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      Biomed research stepping stone to medical school for UTB students

      University of Texas at Brownsville student Jose Mario Rodriguez has spent countless hours observing, dissecting and studying different types of genetic diseases and their effects.

      He does this at the new $33 million Biomedical Research Building.

      Rodriguez said he TMs taking advantage of the hands-on learning experience as he paves his path to medical school.

      "As we go along doing different projects, we see how everything branches together, Rodriguez said. And the way that it keeps going, we get closer to finding a cure or finding results on these diseases."

      Vice President of Research Dr. Luis Colom said that's the goal of the biomedical research now being conducted at the university.

      He said the people of the Rio Grande Valley have many medical conditions that must be examined like diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

      "Every region like us, that (has) tremendous minority health disparities, meaning that our people because they are underserved have more problems in health than other people from other regions, is an excellent area for biomedical research," Colom said.

      Colom said the number of cases are increasing in alarming rates in many diseases, and although results from research can take time, Colom adds something must be done to understand these deadly diseases.

      "The cases of (Alzheimer TMs) are growing, and will increase by 50 percent in the next years in Texas and the nation, Colom said. It's already climbed to the sixth place as a cause of death."

      Colom said the research department will continue to expand with a second building going up soon.

      It will house six more specialized labs that will allow for even more research.

      Colom said students conduct research on mice because they are easy to understand and observe.

      He adds that they follow strict guidelines to ensure the humane treatment of the animals.