UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


Learn More About Our Programs

Taglialatela, Giulio_croppedWelcome to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in historic Galveston, Texas, on the beautiful Galveston Island on the Gulf of Mexico Coast. Our school is located at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), where the original state medical school and school of nursing were established over 120 years ago, the oldest in the US west of the Mississippi river.

There is much to see during your 'virtual' visit to our campus. Whether you are a prospective student or faculty member, a current student or faculty member, an alumnus or a curious visitor, we have something that will be of use or of interest to you. We are proud of our rich and diverse cultural academic tradition here in Galveston, boasting a dynamic, research-intensive faculty, who pursue cutting-edge discoveries.

This website, our electronic brochure, is designed to provide you with information about the facilities, educational programs and services available in the GSBS. I personally welcome you and invite you to explore our school and our institution.

Giulio Taglialatela, PhD
Dean ad interim, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Lawrence J. Del Papa Distinguished Chair In Neurodegenerative Disease Research
Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurology
Director, Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology & Anatomy


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: www.utmb.edu/COVID-19. 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: https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/students-parents. 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.


  • GSBS Faculty

    Courses may be held using in-person and/or online teaching methods, as determined by the course director. Face-to-face classes should continue to adhere to room capacity requirements to allow for social distancing. For individuals with concerns attending class face-to-face, accommodations should be made with course directors to allow for attendance virtually. For questions or concerns, please contact any of the GSBS deans.

    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: https://www.utmb.edu/ar/academic-computing/learning-apps/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 mkpeek@utmb.edu or (409) 772-9143 as issues arise.

  • GSBS Trainees

    Courses may be held using in-person and/or online teaching methods, as determined by the course director. Face-to-face classes should continue to adhere to room capacity requirements to allow for social distancing. For individuals with concerns attending class face-to-face, accommodations should be made with course directors to allow for attendance virtually. For questions or concerns, please contact any of the GSBS deans.

    For students who have scheduled research meetings or defenses, we are utilizing social distancing strategies. 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. Janice Endsley, Associate Dean for Student Affairs ad interim, 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 those with graduate assistantships will be classified as essential employees and available to work in research laboratories. 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 in communication with you regarding course plans and instruction.

  • Message to Students from Provost (July 29, 2021)

    Click here to read the Delta Variant Message from the Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean, School of Medicine.

  • All GSBS Colleagues

    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 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. 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: https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients.

    • 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

    For telecommuting, information about logging into VPN and the required two-factor authentication is available at https://www.utmb.edu/is/divisions/operations/vpn-setup. 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

    Information about using Skype for videoconferencing is available at https://www.utmb.edu/sfb/. Those using UTMB equipment for telecommuting should ensure that you coordinate with your department administration and complete any necessary loan agreement forms.

  • GSBS Recruitment

    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 (lcteed@utmb.edu) 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 https://www.utmb.edu/gsbs/prospective-students/ps-home.

  • GSBS Office Support

    The Graduate School has transitioned to hybrid in-person/virtual support services for our faculty and trainees. Please be assured that our staff remain ready to assist you during standard business hours: Monday through Friday, 8 AM am-5 PM. Provided below is a listing of phone and email contacts where staff members may be reached.

    Graduate School Staff



    Claiborne Fant


    Rose Garcia


    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. Giulio Taglialatela


    Dr. Janice Endsley


    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.


GSBS Commencement 2021

View video of event

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.

Faculty Accolades

APTR has appointed Cara Pennel, DrPH, MPH to the Board of Governors of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). Dr. Pennel is Graduate Program Director for Public Health and Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine & Population Health at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Dr. Pennel will serve a three-year term. AJPM is the official journal of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy.

Kudos to Rebeca Wong, PhD, Associate Director of the Sealy Center on Aging, on her invitation to serve on the newly formed NIH Council of Councils Working Group on Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Integration. The panel of behavioral scientists and other community experts is tasked with providing recommendations on how to better integrate and realize the benefits to overall health from behavioral research at NIH.

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!

Candidacy Milestones

Congratulations to Nicole Lloyd for advancing to PhD candidacy! Nicole works under the supervision of Dr. Alexander Bukreyev in the Experimental Pathology program.

Congratulations to Claudia Di Gesù and Madison Tanner, who are now candidates for the PhD! Claudia works under the supervision of Dr. Shelly Buffington in the Neuroscience Program. Madison is in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Program, working with Dr. Casey Wright.

Congratulations to Jonathan Lin, who is now candidate for the PhD! Jonathan is in the Pharmacology and Toxicoloy Program, under the supervision of Dr. Massoud Motamedi.

Congratulations to Sean McNeme and Erick Palacios, who are now candidates for the PhD! Sean is in the Cell Biology Program, under the supervision of Dr. Kyong Choi. Erick is in the Neuroscience Program, working with Dr. Hua Liu.

Candidacy Milestones continued ...

Alumni News

Jesse Erasmus, PhD, a 2016 Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine program graduate, was featured this week in Newsweek. He is currently the director of Virology at HDT Bio, and acting assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Read more ...

Dr. Eric Carlsen (GSBS/SOM ‘16) recently joined the Duke Department of Pathology in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. #utmbalumni Read more ...

GSBS Alumnus Dr. Peter Nguyen (GSBS ’00 -PMCH) received a direct commission as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve at Post Acute Medical (PAM) Rehabilitation Hospital to give back to the service that saved him and his family’s life. Read more ...

Check out this great interview with UTMB Aerospace Medicine residency graduate Dr. Moriah Thompson (GSBS – MPH ’18), a flight surgeon with the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

UTMB alumna, Dr. Kanika Bowen-Jallow (SOM ’05 and GSBS/MMS ’09) makes history as the 9th Black female pediatric surgeon in the United States. Click here to view story on Good Morning America.

Dr. Carlos Orihuela (GSBS ’02 – M&I) has been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology.

February 11 was International Day of Women in Science and the International Labor Organization honored all the outstanding women and girls they encountered through their Dignity at Work Initiative. GSBS alumna Dr. Joan Nichols (’00 – M&I) and student Megan Mears were among some of the amazing women featured. View on Twitter

Alumni Faces in Outer Space Places ...
Meet Dr. Kjell Lindgren (GSBS '07 - MPH), a member of NASA's Artemis team.
Watch on YouTube

Trainee Accolades

Congratulations to the following GSBS students who were invited to participate in the NIH program called Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (eC3i) during the Summer 2021 academic term. This 10-week program is designed to teach scientists and startup owners the skills needed to succeed in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Parsa Arman
Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Program Year: 2nd Year Master’s Student
Mentor: Dr. Fernanda Laezza

Tim Baumgartner
Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Program Year: 2nd Year PhD Student
Mentor: Dr. Fernanda Laezza

Angela Mosebarger
Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Program Year: 2nd Year PhD/Presidential Scholar Student
Mentor: Dr. Fernanda Laezza

Congratulations to Adam Hage for being selected for the 2021 Careers in Immunology Fellowship from The American Association of Immunologists. This fellowship supports the career development of young scientists in immunological research and provides one year of salary support for a trainee in eligible mentor labs. Adam is a fifth-year PhD graduate student in the Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Program, and his mentor is Dr. Ricardo Rajsbaum, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Archived Accolades

Focus on Mentoring

Student Spotlight

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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

For Questions Regarding Graduate School Prerequisites, Admissions, and Postdoctoral Requirements: (409) 772-2666
Or Toll-free Number: (877) 425-4727

General Inquiries Email: gsbsrecr@utmb.edu

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