Current Editors: Renat Ahatov, Michael Phan, and Andrea Francis

(Please email editors if there is blog-worthy news that you would like to see shared)

Past Editors: Elise Weisert, Michael Ryan, Keith Wagner, Tim Allen, Kristyna Gleghorn, Dung Mac, Alex Acosta, William Tausend, Sheila Jalalat, Rebecca Philips, Chelsea Altinger, Lindsey Hunter, Alison Wiesenthal, Leslie Scroggins, Mara Dacso, Ashley Group, Fadi Constantine, Emily Fridlington, Joslyn Witherspoon, Tasneem Poonawalla.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

UTMB Dermatology Residency Receives Continued Accreditation

Congratulations to the UTMB Dermatology Residency Program for receiving Continued Accreditation from the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology, effective 8/13/06. The next survey is scheduled for August 2011.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Honors Program

The Honors Research Program: Guidelines and Operating Policies (Many thanks to Dr. Simon Lewis in providing this for us)


The School of Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) offers an Honors Research Program in research training for medical students that augments the regular medical school curriculum and leads to the conferment of Honors in Research in a Special Field at graduation. The Honors Research Program is administered by a Steering Committee composed of five senior members of the Medical School Faculty appointed by the Dean of Medicine. The Chair of the Steering committee is the Director of the Program.

Students wishing to participate in this program can apply for entry by submitting a research proposal that has been approved by a Research Director, a full time faculty member under whom the student will perform the research. Successful completion of this project will require a substantial investment of time and intellectual effort. In some instances, the student may elect to devote a substantial amount of time (one year) to the research project. Acceptable projects will require the equivalent of at least several months of full-time effort, and students are strongly advised to enter the Program as early as possible.

Application Procedure

A complete and acceptable application to the Honors Program consists of the following:

1. A research proposal. The proposal must be typewritten, 5-12 pages in length, single spaced, including an appropriate bibliography. The general outline and style of an NIH research grant application should be utilized with the following sections, in order: (a) specific aims/objectives of the project (what is to be done; hypotheses to be tested); (b) significance, rationale, and background of the project (why the proposed work is important); preliminary data and/ or relevant experience of the applicant (this is a feasible project for which I have the required or can acquire the skills and knowledge to perform); (d) experimental design and methods to be utilized to meet the goals of the project (a description of the protocols to be used and how they will answer your aims. How many experiments? How will you validate your results; how reliable are they? Are there pitfalls, problems, alternative explanations, or conclusions? Is the amount of experimental work realistic for the time you have available?); and (e) bibliography.

2. Letter of support from Research Director. A faculty member must write a letter indicating his/her willingness to supervise the proposed project, the availability of adequate resources to support the project, and an estimate of a reasonable time frame for completing the project. The student submits this letter and the faculty ‘s CV along with the proposal to the Steering Committee.

3. Timely submission of the proposal. Successful research of high quality can be accomplished only if the work is thoughtfully planned and adequate time is allowed to perform the experiments to evaluate the results, and to communicate the findings and their significance. Students also need time to find and interact with potential mentors, to explore the literature, and to learn techniques and perform preliminary experiments. Thus, students interested in the Honors Program should begin to examine this option as early as possible. Only in rare cases and with careful written justification will applicants to the Honors Program be accepted after the end of December of the junior year.

Acceptance into the Honors Program will be determined by a majority vote of the members of the Steering Committee.

Ad Hoc Thesis Committee and Monitoring of Progress. Upon acceptance of the research proposal by the Steering Committee, the latter will appoint, with advice from the Research Director, an Ad Hoc Thesis Committee consisting of from four to five members of the faculty, as follows: The Research Director (immediate faculty supervisor of the student), who will chair this committee; at least one member of the Steering Committee; and from two to three additional faculty members expert in the area of research pursued by the student. In some cases, the Steering Committee can appoint individuals to the Ad Hoc Thesis Committee from outside UTMB.

The responsibilities of the Ad Hoc Thesis Committee shall include:

1. Monitoring the student's research activities and academic performance in general;
2. Meeting as a committee with the student at least once before the defense to evaluate research progress and to report in writing to the Steering Committee the status of the work on each of these occasions;
3. Recommending changes or additions to the experimental work, if appropriate, based upon these regular meetings;
4. Reading and evaluating the thesis; and
5. Conducting a final thesis defense and oral examination.

The Honors Thesis

Successful completion of the Honors Program requires the writing and oral defense of a thesis. No limit will be set on the length of the thesis. However, it should follow the general form of a graduate-level thesis and have qualities of originality and significance, and should represent a definitive research effort. It should have sufficient merit to be considered for publication, in an appropriate form, in a quality, peer-reviewed journal. An alternative format can be a published or accepted manuscript supplemented by an expanded Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results not included in the manuscript, and Discussion.

The final oral defense of the thesis will be conducted by the Ad Hoc Thesis Committee no later than April 1st prior to graduation. This committee will then make a recommendation to the Steering Committee of whether or not the student merits graduation with Honors in a Special Field from UTMB. If this decision is favorable, the student, thesis title, honors designation, and Research Director will be identified in the program of the graduation exercises.

Proposals should be sent to:
Simon A. Lewis, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, RT 1069
The University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-0641
Telephone 409-772-3397
e-mail slewis@utmb.edu

Friday, August 04, 2006

Transportation to Houston

If there is anyone who would like to ride together or follow each other to the Baylor Get Together in Houston on August 10 let me know!