Health Science Center’s M.D./Ph.D. Program in top 6 nationally

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 2, 2013) — The M.D./Ph.D. Program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has achieved a high national ranking because of its students’ achievements, representatives of the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences announced today.

The Health Science Center program ranks in the top six among 109 U.S. programs based on percentage of students supported by highly competitive National Institutes of Health (NIH) F30 fellowships, said José E. Cavazos, M.D., Ph.D., assistant dean in both schools and director for the M.D./Ph.D. Program. “The terrific success of our dual-degree students is in part due to a very insightful workshop offered to the students and reflects the nurturing research environment of the Health Science Center,” Dr. Cavazos said.

Six students out of 30 in the M.D./Ph.D. Program benefit from NIH F30 fellowship grants called the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards. Kirschstein Awards support individuals pursuing Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees and other dual-degree combinations such as the Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) and Ph.D. A seventh M.D./Ph.D. student has a fellowship from NIH called the F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award.

“Much of the credit here belongs to Dr. Linda McManus, Ph.D., director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, who leads the workshop that helps train our students to develop competitive fellowship applications,” said David S. Weiss, Ph.D, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and vice president for research at the Health Science Center.

According to the NIH, participating institutes award the fellowships to qualified applicants with the potential to become productive, independent, highly trained physician-scientists and other clinician-scientists, including patient-oriented researchers in their scientific mission areas. These future investigators will have both clinical knowledge and skills in basic, translational or clinical research.

Five students who are pursuing D.D.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the Health Science Center also have the coveted NIH F30 fellowships, Dr. Cavazos said.

Competition is fierce to get into the M.D./Ph.D. Program, where students are fully supported for the duration of their training, typically eight years. “The accomplishments of our students have led to a surge of high-quality applications from across the nation,” Dr. Cavazos said. “More than 170 applications were received for the five first-year M.D./Ph.D. positions in the 2014 enrollment cycle.”

“M.D./Ph.D. graduates are clinician scientists translating discoveries from the bench to the bedside, and are inspired by clinical insights that translate into better experimental design for biomedical discovery,” said Francisco González-Scarano, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at the Health Science Center.

The M.D./Ph.D. Program receives funding from the Health Science Center President’s Office, the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and several endowments at the Health Science Center, including the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowment, the Brackenridge Foundation Endowment, the Greehey Family Foundation Endowment and the Harry F. Adler, M.D., Ph.D., Endowment.

For more information about the M.D./Ph.D. Program, visit


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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