San Antonio Life Sciences Institute funds 1st projects

San Antonio (July 30, 2004) – The San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI), a joint program of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and The University of Texas at San Antonio, today announced $915,000 for eight research and educational projects conducted jointly by investigators from the two institutions.

The SALSI co-directors report a strong interest on both campuses with extensive interactions between academic colleagues. “The SALSI program has identified important new relationships between the two campuses, building upon the unique strengths at each institution and creating an environment where the sum is greater than the whole,” said Co-Director James Roberts, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the Health Science Center. “Some truly spectacular research programs have been seeded. We are encouraged that this strong response to the pilot program and the high quality of proposals will translate into increased funding for both campuses.”

Co-Director Joe L. Martinez, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology at UTSA, said: “SALSI was launched in December 2003 with substantial investments by the UT System, UTSA and the Health Science Center. This forward-looking strategy will both increase the research effort and bring the research focus of the two campuses closer together by stimulating joint research that will lead to increased federal funding. It shows that UTSA has matured into a true research university that can partner with the Health Science Center.”

The funded proposals and the principal investigators are listed below.

Research:

• Noninvasive Tissue-Based Biosensors for Biomedical Research
Peter J. Hornsby, Ph.D., Physiology, UTHSCSA
Dhiraj K. Sardar, Ph.D, Physics, UTSA

• Radiation-Induced Changes in Hippocampal Functioning
Martin Fuss, M.D., Radiation Oncology, UTHSCSA
Joe L. Martinez, Jr., Ph.D., Cajal Neuroscience Research Center, UTSA

• In Vivo Molecular Imaging of RNA Interference
Zheng Jim Wang, Ph.D., Radiology, UTHSCSA
Cong-Gui Zhao, Ph.D., Chemistry, UTSA

• Development of Assisted Reproduction, Transgenesis & Stem Cell Technologies in the Baboon
Robert S. Schenken, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology, UTHSCSA
John R. McCarrey, Ph.D., Biology, UTSA

• Structure and Function of Francisella Tularensis Virulence Proteins
P. John Hart, Ph.D., Biochemistry, UTHSCSA
Karl E. Klose, Ph.D., Biology, UTSA

• Immunization Against Coccidioidomycosis by Sindbis Viruses Expressing Coccidioides Antigens
Theresa Quitugua, Ph.D., Microbiology & Immunology, UTHSCSA
Hans W. Heidner, Ph.D., Biology, UTSA

Educational/Non-Research:

• Ph.D. in Human Communication Sciences
Randal A. Otto, M.D., Otolaryngology, UTHSCSA
Jan Tillery, Ph.D., Linguistics, UTSA

• Center for Health and Health Care Disparities Infrastructure Core and Faculty Development Program
Martha A. Medrano, M.D., MPH, Psychiatry, UTHSCSA
Mary A. McGehee, Ph.D., Sociology, UTSA

Twenty-six research proposals were submitted in a variety of scientific disciplines ranging from biomechanics to cancer biology to computational sciences to health care disparities. Three educational proposals were received in diverse areas, as well. While the majority of the proposals were judged as scientifically excellent by an external review panel of national and international scientists, limited funding allowed SALSI to fully support only six research proposals whose costs ranged from $97,000 to $185,000. Two of the educational proposals were partially funded.

The second round of proposals for this fiscal year brought 19 research and two educational proposals that are being reviewed. For more information, please see the SALSI Web site:www.uthscsa.edu/ogm/salsi/ref.htm.



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