UTSA appoints Bernard Arulanandam assistant VP for research support

Bernard Arulanandam

Bernard Arulanandam

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(Dec. 6, 2012) -- To support an increase in research productivity at UTSA, the Office of the Vice President for Research announced that Bernard Arulanandam, Ph.D., M.B.A., will serve as assistant vice president for research support. Arulanandam's position, effective Dec. 1, was created as part of UTSA's research administration restructuring and reports directly to the vice president for research.

In his new role, Arulanandam will coordinate a series of programs and services to promote research productivity in all UTSA colleges. His responsibilities will include:

  • planning and implementing the organizational structure of the Office of Research Support;
  • managing and evaluating personnel within the Office of Research Support including the Laboratory Animal Resource Center and the Office of Electronic Research Administration;
  • providing infrastructure and technical expertise for the professional development of UTSA faculty including grant writing, collaborative research, research design, publishing and evaluation of research, and other sponsored projects;
  • planning and establishing an Office of Undergraduate Research;
  • assisting in the oversight of the Office of Research Seed Grant Program;
  • working with the Office of Research Training coordinator to create and implement learning tools that will enhance faculty research development; and
  • taking a lead role in the development and submission of large and complex university-wide based proposals.

Since 2009, Arulanandam has served as associate dean of research for scientific innovation in the UTSA College of Sciences. He also is the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor in Biology and director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. His research in the Department of Biology focuses on bacterial infections and the body's immune response to bacterial diseases with the goal of developing vaccines and therapies for prevention and treatment. Much of his work centers on studying mucosal surfaces, which are significant entry points for pathogens and often serve as the body's first line of defense.

Arulanandam joined the UTSA faculty in 2001. Since that time, he has focused most of his research on two bacteria. The first, Franciscella tularensis, causes the respiratory infection tularemia, or rabbit fever. Tularemia is particularly dangerous because it can be used easily as a bioweapon. He also is working to develop a vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia.

Throughout his career, Arulanandam has published more than 75 research papers. He receives funding from many agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. Additionally, he is one of the scientific directors of the San Antonio Vaccine Development Center (a partnership between UTSA, the UT Health Science Center, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomed), and he directs the Center of Excellence in Infection Genomics funded by the Department of Defense. The DoD center supports microbiology research, teaching and outreach activities aligned with Army priorities.

In 2009, Arulanandam and his UT Health Science Center colleague Guangming Zhong established an exclusive license and sponsored research agreement with Merck and Co. Inc. to develop a vaccine for chlamydia, which causes an estimated 2.3 million cases of infection in the United States. The Merck license was the first revenue-producing license for any technology developed at UTSA.

"Dr. Arulanandam is an accomplished researcher and educator who has a thorough understanding of what it takes to develop and sustain productive research programs," said John Frederick, UTSA provost and interim vice president for research. "He is respected by both his peers at the university and his scientific colleagues around the world. At UTSA, he has made great strides to commercialize the discoveries made in his laboratories, and he has worked steadily and successfully to help shape the way we support researchers."

The Office of the Vice President for Research is restructuring to become more productive and efficient with its resources. In addition to new staff positions such as the research ombudsman, the restructuring calls for the creation of six new Research Service Centers. The centers will provide scholars with seamless sponsored-project administration including grant opportunity identification, proposal preparation and submission, grant award processing and management, and grant closeout procedures.