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MD/PhD Program Hosts the South Regional APSA Meeting at UT Health San Antonio

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Author: Dr. Raehannah Jamshidi | Category: Around Campus | M.D./Ph.D. | February 12, 2018

The MD/PhD Program at UT Health San Antonio was delighted to host the APSA (American Physician Scientists Association) South Regional Meeting on January 20, 2018. 

The meeting consisted of medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty members from numerous MD/PhD programs and undergraduate programs across Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. The event was an excellent forum to discuss hot-topic scientific research, translational research and medicine, and career development for future physician scientists.

We were proud to welcome Dr. Carolyn Cannon, MD, PhD, from Texas A&M University Health Science Center who spoke about the efficacy of antimicrobials and other therapeutics to treat the chronic, polymicrobial infections in the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung, in her talk titled “Seeking the silver lining.” 

Additionally, students gained insights into the mechanisms of cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance, specifically ErbB2-medicated chemo-resistance and why Herceptin fails in many patients, through the talk by Dr. Dihua Yu, MD, PhD, from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

One of our very own, Dr. Larry Schlesinger, MD and President and CEO of Texas BioMed engaged students in an outstanding talk titled “The exciting road and career of a physician scientist, lessons learned,” in which he shared advice for rising physician scientists as well as interesting findings from his research project on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and other airborne infectious agents that subvert lung immune mechanisms.

Students shared their research through poster presentations, engaged in discussions focused on women in science, finding a good laboratory, transition back to medical school, and maintaining a good work-life balance, and participated in discipline break outs which facilitated networking and career development.

It was certainly a memorable day to showcase our MD/PhD program, our institution, and our commitment to the development of successful, compassionate, and well-rounded physician scientists. A well deserved congratulations goes to our poster award winners: (1st) Brett Ipson from UT Health SA, (2nd) Cory Wilson from UT Health Houston, and (3rd) Petra Jans and Harper Kim from UT Health SA.

Since its formation in 2003, APSA has become the largest national organization representing physician-scientist trainees. From its beginnings as a small group of students, APSA has grown into an organization of over eighteen hundred members, representing almost 100 institutions across the United States. APSA continues to be trainee-led, and serves as the voice of physician scientists at all stages of training -- from undergraduates to fellows -- and across all professional programs (MD, MD/PhD, DO, DO/PhD). 

The main goals of APSA are to (1) build a strong community of physician-scientists in training, connecting trainees with each other at events like the most recent South Regional APSA Meeting held on our campus; (2) to provide critical resources to help physician-scientists in training as they advance in their careers; and (3) to represent the interests of physician-scientists in training to national scientific and medical societies as well as policymakers in the NIH and other government agencies. The annual APSA meeting will be held in Chicago, IL on April 20-22, 2018 and any interested undergraduate student, graduate student, and current MD/PhD student is encouraged to attend!

If you would like to learn more about APSA, please see the link below or feel free to contact the current APSA president-elect, Ms. Audra Iness ( 

If you are interested in our institution’s MD/PhD program, please contact the program director, Dr. Jose Cavazos (, the program coordinator, Ms. Jennifer Schmerber (, or our student council representative and APSA meeting organizer, Dr. Raehannah Jamshidi (

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