Our overall goal is to promote the development of research trainees and faculty, and their progression through research-intensive careers through the recruitment and retention of excellent workforce members who represent the communities we serve, through coordinating and developing educational programs, and to determine the impact of research education and training activities at MD Anderson.
Our activities include:
- Developing and implementing institutional recruitment strategies for trainees
- Developing curricula, workshops, and courses for diverse careers in research
- Developing mentor skills programs
- Engaging faculty involvement in mentorship and teaching activities
- Supporting the career development of faculty from early-stage investigators to leaders
- Identifying metrics and key performance indicators for outcomes of research education and training
Paolo Mangahas, Ph.D.
Education & Training
Paolo Mangahas is a director in the Division of Education & Training and is responsible for the overall coordination of research education and training activities at MD Anderson, developing and analyzing key performance indicators of research education, and growing multifaceted support for research trainees. Paolo earned his Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and pursued postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine. He was a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Science to Business Fellow at the University of Alberta where he earned his MBA. Paolo has extensive experience in large-scale research project management, grant development and administration, and departmental operations at academic medical centers. In his current role, he serves on the leadership team in Education & Training, steers overall program planning, and builds systems and platforms that enable implementation of these programs throughout the institution. Paolo has been at MD Anderson since 2017 and assumed his current role in November 2019.
Ryan Udan, Ph.D.
Program Director, Academic Operations
Office for Postdoctoral Fellows
Ryan Udan joined MD Anderson as the program director for the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows in November 2021. He was previously a Ph.D. student working at MD Anderson where he discovered hippo in a genetic screen and demonstrated its role in regulating proliferation arrest and apoptosis. Ryan continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine supported by a fellowship from the American Heart Association. He then became a K12 REACH IRACDA fellow and gained teaching experience at Prairie View A&M University. After his postdoc, Ryan moved Missouri State University, where he taught undergraduate and master's students in the Department of Biology. He ran an NIH-funded lab that focused on cardiovascular development and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Ryan returned to MD Anderson to support the education and training of postdoctoral fellows by providing resources, opportunities, educational programming, and career and academic advising to its trainees.
Recruitment & Special Programs
Briana Mohan joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in January 2023 as a program manager in the Division of Education and Training. She relocated to Houston from New Orleans, where she most recently created institution-wide career support for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at Tulane University. In addition, she has been an elected officer and leader of the Graduate Career Consortium. Previously, Briana worked in a variety of academic advising, program management, and instructional roles, including at the University of Texas, Austin, and Tulane University. She has a particular commitment to people who have been historically excluded from educational and professional opportunities and enjoys helping to bring about needed change in these areas. Originally from Austin, Texas, she earned a BA in English, with a concentration in Black Studies, from Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania and an MA in English from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Operations & Grant Support
Heather Brien is the program manager for the institution’s Training Grants & Fellowships Office. She has 20+ years of experience in the non-profit and state sectors and 15+ years of managing federal and private sponsored awards. She has served as lead grant administrator for numerous sponsored programs, including T32 training grants, career development (K) awards, fellowship (F) awards, research (R) grants, and center (P) grants. Prior to joining MD Anderson in September 2021, Heather was at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and administered projects in the Departments of Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Anesthesiology, Ophthalmology and the Clinical Cancer Center. She handled all aspects of pre- and post-award grant management, in addition to managing the department’s grants database as well as a small clinical trial portfolio. As manager of the training grants office, Heather focuses on streamlining processes related to grant preparation and helping students, postdocs, faculty and administrators understand the entire process from application to award management and closeout of education and training awards.
Operations & Grant Support
As our program coordinator, Lotis Batan assists with multiple aspects of department operations. She joined MD Anderson in 2019 and has extensive experience with administrative and business processes at MD Anderson, including event scheduling, purchasing, managing financials, and HR-related tasks. Lotis has a deep interest in education and has assisted postdocs with various administrative tasks and managed logistics for in-person and virtual Graduate School of Biomedical Science classes. She comes from an education background and served as an elementary school science teacher for 16 years. Lotis assumed her current role in January 2023.