UTSA hosts scientists from Beirut for Nov. 18 infectious disease symposium

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In Beirut (from left) are Karl Klose (UTSA), Alexander Abdel-Noor (American University of Beirut), Bernard Arulanandam (UTSA) and Janakiram Seshu (UTSA)

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(Nov. 3, 2011) -- Education, government and industry experts from across Texas and as far away as Beirut will gather at the UTSA Main Campus University Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18 for the San Antonio Infectious Disease Research Symposium. The meeting, sponsored by the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The event is free and open to the public with advance registration required.

Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research; Karl Klose, professor of microbiology and director of the STECID; and Alexander Abdel-Noor, chair of the American University of Beirut (AUB) Department of Microbiology and Immunology will open the symposium. Throughout the day, attendees will hear more than a dozen presentations from infectious disease researchers representing UTSA, American University of Beirut, U.S.D.A., UT Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA), Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Brooke Army Medical Center and SA Scientific. UTSA students will present posters documenting their research.

Sunil K. Ahuja, M.D., will close the symposium with the keynote address, "Tackling Complexity: Decoding the Genetic-Epigenetic Determinants of HIV-AIDS Susceptibility." Ahuja is the UTHSCSA Dielmann Chair for Excellence in Medical Research and a professor of medicine, microbiology/immunology and biochemistry.

The infectious disease symposium will nurture a partnership that began in May, when a delegation of UTSA scientists visited Lebanon to learn more about the work of microbiology/immunology researchers and clinicians at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The trip was organized through the AAAS International Engagement: Responsible Bioscience for a Safe and Secure Society. The exchange program introduces U.S. researchers to researchers in the Middle East or Northern Africa for the purpose of developing joint research in health, agriculture and security with the potential to improve the well-being of the international community.

The STCEID was established at UTSA in 2005 to support the university's teaching and research initiatives in molecular microbiology, immunology, medical mycology, virology, microbial genomics, vaccine development and biodefense. The center's researchers study the pathogenesis of emerging infectious diseases such as chlamydia, tularemia, cholera, Lyme disease, valley fever and others.

The symposium is free for registered attendees; lunch will be provided. View the symposium agenda at the STCEID website. For more information, contact Iselda Rodriguez at 210-458-6569.