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The Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine (HPTM) Ph.D. program at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is a graduate program housed at the Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS). The program is designed to train highly skilled biomedical translational researchers who possess an integrated understanding of the mechanistic pathophysiology of human diseases, and the methodological and teamwork skills necessary to translate basic scientific knowledge into improvements in health care. These objectives are achieved by engaging HPTM students in an innovative educational curriculum driven by the development and evaluation of defined competencies. The pedagogic methodology of the program involves students in experiences and situations that are those of the professional practice of translational scientists, while promoting the development of skills necessary for autonomous learning. Mentoring is provided by members of the research organizational units of the ITS Multidisciplinary Translational Teams (MTTs), which are composed of basic science and clinical faculty.

In the HPTM Program, students will:

  • Learn about human disease in collaboration with medical students in selected medical school courses.
  • Work in small groups that foster creative problem solving and team-building as part of a rigorous education in human physiology and pathology.
  • Observe patients with diseases in your area of research interest through a clinical encounters program.
  • Work as part of a multidisciplinary translational team for laboratory rotations and dissertation research, co-mentored by basic scientist and clinical faculty.
  • Develop skills needed for autonomous, life-long learning.
  • Focus on developing practical skills for a successful translational science career.
  • Obtain qualities needed to become a leader in the expanding field of translational research.

Students selected for graduate assistantships receive an initial stipend of $29,000 plus paid tuition and fees and health insurance coverage. Graduate assistantships are only available to US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders). Dental insurance is also available for a small charge. For more information, please view the Student Handbook or contact the HPTM program director.

HPTM Course Plan

HPTM Course PlanTo read descriptions of each course in the HPTM program curriculum, please visit the UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences' website

Graduate Program Director: Mark Hellmich, Ph.D.
Curriculum Development: Judith Aronson, M.D., Dennis Bente, D.V.M., Ph.D., Celia Chao, M.D., and Jonathan Hommel, Ph.D.

Application and Admission:
Interested students should complete the standard UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) application form, and check the box for the HPTM program. Qualified students will be directly admitted into the HPTM program and will engage in the unique HPTM curriculum immediately upon matriculation.

Student Testimonials:

"The HPTM program operates outside of traditional graduate training. Experiences such as clinical encounters highlight the realities of disease from the patient, and the answers needed from translational science. If I can only point to one thing that has made me a better scientist, it would overemphatically be the innovative teaching and educational curriculum in the HPTM program."
- Charles Brent Chesson (2016), Post-Doc, MD Anderson Cancer Center

“The HPTM program trained me to think critically and equipped me with the tools to seek understanding in areas related to my research. These acquired skills greatly complemented the grant-writing activities that were heavily emphasized in the HPTM program. Additionally, the flexibility offered in choosing the lab that I would conduct my dissertation research in proved extremely rewarding; the capacity to choose from labs across multiple departments is not possible in other programs.” 
- Jesse Erasmus (2016), Post-Doc, Infectious Disease Research Institute, Seattle

“The HPTM program provided me with the necessary tools, training, opportunities,  and professional connections to prepare me for a competitive career in translational research, and the emphasis on grantsmanship has served me well in preparing submissions for training and career transition awards.” 
- Erica McGrath (2017), Post-Doc, Johns Hopkins University

  HPTM faculty and students attend the annual holiday gathering. (L to R) - Dr. Huda Sarraj, Dr. Mark Hellmich, Dr. Celia Chao, Corri Levine, Austin Miller, Edward Higgins, Dr. Judith Aronson
HPTM Students Christopher Roundy, Corri Levine, and Patrick Clayton, among others, received scholarships from the GSBS in 2018.
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