Select Training Opportunities for Graduate Students

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These training programs are competitive, with limited numbers of trainees accepted each year. If you are a graduate student at UT Southwestern Medical Center and interested in any of the training programs listed below, please talk with your mentor and email the contact person listed for the specific program for application details.

  • Cancer Biology

    This predoctoral and postdoctoral training program emphasizes bench-to-bedside research encompassing state-of-the-art areas of cancer research. Along with training in the fundamentals of cancer research and sound scientific theory, trainees are provided access to methods in fundamental drug discovery using high-throughput chemical and genetic screens to define cellular networks, signal transduction pathways, DNA damage and repair responses, and nanomedicine-targeted therapeutic drug delivery using cell and animal molecular imaging.

    The problem of cancer in the 21st century remains a national priority, and as such offers a substantive long-term career opportunity for the training of predoctoral and postdoctoral students. The goals of our program are to train top-quality scientists capable of conducting independent cancer research, to foster the intellectual, technical, and communication skills required to succeed in the academic or industrial arenas of today and in the future, and to provide an understanding of the basic, public health, and clinical problems of human cancer.

    The ability of this training grant to bridge an existing outstanding foundation of faculty in Basic Science with newly developed Cancer Biology and Therapy Programs in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center distinguishes it from a standardized general graduate and post-graduate educational program.

    We have approximately 45 committed faculty trainers representing 16 different departments and centers at UT Southwestern. We have assembled a dedicated group of leaders that constitute the steering committee, along with administrative, intellectual, and financial support from the Director of the Cancer Center.

    We have an integrated plan for the Cancer Training Program for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees that details all key steps in cancer education and training, including biomedical ethics and the responsible conduct of science. We recruit from a geographically broad range of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral applicants as well as underrepresented diversity trainees.

    We have expanded and implemented our cancer didactic and journal-oriented courses, both basic and translational, as well as a monthly cancer center trainee meeting. We highlight our selected trainees’ accomplishments and provide additional opportunities for these trainees in addition to our standard curriculum. These include opportunities to attend meetings, and special lunches to interact with visiting faculty and to interact with each other on a regular basis.

    Contact: Jerry Shay, Ph.D. jerry.shay@utsouthwestern.edu

  • Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program

    The interdisciplinary, student-focused Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) Training Program fosters the development of Ph.D. scientists with the skills and resources necessary to succeed as independent researchers in this rapidly changing scientific environment. In response to this environment, the CMB Training Program at UT Southwestern is largely driven by the trainees.

    The Program focuses on cellular and molecular biology as it applies to new basic scientific and medical advances, reflecting the research interests of the students and the laboratories in which they train. Emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking, acquiring the breadth of knowledge needed for the rapid pace of new scientific developments, understanding and applying novel technology to explore important questions, and the value of collaboration in all aspects of the scientific process.

    The Training Program offers unique small group settings to stimulate thinking and discussion while evaluating basic and clinically oriented cellular and molecular research with application to human health. It also provides formal training in statistical analysis of biological data. Scientists equipped with these skills will make the high impact discoveries that enhance quality of life.

    Students compete for positions in this Training Program by writing a research summary and personal statement about why they would like to participate. The application process is open to students in the second year of a Ph.D. program or in the first or second graduate-school year of the Medical Scientist Training Program.

    Multiple training experiences for these trainees include a round-table journal club encompassing a broad range of scientific questions and methodologies; a faculty seminar series that combines a discussion of career path and cutting-edge research; and a retreat in which students present their ongoing research and plan the following year’s activities.

    Outcomes of Past Trainees

    During the past 15 years, 95 trainees have been supported by the Cell & Molecular Biology (CMB) T32 grant. Of those, 25 are still in training, 60 earned a Ph.D., eight earned an M.D./Ph.D., one earned an M.S./M.D., and one left the program without a degree.

    Average time to degree (graduates the last 10 years) = 5.5 years

    Examples of positions held by the 60 Ph.D. earners:

    • Four Assistant Professors: University of Oklahoma, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, UT Dallas, UT Southwestern
    • One Principal Scientist at Roche
    • Six Research Staff in industry: Merck, Natera, Abbott, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Yumanity Therapeutics, Magnolia Innovation
    • Two are employed by governmental agencies: one at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the other at NASA
    • Six are consultants, scientific directors, product managers, or strategists in industry for big and small companies: Eli Lily, 23andMe, The Lockwood Group, Decision Resources Group, InTouch Solutions, private scientific consulting practice
    • Four are primarily teaching faculty or staff in higher education
    • Four are in science writing and communication as writers, editors or academic librarians
    • 13 are still in postdoctoral positions: Rockefeller, University of Edinburgh, Baylor College of Medicine, University of California San Francisco (two), Moffitt Cancer Center, Northwestern, Stanford, University of California San Diego, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, UT Southwestern (two), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

    Positions held by the eight M.D./Ph.D. earners:

    • Four Assistant Professors: Emory, Ohio State, UT Southwestern (two)
    • Three still in residency or clinical fellowships
    • One private practice physician

    One M.S./M.D. is a private practice physician

    The charts below use the 2018 Unified Career Outcomes Taxonomy

    CMB T32 Outcomes by Job Function

    Notes on Job Function categories:

    • Health Care Provider includes a clinical fellow, a resident, and a private practice physician
    • Other is someone who has left science to build her own business
    • Unknown is someone who was lost to follow-up after she attended medical school
    • Unemployed or Seeking Employment represents four graduates taking parental leave
    CMB T32 Outcomes by Career
    CMB T32 Outcomes by Sector

    Contact: Melanie Cobb, Ph.D. melanie.cobb@utsouthwestern.edu

  • Integrated Immunology Training Program

    The Integrated Immunology Training Program (IITP) at UT Southwestern provides comprehensive training for graduate students, medical scientist trainees, and postdoctoral fellows for cutting-edge immunology-related research careers. The goal is to prepare exceptionally qualified individuals to investigate and resolve significant immune-related problems such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, infectious diseases, and immunodeficiencies.

    IITP combines intellectually challenging didactic immunology courses, cutting-edge research projects, research presentations, a qualifying exam, seminars, journal clubs, and career development programs.

    IITP faculty come from 12 departments and centers (Immunology, Microbiology, Pathology, Cancer Immunobiology, Internal Medicine-Rheumatology, Internal Medicine-Infectious Diseases, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Pediatrics, Neurology, Nephrology, and Ophthalmology) and are selected by their leadership role in either developing new immunology courses and/or curriculums, directing an immunology course, or strong commitment in training students and postdoctoral fellows. The IITP is supported by 11 administrative committees that function as part of the program in immunology.

    Advanced training in immunology is essential for responding to global issues of re-emerging infectious diseases, an aging population suffering the ills of autoimmune diseases, and the recent unfortunate international threat of bioterrorism. The strong didactic courses offered by the Immunology Program provide in-depth coverage of these issues. The research tracks of the IITP faculty respond to these global challenges. Previous trainees have continued in academia and industry.

    Contact: Lora Hooper, Ph.D. lora.hooper@utsouthwestern.edu

  • Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science Training Program

    The interdisciplinary, student-focused Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science Training Program fosters the development of Ph.D. scientists with the skills and resources necessary to succeed as basic and translational scientists in the future. It was launched with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med into Grad Initiative, and currently supported by an NIH funded Molecular Medicine T32 training program.

    MoDTS students will focus on laboratory research that has the potential for translation. They will have new opportunities to study human diseases at the interface between basic and clinical sciences. They will be empowered to work with other members of scientific teams such as clinical researchers to spearhead the bidirectional translation of discoveries between the “bench” and “bedside” to improve human health. Emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking, acquiring the breadth of knowledge needed for the rapid pace of new scientific developments, understanding and applying novel technology to explore important questions, and the value of collaboration and teamwork in all aspects of the scientific process.

    The Training Program offers unique exposure to basic, translational, and clinical research that will facilitate multidisciplinary team science. Students who are accepted into the Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science Training Program compete for positions in this T32 Training Program in the first year of their Ph.D. training.

    Outcomes of Past Trainees

    The Mechanisms of Disease (MoD) T32 began July 1, 2014. None of the appointees to this grant have yet had time to complete their degrees. However, once appointees graduate, their professional outcomes and average time to degree will be added to this webpage.

    Thirteen MoD appointees are still in training.

    Contact: Helen L. Yin, Ph.D. helen.yin@utsouthwestern.edu

  • Molecular Biophysics Training Program

    Biophysics – the application of techniques born in the physical, mathematical, and computing sciences to biological systems – provides a unique and interdisciplinary view into the biological world and have provided countless quantitative and detailed insights into the mechanisms, structures, interactions and dynamics of living cells along with their component macromolecules and pathways.

    The Molecular Biophysics Training Program supports Ph.D. students with interests and backgrounds in physics, chemistry, and biology as they train with more than 30 faculty members conducting vigorous and multifaceted research programs in this exciting field. Using techniques as diverse as protein crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, microscopy, mass spectrometry, electrophysiology, and computational modeling, these groups seek detailed understandings of a wide variety of biological problems.

    We also provide training for students interested in using mathematical and computational analyses to understand biological and biochemical processes via the Specialized Supplemental Ph.D. Curricula in Computational and Systems Biology.

    Outcomes of Past Trainees

    During the past 15 years, 34 trainees have been supported by the Molecular Biophysics (MB) T32 grant. Of these, 11 are still in training, 15 earned a Ph.D., four earned an M.D./Ph.D., and three left with an M.S. No one left without a degree.

    Average time to degree last 10 years = 6.1 years

    Positions held by the 15 Ph.D. earners:

    • One is an Assistant Professor at Drexel University College of Medicine
    • One is Deputy Director of Integrative Bioinformatics for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
    • Three are scientists in industry: BioTherapeutics, Peloton Therapeutics, AbbVie
    • One is a scientist at ETH in Zurich
    • Five are postdoctoral fellows at New York University, Northwestern, Stanford, Baylor College of Medicine, and Harvard
    • Two are a writer and an editor in science
    • One is an entrepreneur who started her own scientific consulting company
    • One is on parental leave

    Positions held by the four M.D./Ph.D. earners:

    • One is an Assistant Professor at University of California San Francisco
    • One is an Instructor in Medicine at Massachusetts General and Scientist at Harvard
    • Two are completing postdoctoral fellowships at Emory and University of California San Diego

    Positions of the three M.S.:

    • One is secondary science curriculum coordinator for a charter public school
    • One is an instructor at a community college
    • One is out of science after earning his MBA

    The charts below use the 2018 Unified Career Outcomes Taxonomy

    MB T32 Outcomes by Sector
    MB T32 Outcomes by Career
    MB T32 Outcomes by Sector

    Contact: Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D. YuhMin.Chook@UTSouthwestern.edu

  • Molecular Microbiology Training Program

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has funded a five-year training program at UT Southwestern to support five graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows in a progressive Molecular Microbiology Training Program (MMTP).

    The MMTP departs from conventional program- or department-based training to an interdisciplinary program that maintains a microbiology orientation while including many other aspects of molecular and cell biology.

    The diverse backgrounds of the 24 faculty trainers – a core group of established investigators with accomplished records and an expanding new faculty – are bound by the common theme of molecular and cellular microbiology. The training faculty comes from nine different medical school departments and centers.

    The overall objective is to train students and postdoctoral fellows for research careers in the molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis, cellular microbiology, host defense mechanisms, vaccine development, and other related areas. Activities toward the Ph.D. degree include:

    • Required coursework, supplemented with multidisciplinary electives
    • Special training in the ethical conduct of science
    • Attendance at and participation in seminars, research forums, socials, and journal clubs
    • Achievement on a grant application style qualifying examination
    • Intensive research culminating in the doctoral dissertation

    Postdoctoral fellows enroll in UT Southwestern’s Certificate Program and can consolidate basic skills, develop independence in scientific thinking and research planning, obtain specialized training in writing, and learn new areas of basic scientific inquiry and technology (e.g., translational research). Fellows also are involved in teaching, presenting journal clubs and research seminars, and contributing to the general “ferment” that drives scientific progress.

    We expect that trainees who complete this program will become skilled in applying contemporary approaches to solve important problems in the medical microbiological sciences, and in improving preventive and/or therapeutic intervention strategies.

    Funded by: NIAID-NIH

    PI/Program Director: Michael V. Norgard, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Microbiology

    Contact: Michael Norgard, Ph.D. michael.norgard@utsouthwestern.edu

  • Pharmacological Sciences Training Program

    The Pharmacological Sciences supplemental Ph.D. curriculum is integrated with a course of study within any of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Ph.D. graduate programs. The interdisciplinary Pharmacological Sciences emphasis focuses on:

    • Molecular, physiological, and theoretical mechanisms of drug action
    • Drug discovery
    • Other areas of therapeutic innovation

    Our goal is to provide a solid foundation for students who plan to pursue careers in any of these areas in academia, medicine, or industry. The supplemental Ph.D. curriculum is administered by the Cell Regulation Graduate Program and the Department of Pharmacology, but graduate students in any of the other programs on campus are welcome to participate. The Pharmacological Sciences curriculum is competitive, with a limited number of positions available each year.

    Training

    Required courses:

    • Signal Transduction, Parts 1 and 2 (3 units)
    • Mechanisms of Drug Action (3 units)
    • These courses can fulfill course requirements of some, but not all, graduate programs

    Journal Club

    Students are required to participate in a popular, weekly Pharmacology-based Journal Club led by faculty from the Pharmacology department. The Pharmacology Journal Club is an interactive class that permits students to present and discuss papers from various disciplines that have a connection to the pharmacological sciences. This class will have up to 15 students, 11 of which are on the Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant. The Pharmacology Journal Club is offered within the Biological Chemistry and Cell Regulation programs and accepts additional participants as space allows.

    Outcomes of Past Trainees

    During the past 15 years, 82 trainees have been supported by the Mechanisms of Drug Action and Disposition (Pharm) T32 grant. Of those, 18 are still in training, 49 earned a Ph.D., 12 earned an M.D./Ph.D., and three left with an M.S.

    Average time to degree last 10 years = 5.5 years

    Examples of positions held by the 49 Ph.D. earners:

    • Four Assistant Professors: University of Tennessee, UT Southwestern, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina Medical School
    • Two Associate Professors: Jude Children’s Research Hospital and UT Southwestern
    • Three are investigators or direct research programs for non-profit research organizations: Pacific Northwest Research Institute, St. Jude Children’s Research Center, Michael J. Fox Foundation
    • Seen are research staff in industry: Genentech, PatientsLikeMe, Ventana, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, August Therapeutics, MilliporeSigma
    • Four are scientists in academia: University of Utah, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Broad Institute (MIT)
    • Seven are consultants, managers, directors, or vice presidents in industry: inVentiv Medical Communications, AbbVie, Molecular Templates, Syneo Health, Bio-Rad Labs, Sanofi Genzyme, Deloitte
    • Three are high school biology teachers
    • One is a program analyst at National Institutes of Health
    • Two are science writers
    • Three are primarily teaching faculty or staff in higher education
    • Two provide technical support in industry: Ventana, Fluidigm
    • One is working toward his M.D.
    • Two are out of science
    • One is taking parental leave
    • Seven are still in postdoctoral training: University of Alabama Birmingham, Harvard, UCLA, UT Southwestern, UT Health Science Center San Antonio, UC San Diego, Northwestern

    Positions held by the 12 M.D./Ph.D. earners:

    • Four are Assistant or Associate Professors: Vanderbilt, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UT Southwestern
    • One is a medical director at Genentech
    • Three are health care providers, two of whom are in academic settings, the other in private practice
    • Three are still in residency or clinical fellowships
    • One is lost to follow-up

    Three M.S.:

    • One is on parental leave
    • Two are lost to follow-up

    The charts below use the 2018 Unified Career Outcomes Taxonomy

    Pharmacology T32 Outcomes by Job Function

    Notes on Job Function categories:

    • Health Care Provider includes the residents/fellows
    • Other is two people who have left science
    • Unknown is someone who was lost to follow-up after residency
    • Unemployed or Seeking Employment represents one graduate taking parental leave
    Pharmacology T32 Outcomes by Career
    Pharmacology T32 Outcomes by Sector

    Contact: David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D. david.mangelsdorf@utsouthwestern.edu