For immediate release: April 26, 2006

GALVESTON, Texas — The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has formed a partnership with the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur to collaborate on student and faculty exchanges and research projects. Under the memorandum of understanding, the two institutions will benefit from each other’s academic and research strengths, said David Gorenstein, UTMB Associate Dean for Research.

IIT Kanpur in north India is one of seven Indian Institutes of Technology, which specialize in engineering, chemistry, computer science and other physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. The IITs are widely considered to have the toughest admissions standards of any engineering universities in the world, accepting fewer than 2 percent of applicants based on a national entrance exam.

UTMB’s biomedical faculty, students and researchers can gain expertise from their IIT counterparts on quantitative research methods that will advance UTMB’s research and patient care. For example, the venture could advance UTMB’s work involving proteomics, bioinformatics or computational biology, all fields that use software-based statistical models. IIT Kanpur can gain knowledge from UTMB’s internationally recognized physicians and scientists who study biodefense and infectious diseases, vaccine development, asthma and environment sciences and other biomedical sciences.

The agreement signals that UTMB can expand its worldwide reach to further its core missions in education, healthcare and research. “The requirement that your colleagues be next door is no longer necessary,” said Gorenstein, who also is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The collaboration was initiated by UTMB professor Dr. Sanjiv Sur of the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, Immunology, Critical Care, & Sleep. Sur, whose clinical research subjects include allergy and pollens, is doing a fellowship in environmental science at Kanpur. Boosting his familiarity with computational models at IITK will help him distill massive amounts of data collected for environment studies involving asthma patients.

Using mathematical analysis for medical research is the wave of the future, Sur said. “Sooner or later, this is going to be the hot area,” he said.

Sur also is working with IITK to encourage further collaboration. UTMB has similar partnerships with American universities like the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University. Joining with IITK opens many new avenues of collaboration.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
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