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Patient-Based Biological Research

There has been a recent explosion of knowledge in the basic biomedical sciences and the underlying pathophysiology of many diseases. Insuring that this knowledge will be translated into improvements in human health in a timely and effective manner now requires interdisciplinary teams of laboratory scientists, physicians, statisticians and others with an in-depth understanding of fundamental biological mechanisms as well as the training to rigorously apply this knowledge to research performed in a clinical context. To this end, GSBS faculty members have developed new training opportunities in patient-based biological research. The program is designed for individuals with a broad range of interests, including basic laboratory scientists preparing for careers in translational research and physicians who wish to rigorously apply state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and research approaches to patient-based investigation.

The objective of the degree program is to provide a unique and exemplary training curriculum designed for those individuals who wish to become scholars in research pertaining directly to the human model. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and leads to the M.S. and/or Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. Trainees have the flexibility to design a course of study and to select a research project that best meets their individual career goals. Students will be expected to rigorously demonstrate mastery of basic biomedical sciences, based primarily upon a research project using data obtained in a patient-based setting, including patient-derived material, analysis of outcomes, analysis of therapeutic effects and mechanisms or other human data. As such, trainees will receive comprehensive instruction in all aspects of patient-oriented research, including design of clinical investigational studies, optimization of translational endpoints, biostatistics, epidemiology and ethical and regulatory issues specific to research done in human beings in addition to rigorous training in the biomedical sciences expected of all GSBS graduates.

Requirements and Procedures

Requirements for the M.S. Degree

  • Minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework
  • Successful completion of the Ethical Dimensions of the Biomedical Sciences course
  • One semester of Thesis for Master of Science
  • Any additional advanced coursework required by the student's advisory or supervisory committees

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

  • Minimum of 54 credit hours
  • Successful completion of the Ethical Dimensions of Biomedical Science course
  • Any required tutorial rotations or general area requirements
  • Advanced coursework required by the advisory or supervisory committees

Students may petition for waiver of M.S. and Ph.D. requirements based upon prior coursework in medical, graduate or other professional schools and/or research experience. 

Curriculum for Specialized Training in Patient-Based Biological Research

The following courses are available to provide the specialized training necessary to conduct patient-based research of the highest quality in an ethical manner. Students interested in a career in patient-based research are strongly encouraged to take all of the available courses.

CourseNameHoursDirector
GS21 1132Human Protocol Research2Filip Janku, M.D., Ph.D.
GS21 1232Translational Sciences: From Bedside to the Bench and Back2Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D.
GS21 1011Seminars in Clinical Cancer Research1Emil Freireich, M.D.
GS21 1031Seminars in Clinical Cancer Treatment1Emil Freireich, M.D.
GS01 1014Biomedical Statistics
(Required only for Ph.D. students)
4Shouhao Zhou, Ph.D.
GS21 1142Writing Scientific Research Articles for Publication2Mark Picus, Ph.D
GS21 1102Ethics in Clinical Trials Research2David Hong, M.D.
GS21 1121Resources and Methods for Analysis of Patient-Derived Samples1Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D.
GS01 1813Topics in Clinical Trials 
(Required only for Ph.D. students)
3J. Jack Lee, Ph.D.
GS21 1613Translational Cancer Research3Robert Bast, M.D.

The degree is offered through the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  Students with questions about admissions requirements or procedures should contact the Office of Admissions. Students who have already matriculated should contact Dr. Razelle Kurzrock or Dr. Emil Freireich. 

Admissions Information for the M.S. or Ph.D. programs can be found on the UT-H GSBS website.

With the permission of the dean, interested individuals may audit any GSBS course(s) or enroll for full academic credit as a non-degree student. In the latter case, students who subsequently enroll in a GSBS degree program may transfer academic credits toward degree requirements with the approval of the respective course directors.

Tutorials may also be in a patient-based setting and involve clinical material, clinical outcomes or translational studies.

 For further information, contact:

Jene' Reinartz
Translational Research Administrator
Office of Translational Research
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
(713) 792-8613
jreinartz@mdanderson.org


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center