Oct. 14, 2019 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced the selection of immunologist Bernard Arulanandam to serve as its vice president for research, economic development and knowledge enterprise. Arulanandam, the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in Biology at UTSA and the university’s current interim vice president for research, is a recognized scholar and researcher, most recently elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2018.
Reporting directly to President Taylor Eighmy, Arulanandam will cultivate the university’s research partnerships, shape UTSA’s research operations, commercialization activities and centers and institutes, and more fully integrate the university’s economic development initiatives into the knowledge enterprise to guide UTSA in achieving its 10-year strategic plan. That plan includes earning National Research University Fund eligibility and achieving an R1 (highest research activity) designation from the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.
“As an urban serving research university, UTSA is focused on driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy,” said Eighmy. “Bernard’s leadership of our research enterprise and his scholarly work are a testament to his drive to make new discoveries and cultivate strong teams that are impacting the world. His success, coupled with his vision for UTSA, makes him an ideal choice to lead our research and economic development efforts.”
Arulanandam joined the UTSA faculty in 2001. He directs a research program that is focused on the body's immune response to bacterial diseases with the goal of developing vaccines and therapies for prevention and treatment. Work in his laboratory has provided new insights into the development of vaccines against Chlamydia trachomatis, which causes the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, Francisella tularensis, which causes the respiratory infection tularemia or rabbit fever, and Acinetobacter Baumannii, a pathogen that has seen an uptick in occurrence in injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. His research team is funded by numerous agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
More recently, Arulanandam has held several UTSA leadership positions including interim vice president for research (2016–present), assistant vice president of research support (2012–2016) and associate dean of research for scientific innovation in the UTSA College of Sciences (2009–2012).
Also, from 2012 to 2016, Arulanandam served as director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, one of the nation’s premier centers for the study of infectious diseases. There, he was instrumental in establishing the UTSA Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics, a program within the center that supports microbiology research, teaching and outreach activities aligned with the priorities of the U.S. Army. He is also one of the scientific directors of the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio, a local partnership focused on infectious disease research and vaccine development and promotion, serves as the Councilor for the Oak Ridge Association of Universities and is a board member of Biomed SA.
“The depth of the discovery and innovation taking place across the university’s research and economic development enterprise rivals that of top research institutions in the nation,” said Arulanandam. “I look forward to further collaborating with faculty, staff, students and university leaders to serve this growing ecosystem and help propel UTSA to national recognition.”
In 2015 Arulanandam was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and, in 2016, he received a Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminar award. In 2017, he became a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Two years later, he was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Arulanandam was selected as vice president following a national search that was chaired by Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. The search committee was comprised of faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders.
“To prioritize student success and deliver classroom education of the highest quality while growing faculty research productivity, close collaboration is needed between an institution’s academic and research enterprises,” said Espy. “As a highly successful educator and researcher, Bernard understands how to effectively balance the many priorities of our teaching and research faculty, and that made him an outstanding choice for vice president. His selection will ensure that UTSA successfully leverages its resources well to keep pace with its 2028 goals.”
Arulanandam will begin his new role immediately.
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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.
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