Summer research projects for undergraduates and Ph.D. fellowships in Microbiology/Infectious Disease Research are available within the world-famous 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 22 faculty mentors from three Houston educational institutions: The University of Texas Health Science Center at UTHealth, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Texas A&M University Institute for Biosciences and Technology. Currently, the program trains three Ph.D. students and eight undergraduate summer research students per year.
The overall purpose of the MBID training program is to provide the trainees:
- an optimal environment for training new scientists in the latest concepts and techniques in microbiological research
- a better understanding of current challenges in clinical infectious diseases
- the knowledge and tools to ‘bridge the gap’ between basic research and clinical applications
The basis of this training grant is the Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease group, which was first formed in 1996. MBID has developed into highly interactive group of over 100 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff from the Houston area whose primary interest is in the molecular pathogenesis of bacterial infections. The 22 faculty members that form the core of this training grant have a record of high research productivity and extensive collaborations. They have mentored over 200 predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees over the past ten years and currently are mentoring 25 Ph.D. students and 29 postdoctoral fellows.
The training program is based on strong core curricula, 10 advanced courses in pathogenesis, an intensive and interactive research experience, monthly MBID meetings and annual retreats, seminars and journal clubs, 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 summer research program and the MBID Ph.D. program. A major goal of the planned activities supported by this training grant is to provide undergraduate students and 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 training grant T32 AI55449 (09/15/2005–05/31/2021)
MBID Training Grant Faculty
MBID Training Grant Faculty and Their Research Interests
Click on the faculty member’s name for more information.
- Steven J. Norris, Ph.D. MBID Training Grant Co-Director; Pathogenic mechanisms of spirochetes and other invasive pathogens
- Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D. MBID Training Grant Co-Director; Genetics, physiology, and virulence gene regulation in Bacillus anthracis
- Cesar A. Arias, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D. Clinical and molecular aspects of antimicrobial resistance
- Peter J. Christie, Ph.D. Type IV secretion systems in bacterial pathogenesis
- Charles Darkoh, Ph.D., MS., MSc., Molecular mechanisms of Clostridium difficile-associated infections and irritable bowel syndrome
- Herbert L. DuPont, M.D. Enteric infectious diseases: their microbiology, immunology, genetic resistance, clinical features, control, prevention, and therapy
- 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
- Robert L. Hunter, M.D., Ph.D. Modulation of the host immune response by mycobacterial cell wall components
- Chinnaswamy Jagannath, Ph.D. Mycobacterial vaccines; host & pathogen factors affecting intracellular survival
- Heidi B. Kaplan, Ph.D. Cell-cell interactions and signal transduction in bacterial differentiation and biofilm formation
- Anne-Marie Krachler, Ph.D. Bacteria-host interactions and sensing reactions
- Dorothy E. Lewis, Ph.D. Immunology and pathogenesis of HIV, Cryptosporidium, M. tuberculosis and other infectious agents
- Ziyin Li, Ph.D. Cell cycle regulation in trypanosomes
- Michael C. Lorenz, Ph.D. Understanding the molecular basis of fungal infections
- Barbara E. Murray, M.D. Antimicrobial resistance and molecular pathogenesis of enterococci and other Gram-positive pathogens
- Timothy G. Palzkill, Ph.D. Structure-function properties of beta-lactamases; functional genomics
- Hung Ton-That, Ph.D. Molecular assembly on the cell surface of Gram-positive bacteria, bacterial pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions
- Stephen K. Tyring, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. Role of Human Papilloma Virus and other viruses in sexually transmitted diseases and squamous cell carcinogenesis; antiviral therapies and vaccines
- Rick A. Wetsel, Ph.D. Complement components and their receptors: role in inflammatory reactions and protective responses against microbial pathogens
- 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
2018 Micro-SURP Summer Undergraduate Research Program
Please visit the Micro-SURP main web page at:
- 40 hours/week of intensive, ‘hands-on’ research experience with a faculty member, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
- The opportunity to develop your own research project in microbiology/infectious diseases
- Participation in weekly Micro-SURP meetings which include tours of the Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research and the Memorial-Hermann Hospital Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, a discussion of the graduate school application process, graduate student presentations, and discussions with microbiology faculty and infectious disease physicians
- Weekly seminars with the UTHealth Summer Research Program and the Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Graduate Program
- Presentation of your results at the end of the program and the opportunity to include your work in publications and presentations at local and national meetings
- Located in the Texas Medical Center (the world’s largest medical complex) and the vibrant city of Houston with a plethora of entertainment, museums, sports, and outdoor activities
- This Program was initiated in 2005 as part of the Molecular Basis of Infectious Diseases (MBID) NIH-sponsored Training Grant. It has trained over 85 undergraduate students to date.
Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents. College sophomores, juniors and non-graduating seniors with GPAs of 3.3 and above will be considered. Students from groups underrepresented in science (including African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native, disabled or disadvantaged individuals) are encouraged to apply.
Complete the application form on the UTHealth GSBS Summer Research Program Website: https://utgsbs.embark.com/apply
The following items must be submitted online to complete the application process:
- Official or unofficial transcripts (if unofficial the printed page must indicate source of the document, i.e. name of school or registrar’s office, etc.)
- Two letters of recommendation (must come directly from the referees). Name and email information are needed to complete this section of your application. An email from the application system will be sent to these two people requesting them to submit their letters before the deadline. The letters may come from a professor, employer, volunteer director, etc.
- A personal statement is required at the end of the application. Please review the guidelines (located in the area before the Personal Statement block) and consider preparing your personal statement before beginning the application.
- Select up to five possible faculty mentors from the list above or the extended list here.
All materials (application, transcripts and letters of recommendation) are due by February 1, 2018.
Questions regarding Micro-SURP can be directed to Dr. Heidi Kaplan (Micro-SURP Director), Drs. Steven Norris and Theresa M. Koehler (MBID Training Grant Program Co-Directors), or Dr. Ambro Van Hoof (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Graduate Program Director).
We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Gilson Longenbaugh Foundation for this Program.
The MBID Training Grant currently sponsors three 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 resident alien
Candidates for MBID Training Grant positions will be reviewed and appointed annually. Please contact Dr. Norris for more information.