Cesar A. Arias, M.D., MSc, Ph.D., FIDSA, associate professor of internal medicine, infectious diseases, and leading translational physician-scientist in antibiotic resistance, is the recipient of a UT System Faculty Translational STARs Retention Award.
The UT System Board of Regents created the Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) Program in 2004 to help UT institutions attract and retain the best-qualified faculty. Awards, which can be used to purchase equipment and renovate facilities, require institutional support. Priority is given to recruitment or retention of individuals with national reputations and the promise of election to national honorific societies.
“I am truly honored to receive this UT System award, which will help UTHealth expand the reach and scope of McGovern Medical School’s antimicrobial research with the newly created Center for Antimicrobial Research and Microbial Genomics,” Arias said, adding that such collaborative center will involve faculty from various medical school departments and other UTHealth schools with members across the Texas Medical Center.
Arias joined the Division of Infectious Diseases faculty in 2008. He received his medical degree from the El Bosque University in Bogota, Colombia; a MSc in clinical microbiology from the University of London; and a doctorate in molecular biology and microbial biochemistry at Cambridge University. He moved to Houston to complete his clinical training with a residency in internal medicine at McGovern Medical School and a fellowship in infectious diseases at the Medical School and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Arias’ significant accomplishments as an independent investigator and potential for further advances in antimicrobial therapy. It is also tribute to our Internal Medicine Department and its Infectious Disease Division, where Dr. Arias received his residency and fellowship training immediately prior to joining our faculty in 2008 as well as the mentoring he received from the leadership and senior faculty members in both units as his career developed,” said Dr. George Stancel, EVP for Academic and Research Affairs, UTHealth.
Arias is the primary investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded Laboratory for Antimicrobial Research and is the recent recipient of a competitive NIH R21/R33 award for the development of new antimicrobials, among others. Arias has developed a robust mentoring program for more than 25 trainees in both Texas and Latin America and established an International Center for Microbial Genomics at El Bosque University in Bogota. He also collaborates with several institutions in South America with strong research links with Cali, Colombia (CIDEIM, Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Medicas) and Clinica Alemana in Santiago, Chile. His mentoring activities will be supported by a K24 Award from the NIH/NIAID.
Arias has received numerous awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Microbiology; the Young Investigator Award from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy; the Oswald Avery Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and the Sebastian Bago award from the International Society for Infectious Diseases. He was inducted as member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2015.
“Thanks to the STAR award, McGovern Medical School is charting a course to further our impact in the antimicrobial resistance field – an area of increasing worldwide interest and study – led by Dr. Arias,” said Dean Barbara J. Stoll, M.D. “This award allows us to leverage Dr. Arias’ leadership and expertise to catalyze and support additional research by other investigators at UTHealth, throughout the UT System, and at other collaborating institutions. Dr. Arias is a true star, and his passion and dedication to his work are remarkable.”