As our response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, please stay tuned to regular communications from the Office of the President/UTMB Broadcasts and monitor the UTMB COVID-19 website for updates: This page has been regularly updated with videos, FAQs, and additional information as developments are available.
A web page specific to students is available here: We are endeavoring to stay in close communication with you regarding updates as the situation develops.

Please review the information to the right for guidance regarding GSBS coursework and research.


We want to ensure that faculty are aware of the options for teaching virtually. There is not much time to prepare, and the main goal is to get through the rest of the term. Course directors and their faculty are asked to use next week (3/16-3/20) to implement remote instruction. This transition should be completed by March 23rd. Please inform your students of any alterations to the course schedule.

Below are several different possibilities for virtual instruction, from easiest to more complex/”true” online:

  1. If you have classes of a small size, you can email PowerPoints to your students or share them in Dropbox or some equivalent and talk through them via teleconference.
  2. Similar to number 1, share your PowerPoints via Skype, Zoom, or Go to Meeting. If you need help figuring this out, please contact your coordinator first, and if you need additional help, contact Dr. Kristen Peek directly.
  3. Even with larger courses, option 2 is possible. It becomes more complicated to have student discussion, but still feasible.
  4. Start to move your courses online – you can use Panopto (i.e. Tegrity replacement, reference attached) to record your lectures with a PowerPoint on blackboard. With this option, students can move through the online material, and then you can use Skype or other virtual platform for student discussions. It may be most convenient for you to plan to use a desktop with microphone to record lectures. If you need to use equipment in a classroom (i.e. Levin 3.320/3.324), call Classroom Services at (409) 772-8980.
  5. Move content fully online – using Blackboard more fully with exams, quizzes, uploading papers, exercises, discussion board OR using SoftChalk (an online tool for virtual teaching – link below) to put materials online for students to view. If you use SoftChalk, you can post the link on Blackboard for your class. SoftChalk:

If you are interested in using SoftChalk to develop online learning materials, click the link above to get the activation key. The GSBS can provide training and examples. Please decide how you will handle your courses virtually and contact Dr. Kristen Peek at or 409-772-9143 as issues arise.

For students who need to meet with research mentors, currently have scheduled research meetings or defenses, we will utilize social distancing strategies. For research meetings, off campus committee members will need to join the meeting using Skype or can be emailed copies of slides/data before the meeting and then join the meeting by phone. On campus members can attend meetings in person, by Skype or by phone. Thesis or dissertation defenses will utilize the same methods mentioned above.  Required documentation related to defense meetings can be mailed to GSBS. In regards to public defenses, please contact Dr. Joan Nichols ( to discuss options.

There have been questions as to the status of graduate students as part of UTMB’s response to COVID-19. Graduate students are critical to research operations and with graduate assistantships will be classified as essential employees and available to work in research laboratories. Dr. Andy McNees is working with HR to complete documentation. Our primary concern will be to keep our students safe. We will recommend that students be on campus only to complete their work and then return home to continue their work. Some students may be able to pursue their research remotely and this would be ideal.

Please consult with your mentors for plans for experiments, ordering sufficient supplies, work that can be done from home, communications, etc. Members of the GSBS are in a unique position during this pandemic as many of our faculty and trainees are directly involved in research for COVID-19 response. Your course directors should be communicating with you regarding plans for virtual classes.

The Office of the Provost is closely monitoring developments with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, working with others in UTMB leadership and the four schools to assess risks and plan accordingly. Your health and safety, along with that of our faculty, staff, patients and community, is of paramount importance.

On Friday, March 13, the guidance for students regarding the continuation of classes is as follows:

  • If you are a student who is currently on spring break, your spring break is extended another week (through Friday, March 20). Please monitor the communications you will receive over the coming week, for information regarding when you may return to campus and the continuation of on-campus activities.
  • If you are a student who is currently on a clinical rotation, please monitor the communications you will receive, and follow up with your school deans for further instruction.

We will continue to share updates on the UTMB COVID-19 website section for students and parents, which also contains the current travel guidance, instructions for those who experience symptoms, and additional valuable information. Please bookmark this site if you have not already. Thank you for your flexibility and cooperation to help ensure we do all we can to reduce the risks associated with the spread of this virus.

Above all, the health and safety of our campus is our priority. Please follow recommended guidelines to help prevent the spread of illness. You may view the CDC’s recommended precautions at Sanitize frequently touched items (e.g. laptops, desktops, car keys, etc.). Social distancing (avoiding large crowds, maintaining 6 feet of distance, etc.) may also help limit the spread of the virus.

As a reminder, if you are sick, please stay home. Faculty, if your students are sick (with any illness), please tell them to stay home. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, listed below are UTMB sites designated for evaluation. Please call in advance of your arrival at the clinic. Phone numbers and addresses are available via the following link:

    • UTMB Island West;
    • UTMB Urgent Care in Galveston;
    • UTMB Texas City Urgent Care Clinic;
    • UTMB Hwy 3 Pediatric and Adult Primary Care;
    • UTMB Angleton Danbury Clinic; and
    • UTMB Angleton Danbury Pediatric and Adult Primary Care

As we prepare for telecommuting, be prepared to work from home and check your remote connections if you have not yet done so. Information about logging into VPN and the required two-factor authentication is available at The UTMB Help Desk may be contacted 24/7 at the below phone numbers to troubleshoot technical issues:

  • From On-campus: 409-772-5200
  • From Galveston Area: 409-772-5200
  • From 281 Area Code: 281-554-1577
  • From All Other Areas: 888-898-2401

Please also test your Skype for the ability to connect for videoconferencing. Further information is available at If you plan to use UTMB equipment for telecommuting, ensure that you coordinate with your department administration and complete any necessary loan agreement forms.

The application and admissions process for GSBS students entering in the fall term will continue, complying with University policies for maintaining safety of faculty and staff. Applications to the GSBS will continue to be evaluated, and request for admission packets will be handled as they have been. However, GSBS staff will be working remotely, so application packets will need to be sent to Laura Teed ( electronically.

Following University policy, please do NOT invite any recruits on to campus, either for interviews or for visits after they have accepted an offer for admission. We will work with HR and Enrollment Services to determine if and how matriculation procedures need to be modified.

For additional information for prospective students, please visit

The Graduate School will be transitioning office support services for our faculty and trainees to a virtual format as of Monday, March 16th until further notice. Please be assured that our staff remain ready to assist you during standard business hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Provided below is a listing of phone and email contacts where staff members may be reached. A full listing of GSBS contacts which includes program directors and coordinators is attached.

Graduate School Staff



Claiborne Fant

Rose Garcia

Shibani Karovalia

Jessica Linton

Denise Reed

Chris Rhodes

Laura Teed

GSBS Main Line: 409-772-2665

Contact information for GSBS leadership is provided below:

Graduate School Leadership



Dr. David Niesel

Dr. Joan Nichols

Dr. Kristen Peek

Dr. Daniel Jupiter

Dr. Tracy Toliver

The Graduate School is committed to our faculty and trainees and if you have any questions or concerns during this time, please do not hesitate to contact any of our leadership or staff. We will work together so that educational activities and research continue as best as possible while ensuring that our students, staff, and faculty are safe. Take care of yourselves and should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Congratulations to Dr. Tracy Toliver-Kinsky, director of the BBSC and professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, on her election into The University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., Academy of Health Science Education (Shine Academy). The Shine Academy supports and promotes excellence in all aspects of health science education, educational scholarship and leadership. Congratulations Dr. Toliver-Kinsky!

Career Exploration Network

A news story on the UT System home page discussed the successful piloting of a virtual networking program aimed at aiding graduate students and postdocs in pursuing the next steps in their careers. The initiative was developed with the 6 University of Texas System Health Institutions, and both UTMB students and alumni participated.

AMT Educator of the Month

Pennel_adjCongratulations to Dr. Cara Pennel for her selection as the Educator of the Month for November 2020 by the Academy of Master Teachers. This award recognizes educators who are nominated by their students/colleagues to acknowledge their outstanding efforts in the educational arena at UTMB. Congratulations Dr. Pennel!

Alumni News

Dr. Natasha Brooks , BMB graduate, was featured in the November 2020 edition of ASBMB Today. Click here for the story, starting on page 42.

Dr. Mary Guinan, GSBS alumna, professor emeritus and founding dean of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Public Health, was honored with the naming of the Mary Guinan Room in the newly opened building to house the UNLV School of Public Health. Read more.

Dr. Anita C. Randolph, GSBS alumna from the Neuroscience Graduate Program, has been named the director of Community Engagement and Education for the newly established Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) at the University of Minnesota. Click here for the story.

NASA astronaut and UTMB alumnus, Serena Aunon-Chancellor (GSBS ’06 – MPH program) has been recognized as a Hispanic pioneer in medicine by the Association of American Medical Colleges during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Past Alumni News Archive

Prospective Students

Opportunity: The Conacyt-ConTex Doctoral Fellowship

NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education Webinars and Events

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education is offering a series of webinars and small group discussions focused on helping undergraduate students, postbacs, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the sciences develop the resilience needed to thrive in high-knowledge environments. For more information and to register for events, trainees can visit and review the "Calendar of Events."

SACNAS Webinars

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) hosts webinars as part of its ongoing Insights To Success webinar series, where early to mid-career professionals share their personal journeys in STEM and lessons they learned along the way. For more information or to view previous webinars, visit

Student Spotlight

Focus on Mentoring

MPH Student Selected as 2020 Archer Fellow

Congratulations to Semira Solomon, one of our MPH students, for selection as a UT System ⁦‪‬⁩2020 Archer Fellow! She intends to spend her time in DC in working with Housing and Urban Development on a project related to health outcomes for children living in public housing.

The Archer Fellowship Program was established by the UT System in conjunction with former U.S. Representative Bill Archer as a way to bring highly motivated and accomplished students to Washington, DC, for a comprehensive academic and professional experience.

Candidacy Milestone

Congratulations to Nikita Gupta for becoming a candidate for the PhD! Nikita is working with Dr. Maria Micci, in the Neuroscience program.

Congratulations to Rebecca Permar for achieving candidacy for the PhD! Rebecca is pursuing her PhD under the supervision on Dr. Anne Hudson Jones, in the Medical Humanities program.

Congratulations to Cody Bills for achieving candidacy for the PhD! Cody is pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Mariano Garcia-Blanco, in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Congratulations to Margarita Ortiz for achieving candidacy for the Master of Arts! Margarita is working in Medical Humanities under the supervision of Anne Hudson Jones.

Congratulations to Caitlan Byerly for becoming a candidate for the PhD! Margarita is working with Dr. Jere McBride in the Cell Biology Program.

Congratulations to Antonio Muruato for advancing to candidacy in the PhD! Antonio is in the Microbiology and Immunology program, mentored by Drs. Scott Weaver and Pei-Yong Shi.

Congratulations to Amie Hufton for advancing to candidacy in the PhD! Amie is in the Population Health Sciences program, mentored by Dr. John Prochaska.

Are You New to GSBS?

Accepted Offer? What's Next?


UTMB GSBS joins other schools in adopting the BioMedCAS system for processing applications to graduate school. See Liaison International's press release here:

GSBS 50-for-50 Initiative
The GSBS "50 For 50" Initiative!

The "GSBS 50 for 50" is an alumni-led initiative to raise $500,000 in graduate program specific support to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the GSBS in 2019. Ideally, the initiative will result in the establishment of a graduate program specific endowment for every graduate training program in the GSBS.

Alumni Videos

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) celebrated its 50th Anniversary on October 18-19, 2019. Alumni from all five decades and from across the various training areas returned to UTMB to participate in the events. 1969 Alumna Dr. Mary Guinan, Founding Dean Emerita of the School of Public Health at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, gave the keynote address entitled “Strengthening Science for a New Age.” In commemoration of the anniversary, a short video series was created to highlight thoughts from our faculty, students, alumni, and staff on the impact of the GSBS.

Alumni Symposium – Alumni

Alumni Symposium – Faculty

Alumni Symposium – Students

GSBS Facebook page Twitter