Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease (MBID) Research
Ph.D. fellowships in Microbiology/Infectious Disease Research are available within the world-renowned Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Our goal is to provide training in the latest technologies that will lead to a career in one of the most exciting and dynamic areas in science today.
The Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease (MBID) research training grant is an NIH-supported project consisting of 20 faculty mentors from several Houston educational institutions: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston), The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDA), Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas A&M University Institute for Biosciences and Technology (IBT), and Rice University. The program trains four Ph.D. students.
The overall purpose of the MBID training program is to:
- provide an optimal environment for training new scientists in the latest concepts and techniques in microbiological research;
- enhance the understanding among young scientists of current challenges in clinical infectious diseases;
- prepare students for research careers in which they contribute to and influence research efforts that lead to effective solutions for important infectious disease issues.
The basis of this training grant is the Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease group, which was first formed in 1996. MBID has developed into a highly interactive group of over 400 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research staff from the Houston area whose primary interest is in Infectious Disease research. The 20 faculty members that form the core of this training grant have a record of high research productivity and extensive collaborations. They have mentored over 180 predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral trainees over the past ten years and currently mentor dozens of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows.
The training program is based on strong core curricula, options of 10 advanced courses in pathogenesis, an intensive and interactive research experience, monthly MBID meetings and annual retreats, seminars and journal clubs, career and professional development activities, and experience in translational research and clinical infectious diseases. A network of universities has been established to aid in the recruitment of promising undergraduate students into the MBID Ph.D. program. A major goal of the planned activities supported by this training grant is to provide predoctoral microbiology candidates additional knowledge in clinical infectious diseases and translational research, thereby promoting the redirection of research toward the more rapid resolution of important infectious disease problems.
Supported by NIH/NIAID training grant T32 AI055449, recently renewed for a 3rd time from 08/2021-07/2026.
MBID Training Grant Faculty
- Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D. MBID Training Grant Director; genetics, physiology, and virulence gene regulation in Bacillus anthracis
- Michael C. Lorenz, Ph.D. MBID Training Grant Co-Director; understanding the molecular basis of fungal infections
- Robert Britton, Ph.D. Intestinal bacteria in health and disease
- Peter J. Christie, Ph.D. Type IV secretion systems in bacterial pathogenesis
- Charles Darkoh, Ph.D. Molecular mechanisms of Clostridium difficile-associated infections and irritable bowel syndrome
- Nicholas De Lay, Ph.D. Molecular mechanisms by which small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) regulate gene expression
- Danielle A. Garsin, Ph.D. C. elegans as a model host for understanding the genetics of bacterial infection
- Magnus Höök, Ph.D. Molecules of pathogens involved in adherence to host tissues, particularly the host extracellular matrix
- Julian Hurdle, Ph.D. Steering Committee, A&M-IBT representative; discovery and development of antimicrobials; antibiotic resistance
- Robert Jenq, M.D. Microbiome in cancer treatment
- Natasha Kirienko, Ph.D. Steering Committee, Rice representative; mechanisms used by C. elegans to defend itself against environmental and pathogenic stresses
- Anna Konovalova, Ph.D. Biogenesis and maintenance of bacterial cell surfaces
- Anne-Marie Krachler, Ph.D. Bacteria-host interactions and sensing reactions
- Ziyin Li, Ph.D. Cell cycle regulation in trypanosomes
- Anthony Maresso, Ph.D. Pathogenesis of bacterial infections
- Timothy G. Palzkill, Ph.D. Steering Committee, BCM representative; structure-function properties of beta-lactamases; functional genomics
- Joseph Petrosino, Ph.D. Metagenomics and genetic interactions between commensal microbiota and the host
- Samuel Shelburne, M.D., Ph.D. Steering Committee, MDA representative; interactions of basic metabolic processes and bacterial virulence
- Yi Xu, Ph.D. Host-pathogen interactions in Bacillus anthracis infection; bacterial activation of the actin cytoskeleton; bacterial breaching of the mucosal barrier
- Lynn Zechiedrich, Ph.D. Fluoroquinolone resistance in E. coli; DNA topoisomerases, DNA structure, and DNA topology; gene therapy
The MBID Training Grant currently sponsors four Ph.D. students per year. Training consists of intensive instruction and experience in microbiology, host-pathogen interactions, and principles of translational research. To be eligible, a student must fulfill the following criteria:
- Member in good standing in a Ph.D. graduate program, and completed their first year of study
- Ph.D. student with one of the MBID Training Grant Faculty
- Research project in microbial pathogenesis
- United States citizen or permanent resident
For full details of the benefits and obligations of the MBID Fellowship, as well as application instructions and materials, please visit the Gulf Coast Consortia website.
Candidates for MBID Training Grant positions will be reviewed and appointed annually. Please contact Dr. Theresa M. Koehler for more information.
The MBID Training Grant sponsors an annual research retreat every January. For more information and to see previous retreats, visit our MBID Retreat page.