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MD/PhD - News


Top MD/PhD News

UTHSCSA Cover Stories


Brett Ipson: Making a Difference in Children's Lives


Meet the Researcher: Jill Heisler Talks about Neuroscience and the MD/PhD Program


MD/PhD Student Mariam Ishaque Researches Austism


Greg Aune, MD,PhD in the San Antonio Express News on Childhood cancer survivor active in Obama's 'precision medicine' effort.You can read more on


Dual seeds led to MD/PhD
Our very own MD/PhD student Eithan Kotkowski (MS2) talks about how he had an epiphany and realized as he promoted science to his elementary school pupils, that he needed to pursue his own passion for science.  Working as a second grade bilingual teacher at a low-income elementary school in south Austin he volunteered to help at the school science fair where he showed a video to his students about the Google Science Fair winners. This then led Eithan to pursue his own passion and was accepted at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio MD/PhD Program in May 2013 and began lab rotations that summer. You can read more on Eithan Kotkowski’s story on


Saving pediatric cancer survivors
Greg Aune MD, PhD, pediatric oncologist and a student mentor for UTHSCSA MD/PhD Program talks about how he has dedicated his life to conducting research on the basic science of cardiac disease in pediatric cancer survivors.  Being that Dr. Aune was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma as a child, his experience then led him into pediatric oncology and to an interest with the health problems that are connected to cancer survivorship that occur afterwards. Dr. Aune’s plan is to begin developing new medications that will prevent damage to the vulnerable organs that result in late health effects in cancer survivors. You can read more on Dr. Aune’s story on


Grant News

Vinh A. Dao (GS3) was named as the recipient of the 2015 Jess Hay Endowment for Chancellor's Graduate Student Research Fellowship in September. Vinh will receive a $10,000 award which will enable him to use to support his educational endeavors while a graduate student at UTHSCSA.


Justin M. Drerup (GS2) was recently awarded the Translational Science Training (TST) TL1 grant for a 1 year fellowship, which will pay for the majority of his stipend and tuition.


Tiffani Houston (GS3) received her R36 grant proposal titled "Endocrine Disruption in the Aging Urothelium" from the NIA and was selected for award which will begin funding 9/11/14, and will support her for her last 2 years.


Vinh A. Dao (GS3) Translational Science Training (TST) TL1 grant from the Institute of Integration of Medicine and Science, UTHSCSA and was also the 8th participant who was awarded the F30 grant.


Jessica A. Zavadil (GS3) was awarded the CPRIT Predoctoral Fellowhip grant in May and will be endowed starting in August and will continue to be funded for the next 2 years.


In 2014, the UTHSCSA MD/PhD program has received 8 NIH F-series individual training fellowship awards (7 F30 and 1 F31) keeping our program among the top 10 MD/PhD programs in the country out of 110 MD/PhD programs, as ranked by the ratio of NIH F30 awards per MD/PhD student in the program. There are just over 400 F30 awards and the national census of MD/PhD students is about 5,100.




MD/PhD Student Publications (2013-2014)


Cooney JD*, Hildick-Smith GJ*, Shafizadeh E*, McBride PF, Carroll KJ, Anderson H, Shaw GC, Tamplin OJ, Wong C, Gallagher PG, Dalton AJ, Shah DI, Zon LI, North TE, Paw BH.  Teleost Growth Factor Independence (gfi) genes differentially regulate successive waves of hematopoiesis. Dev. Biol. 2013; 373(2):431“41. (*equal contributions)


Chen C, Garcia-Santos D, Ishikawa Y, Seguin A, Li L, Fegan KH, Hildick-Smith GJ, Shah DI, Cooney JD, Chen W, King MJ, Yvette YY, Schultz IJ, Anderson A, Dalton AJ, Freedman ML, Kingsley PD, Palis J, Hattangadi SM, Lodish H, Ward DM, Kaplan J, Maeda T, Ponka P, Paw BH.  Snx3 regulates recycling of the transferrin receptor and iron assimilation. Cell Metabolism 2013; 17(3):343-52.


Hildick-Smith GJ*, Cooney JD*, Garone C*, Kremer LS, Haack TB, Thon JN, Miyata N, Lieber DS, Calvo SE, Akman HO, Yien YY, Huston NC, Branco DS, Shah DI, Freedman ML, Koehler CM, Italiano JE, Merkenschlager M, Beblo S, Strom TM, Meitinger T, Freisinger P, Donati MA, Prokisch H, Mootha VK, DiMauro S, Paw BH.  Macrocytic anemia and mitochondriopathy resulting from a defect in Sideroflexin 4. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 2013; 93:906-914. (*equal contributions)


Hinchee-Rodriguez K, Garg N, Venkatakrishnan P, Roman MG, Adamo ML, Masters BS, and Roman LJ, A muscle-specific isoform of neuronal nitric oxide synthase is phosphorylated in response to insulin stimulation. (published in Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. April 2013, PMID 23680665)


Wang D, Zhou Y, Shi Q, Igwe B, Wisely EV, Oddo S, and Xiang YK. 2 adrenergic receptor, PKA and JNK signaling pathways mediate tau pathology in Alzheimer's disease models. JBC 2013 Apr 12; 288(15):10298-307, PMID 23430246


Mitra M, Hercik K, Hill S, Ahn J, Hinchee-Rodriguez K, Singer D, Nam G, Charlton L, Byeon IL, Heidecker G, Gronenborn AM, and Levin JG, Cellular functions of human APOBEC3A are dictated by the relative contributions of its mutagenic and nucleic acid binding activities. (published in Nucleic Acids Res. October 2013, PMID 24163103)


Gunn S, Reveles X, Weldon K, Ishaque M, Barrera A, Taylor D, McCaskill C, Kim J, Shah R, Mohammed M,  Barry T, Kaiser B, Patnaik A, Tolcher A.  Molecular cytogenetics as a clinical test for prognostic and predictive biomarkers in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer. Journal of Ovarian Research. PMCID: PMC3601995. 2013


William J. Lavery and Jeffrey W. Kiel. Effects of Head Down Tilt on Episcleral Venous Pressure in a Rabbit Model. Experimental Eye Research.  2013 June;111: 88-94. PMID: 23567205.


Caccamo A, Magr A, Medina DX, Wisely EV, Aranda MF, Silva AJ, and Oddo S. mTOR Regulates Tau Phosphorylation and Degradation: Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Tauopathies. Aging Cell 2013 Jun; 12(3):370-80, PMID 23425014


F.F. Roussotte, M. Daianu, N. Jahanshad, C.D. Leonardo, P.M. Thompson. (20 October 2013). Neuroimaging and genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease and addiction-related degenerative brain disorders. Brain Imaging and Behavior, DOI 10.1007/s11682-013-9263-y.


Barron DS, Lancaster JL, Tandon N, Fox PT. Thalamic Structural Connectivity in Medial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Epilepsia. In press, 2014.


Barron DS, Fox PT. BrainMap Database as a Resource for Computational Modeling. Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference. In press, 2014.


K. Eschenburg, J.E. Villalon-Reina, N. Jahanshad, T.M. Nir, M. Daianu, C.D. Leonardo, S. de Bode, S.Y. Bookheimer, N. Salamon, P.M. Thompson (2014). Analysis of structural brain connectivity in 6 cases of hemispherectomy, ISBI 2014, in press.


L. Zhan, N. Jahanshad, Y. Jin, T.M. Nir, C.D. Leonardo, M. Bernstein, B. Borowski, C.R. Jack Jr., P.M. Thompson (2014). Understanding scanner upgrade effects on brain integrity & connectivity measures, ISBI 2014, in press.


Flagmeier S.G. Ray K.L., Parkinson A.L., Li K., Vargas R., Price L.R., Laird A.R., Larson C.R., Robin D.A. (2014). The neural changes in connectivity of the voice network during voice pitch perturbation. Brain and Language, 132, 7-13.


Hanzhou W, Melton DW, Porter L, Sarwar ZU, McManus LM, Shireman PK. Altered Macrophage-Phenotype Transition Impairs Skeletal Muscle Regeneration Am. J. Pathol. 2014. PMCID: PMC3969996


Pozzi, N., Chen, Z., Pelc, L.A., Shropshire, D.B., Di Cera, E. 2014. The linker connecting the two kringles plays a key role in prothrombin activation. PNAS. Published ahead of print.


Wisely EV, Xiang YK and Oddo S. Genetic suppression of 2 adrenergic receptors ameliorates tau pathology in a mouse model of tauopathies. Human Molecular Genetics, in press 2014.