Thursday, March 28, 2024

UTSA researchers Karl Klose and Teja Guda honored by NAI for impact on medical industry

UTSA researchers Karl Klose and Teja Guda honored by NAI for impact on medical industry

FEBRUARY 28, 2024 — The innovative research of UTSA’s distinguished faculty has once again been recognized by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Two faculty members have joined NAI’s class of 2024 Senior Members: Karl Klose, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg College of Sciences Endowed Professor and Teja Guda, the Jacobson Distinguished Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The NAI’s Senior Members program recognizes academic innovators who have “growing success in patents, licensing, and commercialization, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors.” The 2024 cohort is the largest to date. Its members are collectively named inventors on over 1,000 U.S. patents, 344 of which are licensed technologies and commercialized products. There are now 553 Senior Members affiliated with NAI Member Institutions all over the world.

“It is an honor to see two of our esteemed faculty members recognized in this way, particularly as we continue to deepen our commitment to developing career-ready graduates and strengthening the Texas economy,” said JoAnn Browning, UTSA interim vice president for research. “Dr. Klose and Dr. Guda embody that commitment through their innovation, which drives economic growth and public health, as well as their mentorship, which prepares our graduates to be successful leaders and creators in their field.”

“Dr. Klose and Dr. Guda embody that commitment through their innovation, which drives economic growth and public health.”

UTSA is one of 256 member institutions recognized as a leader in innovation and as an institution that encourages solutions to society’s grand challenges. UTSA is a growing Carnegie R1 institution encompassing 30 research centers and institutes. UTSA research expenditures reached a record high of $152.3 million in fiscal year 2023.

Karl Klose

Klose is a renowned leader in biomedical research and serves as the director of The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID). He manages a laboratory that is dedicated to the study of bacterial pathogenesis, or how bacteria cause disease, with the goal of developing effective vaccines and therapeutics.

Recently, Klose’s studies on Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera, led to the identification of a therapeutic intervention that could inhibit the bacteria from colonizing in the intestine, and from persisting in the environment.

This study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled “A peptide-binding domain shared with an Antarctic bacterium facilitates Vibrio cholerae human cell binding and intestinal colonization." These findings could have significant implications for future treatment and prevention of cholera, a disease which causes up to 143,000 deaths worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates.

Klose is currently working to develop a vaccine against a biothreat agent, Francisella tularensis, in collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute. The team is developing formulations of the vaccine against this potential bioweapon that are expected to progress to human trials, a necessary step toward licensure.

“As a researcher, it is very rewarding to see your work have a positive impact on human lives,” said Klose. “Our vaccine development efforts are getting us closer to having a vaccine that will protect people from the illicit use of biothreat agents, so this is very exciting for me and all the other scientists who have contributed to this effort.”

Teja Guda

Guda is a biomedical engineer and an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and UTSA alumnus. Guda manages the Regenerative Medicine and Device Innovation (ReMeDI) Lab, which develops biomaterials for tissue engineering and medical devices that help with the detection, maintenance, restoration and rehabilitation of the upper airway in people who are finding it hard to breathe for a variety of reasons.

Guda's recent research seeks to improve the design of endotracheal tubes to alleviate the fibrotic scarring often suffered by hospital patients who have been on ventilators for a long time. Guda coauthored an article about this research, published in February 2024, entitled “Endotracheal tubes with dexamethasone eluting electrospun coating improve tissue mechanical function after upper airway injury.”

“Health care is an ever-moving goalpost, so we believe in constantly moving the chains,” said Guda. “Currently, we have developed therapeutic platforms to prevent injuries from worsening, speeding up healing and restoring some function after burn or abrasion damage in the airway.”

Guda added that he and his team will continue to fine-tune the technology before applying it to human patients. However, they are already working on further commercialization to ensure that the solutions they are developing reach patients in the near future.

Guda’s work has been published in more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and 130 peer-reviewed conference abstracts. He has patents pending for seven of his inventions, two of which have been granted. He has received $27 million in sponsored project funding, $23 million of which was for projects on which he was the principal investigator at UTSA. He was named Innovator of the Year in 2023.

“As biomedical engineers, there is no higher satisfaction than developing devices to help people, and this membership recognizes that we are truly making an impact in that direction,” Guda said.

Klose, Guda, and other recipients of this distinction will be inducted into the class of 2024 Senior Members at the 13th NAI Annual Conference on June 17 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The theme of this year’s conference is “Unlocking Innovation: Keys to Societal Solutions.”

“This year’s class of Senior Members is truly a testament to the outstanding innovation happening at NAI Member Institutions and what happens when the academic space encourages and celebrates invention and commercialization,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of NAI. “We are proud to welcome these outstanding academic inventors to the Academy and look forward to supporting and celebrating them as they continue in their innovation journeys.”

The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide.

⇒ Learn more and register for the NAI Annual conference.
⇒ Find out more about the National Academy of Inventors.
⇒ Discover the UTSA Office of Research.

It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate, and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

The NAI has a close partnership with the USPTO and is one of three honorific organizations, along with the National Medals and National Inventors Hall of Fame, working closely with the USPTO on many discovery and innovation support initiatives. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation.

Audrey Gray

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