Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Alumni

UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Class of 2019

Alumni Letter - April 2020

I hope that this message finds you all safe and healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a significant disruption in our lives, and, like many/most of you, I am working from home trying to maintain the GSBS focus on our trainees and protecting the precious research programs across the university. Members of our community are trying to cope with the loss of a family member’s income, managing their children’s education at home as schools are shuttered, and feeling isolation from being cut off from our normal routines. For now, this is the new normal.

Here at UTMB, we are taking steps to keep students moving forward toward their advanced degrees. UTMB shifted all “in person” instruction to online formats effective March 23rd. Classes, small group discussions, and degree candidates’ advisory committee meetings and dissertation defenses are occurring by Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or other online tools. We credit the faculty for stepping up and finishing this academic term with online content and group sessions with only one week’s notice. For this year’s graduates, the GSBS is planning for a “virtual commencement” and hope that there may be an opportunity for a “in person” ceremony in late summer.

We are also proud of our trainees who have quickly adjusted to the new online format and others who have answered the call for volunteer efforts. At UTMB, there is much infectious disease research on SARS CoV-2, a high throughput screening assay, and an innovative quantitative antibody assay that will be essential for SARS CoV-2 vaccine development and other applications. A call for student volunteers to assist with COVID testing went out and sixty trainees volunteered immediately. Other students are working on providing public health education about the virus and preventive health measures. These students are on the path to becoming successful scientists and alumni, following in your footsteps.

We are committed to you as alumni and want to hear from you about your experiences during this time. This past week, the Texas State Historical Association released an eBook containing a collection of epidemic-related entries to the Handbook of Texas Medicine of which GSBS alumna and faculty member, Dr. Heather Green Wooten, is Project Director. The book contains many UTMB-related topics, including a history of the medical school, the Galveston National Laboratory and the Bubonic Plague Epidemic of 1920. The free eBook may be requested via the following link: If you have any news you would like to share, please let us know.

This will likely become one of the defining events in our lifetimes. We encourage you to stay connected and continue to provide support and assistance to GSBS students and postdocs. Please consider joining our new alumni connect mentoring website, joining the alumni association, and supporting our fund-raising efforts. For updates on UTMB’s COVID-19 response, please visit the institutional website accessible via the following link:

The day will come soon when we can once again enjoy the company of our friends, colleagues, and co-workers in person. For now, stay safe and let’s take care of ourselves and each other. I am confident that we will get through this challenging time together.

David W. Niesel, PhD
Dean, GSBS

GSBS Associates Officers and Executive Board Members

Alumni Home page

The UTMB GSBS Associates was established by alumni in 1996 to advance the cause of graduate education, to promote the interest of the institution and to encourage participation of all alumni in activities of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Other purpose are:
  • To assist the GSBS with identification and recruitment of outstanding and diverse students.
  • To foster and facilitate fellowship and communication between and among present and former students, faculty and staff members.
  • To promote excellence in research and patient care by communicating information about and hosting educational events.
  • To inform the Associates' membership of current GSBS student, faculty and staff achievements and activities at UTMB.
  • To recommend to the appropriate committee outstanding GSBS alumni who should be considered for annual recognition awards.

Bylaws: GSBS Executive Committee By-Laws

Meeting Minutes: Archived GSBS Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Be a part of our new "Be One, Bring One!" alumni challenge! Want to get an exclusive UTMB Health Alumni Challenge coin? It's easy … once you have renewed or joined the alumni association, challenge an alumnus who is not a current member to join as well. With their paid membership, you will receive an exclusive UTMB Health Alumni Challenge Coin!

For more information call us at (888) 862-7111


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This program is designed to match GSBS students and postdocs seeking career assistance with GSBS alumni volunteer mentors. Alumni may volunteer to help with things like industry connections, resume/CV preparation, job negotiation skills, advice for relocating in their area, whether or not to undertake a postdoc position and other career-related topics. A initial survey permits alumni volunteers to set their own contact parameters, with an annual commitment renewal.Click above to volunteer today.


McClintic, James - Curricular Innovation in the Surgery Clerkship: Can Assessment Methods Influence Development of Critical Thinking and Clinical Skills
Salameh, Habeeb - Upcoding In Medicare Population: Evolving Frequencies Of Comorbidities Among Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


Aguirre, Jose - Neonatal Immune Challenge Followed By Adult Immune Challenge Induces Epigenetic-Susceptibility To Aggravated Visceral Hypersensitivity
Hundeshagen, Gabriel - Co-Administration Of Vancomycin and Piperacillin-Tazobactam is Associated with Increased Renal Dysfunction in Adult and Pediatric Burn Patients


Cromer, Courtney - Characterization of a Recombinant Chimeric Yellow Fever 17D Vaccine - Dengue-4 Virus


Faz, Antonio - No Smoking Por Vapor! Systematic Literature Review Examining the Attitudes Toward, Beliefs About, Perceived Risks And Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes and Toward Their Use Among United States Youth
Levin, Dana - A Systematic Review of The Effects of Heat Stress on Human Psychological Performance in Uncooled Sealed Environment Suits
Morgan, Joshua - Nonprofit Hospital Community Benefits: The Effect of Needs Assessment Quality and Monetary Input on Health Outcomes
Pavela, James - Melanoma in the U.S. Astronaut Corps
Rodriguez-Jimenez, Wilfredo - First Aid Kit and Emergency Medical Kit Onboard Commercial Aircraft: A Comparative Study of American, European, Indian, Indonesian, Emirati, and Canadian Civil Aviation Regulations
Rubinstein, Rebecca - Social Support and Viral Reactivation in U.S. and Foreign-Born Mexican Americans
Shirafkan, Ali - Risk Factors and Epidemiologic Characteristics of Post Procedural Acute Kidney Injury in Patients from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP)
Snell, Johnae - Can Badges in Gamified Systems Promote Weight-Related Behavior Change?
Suresh, Rahul - Dysrhythmias in Laypersons During Centrifuge-Simulated Suborbital Spaceflight


Drake, Justin - Biophysical Mechanisms of Intrinsic Protein Disorder: Lessons from a Protein Backbone Model
Garron, Tania - Human DPP4/CD26 Transgenic Mice as Surrogate Models for MERS
Hsu, Jim - Regulation of the FGF14: Nav Interactome by a GSK-3 Centered Pathway
Ijaz, Talha - Fibroblasts: Key Cells In Inflammation And Fibrosis
Kemme, Catherine - Complexity Of Transcription Factor Target Search: Effect Of DNA Natural Decoys And DNA Methylation Through Interplay With Methyl-CpG-Binding Proteins On Transcription Factor DNA Association
Nutter, Curtis - Mechanisms Of Dysregulated Alternative Splicing In Cardiac And Skeletal Muscle Under Diabetic Conditions
Sheller-Miller, Samantha - Feto-Maternal Exosome Characterization, Trafficking And Function During Pregnancy And Parturition
Speidel , Jordan - Genetic Determinants Of ABCB1 Promoter Activity And Their Effects On Environmental Exposure


Loresto, Jr., Figaro - Exploring The Use Of Social Network Analysis On Physician Networks Created From Medicare Data Through Studying The Use Of Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsy Among Physicians: Descriptions, Regressions, And Network Models


Chen, Feidi - Neutrophil Regulation Of Colitis
Koo, Sue-Jie - Understanding And Modulating Macrophage Metabolism For Improving Inflammatory Functions Against Trypanosoma Cruzi Infection
Silvas, Jesus - Hijacking Of Cellular Pathways By Novel Tick-Borne Phlebovirus
Smalley, Claire - The Activation Of The Inflammasome During Rickettsial Infection
Xu, Guang - Elucidation Of Mechanisms Of Host Immunity Against Orientia Tsutsugamushi In A Newly Developed Murine Model


Andersson, Jourdan - Combating Plague: Fighting A War On Two Fronts Through Vaccine Design And New Therapeutic Intervention
Muruato, Laura - Optimization Of Burkholderia Glycoconjugate Vaccines: A Reverse Vaccinology Approach
Soto, Claudia - Protein-Protein Interactions With Serotonin G Protein Coupled Receptors: Novel Targets For Neurotherapeutics Drug Discovery


Waters, Rebecca - Healthcaring’: Learning To Resist The Logic Of Letting Go Through Art-Based Curriculum In A Student-Run Free Clinic


Carpio Rojas, Victor - Regulation Of Adaptive Immune Responses To Plasmodium Chabaudi Malaria Infection
Collins, Natalie - Contributions Of Structural And Non-Structural Genes To The Attenuation Of The 17D Vaccine
Farris, Tierra - Ehrlichia Chaffeensis TRP32 Is A Nuclemodulin That Directly Regulates Host Gene Expression And Post-Translational Modifications Determine Its Localization And Function
Fitts, Eric - Novel Virulence Factors In The Pathogenesis Of Yersinia Pestis Infection, The Causative Agent Of Plague
Kautz, Tiffany - Characterization Of A Low-Fidelity Live-Attenuated Vaccine For Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus
Swetnam, Daniele - The Role Of Long Distance Movement And Genetic Adaptation In The Evolution On West Nile Virus In The New World
Vega, Stephanie - Development Of A Three-Dimensional Bioengineered Human Lung Model To Study Pathogenesis Of Lung Disease
Wan, Xianxiu - Sirt1 Activation Improves Heat Function Through Inhibition Of Inflammation In Chagas Disease
Wang, Jia - The Role Of E6 Protein In Human Papillomavirus Associated Upper Airway Diseases
Woolsey, Courtney - Post-Exposure Treatment Of Marburg Angola Virus Disease Using Recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Viruses (rVSVs)


Briley, David - Epigenetic Regulation Of Neurogenesis In Non-Demented Humans With Alzheimer'S Disease Neuropathology
Comerota, Michele - Near Infrared Light To Promote Synaptic Resilience To Alzheimer’S Disease Neuropathology
Cortez, IbDanelo - Analysis Of Adult Neurogenesis And Hippocampus-Dependent Memory In Mouse Models For Aging, Alzheimer’S Disease And Cranial Irradiation-Induced Neuroinflammation   
Crofton, Elizabeth - Cellular Mechanisms Of Environmental Enrichment: Novel Discovery-Based Strategies For Target Identification For Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Randolph, Anita - Neuropathological Alterations After Smoke Inhalation Injury, With And Without Skin Burn


Draper, Rosana - Comparing Diabetes Self-Care Activities And Health Promotion Lifestyles Among South Asian Women With New And Established Type 2 Diabetes Diagnoses
Kwarteng-Amaning, Veronica - An Exploratory Study Of The Impact Of The Baby And Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI) In Previously Incarcerated Mothers
Lewin, Edna - Health Literacy And Psychiatric Hospital Readmissions
Ogoh, Nkechi - Effectiveness Of A Fall Prevention Educational Program For Long-Term Care Nursing Staff
Ordonez, Mary - Perceived Activity Benefits And Barriers In Patients Diagnosed With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Between 18 And 44 Years Of Age: A Pilot Study
Pitts, Kathleen - Maternal Reflective Functioning, Parental Beliefs, And Parenting Stress Of Mothers In A Residential Treatment Program
Williams, Abiola - Cross-Cultural Views Of Dementia: A Focus On African Americans, Asians, Caucasians And Hispanics


Al-Enazy, Sanaalarab - Targeted Prednisolone-Loaded Nanoparticles As A Potential Anti-Inflammatory Therapy For Severe Persistent Asthma During Pregnancy
Mirfattah, Barsam - PICALM Regulates The Glucose-Fatty Acid Energy Switch And Histone Propionylation
Phillips, Ches'Nique - Upregulation Of Cystathionine-β-Synthase In Colonic Epithelia Reprograms Metabolism And Promotes Carcinogenesis
Wild, Christopher - Design, Synthesis, And Pharmacological Characterization Of Serotonin (5-HT) 5-HT2C Receptor (5-HT2CR) Positive Allosteric Modulators


Buschmann, Robert - Does Context Matter To ACEs? The Role Of State Economic Context And Selected State Policies In Childhood Adversit
Fang, Xiao - Joint Models For Longitudinal Analysis And Competing Risks In Survival Analysis


Hay, Catherine - The Impact Of Gender, Age, And Performance On Stroke Survivors’ Goal Conceptualization, Prioritization, And Attainment
Kulkarni, Kshitija - Effect Of Obesity On Outcomes Following Total Hip/Total Knee Arthroplasty Among Medicare Beneficiaries With Osteoarthritis


Fitts, Eric - Novel Virulence Factors In The Pathogenesis Of Yersinia Pestis Infection, The Causative Agent Of Plague
Hsu, Jim - Regulation Of The FGF14: Nav Interactome By A GSK-3 Centered Pathway
Ijaz, Talha - Fibroblasts: Key Cells In Inflammation And Fibrosis

GSBS Alumni Calendar

Greetings from the GSBS Associates

Dr. Vicente Santa Cruz and Dr. Langford welcome new students at the Community of Scholars ceremony.Dr. Shannon Langford, President of the GSBS Associates Executive Committee, will welcome new incoming GSBS students at the Introduction to Community of Scholars ceremony. Pictured with Dr. Langford is Dr. Vicente Santa Cruz, Past President of the GSBS Associates Executive.

Distinguished GSBS Alumni Wall - Health Education Center

HEC Wall of  GSBS Alumni

Community of Scholars

The open book symbolizes these unifying ideals of the Community of Scholars: GSBS Community of Scholars

  • Recognition of scholarly works as the culmination and the product of research.
  • Respect for the authors of those works as members of a group which adheres to known standards of honesty and integrity.
  • Encouragement of the freedom to pursue an idea within those standards, and
  • Acceptance of the responsibility and the privilege to share knowledge with colleagues and with the public.