The Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Institute of Biosciences and Technology
Houston, Texas

Texas A&M University, founded in 1876, is the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state. The Texas A&M University campus in College Station, 90 miles north of Houston, has roughly 50,000 undergraduates and more than 7,000 graduate students. The Institute of Biosciences and Technology, with the College of Medicine in College Station and the Baylor Dental School in Dallas, is part of the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center.

The IBT has approximately 50 Ph.D students, including students from various departments on the Texas A&M College Station campus, the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), and international institutions. The IBT graduate students are part of the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and interact with fellow students within the GSBS program at College Station, Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, and the School of Rural and Public Health in College Station through yearly graduate student symposia and other organized group events. An umbrella Graduate Student Organization governs the IBT’s graduate student population.

The Location and Community
Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city, is located close to the Texas gulf coast and has a tropical climate most of the year. Houston is a cosmopolitan city with superb cultural assets, including world-class theater, opera, symphony, and ballet and wonderful and varied museums. Sports fans can attend major league baseball (Houston Astros), basketball (Houston Rockets and the Comets), American football (Houston Texans), or ice hockey (Houston Aeros) games. Houston is a major venue for concerts in all areas of music and is proud to offer outstanding restaurants reflecting the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity. Houston is also the home of the annual Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show, one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Houston’s proximity to Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico (45 miles) makes the beach quite accessible, as is ocean fishing. Other outdoor opportunities within Texas include the cypress swamps and Big Thicket State Park of eastern Texas, the hill country of central Texas, dramatic canyons, and the high desert and mountains of Big Bend National Park.

Programs of Study and Degree Requirements
The Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) offers a program of study that leads to a Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences. Incoming students learn the guiding principles of how to conduct biomedical research. An individually tailored curriculum is designed to ensure that each student acquires the necessary theoretical background and appropriate knowledge and skills. Through frequent interaction with fellow students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members, the students share in the excitement of making scientific discoveries and learn to design and develop successful research programs. The development of the student is closely monitored during the course of the program.

The IBT is organized around focused centers, which include the Center for Cancer Biology and Nutrition (CCBN), Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine (CEGM), Center for Extracellular Matrix Biology (CEMB), Center for Genome Research (CGR), Center for Molecular Development and Diseases, and the W. M. Keck Center for Informatics. Areas of faculty research expertise within these centers include protein structure and function; RNA and DNA structure and function; molecular basis of genetic disease; structure-function relationships between growth factors and their receptors; elucidation and regulation of signal transduction cascades; transcription factors and growth and development; environmental and genetic impact on fetal growth and development; biosynthesis, function, and organization of the extracellular matrix; developmental and genetic aspects of congenital heart disease; and vaccine development against pathogenic bacteria.

Research groups at the IBT utilize a variety of experimental approaches and systems for solving questions of biomedical importance. These include protein engineering, X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, enzymology, molecular biology, microscopy, molecular genetics, conventional and conditional gene knockouts in the mouse and the development of transgenic mouse lines, mouse developmental biology, human genetics, and yeast genetics.

Facilities & Resources
The IBT occupies an eleven-floor research building, which was completed in 1991, in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The IBT is a modern research facility with state-of-the-art equipment resources, in addition to spacious laboratories and transgenic facilities. The IBT is a member of the Texas Medical Center, along with Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, and the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The IBT shares the Texas Medical Center Library, which is centrally located within the Texas Medical Center.

Expenses and Aid
The total cost of tuition and fees is approximately $4400 per fiscal year. Tuition payments are made by the IBT, as well as other insurance options that are available to graduate students.

Financial Aid:
Graduate assistantships are available, currently with stipends of $22,000 per year.

Housing/Living Expenses:
The Texas Medical Center is adjacent to excellent neighborhoods that offer affordable housing opportunities. A typical one-bedroom apartment or shared apartment rents for between $500 and $800 per month.

How to Apply
Applications for entry in the fall semester are requested to arrive no later than February 1. Typically, students are notified of their acceptance shortly after March 1 and are expected to respond by April 1 at the latest. Students applying to the IBT should have a strong undergraduate background in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, and/or molecular biology. Strong letters of recommendation indicating academic excellence, personal maturity, and exceptional motivation and interest in the experimental sciences are an important part of the application. In addition, previous research experience is considered favorably. IBT also requires GRE General Test scores, in addition to TOEFL/TWE scores for all international applicants.

Who to Contact
Graduate Program Director
Institute of Biosciences and Technology
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
2121 West Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77030-3303

Fax: 713-677-7725

Web Site Home Page

Faculty and Research
• Brad A. Amendt, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Iowa, 1994. Molecular and biochemical mechanisms of gene expression during embryogenesis; molecular basis of genetic disorders and homeobox genes.

• M. Gabriela Bowden, Research Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1999. Microbial proteins; structure, function, and role in pathogenesis.

• Richard H. Finnell, Professor and Director; Ph.D., Oregon, 1980. Gene-environment interactions mediating susceptibility to birth defects.

• Frederick S. Gimble, Associate Professor; Ph.D., MIT, 1987. Protein structure and function; protein-DNA interactions; protein engineering.

• Weiman He, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Maryland, Baltimore, 1997. Nuclear hormone receptor PPAR? and its role in the occurrence and treatment of obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.

• Magnus Höök, Professor; Ph.D., Uppsala (Sweden), 1974. Extracellular matrix biology; cell surface receptors; microbial pathogenesis; protein-protein interactions.

• Mingyao Liu, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Maryland College Park, 1992. GTPases; G-protein-coupled receptors; molecular basis of signal transduction; mechanism of human stem cell proliferation and differentiation.

• James F. Martin, Associate Professor; M.D., 1986, Ph.D., 1995, Texas-Houston Health Science Center. Homeobox genes; vertebrate embryogenesis; mouse genetics; birth defects.

• Wallace L. McKeehan, Professor; Ph.D., Texas at Austin, 1970. Cytokine-receptor interactions, apoptosis, and tumor suppression in cell and mouse models of prostate and liver cancer.

• Laura E. Mitchell, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 1991. Genetic epidemiology of birth defects; maternal genetic effects; statistical genetics.

• Vladimir Potaman, Research Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 1981. DNA structure and interaction with ligands; structural effects in DNA replication, repair, and transcription.

• Stephen H. Safe, Distinguished Professor; D.Phil., Oxford, 1966. Mechanism of estrogen-induced gene expression; mechanisms of Ah receptor-estrogen receptor crosstalk; development of drugs for treating multiple cancers; PPAR? agonists; endocrine disruptors.

• Robert Schwartz, Professor and Associate Director; Ph.D., Pennsylvania, 1972. Molecular development and disease related to gene networks and drug discovery.

• Richard R. Sinden, Professor and Associate Director; Ph.D., Georgia, 1978. Alternative DNA structures, molecular mechanisms of spontaneous mutagenesis, and DNA repeat-associated human neurodegenerative diseases.

• Robert Y.-L. Tsai, Assistant Professor, M.D., National Taiwan, 1988; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 1996. Molecular mechanism controlling stem cell and cancer cell self-renewal: implications in tissue regeneration, normal aging, and tumor recurrence.

• Fen Wang, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Clarkson, 1994. Structure and function of fibroblast growth factors and receptors in prostate cancer, birth defects, and neuron regeneration; mouse molecular genetics; cooperation between extopic FGFR1 and depression of FGFR2 signaling in induction of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia in mouse prostate.

• Kishore K. Wary, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., North Eastern Hill (India), 1989. Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, vascular biology, and angiogenesis.

• Robert D. Wells, Professor; Ph.D., Pittsburgh, 1964. DNA structure, triplet repeats, and human hereditary neuromuscular disease.

• Yi Xu, Research Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1998. Pathogenic bacteria surface proteins; roles in pathogenesis and host interactions.

The Joint Faculty and Their Research
• Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Cytokines; chemoprevention; cell signaling; NF-kappaB; apoptosis; natural products.

• Benoit de Crombrugghe, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Cell fate determination and cell differentiation in bone and cartilage.

• Rena N. D'Souza, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Research, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Dental Branch. Molecular and genetic determinants of patterning and matrix formation during craniofacial, oral, and dental development.

• K. C. Donnelly, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University. Exposure assessment and risk assessment of complex environmental mixtures.

• Xin-Hua Feng, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine. TGF-ß/SMAD signaling in cell-growth control; tissue differentiation and tumorigenesis.

• Stanley Glasser, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor and Professor Emeritus, Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine. Embryo-endometrial interactions; in vitro models; environmental disruptors.

• Mikio Kan, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Board, Central Research Laboratories, Zeria Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. A role of heparan sulfate for interaction of FGF and FGF receptor.

• Alexandre A. Kolomenski, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Department of Physics, Texas A&M University. Biosensors, single molecule fluorescence detection, laser spectroscopy, and nano labeling of biomolecules.

• Richard Mayne, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Structure, function, and pathophysiology of extracellular matrix.

• John C. Pérez, Ph.D., Regents Professor and Director, Natural Toxins Research Center (NTRC), Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Disintegrins found in snake venoms and their role in blocking normal function of integrins on cells.

• James C. Sacchettini, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Physics, Texas A&M University. Structure and function analysis of proteins using X-ray crystallography; protein-lipid interactions; rational drug design on tuberculosis; enzymes in nucleotide metabolism.

• Vivek Sharma, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Affinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Structure-based drug discovery against infectious pathogens; cofactor biosynthesis; ATP-dependent translocases.

• Richard E. Wainerdi, Ph.D., President and CEO, Texas Medical Center; PE. Radioanalytical and microanalytical chemistry.

• Jianming Xu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine. Use of transgenic and knockout mouse models in combination with cell-culture systems to study the normal and pathological roles and molecular mechanisms of several oncogenic transcriptional coregulators in breast and prostate cancers and in normal development and organ function.

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