Previous Translational Science Training (TST) Scholars

Each TST Scholar was a pre-doctoral student in the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the translational science training was incorporated into their existing curricula. Funding for the TST Program was provided through a grant from the University of Texas System Graduate Programs Initiative, with matching funds from the Health Science Center’s Vice President for Research Office and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For additional information about the TST Program, go to http://iims.uthscsa.edu/ed_tst_prog_description.html.

2013-2014 Scholars

image of Armand Brown
Scholar: Armand Brown
Degree Sought: PhD
Program: IMGP/Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interest: Infectious Disease
Mentor: Carlos Orihuela, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research Topic: S.pnuemoniae mediated cardiotoxicity during invasive pneumococcal disease

Armand Brown graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology.  His childhood curiosity and interest in science, including considerable time spent in the library reading science books, put him on the initial path to a research career.  Following graduation from UT Austin, he entered into a year of post-baccalaureate studies at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine.  Here, he worked alongside top researchers in pathology and microbiology, gaining the skills and confidence needed to pursue graduate education.  In 2010, he entered the UT Health Science Center as a graduate student and joined the IMGP doctoral program studying Microbiology and Immunology.  At entry into the TST program, Armand had two manuscripts in preparation and numerous presentations at local, state, and national meetings.  Armand’s research focuses on investigating interactions between Streptococcus pneumonia and cardiomyocytes during invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).  Following postdoctoral training, his long-term goal is to become an independent translational investigator studying host-pathogen interactions and immune responses to infection.

image of Aparna Gorthi
Scholar: Aparna Gorthi
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Cancer Biology
Research Interest: Synthetic lethal treatment strategies in pediatric cancers
Mentor: Alexander J.R. Bishop, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Cellular and Structural Biology
Research Topic: Role of EWS-FLI1 in impairing homologous recombination in Ewing’s sarcoma

Aparna graduated from Visveswaraiah Technological University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering. She followed this with a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2007.  In order to gain some more research experience, she worked as a Research Engineer at Philips Research till 2009 where she was involved in building bioinformatics solutions for epigenetics-based biomarker discovery in breast cancer. From her work, she has had several IEEE papers, two of which she was first author on, as well as one patent. She soon developed a strong interest in cancer biology and decided to pursue her graduate studies in this field. Aparna joined the UT Health Science Center in 2010 as a doctoral student in IMGP in the Cancer Biology track.  She has been highly productive in her time here, winning the Greehey Children’s Cancer Fellowship in 2011, a CPRIT Training fellowship in 2012 and the Rennel’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies in 2013. Aparna’s ultimate goal is to prepare herself to become an established translational scientist in order to find effective ways to discover and develop novel diagnostic solutions for cancer.

image of Raehannah Jamshidi
Scholar: Raehannah Jamshidi
Degree Sought: M.D./Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Pharmacology
Research Interest: Opioid receptor pharmacology
Mentor: William P. Clarke, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Topic: Kappa opioid receptor (KOR) signaling in peripheral sensory neurons

Raehannah graduated from Austin College in 2009 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology.  She joined the UT Health Science Center in 2009 in the dual M.D./Ph.D. degree program.  After completing her first two years of Medical School, she began graduate studies in the IMGP program, Department of Pharmacology.  At an early age, while observing the effects of rheumatoid arthritis on a family member , Raehannah became interested in medicine and science, determining that both were needed to help people with chronic diseases.  Her academic and research pursuits have followed this interest.  During her undergraduate studies she participated in a summer research fellowship at Austin College, where she initiated research studies in cellular apoptosis (cell death) that became the topic of her senior Honors Thesis.  During this time she was also selected for a summer research fellowship with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, where she studied possible genetic modifiers of the SREBP (sterol regulatory element binding protein) pathway in Drosophila.  Since beginning her studies at the Health Science Center, Raehannah has had several abstract publications, eighteen of which were first author.  Her long term goal is to utilize her training in medicine and science to become a skilled physician-scientist and anesthesiologist.

image of Peter LoCoco
Scholar: Peter LoCoco
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/ Department of Pharmacology
Research Interest: Cancer, Pain
Mentor: William P. Clarke, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology, and Susan Mooberry, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Topic: Effects of microtubule-targeting agents on pain-sensing neurons

Peter graduated in 2007 from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry followed in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.  Having experienced an injury while playing collegiate football, Peter learned about pain neuro-circuitry and ultimately became intrigued with pharmacology and how drugs function within the human body.  This interest, combined with an interest in the side effects of anti-cancer treatment, particularly neuropathy, after watching the effects of treatment on family members with cancer, led him to the research he is conducting as a graduate student.  At the time of selection into the TST Program, Peter had co-authored two publications.  He also was recently awarded with a 12-month Greehey Graduate Fellowship in Children’s Health for his anticipated studies in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.  With his own prior personal experiences as well as his interests in pharmacology and neuropathy, Peter’s goal is become a successful translational scientist who will incorporate analysis of problems and engineering of solutions to improve therapeutic options for patients.

image of Ruth Morris

Scholar: Ruth Morris
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: Translational Science
Research Interest: Health Services
Mentor: Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, Associate Professor/Research,
Department of Epidemioloogy and Biostatistics
Research Topic: Coping and adapting to limb loss

Ruth graduated from Texas Christian University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, followed in 2005 with a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from Columbia University.  After working as a social worker for a company that specializes in upper extremity prosthetics, where she participated in a multi-disciplinary team providing rehabilitation, Ruth decided to return to school to gain the skills necessary to design program implementation, evaluation, and policy change for persons with limb loss.  She entered the University of Texas School of Public Health and, after graduation in 2012, was accepted into the Translational Science PhD program in 2013.  Born without part of her left arm, Ruth’s early experiences with hospital systems and prosthetics helped shape her goal to work with the disabled population.   She has, and continues to be, very involved in organizations such as the Amputee Coalition of America, and she has served on the Upper Limb Loss Advisory Council.  She has published and presents at national and international conferences on rehabilitation medicine, orthotics and prosthetics, limb loss, disability studies, and occupational therapy.  Her goal is become an academician that will help create effective health service programs, capture research that will influence evidence-based practice for patient care, insurance companies, and policymakers, and equip the next generation of clinicians and researchers.

image of Jennifer Parrott
Scholar: Jennifer Parrott
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Department of Neuroscience
Research Interest: Psychoneuroimmunology
Mentor: Jason O’Connor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Topic: Neuropsychiatric consequences of impaired brain-derived neurothrophic factor function

Jennifer graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science in 2010 and joined the UT Health Science Center the same year as a doctoral student in the IMGP graduate program, Neuroscience track.  Jennifer became interested in translational research due to personal experiences related to a family member with Alzheimer’s disease.  While observing the effects of this disease, she made a decision to pursue biomedical research so that she could help others suffering from neurological diseases.  At the time of selection into the TST Program, Jennifer had four published abstracts, one peer-reviewed publication, and two national poster presentations, one of which earned a travel award.  She has also made contributions to two other manuscripts, one of which has been accepted, and she is in the process of writing two first author manuscripts. Jennifer’s ultimate goal is to become an independent investigator.

 

2012-2013 Scholars

Six graduate students received awards as 2011-2012 Translational Science Training (TST) Scholars. Each TST Scholar is a pre-doctoral student in the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the translational science training will be incorporated into their existing curricula. Funding for the TST Program is provided through a grant from the University of Texas System Graduate Programs Initiative, with matching funds from the Health Science Center’s Vice President for Research Office and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For additional information about the TST Program, go to http://iims.uthscsa.edu/ed_tst_prog_description.html.

image of Huai-Chin Chiang
Scholar: Huai-Chin Chiang
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: Molecular Medicine
Research Interest: Breast cancer biology
Mentor: Rong Li, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine
Research Topic: Eliminating Cell of Origin for BRCA1-Associated Breast Cancer

Huai-Chin graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2003. She entered the UT Health Science Center in 2009 as a graduate student and joined the Molecular Medicine program where she is working to obtain her doctoral degree. As a child, her aspirations were to become a medical doctor; however, while working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Huai-Chin realized that medical research would allow her to find ways to more broadly help her patients. Her interests grew from emergency medicine to biomedical research focusing on genetic disorders and cancer. Huai-Chin’s goal is to make a significant contribution to breast cancer research as an independent investigator and to find an effective treatment for BRCA1-associated tumors.

image of Jingjing Gong
Scholar: Jingjing Gong
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Pharmacology and Department of Urology
Research Interest: Pancreatic cancer; natural compounds; signaling
Mentor: Addanki P. Kumar, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Urology
Research Topic: Combination of Nexrutine and gemcitabine synergistically enhances antitumor effects in pancreatic cancer models compared to single-agent treatment

Jingjing graduated from Qingdao University of Science and Technology in 2004 where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmaceutics, followed with a Master of Science Degree in Medicinal Chemistry from East China University of Science and Technology in 2007. Jingjing entered the UT Health Science Center in 2008 as a graduate student in the Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate Program (IMGP) and the Pharmacology track. Before joining the UT Health Science Center, Jingjing was interested in research being conducted on Berberine, a natural product used for enteritis, and she identified Dr. Kumar’s work on Nexrutine which contains Berberine. Since joining the UT Health Science Center she has produced several publications, five of which she was first author, as well as many posters and presentations, seven of which she was first author. Jingjing’s ultimate goal is to prepare herself to become an established translational scientist in order to find effective ways to treat and cure pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

image of Kelly Grimes
Scholar: Kelly Grimes
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Physiology
Research Interest: Cardiac aging and cardiotoxicity
Mentor: Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physiology and the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging
Research Topic: The effects of Nrf2-mediated cytoprotection on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity

Kelly graduated from Bucknell University in 2009 where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. Kelly joined the UT Health Science Center in 2010 as a pre-doctoral student in the Department of Physiology and IMGP. Since beginning her studies at the Health Science Center, Kelly has had been awarded the IMGP Dean’s Excellence Award in 2010 and earned a Scholarship for Excellence in Women’s Health by the Council for Excellence in Women’s Health in 2011. While an undergraduate and before joining the UT Health Science Center, Kelly became interested in research being conducted in the area of Biology of Aging. Since joining the UT Health Science Center, she has had the opportunity to further her interest by conducting her own research involving the aging naked mole-rat and cardiotoxicity. Her long term goal is to develop strategies to combat diseases of the heart.

image of Julianne D. Jett
Scholar: Julianne D. Jett
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Neuroscience and Department of Pharmacology
Research Interest: Stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders
Mentor: David Morilak, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Topic: Neural mechanisms of chronic stress- induced cognitive deficits in the rat prefrontal cortex: implications for novel therapies in the treatment of depression

Julianne graduated from Texas State University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2007, where she had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Lynette Daws as a student research fellow. After her entry into the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School in 2009 as a PhD student, she joined the laboratory of Dr. David Morilak. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Julianne had published four manuscripts, two as first author, and several abstracts, including three in which she was first author. With her prior experiences and interests in neuroscience, Julianne’s goal is to become an established independent investigator and conduct translational research on the mechanisms leading to neurobiological disorders. She anticipates that her research efforts will advance available therapies associated with neuropsychiatric diseases.

image of Anel Lizcano
Scholar: Anel Lizcano
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interest: Host-Pathogen interactions in S. pneumoniae
Mentor: Carlos Orihuela, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Topic: Impact of glycosylation on PsrP function

Anel graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science in 2007 and joined the UT Health Science Center’s Microbiology and Immunology graduate program in 2008. During her early undergraduate work, Anel became interested in infectious diseases and the mechanisms that contribute to tissue injury and the pathogenesis of disease. In a summer intensive research training program at Baylor College of Medicine, Anel had the opportunity to study drug-resistance and genomic instability in Escherichia coli, which encouraged her to seek a research career in Microbiology. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Anel had five published manuscripts and one review. Upon receipt of her Ph.D., Anel would like to work as an independent investigator with a focus on host-pathogen interactions toward the goal of vaccine design and anti-microbial development.

image of Arpan Satsangi
Scholar: Arpan Satsangi
Degree Sought: M.D./Ph.D.
Program: Department of Biomedical Engineering
Research Interest: Drug delivery biomaterials
Mentor: Joo L. Ong, Ph.D., USAA Foundation Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio
Research Topic: Novel, sequentially-targeted drug delivery nanoplatform for breast cancer therapy

Arpan graduated in 2009 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. During the course of undergraduate studies, Arpan had opportunities to participate in translational science research which included being under the guidance of Dr. Gary Kunkel in gene transcription. After acceptance into the joint Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center, he worked initially on research that focused on tissue regeneration of large bone defects using a drug-releasing membrane. Arpan has since broadened his focus toward designing a nanoparticle for targeted drug delivery to breast cancer cells. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Arpan had two first-authored publications, one invention report toward patent protection, and fourteen abstracts, twelve of which he was first author. Arpan has been accepted into the MD/PhD progarm at UT Health Science Center and will enter Medical School in the near future. Arpan’s long term career goal is to develop into an independent, translational physician-scientist.

image of Jesus Segovia
Scholar: Jesus Segovia
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Interest: Inflammation
Mentor: Santanu Bose, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Research Topic: Role of SCF ubiquitin ligase in regulation of inflammation and potential target for anti-inflammatory therapeutics

Jesus graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 2004 from Baylor University and in 2008 with a Master of Science Degree, also in Biology, from Texas A&M International University. Jesus came to the UT Health Science Center in 2009 to join the Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology. Jesus became interested in translational science while still in high school and that interest has grown into his pursuit of a PhD. Over the course of his studies, Jesus has had several honors including being the recipient of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Graduate Student Scholarship and Assistantship Awards. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Jesus listed four publications. He is also currently a Teaching Assistant for the UT Health Science Center. Jesus’ career goal is to teach the next generation of scientists interested in translational science research.

2011-2012 Scholars

image of Bai Xiang
Scholar: Xiang "Vicky" Bai
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Pharmacology
Research Interest: Mechanism and treatment of Parkinson’s disease
Mentor: Randy Strong, PhD., Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Research Topic: The contribution of mTOR signaling to pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease

Vicky graduated from the Medical College of Qingdo University in Shandong, China, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Pharmacology from Peking University Health Science Center in Bejing, China. To advance her study in pharmacology, she entered the UT Health Science Center in 2008 as a doctoral student in the Pharmacology program. At the time of her selection to the TST Program, Vicky had earned several awards, including a student presenter award in a national meeting and Student Government Association Member of the Year in 2010. In addition, she had produced five publications (three as first author) and seven abstracts for presentations at multiple conferences and symposia. With her background in Medicine and Pharmacology, Vicky’s goal is to make a significant contribution to Parkinson’s disease research and to find an effective pharmacologic treatment to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

image of mengyao li
Scholar: Mengyao "Ella" Li
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders
Research Interest: Glucose Metabolism in Muscle During Exercise
Mentor: Nicolas Musi, M.D., Assistant Professor, Director of Center for Healthy Aging
Research Topic: Role of NFkB signaling on exercise-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis

Ella graduated from Peking University in Beijing, China where she earned both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy as well as a Master of Science Degree in Pharmaceutical Science. Ella joined the UT Health Science Center in 2007 as a pre-doctoral student in the Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders Track. Over the course of her studies, Ella has earned several honors including the 1st Annual Frontiers of Translational Science Research Day under the Student Category in 2010 and the Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award in 2011. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Ella had four publications (one as first author) and four abstracts. Her long term goal is to contribute a therapy for treatment of diabetic metabolic diseases and myopathies through her research.

image of jorge medina
Scholar: Jorge Medina
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Microbiology and Immunology
Research Interest: Atypical bacterial (Mycoplasma pneumoniae) pulmonary infections and the pathogenesis of asthma
Mentor: Peter H. Dube, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research Topic: The role of Mycoplasma pneumoniae CARDS toxin the pathogenesis of asthma

Jorge graduated from the Texas A&M University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology, and from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Master of Science in Biology. While earning his Master’s degree, Jorge worked as a laboratory technician and research assistant where he gained experience in both diagnostic and research laboratories. He entered the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2008 and completed his qualifying exam in 2010. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Jorge had nine publications, plus one under review with Jorge as first-author. With his prior experience and original love for microbiology and infectious diseases, Jorge’s goal for his continuing scientific career is to understand infectious disease processes and the human immune system’s response, and then work within multidisciplinary collaborations to develop new diagnostic techniques, treatments, and prevention strategies.

image of sweta mishra
Scholar: Sweta Mishra
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Cell and Molecular Biology
Research Interest: Molecular mechanism of metastasis in Prostate cancer
Mentor: LuZhe Sun, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cellular and Structural Biology
Research Topic: Role of TGF-beta signaling in mediating osteoblastic tumorigenesis of prostate cancer cells

Sweta graduated from Delhi University in India with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2006, where she received a Memorial Prize for Best Overall Science Student, followed by earning a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry in 2008. Sweta joined the UT Health Science Center’s Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate Program (IMPG) as a pre-doctoral student in the Fall of 2008. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Sweta had one publication (first author), four abstracts and four poster presentations. Upon completing her Ph.D. Program, Sweta would like to continue her scientific career in the field of microRNAs in cancer to identify signatures associated with diagnosis, progression, prognosis and response to treatment, and to then move the microRNA research from bench to bedside.

image of josephine thinwa
Scholar: Josephine Thinwa
Degree Sought: M.D./Ph.D.
Program: IMGP/Microbiology and Immunology
Research Interest: Infectious Diseases
Mentor: Peter H. Dube, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research Topic: The impact of Yersinia enterocolitica on IL-18 secretion from the gut epithelium

Josephine graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2006 from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. During the course of obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Josephine entered the School of International Training Study Abroad in the Fall of 2004, where she designed a field-based study to examine patient factors influencing compliance to anti-tuberculosis drug therapy and the effect of non-compliance on disease progression She also attended the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program at Harvard Medical School. Following completion of her Bachelor’s Degree she was accepted into the MD/PhD program at the UT Health Science Center in 2006. During the course of her studies, Josephine has earned several honors including the CA Whittier Medical Society Scholarship in 2010. She has also demonstrated a strong commitment to local and international community service. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Josephine had one publication (first author) and two abstracts. Once she completes her M.D./Ph.D., Josephine’s long term goal is to pursue a career that balances clinical medicine activities and translational research in infectious diseases, with a focus on vaccines or other prevention techniques for tropical diseases.

image of yi zhang
Scholar: Yi Zhang
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Program: Radiological Sciences/Medical Diagnostic Physics
Research Interest: Novel MRI technologies and their applications to retinal diseases in humans
Mentor: Timothy Duong, Ph.D., Professor, Research Imaging Institute
Research Topic: Layer-specific anatomical, blood flow and functional MRI of the human retina

Yi graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics in 2007 from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. During her senior year, Yi enrolled in an independent study at a Brain Functional Imaging Research Lab, where she developed methods to analyze functional MRI data taken from research subjects with anxiety. This experience helped her appreciate how her basic physics and mathematics knowledge could help solve practical biomedical problems in healthcare. Deciding to pursue higher education in the field of biomedical imaging, Yi came to the UT Health Science Center in 2007 to join the Ph.D. program in Radiological Sciences, with a concentration in Medical Diagnostic Physics. Over the course of her studies, Yi has earned several honors including several travel grants and the 2011 Palmaz Endowment for Excellence in Radiology Research At the time of selection into the TST Program, Yi listed five publications (two as first author), with others in preparation, and nine conference proceedings related to her research interest. Yi’s career goal is to become a leading independent MRI scientist with a focus on developing innovative biomedical imaging methods and applying these methodologies to improve early diagnosis of retinal diseases.

2010-2011 Scholars

Six graduate students received awards as 2010-2011 Translational Science Training (TST) Scholars. Each TST Scholar is a pre-doctoral student in the UT Health Science Center's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the translational science training will be incorporated into their existing curricula. Funding for the TST Program is provided through a grant from the University of Texas System Graduate Programs Initiative, with matching funds from the Health Science Center's Vice President for Research Office and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For additional information about the TST Program go to http://iims.uthscsa.edu/ed_tst_prog_description.html.

Hongzhi Chen
Scholar: Hongzhi Chen
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Department of Biochemistry
Research Interest: Mechanism of insulin resistance
Mentor: Feng Liu, Ph.D., Professor
Research Topic: DsbA-L enhances insulin sensitivity by improving mitochondrial functions

Hongzhi graduated from China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology, and from Wuhan University with a Master of Science in Biochemistry. After his 2007 entry into the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, he was advanced to doctoral candidacy in 2009. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Hongzhi had one publication as co-author and had gained experience supervising a summer student who received a first-place award in the Science Competition at UTSA. Hongzhi’s goal is to carry out basic as well as translational research to develop a therapeutic treatment for insulin resistance and its associated metabolic disorders. He also aspires to gain a position of professor at a research institution.

Neha Garg
Scholar: Neha Garg
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Department of Biochemistry
Research Interest: Type 2 Diabetes, IGF-1 and its role in metabolism; impaired glucose and lipid metabolism in the face of insulin resistance
Mentor: Martin L. Adamo, Ph.D., Professor
Research Topic: Effects of IGF-1 receptor heterozygosity on carbohydrate metabolism

Neha graduated from the University of Mysore in Karnatake, India, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Botany and Microbiology and a Master of Science in Biochemistry. She entered S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in 2006, and then transferred to the UT Health Science Center as a pre-doctoral student in 2007. Neha has earned several awards including a National Merit Scholarship in 2005 and twice earning a Best Poster Award on Barshop Student Day in 2009 and 2010. In addition to her many awards, she also has one publication and two abstracts. Neha’s goal is to complete her doctoral studies and to be a competitive candidate for post-doctoral positions with research laboratories, as well as establishing herself in a career in academia.

Ketan Krishnanand Marballi
Scholar: Ketan Krishnanand Marballi
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Department of Cellular and Structural Biology/ Advanced Cellular Molecular Biology Track
Research Interest: Biology of Mental Disorders
Mentor: Consuelo Walss-Bass, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Topic: Translational characterization of transmembrane domain cleavage of Neureulin-1 in schizophrenia

Ketan graduated from Ramnarain Ruia College at the University of Mumbai in India with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a minor in Biotechnology, and he earned a Master of Science in Life Sciences from Sophia College at the University of Mumbai. Ketan joined the UT Health Science Center in the fall of 2007 as a pre-doctoral student in Cellular and Structural Biology. Over the course of his studies, Ketan has had several honors including the Kate E. Marre scholarship for academic and extracurricular excellence in his Masters program. He was also recently selected by his fellow students as the Graduate Student Association representative for the Cellular and Structural Biology department for 2009-2010. His long term goal is to establish himself as a translational researcher by identifying biological markers for mental disorders.

Sarah Ullevig
Scholar: Sarah Ullevig
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Department of Biochemistry
Research Interest: Monocytes/Macrophages, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic diseases, phytonutrients
Mentor: Reto Asmis, Ph.D., Professor
Research Topic: Phytonutrients as modulators of thiol oxidative stress and monocyte recruitment

Sarah graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition/Family and Consumer Sciences in 2002. The following year she completed an internship and obtained certification as a Registered Dietitian from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians. After working four years as a Registered Dietitian, Sarah joined the UT Health Science Center’s Biochemistry graduate program as a pre-doctoral student in 2007. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Sarah had one publication, three abstracts and numerous undergraduate scholarships and awards including being listed on the Dean’s List for eight consecutive semesters. Upon completing her Ph.D. Program, Sarah would like to expand her fundamental nutritional knowledge through research, obtain a faculty position at the University level, and train other scientists.

Hsiao-Ying Monica Wey
Scholar: Hsiao-Ying “Monica” Wey
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Radiological Sciences-Neuroscience Imaging
Research Interest: Magnetic resonance imagining, stroke, neuroscience
Mentor: Timothy Q. Duong, Ph.D., Professor
Research Topic: MRI of Acute Stroke in Non-human Primates

Monica graduated in 2006 from Chang Gung University in Taiwan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Imaging and Radiological Sciences. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Monica entered the Radiological Sciences graduate program at UT Health Science Center in 2006, with a focus in Neuroscience Imaging. During the course of her studies, Monica has had several honors including educational stipends from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in 2007 and 2010, and the Palmaz Endowment Grant Award this year. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Monica had five publications (three as first author), two manuscripts and fourteen conference proceedings. Once her current goal of completing her Ph.D. program is achieved, Monica’s long term career goal is to become a leading investigator in translational imaging research in stroke.

Ting Zhou, M.D.
Scholar: Ting Zhou, M.D.
Degree Sought: Ph.D.
Dept: Department of Cellular & Structural Biology
Research Interest: Hematopoietic stem cell, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS/AML), leukemia
Mentor: Vivienne I. Rebel, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Topic: Myelodyplastic syndrome: an inability to maintain genomic instability?

Ting graduated with her M.D. in 2005 from Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, P.R. China. Following her medical residency, Ting came to the UT Health Science Center in 2007 to join the Ph.D. program in Cellular and Structural Biology, with a focus in Genetics, Genomics, and Development. Her experiences during her residency in hematology, where she witnessed how Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML) patients suffered from the effects of the disease, inspired Ting to gain further knowledge about the initiation and progression of the disease. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Ting listed three publications related to her research interest. Ting’s career goal is to gain expertise in the domains of clinical medicine and biomedical research, toward the development of non-toxic curative treatments for those suffering from MDS/AML, and to pursue post-doctoral training related to this field.

 

2009-2010 Scholars

Five graduate students received awards as 2009-2010 Translational Science Training (TST) Scholars. Each TST Scholar is a pre-doctoral student in the UT Health Science Center's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the translational science training will be incorporated into their existing curricula. Funding for the TST Program is provided through a grant from the University of Texas System Graduate Programs Initiative, with matching funds from the Health Science Center's Vice President for Research Office and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For additional information about the TST Program go to http://iims.uthscsa.edu/ed_tst_prog_description.html.

Jungmi Ahn
Scholar: Jungmi Ahn
Degree Sought: PhD
Dept: Department of Molecular Medicine / Institute of Biotechnology
Research Interest: Prostate cancer
Mentor: Bandana Chatterjee, PhD, Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine
Research Topic: Prohibitin Pathway to E2F1 Gene Repression: A Role
in the Inhibitory Interaction of Vitamin D3 and
Androgen in Prostate Cancer Cell Proliferation

Jungmi Ahn graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Yongin, South Korea, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioscience and Biotechnology, and from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. Her undergraduate work was supported by a scholastic excellence award from the Sudang Scholarship Foundation and a government state scholarship from the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. She entered the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2005, and was admitted into PhD candidacy in February 2009. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Jungmi had three published manuscripts and two in preparation. Jungmi’s goal is to conduct post-doctoral research in a high-profile laboratory in preparation for an independent research career in cancer-related translational science.

Ying Ann Chiao
Scholar: Ying Ann Chiao
Degree Sought: PhD
Dept: Department of Biochemistry, Metabolism and Metabolic Disorders Track
Research Interest: Cardiovascular Disease
Mentor: Merry Lindsey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine/Cardiology
Research Topic: Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) Roles in Cardiac Aging

Ying Ann Chiao graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Science degree (2002) and a Master of Philosophy degree (2006) in Molecular Biotechnology. While in college, she was on the Dean’s Honors List and was supported by a Fong Yun Wah Scholarship, a United College Endowment Fund prize, and a T.Y. Wong Innovation and Entrepreneurial Fellowship in Biotechnology. She entered the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2007. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Ying Ann had one publication and three published abstracts. Her research goals are to translate the findings of current and future research into specific therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular disease in the elderly.

Addie Embry
Scholar: Addie Embry
Degree Sought: PhD
Dept: Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research Interest: Pox Virology, Immunology, and Vaccine Studies
Mentor: Yan Xiang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology
Research Topic: Generation of a VACV Vector Vaccine Targeting a Foreign Antigen to the Virion Surface

Addie Embry graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics in 2004, where she also completed the Texas A&M University Public Policy Internship Program. She entered the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2005. Addie is a Mentor for the Health Science Center’s GSBS High School Shadow Program, and she served as Vice President of the Graduate Student Association from 2007 to 2009. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Addie had three publications. Her long-term goals are to develop treatments against infectious diseases through research in virology, immunology and pathogenesis and to propagate scientific knowledge thorough the training of the next generation of biomedical researchers.

Janessa Manning
Scholar: Janessa Manning
Degree Sought: PhD
Dept: Department of Radiological Sciences / Neuroscience Imaging
Research Interest: Multimodality Imaging of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Mentor: Peter T. Fox, MD, Director of the Research Imaging Center;
Professor, Departments of Radiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Physiology
Research Topic: Differential Auditory OLD Signals of ASD and Controls during Sleep

Janessa Manning graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and then received a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. At St. Mary’s University she was the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship. She entered the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2006. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Janessa had two abstracts selected for presentation at annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience. She also worked with Dr. Eric Courchesne at the University of California San Diego’s Autism Center of Excellence. Janessa’s career goal is to become an autism spectrum disorder researcher on using multi-modality imaging techniques, incorporated with social auditory stimuli, to elucidate the neurological alterations that result in behavioral abnormalities in ASD children.

Suzanne Thibodeaux
Scholar: Suzanne Thibodeaux
Degree Sought: MD/PhD
Dept: Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, Cancer Biology Track
Research Interest: Tumor Immunotherapy
Mentor: Tyler Curiel, MD, Executive Director, Cancer Therapy & Research Center;
Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished University Chair in
Targeted Cancer Therapy, Department of Medicine/Hematology and Medical Oncology
Research Topic: Developing Novel Immunotherapeutic Strategies for the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

Suzanne Thibodeaux graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She entered Tulane University School of Medicine, but later transferred into the UT Health Science Center’s School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as an MD/PhD student in 2007. Suzanne attended Tulane as an undergraduate on a Legislative Scholarship, and while at Tulane School of Medicine she received the Ivan Isacc Lemann Award for outstanding research on the moral and ethical aspects of medicine from the History of Medicine Society. Prior to the TST Scholar Award, Suzanne was supported as a Greehey MD/PhD Scholar. At the time of selection into the TST Program, Suzanne had one book chapter in press and had 16 abstracts selected for presentations at medical school and national scientific conferences. Suzanne’s career goal is to use her medical and scientific training to translate her scientific discoveries in tumor immunology to develop tumor immunotherapies that can be rapidly and effectively translated into patient treatment.