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Dr. Frei Named Next Program Director for the Translational Science Ph.D. Program

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Author: Translational Science Ph.D. program | Category: Of Interest | Translational Science (Ph.D.) | August 21, 2015

Dr. Christopher Frei was recently chosen to succeed Dr. Michael Lichtenstein as the next program director for the Translational Science (TS) Ph.D. program.

The TS Ph.D. program is a joint program offered by four institutions in the University of Texas (UT) System: the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, the UT San Antonio, the UT Austin, and the UT School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus.

The TS Ph.D. program recruits applicants with health professional doctoral degrees or health-related Master’s degrees, and trains them to conduct innovative translational research. The program admitted its first class in fall 2012 and celebrated its first graduate in fall 2014. Dr. Frei was the supervising professor for the program’s first graduate.

Dr. Frei is “deeply honored to serve the program and its students as program director.” He is also “very grateful for the leadership of Dr. Michael Lichtenstein these past several years.”

Dr. Lichtenstein led a group of esteemed academic leaders and faculty from four universities to create this unique program.

“This program would not be here today if it were not for the vision and tireless efforts of Dr. Lichtenstein as program director and Susan Stappenbeck as program coordinator,” Dr. Frei said.

Dr. Lichtenstein will continue as part of the Committee on Graduate Studies for the program and Stappenbeck will continue as program coordinator.

San Antonio has been home for Dr. Frei and his wife since they came here to train in 1999. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in a joint degree program between the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and the UT Austin in 2001. He then remained in San Antonio to complete his residency, graduate program, and postdoctoral training. 

He became a faculty member of the UT Austin and the UT Health Science Center San Antonio in 2006 and now serves as Pharmacotherapy Division Head; one of five divisions in the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, and the only division located outside of Austin, in San Antonio. He is also the Director of the Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

Dr. Frei’s research laboratory is currently pursuing two major research ventures. One is to build and analyze large patient cohorts using the national Veterans Affairs data repositories. The other is to conduct prospective clinical and translational studies in medical clinics. Dr. Frei’s independent and collaborative research has been supported by public and private sources.

He has published more than 95 peer-reviewed papers in leading journals, including JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine, the American Journal of Medicine, Chest, and Drugs. He has also given more than 400 scientific and educational presentations. He has been recognized as “Mentor of the Year” by a state professional organization, “Young Investigator of the Year” by a national professional organization, and “Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year” by the UT Austin College of Pharmacy.

He is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Finally, he serves as an ambassador for the NIH Loan Repayment Program.

“Graduate students are an integral part of all of my research and scholarship activities,” Dr. Frei said.

He firmly believes that being able to work with bright, highly motivated graduate students is one of the best things he gets to do as a faculty member.

“They have so much potential,” he said. “And this TS Ph.D. Program is an excellent mechanism to help them reach their full potential while training to learn a type of science that will help move new discoveries from research environments to people and communities who need those discoveries.”

The TS Ph.D. program is one of only a handful in the United States, and he is excited about what he sees as a strong future for the program and its graduates. 

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