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Ellen Kraig, Ph.D.
Professor and Deputy Chair of Faculty Development
Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy
School of Medicine
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
My interest in immunological research was sparked 4 decades ago by the discovery of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement. At that time, I was a graduate student in Dr. Jim Haber’s lab (Brandeis University) working on another rearranging gene system, yeast mating type, and its regulation of development/sporulation. In order to explore this area further, I attended the Cold Spring Harbor summer Immunology course in 1978 and had the opportunity to meet many leaders in the field, including Dr. Leroy Hood, whose lab I joined as a postdoctoral fellow two years later. While at Caltech, I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of immunology, with a focus on molecular technologies. By the time I accepted a faculty position at the UTHSCSA, I was intellectually prepared as an immunologist, but was still primarily a molecular biologist. Fortunately, I had wonderful colleagues here (Drs. Tony Infante, Judy Teale, and Keith Krolick) from whom I learned the cellular assays that we now use in concert with molecular approaches. My focus on aging and its effects on immune regulation developed in collaboration with a growing community of researchers in this area on our campus through the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.
In addition to my research efforts, I serve in leadership positions locally (Deputy Chair of Faculty Development in my department) and nationally as the immediate past AAI (American Association of Immunologists) representative to the FASEB Board. I chaired a committee at the UTHSCSA that developed workshops on “The Art of Communicating Science” and am now involved in addressing this need university-wide. Moreover, I have extensive experience in mentoring graduate students and have been recognized for my contributions to graduate education. These include the following: inaugural member of the Academy of Master Teachers, UTHSCSA (2009), membership in the University of Texas Academy for Health Science Educators (2006); Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching (2000), and the UTHSCSA Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence (1996). I have graduated 19 students (9 PhD and 10 MS) and all moved into either postdoctoral or medical/dental professional careers. Moreover, two of my recent students, Drs. Earlanda Williams and Adriana Benavides, successfully competed for R36s (NIH Diversity Dissertation Awards) while in my lab. I remain very active in graduate education at our institution and am the Student Advisor for the GGD (Genetics, Genomics, and Development) track and chair the curriculum committee for the CGM (Cell, Genetics, and Molecular Medicine) discipline. I contribute to many of the graduate courses including the basic fundamentals (1st year PhD curriculum), the core courses in the Biology of Aging (BA) and Infection, Inflammation, and Immunology (III) tracks/disciplines, and in the MSCI (Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation) program. In addition I have developed two courses designed to improve students’ oral presentation skills; Graduate Colloquium for PhD students is in its 34th year and Presentation Skills for CSB MS students which is now in its 3rd year. Due to my many contributions to graduate education, Dr. Katherine Knight asked me to serve as an external advisor to her Immunology T32 at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and I have also been asked to contribute to the PREP program on our campus.