MARCH 28, 2022 — UTSA graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the College of Sciences will have the opportunity to develop methods to prevent or reduce tick-borne infections with the support of two recent grants totaling $2,287,500 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Janakiram Seshu, professor of bacterial pathogenesis in the UTSA Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, is guiding the research efforts to study molecular mechanisms leading to Lyme disease. Seshu noted the dire need for studies in preventive and therapeutic strategies targeting the agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection in the U.S., with around 40,000 confirmed and more than 10 times that number predicted to occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A two-year, $412,500 grant from NIH will support the study of host-pathogen interactions and how viruses sustain themselves within a host organism. It will also enhance the unique expertise and research infrastructure available at UTSA.
“We plan to expand the depth of knowledge on how the Lyme disease agent infects mammalian and tick cells at a single cell level using the UTSA Genomics Core, one of the leading centers in the country and the only center in South Texas that assists in profiling the genetics of an infected organism, in collaboration with Brian Hermann, an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology,” Seshu said.
A five-year, $1,875,000 grant will enable Sehsu’s investigative team to build on existing research findings to develop novel vaccines that reduce the rate of infection in animals that serve as the tick’s source of the Lyme disease pathogen.
Most cases of Lyme disease come from ticks that bite humans after they have acquired the agent of Lyme disease from infected animals. Blocking this natural cycle of infection between various animals and ticks, Seshu believes, will be another tool to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease.
Seshu plans to produce a vaccine to reduce the transmission of infection between animals and ticks by using purified components from strains of the Lyme disease bacteria that are regulated. Once modified, the vaccine will be delivered orally to small rodents. These vaccines could also be modified to block multiple pathogens that are transmitted via ticks, Seshu explained.
The vaccine studies are a collaborative effort with Chiung-Yu Hung, associate professor in the UTSA Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Kelly Nash, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
“We are looking for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to join our laboratories to tackle an infectious disease with significant public health importance in the U.S. and other parts of the world. These studies can be readily extended to developing strategies to prevent vector-borne diseases of relevance to human health and for animal agriculture,” added Seshu. “Gaining proficiency in using cutting-edge technologies as part of these studies are bound to open doors for trainees both in industry settings and in academia to address the current and emerging challenges in infectious diseases.”
Seshu’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, NIAID, AI149263, AI152233grants) and Bay Area Lyme Foundation.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
Come celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month with La Comunidad at The University of Texas at San Antonio. We will have food, games and dancing!H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus
LMSA invites you to join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month through an interactive cooking lesson! This cultural experience will teach you how to prepare a popular Mexican dish, street taquitos. You will be able to sample this dish and learn the recipe to use in your own home.Recreation Wellness Center Demo Kitchen
Future Roadrunners will see what Roadrunner life is all about at UTSA Day. All of Main Campus transforms into our UTSA Day open house for Future Roadrunners and their families to explore the university experience.Main Campus
Learn about the LGBTQIA+ community and being an Ally and advocate for LGBTQIA+ people, communities, and the issues that impact the LGBTQIA+ community.Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice Lounge, Main Campus
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