Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Research Recap: February highlights

Kara Lee

This February, UTSA faculty and students have been at work in a variety of subjects. UTSA’s Preclinical Pharmacology Core has been working to aid in drug synthesis, UTSA’s CUREs program has begun working on individual research and UTSA chromatin biologists have been working to further understand the fundamental mechanisms of chromatin. 

UTSA’s Preclinical Pharmacology Core enhances drug discovery

Dr. Nicholas Clanton, UTSA’s assistant director of the Mac and Minnie Tomerline Voelcker Preclinical Pharmacology Core, defines research as a “systematic investigation to gain new information or solve a specific problem.”

Dr. Clanton works to investigate the different aspects of pharmacokinetics and assists other researchers in establishing a strong understanding of how the drugs they produce would function in a live environment to advance the production of drug synthesis further. 

Additionally, he adds that one of the biggest goals of the Preclinical Pharmacology Core is to help people synthesize drugs by providing up-front testing of compounds needed to make and determine whether or not a drug will effectively reach the target site in a live animal.

Dr. Clanton mentions that when testing a compound, he looks at the “Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion” properties (ADME) of a compound to visualize how a compound would work in a living being.

Dr. Clanton encourages students who want to participate in research to reach out to the professors overseeing fields they are interested in.

UTSA’s CUREs program 

UTSA’s Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CUREs) program has begun exploring various research topics ranging from discovering unfamiliar viruses and bacteria while working to understand the foundations of their structure, decoding genetic pathways to identify species and uncovering a stronger understanding of the fundamentals of antibiotic development. Undergraduate students have initiated their research and are preparing to present their work in a symposium at the end of the spring 2024 semester.

The CUREs program is an engaging research course available to UTSA’s undergraduate students that introduces them to a structured research environment to provide a detailed understanding of various forms of research. The program introduces students to the scientific method, the application of a research journal and writing formal research proposals and research papers.

CUREs grant students the opportunity to perform their original research while obtaining course credit and under the guidance of faculty that aligns with their particular research interests. The program is designed to help introduce students to the world of research and allow students to confidently work toward their careers and feel more confident as scientists. 

UTSA professor unraveling the impact of chromatin on human beings  

Dr. Alexey Soshnev, UTSA professor and chromatin biologist, defines research from a more philosophical standpoint. To Dr. Soshnev, research is a philosophical cycle of investigation with the result not being a solid answer, but instead more questions. Soshnev explains that, in his eyes, research should leave someone wanting to explore more, creating a cycle of exploration that provides a stronger understanding of the world around us. To Dr. Soshnev, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” that is important in research. 

Dr. Soshnev engages in research at UTSA surrounding the concepts of DNA and chromatin in living beings. A notable example was a project where he and his team were working to understand the fundamental structures that cause an intellectual disorder known as Snyder-Robinson Syndrome. Dr. Soshnev mentions that while finding a cure or preventing the disease may not be an option in this day and age, itis still of great value to understand the fundamentals of the disease for future generations to carry the work further. 

Throughout the discussion, Dr. Soshnev mentioned that scientific research is not a clear and defined process and that very frequently, the intended result may not be the result found. While perfect results may not be found, researchers must press forward with their studies to find more questions in the world to answer. 

Dr. Soshnev encourages anyone interested in getting into research to “have an idea of what they want to do” before starting and anticipate the time and effort needed to pursue the career. He also mentioned that while science and mathematics are fundamentals of research, understanding alternative fields of study can also contribute to scientific research. He had a large amount of experience in art, and explained that being able to effectively draw was a big contributor to his career, allowing him to help visualize his work. 

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About the Contributor
Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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