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UTSA Wins $12M Minority Research Lab Grant

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Texas at San Antonio has won a five-year, $12 million National Institutes of Health grant under the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program that will support new and existing labs that conduct systems biology, proteomics, and other research approaches at the school.

The RCMI grant will fund faculty research programs, the purchase of advanced scientific tools, and four staffed labs to house the equipment, UTSA said.

The facilities UTSA plans to fund include the Protein Biomarkers Laboratory, the Computational Systems Biology Laboratory, the Biophotonics Laboratory, and the Nanotechnology and Human Health Laboratory.

"This funding will give us the ability to add new laboratories and acquire the latest scientific equipment so we can continue to advance our ability to improve lives with better health," UTSA President Ricardo Romo said in a statement.

"Through the generous support of the National Center for Research Resources at the NIH, we are investing in infrastructure that will serve our researchers well many years into the future," UTSA's RCMI program director Andrew Tsin said.

"It is our hope that these tools will help us understand the mystery of why some diseases like diabetes and obesity affect certain populations more than others," Tsin added.

The Proteomics Core uses liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry to identify, characterize, and quantify proteins, and it provides services including consulting, data collection, and analysis. At the Protein Biomarkers Lab, scientists will identify and study protein biomarkers for disease diagnosis and targeted therapies that use biomarkers specific to minority populations.

The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Initiative Core provides software for genome analysis, microarray analysis, visualization, and general computation, and the hardware includes high-performance computers, servers, data storage, and workstations. The core also provides training and programming support to researchers with minimal experience with computers.

In UTSA's Computational Systems Biology Laboratory, scientists will simulate biological systems, live-cell imaging, and protein biomarker research.

Studies in the Nanotechnology and Human Health Lab will focus on making nanomaterials for use in diagnostics, drugs, gene delivery, tissue engineering, and electron microscopy.

Researchers in the Biophotonics Lab will study biological processes at the molecular level in live cells, UTSA said.

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