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UTSA wins $500K to develop biomed doctorate

By Christi Fish
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 19, 2009)--UTSA will receive $500,000 from the University of Texas System over the next five years to develop a unique Graduate Program Initiative emphasizing biosensors and regenerative medicine.

Of the 37 proposals received by the UT System from its nine academic and six health institutions, only seven were funded and only two were awarded to academic institutions. UTSA's Graduate Program Initiative builds upon existing programs in the College of Engineering and College of Sciences to prepare students for careers in academia, federal agencies and the biomedical industry.

"This program will provide qualified students with an exciting opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research in science and engineering," said Dorothy Flannagan, dean of the UTSA Graduate School. "This unique program will allow students to integrate courses and research training in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and/or chemistry into their educational curriculum."

"Funding from this grant will foster and formalize new innovative collaborations among participating faculty and students," said Anson Ong, USAA Foundation Distinguished Professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering. "Each academic discipline has a different way of thinking and a different way of solving problems. By working together, the students in this program initiative will better understand the complex health care problems as well as finding novel and innovative solutions to solving these problems."

Regenerative medicine and biosensors are key elements for the advancement of science and the improvement of human health. Regenerative medicine allows scientists and practitioners to regenerate functional tissues in patients. Current treatments use tissues from the patient's own body or from a cadaver. However, both approaches have many potential risks.

A biosensor is a device that allows scientists to detect biological chemicals such as enzymes, antibodies and disease-representing biomarkers, thereby providing early diagnosis and detection and improving treatments.

To learn more about UTSA's new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, contact Anson Ong at (210) 458-7149.

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