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TAMPA, Fla. -- As a teenager growing up in England, Lindsey "Les" Shaw was captivated by bacteria, so much so that he devoted his high school science project to finding ways to kill the ubiquitous microorganisms.

Shaw's motivation came from within. For nearly five years he struggled with a classic hospital-acquired bacterial infection following surgery to treat a developmental hip condition.

Today Shaw, 35, is a molecular biologist and associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at University of South Florida. He is a preeminent researcher in the field of bacterial pathogenesis, and one of only 3 percent of NIH awardees to serve as principal investigator on an R01 research grant before the age of 36.

Shaw is part of the world-class research enterprise at USF -- an enterprise that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years.

In the 2011-2012 academic year, USF broke the $400 million mark for research awards, earning more than $411 million in total awards and contracts. The university ranks 10th worldwide among universities granted U.S. patents, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. And in the latest rankings by the National Science Foundation, USF was ranked among the top 50 universities in the nation, public or private, for research expenditures.

"We have transitioned into a major research institution in the last 10 years," said Paul R. Sanberg, vice president for Research & Innovation at USF, and a leading neuroscience researcher with about 100 health-related U.S. and foreign patents. "Research and innovation have become very inherent in our culture."

USF researchers today are advancing the frontiers of medicine, science, engineering and the arts. The university is a leader in the study and treatment of brain disease; veterans reintegration and resilience; sustainability; infectious disease; and photovoltaic technologies -- using cells to transfer energy from sunlight. The USF Pediatric Epidemiology Center, the data and technology-coordinating hub for nearly every major Type 1 diabetes clinical trial worldwide, has become the epicenter for global juvenile diabetes research under the direction of Jeffrey Krischer.

It's no accident, Sanberg said. USF is investing heavily in research and scholarly work. The university is aggressively pursuing out-of state grants and research contracts, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and turning the spotlight on technology transfer -- bringing scientific discoveries to market.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Research    
Author: Ann Carney