UTSA Awarded $12.5 Million From NIH To Pursue Advanced Research in Study of Genetic Brain Disorders

The funding further highlights UTSA's commitment to pursuing innovation in all fields.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and its team of researchers will receive $12.5 million in funding over five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the NIH BRAIN initiative according to UTSA Today. The funding will help advance the study of genetic brain disorders through the exploration of new methods, while the results of the study could potentially impact the way neurological diseases are diagnosed and treated.

Lead principal investigator Brian Hermann, associate professor in the university’s newly formed Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology, will work alongside Jenny Hsieh, professor, and department chair, the Semmes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cell Biology, department chair and director of the Brain Health Consortium; John McCarrey, professor and Kleberg Distinguished University Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology and co-director of the UTSA Institute of Regenerative Medicine; and Christopher Navara, director of the UTSA Stem Cell Core and associate professor of research.

The research team will collaborate with Kotaro Sasaki from the University of Pennsylvania, who is an expert in converting human and primate stem cells into cells that can produce sperm. Sasaki will work on optimizing his techniques for this project, working directly with the research team to bring the technology to UTSA.

“We have assembled and cultivated advanced expertise within many UTSA disciplines. Combined with the strong relationships with our external research partners, UTSA-led teams can tackle complex, transdisciplinary inquiries posed by our funding agencies using unique methodologies, such as spermatogonial transplantation, in this particular application,” McCarrey told UTSA Today. “No one lab, no one person could do it, but with each doing their part, we can do this together.”

This latest research typifies the university’s dedication to pursuing innovation and highlights the scope of the work conducted at UTSA.

"This type of research—undertaken by Dr. Hermann and the transdisciplinary team which has been assembled—exemplifies the innovative and bold approaches for which UTSA is becoming known,” Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA’s vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise told UTSA Today. “This is one of the largest NIH research awards ever received by the institution and is an endorsement of the contributions by our researchers to our collective knowledge base.”

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