Thursday, March 17, 2022

New doctoral program in molecular microbiology and immunology addresses critical workforce shortage

New doctoral program in molecular microbiology and immunology addresses critical workforce shortage

Mylea Echazarreta Cristner is a UTSA doctoral student studying cell and molecular biology.

MARCH 1, 2022 — The UTSA College of Sciences’ Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) will launch a new Ph.D. program in molecular microbiology and immunology beginning this fall to address the critical workforce shortage locally, statewide and nationally of specialists in immunology and infectious diseases.

“Our faculty are committed to educating, mentoring and sponsoring the next generation of scientists while addressing the demand for more professionals with Ph.D. degrees,” said MMI Department Chair Astrid Cardona. “With the shortage of infectious diseases and immunology specialists, one of the program's goals is to meet the workforce needs of academia and industries specialized in biotechnology, biodefense and health care—in San Antonio, in Texas and beyond.”

“This program offers a structured degree plan designed to maximize student engagement in cutting-edge research methodologies,” added Janakiram Seshu, UTSA professor and graduate advisor of record for the MMI department. “Our goal is to prepare doctoral-level scientists to meet the current and emerging challenges in the field of microbiology and immunology.”


“This program offers a structured degree plan designed to maximize student engagement in cutting-edge research methodologies.”



The MMI Ph.D. will be UTSA’s 27th doctoral program, supporting the university’s recent designation as a Tier One institution dedicated to launching large-scale research initiatives that gain the university national and international recognition. These initiatives are increasing UTSA’s annual research expenditures, which is key to increasing the pipeline and success of its doctoral students and supporting the recruitment and retention of nationally recognized faculty members.

By 2028, UTSA expects to have $300 million in annual research expenditures, $55 million in restricted research expenditures and 15 faculty members in the National Academies.

“UTSA has been designated as a Top Tier research university,” Cardona said. “MMI doctoral trainees will work closely with faculty in a highly collaborative environment in one of the most productive research departments at UTSA.”

Faculty from a wide range of research areas will provide instruction, research-based training and mentoring in several areas of microbiology and immunology, including autoimmune diseases, vaccine design, biodefense and drug development. Students will conduct research in the department’s laboratories, as well as those at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

Program applicants must meet the graduate admission requirements listed in the UTSA Graduate Catalog and hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in science from an accredited institution in biology, microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology or a related discipline. An overall GPA of 3.0 or higher is required to apply.


EXPLORE FURTHER
⇒ Learn more about the MMI Ph.D. program at the department website or contact Janakiram Seshu.

Full-time students accepted to the program are eligible for financial support, including research assistantships or fellowships. Students also will receive financial support from UTSA, including $28,000 a year plus payment of all tuition and fees and reimbursement for health insurance.

Ryan Schoensee



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