Army funds infection genomics

SAN ANTONIO, June 14 (UPI) -- A Texas university is receiving $4.6 million from the U.S. Army to support microbiology research on infectious organisms threatening the military.

The 5-year funding, from the Defense's Army Research Office, will be used by the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas at San Antonio to create Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics.


Infection genomics is the scientific discipline in which biologists characterize functional properties of the entire genome of infectious organisms.

"This new center is a winning proposition for both UTSA and the military," said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA's Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in Biology and associate dean of research for scientific innovation in the UTSA College of Sciences.

"UTSA researchers will study infectious organisms that threaten the Army here and abroad and develop technology to translate that research into practical solutions for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

"All the while, we will train students to become great microbiologists for the Department of Defense."

UTSA's CEIG will focus on four core areas of expertise: the genomics of intestinal and respiratory pathogens; the biochemistry and molecular biology of vector-borne pathogens; the immunopathogenesis of fungal infections and anti-fungal drug development; and vaccine development.


In addition to working closely with the Army Research Office, the Center's researchers will collaborate with experts at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the San Antonio Military Medical Center, a premier Army hospital and Level I trauma center for wounded military personnel.

"The research and educational programs offered though our South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases are second to none and continue to grow year after year," said Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research. "This new Center in Infection Genomics adds to that momentum, leveraging the researchers' collective expertise and offering students of all levels the best possible training in microbial genetics, medical mycology, pathogenesis and immunology through Army-related projects."

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