November Health Notes

Nov. 15, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss health issues ranging from depression to antibiotic-resistant "superbug" bacteria.

DEPRESSION RISK AND PREVENTION

Christopher Beevers, assistant professor of psychology
Funded by a three-year, $900,000 grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health, Beevers studies genetic associations with vulnerability to depression. The preliminary research suggests a variation in the serotonin transporter gene causes individuals to pay greater attention to emotional information, experience more difficulty disengaging their attention from emotional information and think more negatively after experiencing a negative mood.
Contact: Christopher Beevers, 512-232-3706, beevers@psy.utexas.edu.

Kevin Stark, professor of educational psychology
Working with six therapists to study 140 pre-teen girls across five years, Stark researches depression in pre-adolescent girls. His study points to successful methods for prevention, identification and treatment. Read more at the Emotion Detectives feature story.
Contact: Kevin Stark, 512-471-0267, kevinstark@mail.utexas.edu.

ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA

Hung-Wen (Ben) Liu, the George H. Hitchings Regents Chair in Drug Design in the College of Pharmacy
Liu researches antibiotic-resistant bacteria through National Institutes of Health grants totaling $3.5 million. He believes decades of misuse and overuse of antibiotics has led to numerous strains of resistant bacteria—leaving the population unprotected. Liu and his research team are attempting to generate new antibiotics by genetically changing the original antibiotic-producing bacteria strain. Read more at the Breaking the Antibiotic Habit feature story.
Contact: Hung-Wen (Ben) Liu, 512-232-7811, h.w.liu@mail.utexas.edu.

Christopher Frei, assistant professor of pharmacy
Frei studies antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly known as "superbugs." He examines the impact of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Identifying the best possible strategies for prevention and treatment, Frei combines epidemiology and health outcomes research with educational programs regarding MRSA infections of the skin, lungs (pneumonia) and heart (endocarditis). Frei can address the need for public awareness of MRSA and provide timely information on how to protect people from suberbugs.
Contact: Christopher Frei, 210-567-8371, freic@uthscsa.edu.

For more information, contact: Jennifer McAndrew.