eagle-i University of Texas at San AntonioUniversity of Texas at San Antonio

Laboratories at University of Texas at San Antonio

This is a summary list of all laboratories at University of Texas at San Antonio . The list includes links to more detailed information, which may also be found using the eagle-i search app.

Advanced Biophotonics and Nanotechnology Laboratory

Summary:

Biophotonics has emerged in recent years as a key research field that leads to many revolutionary advances in biomedical science and clinical applications. It offers unique ways to image, analyze, and manipulate various biological systems (biomolecules, cells, and tissues) with great precision and accuracy. Especially, the possibilities of convergence with nanotechnology, allow biophotonics to address some of the most challenging problems. The primary focus of our research group is to develop cutting-edge ultrasensitive and ultrafast laser-based technologies and methodologies to address critical issues at the frontiers of biomedical science and technology. Our research activities embrace a wide range of areas in biomedical optics and nanobiotechnology, including ultrafast laser spectroscopy, multiphoton scanning microscopy, in vivo fiber-optic biosensing and imaging, photonic crystal biomolecular assay, in vivo two-photon flow cytometry, femtosecond laser interactions with nanoparticle-targeted cells and tissues, adaptive optical aberration correction in confocal microscopy, and single-molecule fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy.



Advanced Implant and Materials Systems Lab

Summary:

Research Areas:

-Orthopedic and cardiovascular biomaterials
-Drug delivery
-Tissue engineering
-Biodegradable materials

The research areas at the AIMS lab include biomaterial constructs for both orthopedic and cardiovascular applications of tissue engineering and drug delivery. We are investigating cell interactions in cocultures and in a variety of polymeric scaffolds to develop biodegradable tissue engineering scaffolds for bone regeneration and angiogenesis in large bone defects. Tissue engineering approaches are also being employed to develop an in vivo coronary artery occlusion model as well as to improve treatment for aortic aneurysms. In the area of drug delivery, we are investigating the use of self-assembled monolayers to attach drug molecules to the surfaces of metal stents used in coronary arteries and other implants.



Arulanandam Laboratory

Summary:

The Arulanandam laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of host defenses at mucosal sites.



Bioengineering and Nanomechanics Laboratory

Summary:

Develops new methods and models for quantification and understanding of biomechanical and biomedical engineering problems for the purpose of ultimate improvement of health and human well-being using mathematical modeling and computer simulation, and explore nanotechnology in biomedical applications.



C.J. Wilson Laboratory

Summary:

We study the circuitry and neurons of the basal ganglia, with the goal of understanding the computational function of these structures at the cellular level, and their dysfunction in diseases, especially Parkinson’s Disease. Our experiments are focused on the ionic mechanisms that endow each cell type with its characteristic responses to synaptic input, the patterns of connectivity that deliver specific inputs to each cell, and the dynamics that arise from the combination of these.



Cardiovascular Biomechanics Laboratory

Summary:

The research goal of our lab is to understand the role of mechanical stress in the development and remodeling of the cardiovascular system and thus to improve the understanding, treatment, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Our lab currently has several funded projects, all aim at understanding the role of mechanical stress in arterial and heart remodeling and its relationship to cardiovascular diseases. Our research topics include the mechanism of artery kinking which often develops in elderly in internal carotid arteries and iliac arteries, the remodeling of arterial wall due to injury and pulse pressure, and the wall stress and remodeling of the left ventricle after an heart attack which will help us to understand the mechanism of heart failure after an heart attack."

Our research topics include the mechanism of artery kinking which often develops in elderly in internal carotid arteries and iliac arteries, the remodeling of arterial wall due to injury and pulse pressure, and the wall stress and remodeling of the left ventricle after an heart attack which will help us to understand the mechanism of heart failure after an heart attack.



Forsthuber Immunology Laboratory

Summary:

The research in our laboratory focuses on the role of the immune system in human diseases, in particular on T lymphocytes in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and in infectious diseases. Our studies are performed in conventional and genetically altered mice, and human peripheral blood cells, and include immunological techniques, molecular biology, as well as other techniques such as proteomics.



Hard Tissue and Biomechanics Laboratory

Summary:

The overall goal of this laboratory is to elucidate the structural-functional relationship and the mechanical behavior of the hard tissues at all length scales, from nano to micro and from molecular to the whole organ.

Based on the understanding, we intend to develop effective strategies for prediction and prevention of aging/disease related failures of the tissue.



Klose Laboratory

Summary:

This lab is interested in bacterial pathogenesis -- how bacteria cause disease. They have worked most extensively with Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, but they are also researching Francisella tularensis, the bacterium that causes tularemia, or rabbit fever.

Cholera is found only where there are widespread problems with sanitation, so improving water and food supplies would eliminate the disease. Since that is unlikely to occur, a safe, cheap, effective vaccine is needed that would protect people. To design such a vaccine, this lab is addressing questions such as: How does V. cholerae know that it is in a human body and that that is the place to express genes necessary for its survival and disease potential? What are the genetic factors responsible for V. cholerae to cause disease? How does this organism persist in aquatic environments, which lead to human infection?

Very little is known about F. tularensis or about tularemia. It is a highly virulent organism and can easily be aerosolized, so it is classified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a Category A select agent with the highest potential to be used as a biological weapon. This lab is working to identify genetic factors responsible for F. tularensis to cause disease and to develop suitable vaccine candidates to protect against tularemia infection.



Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics

Summary:

The research activity includes (i.) the study laser-induced conformational changes of proteins; (ii.) the study of the structure/function relationship of protein active sties; (iii.) the investigation of methods to prompt non-native properties and functions in proteins and (iv.) early protein aggregation events. Much of the research focuses on viewing proteins as nanoparticles whose properties can be 'manipulated' for various applications.



Lopez-Ribot Laboratory

Summary:

My laboratory studies the opportunistic pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. C. albicans is part of the normal human microbiota. However, as an opportunistic pathogen it is capable of causing overt disease (candidiasis), but usually only in hosts with defective immunity. The frequency of candidiasis has increased dramatically in the last decades as a result of an expanding population of immunocompromised patients. As a result, candidiasis is now the fourth most common nosocomial infections. The seriousness of this problem is heightened by the fact that, even with treatment using available antifungal agents, mortality rates lie in the 30- 40% range for these infected patients. As an opportunistic pathogen, it is clear that mechanisms of host immunity and pathogen virulence intertwine, giving rise to the highly complex nature of host-fungus interactions. However, the interplay between host immunity and fungal virulence has traditionally been ignored and most investigations into these topics are overwhelmingly “one-sided” which has resulted in a dangerous dichotomy between “microorganism-centered” and “host-centered” views of candidal pathogenesis. Thus, studies in my laboratory try to integrate these two facets to better understand and offer a more global perspective of C. albicans pathogenesis. Results have already provided new paradigms in the host-fungus relationship during candidiasis.Some of the highlights of this research program are:

1) Role of filamentation in virulence.
2) Biofilms
3) Development of novel immune-based strategies to combat candidiasis



MEMS Research Laboratory

Summary:

The MEMS Research Laboratory (MRL) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was established in June 2004 by Dr.Arturo A Ayon.

Areas of research include the utilization of MEMS actuators onphase array antennas, Nanotechnology, CMOS-compatible microwave varactors, Negative index of refraction materials for imaging and other photonic applications, sensor arrays, Micro-chemical reactors, Micropropulsion employing solid fuels.

This laboratory was made possible thanks to Sony Electronic Inc, donation of nearly $2 million worth of equipment as a way of "giving back to the community". With this generous donation UTSA will train students for careers in micro and Nanotechnology areas which will be a gaint leap in turning UTSA into a first-class research facility.



Microanalytical Chemistry Laboratory

Summary:

Microchips are one of the most promising analytical platforms due to the great advantages with respect to conventional bench-top equipment. Microfluidic devices are able to offer custom design, high throughput, sensitivity, selectivity and portability. In order to achieve a real point-of-care measurement device, simple instrumentation has to be integrated to drive the injection and separation.

Electrochemical detection (ECD) methods have been widely applied for the detection of bio-compounds because they are less susceptible to decreases in signal magnitude during miniaturization and are already portable and inexpensive.

For these reasons, we are very interested in studying the design, operation and biological applications of microchips and capillary electrophoresis. In addition, we are also interested in the rational design of biosensors.



Nano Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Lab

Summary:

Functional Hybrid Biomaterials Lab
The research interest of our laboratory is developing functional hybrid biomaterials solution for implantology, regenerative medicine and specific diseases by means of surface modification, tissue engineering and nanotechnology. Our research lies at the interfaces of fundamental material science, biology and clinical applications at the macro- micro- and nano- scale level, where basic understanding of biology inspires the development of functional hybrid biomaterials for medical applications. We believe quality work depends on idea, passion and persistence."

Tissue Engineering Lab
Tissue engineering consists of four categories: scaffold, drug release, cell and signals. In our lab, we focus on optimization of scaffold design and fabrication to mimic the in vivo natural environment, to aid and induce tissue regeneration. In our lab, bioceramics, polymer and composite scaffolds with different composition, geometry structure and shapes are fabricated using different techniques, and their effect on bone cell and bone tissue have been evaluated. Currently our research is in the field of controlled biodegradable rate of scaffolds with porous covered polymeric microsphere, thereby achieving a controlled release rate of growth factor and drugs within antibacterial effect. In addition, we are interested in applying the developing biomaterials for specific diseases such as bony birth defects and cancer therapy.



Nanophotonics and Laser Materials Research Laboratory

Summary:

Laboratory research includes the study laser-light interactions with biological materials and the optical characterization of tissues to understand the interaction. Much of the research focuses on the development of non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic tools for medical application.



Peralta Laboratory



Seshu Laboratory

Summary:

The major research focus has been on characterizing the molecular basis of the host-pathogen interactions of infectious agents that are transmitted to humans and domestic animals by arthropod vectors. Our efforts are directed at 1) determining alterations in regulation of gene expression by pathogenic bacteria in response to disparate environmental signals encountered in the arthropod or vertebrate hosts; 2) delineating alterations in metabolic pathways commensurate with the host-dependent nutrient availability; 3) identification of biomarkers of vector-borne infections and inflammation; 4) validation of molecular therapeutics to ameliorate the symptoms of vector-borne infections, and 5) identification of targets as sensors of virulence and infection.

Questions in the above areas are addressed by employing state of the art technologies in areas of Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Proteomics, whole genome microarrays as well as protein-protein interactions. Established animal models and established collaborative efforts will be used to validate manipulation of the genomes of intractable, vector-borne pathogens.



Vascular Bioengineering Lab

Summary:

Blood, the vascular tissue, is vital for nutrient transport, immune-surveillance, hemostasis, and wound healing, which maintain normal physiology. A number of cardiovascular diseases can be traced to an imbalance in the otherwise tightly regulated interactions between different cellular and acellular components (such as proteins and lipids) of blood. Since blood is a flowing fluid, the cells and molecules constantly experience different types and magnitudes of force, which can influence their interactions, and hence the fine line between health and disease.

Our approach is multidimensional, which takes into account the physical, chemical and biological effects in blood for reliable understanding of cardiovascular diseases, and treating them effectively. We use a number of techniques drawn from fields as disparate as Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Biology and Medicine to understand the causes of cardiovascular diseases, and develop treatment methodologies. Our research has both fundamental and applied components: on one hand, we improve our mechanistic understanding of these disorders such as abnormal cell adhesion or changes in cellular physiology, and on the other, develop new devices for treating these disorders, such as drug screening and delivery systems.



Vision Research Laboratory

Summary:

The focus of the Vision Research Laboratory is to understand the biochemical and cellular/molecular events in the eye related to normal visual functions and to abnormal/disease conditions.

A major emphasis of the laboratory is to investigate the mechanism of pigment regeneration in the cone visual system. Upon light adaptation, cone pigments are bleached to initiate electrical signals in the cone photoreceptors. These signals are then transmitted by neurons to the brain for color visual perception. In order to sustain such visual function, cone pigment must be regenerated in-situ but the underlying mechanism of this cone pigment regeneration is not known. Using animals models, the kinetics of cone pigment bleaching and regeneration are studied in details using biochemical methods. The cellular mechanisms of cone pigment regeneration are also studied using Muller cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells in culture. Specifically, we focus on the abilities of these cells to esterify, isomerize and oxidize the vitamin A (retinoid) chromophore of cone visual pigments.

An additional emphasis of the vision research laboratory is to learn how hyperglycemia and/or insulin induce vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion by retinal cells. Retinal pigment epithelial cells, retinal pericytes, and endothelial cells are maintained in culture. Growth factors such as VEGF, transforming growth factor (TGF), and bone morphological proteins (BMP) are assayed for protein end-product using ELISA. The expression of these proteins is measured by RNA protection assays. We are particularly interested in the effect of BMP-4, TGB-β, and PEDF on the secretion of VEGF by retinal cells. Our long term goal is to learn how cytokines mediate angiogenesis leading to diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration.



Wormley Laboratory

Summary:

The research in our laboratory utilizes the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans as a model organism to study host-fungal interactions for the purpose of developing novel immune therapies and/or vaccines to treat or prevent invasive fungal infections. C. neoformans, the causative agent of cryptococcosis, is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that has the propensity to cause respiratory tract infections in severely immune compromised individuals and possesses a unique predilection to invade the central nervous system causing life-threatening meningoencephalitis.

We focus our research in three main areas:

1) To define protective host immune responses against C. neoformans infections.

2) To identify targets for anti-fungal drug development.

3) To characterize C. neoformans biofilm-forming conditions.



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