immunology, medical mycology, virology, microbial genomics, vaccine development and biodefense. One of the major areas of emphasis within the STCEID includes research to determine the mechanisms that potentiate and/or resolve the pathogenesis associated with several emerging infectious diseases.

In 2010, Wormley became the youngest person ever to be elected president of the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas, the leading professional organization for mycology researchers in North, Central and South America.  He was also named as a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Microbiology in 2016 and a Fulbright Scholar for the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program in 2017.

Wormley earned his bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Tulane University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.

In 2005, Wormley joined the UTSA faculty. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2010. In 2013, he was named associate dean for research in the UTSA College of Sciences. The college makes significant contributions in infectious diseases and vaccine development, as well as nanotechnology, brain health, stem cells, medicinal drug discovery, and cybersecurity, where UTSA ranks number one in the nation.

"Dr. Wormley is one of our brightest and strongest researchers in infectious disease. His pioneering work is recognized by a growing number of outstanding scientists and that reality is reflected in his induction as an elected Fellow of the AAAS,” says Howard Grimes, interim dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. “Furthermore, our growth as a research university is bolstered by the increasing number of our scientists and engineers recognized by the AAAS."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in 1848 and is the world's largest general scientific society. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874 to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

UTSA is recognized as one of the top 400 universities in the world and one of the top five young universities in the nation by Times Higher Education.

Khoa Tran and Christi Fish


Learn more about the UTSA College of Sciences and the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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