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UTSA's NDRB program receives million-dollar gift to support doctoral student research

UTSA's NDRB program receives million-dollar gift to support doctoral student research

The Semmes Foundation has given UTSA a $1 million gift to establish the Semmes Foundation Graduate Student Fund in the College of Sciences’ Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology. Pat and Tom Semmes, pictured here, made the donation to respond to needs for exemplary graduate students to support UTSA's world-class faculty.

OCTOBER 5, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio has received a $1 million gift from the Semmes Foundation to establish the Semmes Foundation Graduate Student Fund in the College of Sciences’ Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology (NDRB). UTSA will use the gift to grow and sustain the department's doctoral programs and position the university to better compete for external funding through agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

The fund will create new opportunities for advancing research and raise more funding for student stipends. The grant will also help UTSA recruit and retain exceptional graduate students within the field of neuroscience and cell and molecular biology.

“We are deeply grateful to the Semmes Foundation and to Pat and Tom Semmes for their generous support of our doctoral programs,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “This investment will continue to cultivate exceptional doctoral students who will bring unparalleled research contributions to the field of neuroscience and cell and molecular biology, bolstering UTSA’s reputation as one of our nation’s great public research universities.”


We are deeply grateful to the Semmes Foundation and to Pat and Tom Semmes for their generous support of our doctoral programs.





Jenny Hsieh, chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology, and the Semmes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cell Biology, added, “I am extremely thankful to the Semmes Foundation for establishing this fund to grow and retain our pipeline of doctoral students. This fund will give us the needed flexibility to expand our programs in creative and impactful directions.”

Doctoral students are important to securing funds to advance research at UTSA. Over the past five years, research from graduate students in cell and molecular biology, neuroscience and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy was responsible for securing over $50 million in grants.

“This transformational investment from the Semmes Foundation will help our college continue to attract high-caliber graduate students capable of pioneering new research discoveries,” said David Silva, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. “This investment has long-term implications that will bring us closer to achieving UTSA’s vision of being a top-tier research institution.”


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The Semmes Foundation is a family foundation established by D.R. Semmes of San Antonio in 1952. The foundation was formed for charitable, scientific and educational purposes and awards grants primarily in the San Antonio area. Pat Semmes expressed the Foundation’s desire to support doctoral students, understanding the time is now to grow UTSA doctoral programs with excellent students.

"The Semmes Foundation is pleased to respond to the immediate and long-term needs for exemplary graduate students to support UTSA world-class faculty," said Pat Semmes, director of the Semmes Foundation. “The potential for various matching funding is the icing on the cake.”

Ryan Schoensee



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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 news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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