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Current MD/PhD Student Resources

Journal Club

MSCI 620/920: The Scientific Basis of Medicine

Course Information

Time: Wednesdays, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location(s): See below
Instructors: Dr. Julian Leibowitz (course coordinator) and other interested faculty
Office Hours: By appointment
Phone: 979.436.0313

Zoom Only

Course Description

This course is required for MD/PhD students, but open to a limited number of medical students and graduate students who may enroll with the permission of the instructor. Seats are limited to allow each student who is registered an opportunity to present.

The course provides opportunities for medical students and graduate students to rigorously discuss and critique the scientific and medical literature. It promotes scientific rigor and strong interactions between the students and the faculty. Students select articles or papers from diverse sources, but are encouraged to utilize the Faculty of 1,000 website and high profile journals such as Nature Medicine and Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Students will learn how to critique and evaluate the literature. When presenting, students are expected to discuss the background of the article/paper, the author's hypotheses and experimental approaches, interpret the results, and present the scientific and medical (real and potential) significance of the work.


MD/PhD students will automatically be registered for MSCI 920 by the MD/PhD program coordinator. Registration by other medical students for MSCI 920, the medical school elective section of this course, requires permission of the instructor and should be done using the medical school elective registration form from the Texas A&M University Office of the Registrar.

Required Reading Material

Students will distribute the article/paper to be discussed electronically no later than the Saturday prior to their presentation.

Course Format and Grading

Students will present an article/paper followed by discussion of the class and faculty participants. Students are expected to read the article/paper prior to class and participate in the discussions. At the end of the course students are expected to be able to extract underlying hypotheses, and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and significance of articles/papers from the current literature, and to be able to formally present this information in front of peers and faculty.

The course will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

Professional Development

Materials related to professional and career advice, applying to residency and residency information, and applying for grant funding have been gleaned from many sources. Science Career Magazine and Nature Careers are two major sources of short articles on career development. Articles from Academic Medicine and JAMA about outcomes for MD/PhD students are also included.


Executive Committee

  • Julian Leibowitz
  • Carolyn Cannon
  • David Huston
  • Cindy Meininger
  • Richard Gomer
  • David Threadgill

Steering Committee

  • Kayla Bayless
  • Kevin Burgess
  • Carolyn Cannon
  • John C. Criscione
  • David Earnest
  • Robin Fuchs-Young
  • Richard Gomer
  • Carl Gregory
  • Jack Hettema
  • Kelsey Hudson
  • David Huston
  • Julian Leibowitz
  • Cindy Meininger
  • Rajesh Miranda
  • Brett Mitchell
  • Siegfried Musser
  • James Samuel
  • Jon Skare
  • Farida Sohrabji
  • David Threadgill
  • Carl Tong
  • Gregg Wells
  • Van Wilson
  • Warren Zimmer



MD-PhD Support Forms

Student forms have been moved to the following webpage: Student Forms


Summer Seminar Series

Seminar Locations

  • Bryan: MREB 1157
  • College Station: REYN 230
  • Houston: Houston Methodist Research Institute (WP, Room 511) and TAMHSC-IBT Alkek building (ALKB-1105)

Summer 2019 seminar recordings

Date Presenter Seminar Title
May 29 Dr. Alessandro Grattoni  
June 5 Dr. Rachel Smith  
June 12 Dr. Kyuson Yun  
June 19 Dr. James Samuel  
July 31 Dr. Karen Wooley  
Aug. 7 Dr. Paul de Figueredo  
Aug. 14 Dr. John Cooke  
Aug. 21 Dr. Joseph Rutkowski  

Summer 2018 seminar recordings

Date Presenter Seminar Title
May 30 Dr. Robert Watson Cytosolic Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Induces Potent Innate Immune Responses
June 6 Dr. Abhishek Jain Vascular thrombosis-on-a-chip: A new in vitro modeling tool for translational research and discovery
June 13 Dr. Richard Gomer Developing potential therapeutics for fibrosing diseases
June 20 Dr. Jenny Hyde Characterization of Borrelia burgdorferi spatiotemporal gene expression in the mammalian model
July 25 Dr. Jianxun Song Stem Cell-derived T Lymphocytes for Therapeutic Use
Aug. 1 Dr. Shu-Hsia Chen Targeting Tumor Microenvironment for Cancer Immunotherapy
Aug. 8 Dr. Rahul Srinivasan New tools to study astrocyte biology in situ and in vivo
Aug. 15 Dr. Haifa Shen Developing anti-cancer therapeutics based on tumor tropism

Summer 2017 seminar recordings

Date Presenter Seminar Title
May 24 Muralidhar Hegde (HMRI) Genome Damage and Defective Repair Signaling in Motor Neuron Diseases: Role of RNA Binding Proteins
May 31 David Zawieja (TAMHSC) Inflammation: The Crossroads of Lymphatic and Immune Functions
June 7 Michelle Hook (TAMHSC) Recovery of Function after a Spinal Cord Injury
June 14 Rajesh Miranda (TAMHSC) Drug Abuse and the Development Origins of Disease in Adulthood
June 21 Zhilei Chen (TAMHSC) Medicinal Protein Engineering against Infectious Diseases
June 28 Joseph Sorg (TAMU) Mechanisms of Clostridium Difficile Spore Germination
July 5 Ennio Tasciotti (HMRI) New Perspectives in Biomedical Research
July 12 Ashok Shetty (TAMHSC) Efficacy of Human Stem Cell Derived GABA-ergic progenitors and Exosomes for Treating Epilepsy
July 19 Raquel Sitcheran (TAMHSC) New Insights into Cancer Cell Migration and Metabolic Dysfunction
July 26 Brian Applegate (TAMU) New Optical Imaging Technologies for Functional Vibratory Imaging of the Middle and Inner Ear

Summer 2016 seminar recordings

Date Presenter Seminar Title
May 25 Hubert Amrein Taste and Nutrient sensing in Drosophila
June 1 Wenshe Liu Study reversible histone modifications in the nucleosome context
June 8 James Grau When pain hurts: How pain signals adversely affect neural function in the spinal cord
June 15 Farida Sohrabji Strategies for identifying new stroke therapies
June 22 Brett Mitchell The Immunosuppressive Drug Pipeline and Where it Took Me
June 29 Sharon Demorrow Neurological changes associated with liver disease: A journey from Australia to Texas via Europe
July 6 Carl Gregory The biological complexity of bone repair: lessons from stem cells
July 13 Randa El-Zein A translational approach to early detection of cancer
July 20 Paul DeFigueiredo What's new in the de Figueiredo lab
July 27 Jason Karpac Modeling Human Disease in Drosophila: (My) Lessons Learned from the Fruit Fly
Date Presenter Seminar Title
May 27 Richard Gomer Developing potential therapeutics for lung diseases
June 3 William Griffith Optogenetic Approaches to Study Complex Neuronal Circuits During Cognitive Aging
June 10 James Samuel Intracellular bacterial pathogens are exquisite cell biologists
June 17 Sally Ward Engineering antibodies for therapy and diagnosis
June 24 Haifa Shen Nanotechnology in Cancer Immunotherapy
July 1 Carolyn Cannon Novel aerosolized antimicrobials and nanoparticle delivery devices to combat cystic fibrosis lung disease
July 8 Samba Reddy Neurosteroid treatment for epilepsy
July 15 Jane Welsh Mouse models of neurological diseases
Date Presenter Seminar Title
June 4 Dr. Rajesh Miranda "MicroRNA Programming and Neural Stem Cells: Lessons from Studies on Teratology"
June 11 Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis  
June 18 Dr. David Dostal "Cardiac Mechanotransduction Mechanisms and Regulation of Heart Function"
June 25 Dr. David Threadgill "Genetomics"
July 2 Dr. Robin Fuchs-Young "Biophysiological and Genetic Mechanisms of Breast Cancer Health Disparities"
July 9 Dr. Travis Hein "Impact of Diabetes on Vasomotor Function of Retinal and Coronary Arterioles"
July 16 Dr. Arul Jayaraman "Communications Between Bacteria and Human Cells in the GI Tract"
July 23 Dr. Jun Wang "Glutamatergic & Dopaminergic Neuroplasticity in the Striatal Circuitry of Alcohol Addiction"
Date Speaker Seminar Title
May 29 Dr. David Zawieja "Roles of the Lymphatic System in Edema, Immunity, and Inflammation"
June 5 Dr. Farida Sohrabji "Stroke therapies for the aging brain"
June 12 Dr. Alistair McGregor "Development of intervention strategies against congenital cytomegalovirus: the tale of an ugly duckling"
June 19 Dr. Koichi Kobayashi NOD2 and Chron's disease: implications of innate immunity and microbiota"
June 26 Dr. Vytas Bankaitis "Finding Scientific Gold in A Most Unlikely Place - What a Long Strange Trip it's Been"
July 3 Dr. Stephen Maren "Brain Control of Fear"
July 10 Dr. Jun-yuan Ji "Role of CDK8 during Drosophila development and human diseases"
July 17 Dr. David Earnest "Over-Nutrition, Inflammation and Circadian Timekeeping: How High-Fat Diet Unwinds the Clock"
Date Speaker Seminar Title
June 6 Dr. Fen Wang "Fibroblast growth factor signaling in the prostate and prostate cancer"
June 13 Dr. Dekai Zhang "Recognition and signaling via Toll-like receptor"
June 20 Dr. Mariappan Muthuchamy "Lessons learning from mechanisms regulating cardiacand lymphatic pumps"
June 27 Dr. Hubert Amrein "Distinct roles for external and internal taste sensorysystems in feeding behavior"
July 11 Dr. Ashok Shetty "Cell therapy for temporal lobe epilepsy"
July 18 Dr. James Samuel "Coxiella burnetii at the tipping point: A stealth pathogenwith novel strategies to manipulate the host revealed byin vivo, in vitro and comparative genomic studies"
July 25 Dr. Sarah Bondos "Intrinsic disorder: from native protein interactions toengineered biomaterials"
Date Speaker Seminar Title
June 1 Dr. Rajesh Miranda "MicroRNA programming of fetal stem cell maturation: Lessons from studies on teratolog"
June 8 Dr. Magnus Hook "Translating Staphylococcal virulence factors"
June 15 Dr. Vincent VanBuren "A Computational systems biology approach to the inference of gene regulatory influences"
June 22 Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis "Investigating the molecular roles of genes of unknown function during Samonella infection"
June 29 Dr. Carl Tong "Augmentation of cardiac contractility and lusitropy through calcium independent processes"
July 6 Dr. Kayla Bayless "Studying cell behavior in three-dimensional matrices"
July 13 Dr. Siegfried Musser "Protein Targeting and Translocation: How to Get from Here to There?"
July 20 Dr. William Griffith "Estrogens, ovarian aging and calcium channel modulation"

Additional Contacts

For further information regarding the MD/PhD program, contact the following:

College of Medicine-Graduate Studies
Medical Research & Education Building (MREB), suite 1001
8447 Riverside Pkwy
Bryan, Texas 77807-3260
Phone: 979.436.0314
Fax: 979.436.0086

Dr. Carolyn Cannon
MD/PhD Associate Director
Phone: 979.436.0868

Dr. David Huston
MD/PhD Associate Director (Houston campus)
Phone: 713.677.8100

Dr. Cindy Meininger
MD/PhD Associate Director
Phone: 254.742.7037

College of Medicine-Office of Admissions
(questions regarding Medical School admissions)
Texas A&M University College of Medicine
8447 Riverside Pkwy
Bryan, Texas 77807-3260
Phone: 979.436.0237
Fax: 979.436.0097