University of Texas at San Antonio given grant to study the genetic structure of infectious diseases

The University of Texas at San Antonio was recently given a five year, $4.6 million grant to open an institute that studies the genetic structure of infectious diseases.

The grant will establish the Center of Excellence in Infectious Genomics. The CEIG will focus on diseases that threaten the U.S. military, such as cholera or meningitis. Part of the funding will also be used to train students in microbiology in order to work with the Department of Defense, according to

“In my opinion, San Antonio is the top place in the country for infectious disease research,” Robert Gracy, the vice president for research at UTSA, said, according to “It is unique for the military to have this kind of partnership.”

The new facility will be housed in the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, the largest research-oriented program on the campus.

A portion of the grant will include money for fellowships that support student researchers. The grant also aims at increasing the number of minority students involved in molecular microbiology and immunology and to increase interest among high school students who may potentially enter the field.

Researchers plan to collaborate with high school teachers to create training manuals using the center’s work.

“The outreach and training component really excites us,” Bernard Arulanandam, the associate dean of research for scientific innovation at UTSA, said, according to “That is really what we do as professors — we create the next generation of scientists.”