TYLER – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (May 15) authorized funds to support eight postdoctoral fellows in a biodefense collaboration between The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and Sandia National Laboratories.
Regents approved $625,000 from Intermediate Term Fund (ITF) proceeds to be used toward the Biodefense Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which will provide fellowships to UTMB and Sandia for research aimed at countering biological threats. Funds will be distributed to UTMB in Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009.
“Advances in bioscience are essential as our nation faces an array of emerging bio-threats such as anthrax, West Nile virus and bird flu,” said Keith McDowell, vice chancellor for research and technology transfer with the UT System. “We are excited about UT System and Sandia working together to accelerate the translation of new solutions for our national defense.”
In 2005, the UT System and Sandia entered into a formalized relationship to enhance performance excellence and increase interactions and collaborations between Sandia and System institutions with an overarching goal to achieve a greater mutual impact on national security issues.
The total cost to seed the collaboration programs is $1,875,000. The remaining $1,250,000 is being funded from the Regents Research Scholars Program previously approved by the Board in November 2006. This investment in the partnership will have a significant long-term return both with respect to strengthening the partnership and to multiplying external funding of the core research areas.
Serving the educational and health care needs of Texans for more than 125 years, the UT System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems with 15 campuses – including nine academic and six health institutions – and an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion (FY 2008). Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates three-fourths of Texas health care professionals. With more than 80,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in Texas.