The San Antonio Medical Foundation will award more than $1 million in grants to eight local bioscience organizations.

The grants will go to research teams at Brooke Army Medical Center, Navy Medical Research Unit at San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, South Texas Regional Advisory Council, South Texas Veterans Administration, UT Health San Antonio, University Health System, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Lisa Friel, Medical Foundation chair, made the announcement Oct. 15 and said the grants are meant to strengthen the collaborative efforts among the biomedical institutions.

“We instituted this grant program in 2015 to build San Antonio’s biomedical strengths by encouraging collaboration between the outstanding health care and biosciences institutions in San Antonio,” Friel said. “It has been extremely successful in opening doors and building collaborative relationships among these institutions, while developing important new knowledge and practices.”

According to Jelynne Burley, chair of the foundation’s 16-member grant review committee, the committee received 44 applications this year. When the program began in 2015, the committee received only 12 applications. Burley said the foundation has awarded collaborative projects over $2.7 million to date. 

“We review applications on how the participating institutions are able to leverage their strengths and raise the national and international profile of San Antonio’s bioscience and medical community, assuming that the participating institutions have already deemed the projects feasible before submission,” Burley said.

This year’s recipients include a team of researchers from Brooke Army Medical Center, Navy Medical Research Unit at San Antonio, UT Health San Antonio, and UTSA awarded $130,000 for a project centered on aging and neurologic disorders. The project aims to predict stroke hemorrhagic conversion with a machine-learning algorithm and develop an artificial intelligence model that is able to assess the risk for cerebral bleeding.

Also using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Southwest Research Institute, UT Health San Antonio, and the University Health System were awarded $200,000 for a project that will create algorithms to improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis and the effectiveness of treatment.

Another team from the South Texas Regional Advisory Council and UT Health San Antonio are set to receive $110,000 for their project on improving sepsis care for the San Antonio community by addressing several areas of the disease such as promoting pre-hospital identification, and designing prevention campaigns.

The South Texas Veterans Administration, UT Health San Antonio, and the UTSA team were granted $200,000 for a project that works to advance research for Alzheimer’s Disease-related dementia and increasing data drawn from the Hispanic population. 

Additional grants include $200,000 for Southwest Research Institute, UT Health San Antonio, and UTSA; and $200,000 for Texas Biomedical Research Institute, UT Health San Antonio, and UTSA for projects targeting different areas of COVID-19.

Samantha Ruvalcaba

Samantha Ruvalcaba

Samantha Ruvalcaba, who grew up in San Antonio, is a Shiner intern and junior at St. Mary's University studying international and global studies with a minor in communications.