AUGUST 19, 2020 — Maria Gonzalez Porras, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering at UTSA, has been awarded a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to study nanoparticle delivery in adipose tissue.
The three-year, $208,182 award is funded through National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and will support Gonzalez Porras’ work in studying the role of the extracellular microenvironment on adipocyte fat.
Obesity is a public health crisis and generates an economic burden of more than $190 billion annually on the U.S. health care system. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and infection from COVID-19.
The unique bioengineering approach utilized by Gonzalez Porras could leader to new therapeutic treatments for obesity that could have a transformative impact on the American population and health care spending.
Gonzalez Porras joined UTSA in 2018 after completing her graduate studies in biomedical engineering at the Mayo Clinic. In her previous work she developed nanotechnology delivery strategies for treatment of neuropathologies.
This new work will combine her expertise in nanotechnology with research on the study of cell-matrix interactions to identify new treatments for adipose tissue in conjunction with Eric Brey, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.
“Dr. Gonzalez Porras proposes work that will have significant impact on the study of obesity and diabetes. She has incredible potential and this work will help establish her as a future leader in the field,” said Brey, the Peter Flawn Distinguished Professor in biomedical engineering.
The National Institutes of Health’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship supports the research and training of outstanding postdoctoral fellows with potential to become leaders in biomedical research. Fellows receiving this award are more likely to be successful in securing NIH funding.
Gonzalez Porras is the first recipient of this prestigious grant in UTSA’s College of Engineering.
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