September 25, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 34

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Dr. Charles Gauntt


Photo by Fernando Serna


When Dr. Charles Gauntt was a postdoctoral fellow at Philadelphia’s Wistar Institute in the late 1960s, he trained with a mentor who encouraged students’ ideas and suggestions. "I have modeled my lab after his," says Dr. Gauntt, Department of Microbiology. "It was a place I looked forward to coming to every day."

Dr. Gauntt, known as "Uncle Charlie" to some of his students, has taught the challenging subject of virology for the last 31 years. Countless graduate, medical and dental students have benefited from his witty, yet insightful, teaching style.

He joined the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty in 1974, when he was recruited to San Antonio from the University of Arizona. His enthusiasm and passion for science, combined with his compassion and caring for students, were evident from the first. "In my opinion, he’s the consummate educator," says his colleague, Dr. Judy Teale. "He remains an expert in his field of virology, makes his subject come alive in the classroom, has a tremendous rapport with the students and enjoys every minute of it."

He has been a lecturer, coordinator or director of courses including Introduction to Virology, Medical Microbiology, Dental Microbiology and Basic Virology. One of his more recent projects has been teaching virology for the K-12 Master’s Degree Evening Course in Microbiology for public school teachers, "a critically important and unique classroom setting," says his department chairman, Dr. Joel Baseman.

He is particularly gifted at teaching on a one-on-one basis and has trained numerous Ph.D. and master’s degree students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. Known for taking an interest in problems—professional or personal—that may be affecting students’ learning, he’s quick to offer a chocolate chip cookie and a willing ear to those lining up at his office door. Students don’t easily forget his kindness. "They often return for advice from Charlie about rotations, postdoctoral positions, employment opportunities and other career choices," says longtime colleague Dr. Stephen Mattingly. "They trust Charlie’s judgment about some of the most important decisions they will ever make."

Dr. Gauntt is also a hard-working scientist whose work is currently funded by the American Heart Association, for studies of coxsackievirus infections.

— Will Sansom