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UTHealth’s Theresa Koehler chairs NIH Scientific Review Group

HOUSTON – (Aug. 28, 2013) –  Theresa Koehler, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, has been selected to lead one of the Scientific Review Groups (SRG) that reviews grant applications for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is called the Bacterial Pathogenesis Study Section.

Annually, the NIH invests approximately $25 billion in medical research through competitive grants awarded to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools and other research institutions in every state and around the world.

The NIH’s Center for Scientific Review assigns grant applications to Scientific Review Groups and Koehler has been charged with chairing the SRG that reviews requests for research concerning infectious diseases caused by bacteria. Her term extends through June 30, 2015.

“Infectious disease has a huge impact on public health. Every one of us has been affected by disease-causing microorganisms. Microorganisms can evolve rapidly, developing drug resistance and acquiring new features that affect their ability to cause disease. Thus the development of new approaches to prevent and treat these diseases is an ongoing challenge,” Koehler said.

The Bacterial Pathogenesis Study Section reviews grant applications aimed at discovering new insights into the genetics and physiology of infectious microbes and the pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

Koehler noted, “It is a weighty responsibility but also very exciting to be part of the grant review process. The approaches and technologies available for infectious disease research have never been more powerful. I always come back from SRG meetings filled with excitement for the field.”

For the past 30 years, Koehler’s research has concerned the anthrax-causing bacterium Bacillus anthracis and related bacteria. Her work currently focuses on how this microorganism interacts with its mammalian host and how host-pathogen signaling relates to other infectious diseases.

Koehler received a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.  She is the holder of the Herbert L. and Margaret W. DuPont Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Science at UTHealth and also is a member of the faculty at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.


Rob Cahill
Media Contact: 713-500-3030