The MoDTS Curriculum

The MoDTS curriculum provides cross-disciplinary training that includes exposure to clinical and translational sciences, and mentored clinical experiences. The curriculum is superimposed on those of the existing Division of Basic Science (DBS) Ph.D. Graduate Programs. It kicks off in the fall of graduate year 1 (G1) with informal small group learning opportunities and ramps up with didactic courses and immersion experiences the summer before year 2 (G2). MoDTS has been carefully designed to intersperse with the student’s graduate program course requirements, minimizing any effect on the overall duration of Ph.D. training.

Many of the MoDTS courses will fulfill the Graduate Program’s elective course requirements. Students will be able to work on their dissertation research while taking MoDTS courses and its unique practicum experiences.

Required Courses and Training

Summer Immersion in Clinical and Translational Research (summer G1/G2 – 2 credits)

First-hand clinical experience will introduce students to the language of medicine and the nature of the clinical interactions that are central to the management of patients and to the conduct of clinical translational research. These include:

  • Clinical Translational Research Clerkship

Students will learn how medical principles are integrated into clinical research. They will develop an understanding of the scientific and clinical background, research questions, and research protocols. They will take online HIPAA training, attend an Institutional Review Board session (for human studies approval), participate in clinical research led by clinician scientists, and observe in hospital ward teaching rounds.

Didactic Courses   

  • Human Physiology (summer G1/G2 – 1.5 credits)
    A mini medical school-style course that focuses on the physiology of selected organ systems.
  • Human Pathology (summer G1/G2 – 1.0 credit)
    A hands-on small group organ and tissue pathology course.

Bench-to-Bedside Independent Study/Clinical Clerkship (spring G3 – 1.0 credit)

This course focuses on diseases directly related to the student’s dissertation research topic. The goals are to provide an individualized in-depth experience about the diseases, and to help the student identify outstanding questions that need bench to bedside translation. The student, together with a clinical expert of his or her choice, design a clerkship that will include hospital-based and/or outpatient clinical experiences, and attend disease-oriented clinical and research conferences.

Informal Small Group Learning Curriculum/Opportunities (beginning fall G1)

In addition to the Works in Progress meetings and journal clubs required by the students’ home Graduate Programs, MoDTS students will have multiple informal opportunities to learn about translational research and to network with clinical science and medical school trainees. These opportunities include:

  • Discussions with medical students on “evidence-based medicine” in the UT Southwestern Medical School College system
  • Monthly Science of Medicine seminars offered by the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP M.D./Ph.D.)
  • Translational Science Forums offered by the Center for Translational Medicine 

Optional Advanced Translational Research and Leadership Training

Center for Translational Medicine Advanced Programs

MoDTS is closely allied with the UT Southwestern Center for Translational Medicine, and leverages many of its resources

“Students Emerging Academy of Leaders” (SEALs) Workshop

The inaugural Workshop series was offered in 2014–2015. This is a joint venture by the MoDTS Track and the MSTP program. It is organized by students and sponsored by faculty. It will be expanded in 2017.