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S.A. scientists show off their 'return on investment'
October 7, 2010

By Wendy Rigby - KENS 5

Click here to view KENS 5 video clip.

SAN ANTONIO -- The Texas legislature is investing in a San Antonio partnership that's really paying off.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) joined to create the San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI). It's a collaboration that's creating jobs and medical breakthroughs.

Scientific research to help the future of human health is underway in San Antonio. The 77th legislature gave San Antonio scientists a huge shot in the arm with more than $4 million in economic stimulus money from the federal government.

There has been an almost 200% return on investment, with researchers using that seed money to secure an additional $8 million.

"That's a great return on investment," said State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, (D) San Antonio. "It's been wildly successful. But the promise of the research yet to come is almost unfathomable to imagine."

On October 7, 2010, UTSA hosted a show and tell with the many scientists who have benefited from the state's investment.

SALSI collaborations have included 48 research projects. UTSA and UTHSC partners have published 119 times and created 20 joint inventions, including a Chlamydia vaccine being developed by Merck.

"It's vaccines. It's medical devices. It's processes," Van de Putte explained.

"They're working on cancer. They're working on diabetes. They're working on obesity and much more," commented Ricardo Romo, UTSA President.

The two institutions also have more joint programs for Ph.D. level degrees, helping train the next generation of scientists.

"We're doing the best we can to tell our story," Romo emphasized. "And hopefully, we'll convince a lot of people we've got to keep this going. And I think we should. And we will keep it going one way or the other."

The next step is for SALSI researchers to go back to the legislature in January and try to get more money for their growing projects.


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