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Three UTSA College of Sciences faculty honored at AAAS Annual Meeting

UTSA College of Sciences faculty members Andrew Tsin, Garry Cole and Donald Kurtz were honored recently at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.

Tsin, a biology professor and director of the UTSA Center for Research and Training in Sciences was given the 2013 AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement for his efforts in "facilitating dramatic education and research changes at his institution, leading to a significant production of Hispanic American doctorates in the biological sciences."

An internationally recognized biochemist, cell biologist and 2011 AAAS Fellow, Tsin is a leader in science education and training programs and has helped UTSA obtain $68.5 million in grant funding to establish programs aimed at under-represented minorities. For more than 30 years, Tsin has successfully mentored more than 130 students in his vision research lab, including a dozen doctoral students in the biological sciences, nine of whom are of Hispanic descent. In 2011, President Barack Obama recognized Tsin with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring.

At the AAAS conference, UTSA biologist Garry Cole and UTSA chemist Donald Kurtz were named AAAS Fellows. Both were selected for their scientifically and socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Cole, an internationally known microbiologist specializing in fungal diseases, was selected for his distinguished contributions to fungal biology and the pathobiology of coccidioidomycosis, which is commonly known as San Joaquin Valley fever and is endemic to southwestern regions of the U.S. between West Texas and Southern California. His research laboratory is developing human and veterinary vaccines against Valley fever. His broader interests include investigations of virulence mechanisms of medically important fungi. Fungal infections are escalating in people as the number of immune compromised patients continues to increase.

Cole joined UTSA's South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2005 as the Margaret Batts Tobin Endowed Research Chair in Medical Mycology. Over his career, he has authored more than 210 publications including three books and made more than 150 presentations around the world. Additionally, Cole has been invited to speak internationally at more than 100 scientific meetings.

Donald Kurtz, a specialist in bioinorganic chemistry, joined UTSA in 2006 and is the Lutcher Brown Professor in the UTSA Department of Chemistry. He is researching a novel approach to deliver iron at toxic levels to kill cancer cells and tumors. AAAS honored Kurtz as a Fellow for his creative and insightful contributions to bioinorganic chemistry, particularly related to non-heme iron enzymes that reductively scavenge diatomic oxygen and nitrogen species.

Over his 35-year career, Kurtz has authored more than 215 journal articles, academic journals or book chapters and been invited to speak at more than 75 lectures internationally.


Contact: Kris Rodriguez
University of Texas at San Antonio

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