San Antonio Life Sciences Institute awards $25,000 for stem cell research

Emily Boice and Lei Huang

Emily Boice, UTSA, and Lei Huang, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

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(June 29, 2014) -- The San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI), a joint venture of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has selected the winners of the Postdoc Initiative Pilot Program. The winners, Emily Boice from UTSA and Lei Huang from the Health Science Center, will receive $25,000 for their project, "Novel engineered ferritins for tracking and protecting neural stem cells in post-ischemic environment."

Boice and Huang's research is focused on finding a treatment for stroke through stem cell therapy. After a stroke, the brain has a deficient blood supply, and areas surrounding it are filled with toxic iron. This toxicity is damaging to engrafted stem cells and prevents stem cell-induced healing. Boice and Huang are working on an innovative way to protect stem cells in the post-stroke, hostile environment and allow for them to be tracked by MRI machines.

Since stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability worldwide, their research into this field could not only change the landscape of the disease in Texas but also the world.

The SALSI Postdoc Initiative program sought to bring together innovative postdoctoral research fellows from UTSA and the Health Science Center to collaborate on the development of new solutions that will ultimately advance research directions in targeted disease areas that impact the South Texas region.

The initiative aims to benefit both postdoctoral fellows and their faculty mentors by introducing new technologies, expanding the research focus and yielding data for innovative research proposals.

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