The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Graduate studies in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

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Welcome to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston graduate program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Our location in the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest biomedical center, provides an excellent research environment. Our program draws its faculty from 5 different departments at The University of Texas at Houston Medical School, as well as from UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the Texas A&M University Institute for Biosciences and Technology. The Program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics operates under bylaws which support the both growth of our program and our students. Our program faculty have diverse research interests and are internationally recognized leaders in their respective fields. Each of our laboratories is well-funded with research grants and is equipped with the resources necessary to offer state-of-the-art training opportunities. We assure our students financial aid in the form of Graduate Research Assistantships throughout graduate school. We share a high degree of commitment to graduate education, and we strive to provide courses that convey fundamental knowledge as well as the latest developments in the broadly defined areas of microbiology and molecular genetics. Beyond the classroom, we have numerous forums to keep abreast of the latest discoveries and to stimulate scientific discourse among students and faculty. These include weekly seminars by visiting scientists, student and faculty colloquia, and a variety of departmental and student journal clubs. Additionally, our location in the largest medical center in the world provides ample opportunity for discussion and collaboration with scientists with diverse interests. All of these factors have led to our consistently high ranking among microbiology and molecular genetics graduate programs and departments.

In the past decade, the biological sciences have undergone a revolution of unprecedented scale. This revolution, fueled in large part by studies in microbiology, is fast reshaping the way scientists approach the myriad biomedical and environmental issues confronting our society today. At the same time, microbiology still maintains its classical advantages - a wide variety of well-developed experimental approaches are available in the study of microbes, and many experiments can be completed in a relatively short time period. This makes microbiology especially well-suited for graduate student training. Our program faculty explore questions relevant to the following areas of modern microbiology:

  • Fundamental Life Processes

    Many genes and their activities are conserved among bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Our faculty exploit the many practical advantages of microbes to perform detailed mechanistic studies of a wide array of fundamental biological phenomena. These include gene expression, cell division, membrane biogenesis, macromolecular transport, multicellular development, and cellular differentiation. At the very core of research activities in our program is the characterization of signal transduction pathways and regulatory networks linking cellular or extracellular signals to behavioral responses via modulation of transcriptional or posttranscriptional events.
  • Microbial Pathogenesis

    Understanding virulence mechanisms is a major arm of medical research. Our faculty apply modern molecular genetic and biochemical technologies to understand the basis for infectious disease. Emphasis is placed on identifying and characterizing regulatory networks controlling virulence gene expression, virulence factor structure and function, mechanisms for dissemination of antibiotic resistance, and the host-pathogen interactions. Training in Microbial pathogenesis is supported by a training grant from the NIH