Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Our Students

Underrepresented students have found tremendous success at Baylor College of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Selected Accomplishments

Victor Acevedo, Ph.D., showed that fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 (FGF1) plays a role in the initiation, progression and maintenance of prostate cancer and found a potential window to slow or even reverse early stage prostate cancer.

William Buitrago, Ph.D., created a transgenic mouse model of a human disease that causes skin blistering and found a way to use siRNA to cure it.

Carlos Cantu, III, Ph.D., and Cristina Materon, Ph.D., identified regions of ß-lactamase that affect antibiotic resistance.

Anjelica Gonzales, Ph.D., created a computerized microscopic system that she used to identify six molecules that are important in neutrophil attachment, spreading or migration.

Alaina James, M.D., Ph.D., identified effects of mutations in the androgen receptor from prostate tumors.

Richard King, M.D., Ph.D., developed a computer model to explain spacing of neurotransmitter release sites.

Francisco Naya, Ph.D., cloned a factor regulating the insulin gene and produced a transgenic mouse model of diabetes.

Aaron Orozco, Ph.D., developed a method to enrich fetal DNA from the mother’s blood to avoid invasive prenatal diagnosis of disease.

Ramiro Ramirez-Solis, Ph.D., produced the first line of embryonic stem cell derived transgenic mice at Baylor.

Wilmer Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., discovered that a drug in testing to treat high blood pressure caused failure in embryonic chicken and mouse heart development.

Maria Rodriguez-Rozas, Ph.D., developed a bimolecular fluorescence method to screen 8000 proteins and identified those that interact with the BRCA1 tumor suppressor.

Javier Sanchez, Ph.D., discovered a new mechanism by which the protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease causes memory loss.

Hector Sandoval, Ph.D., found the first evidence of specific targeting of mammalian mitochondria for degradation during red blood cell development which may be applicable to treating people with some types of anemia, neurodegenerative diseases, or cancer.

Nancy Urizar, Ph.D., published a Science paper defining the mechanism by which a natural product, gugglesterone, lowered cholesterol was featured in hundreds of television, radio, magazine, newspaper and website communications worldwide, including CNN.

National and International Awards

Fellowships

American Psychological Society Minority Neuroscience Fellowship
James Cuvillier, Ph.D.
Javier Sanchez, Ph.D.

Ford Foundation Minority Predoctoral Fellowship
Chris Bland, Ph.D.

National Science Foundation Minority Fellowship
Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.
Ashley Ramirez Herrick, Ph.D.
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D.
Evelin Young, Ph.D.

UNCF/Merck Pre-doctoral Dissertation Fellowships
Lynnette Burks Nance, Ph.D.
Kevin Coleman, M.D., Ph.D.
Alaina James, M.D., Ph.D.
Richard King, M.D., Ph.D.
Kelvin Moses, M.D., Ph.D.
Wilmer Roberts, M.D., Ph.D.

HHMI Gilliam Fellowship
Deric Griffin

NIH National Research Service Awards
Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.
Kristine Bucasas, Ph.D.
Christina Camell, Ph.D.
Carlos Cantu, III, Ph.D.
Angela Carter
Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D.
Juan Crespo-Barreto, Ph.D.
Cynthia Davies-Venn, Ph.D.
Chisaroka Echendu, Ph.D.
Leah Elizondo, Ph.D.
Monica Garcia, Ph.D.
Anjelica Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Yanira Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Leroy Hubert, Ph.D.
Eric Hyun, M.D., Ph.D.
Christian Ildefonso, Ph.D.
Richard King, M.D., Ph.D.
Cristina Materon, Ph.D.
Joel Otero, Ph.D.
Erika Perez
Brian Phillips, Ph.D.
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D.
Javier Sanchez, Ph.D.
Hector Sandoval, Ph.D.
Michelle Seymour
Tiffany Sills, M.D., Ph.D.
Nancy Urizar, Ph.D.
Victor Venegas, Ph.D.
Hugo Villanueva
Kimberly Weiderhold, Ph.D.
Bonnie Youmans, Ph.D.

MARC Pre-doctoral NRSA Fellowships
Victor Acevedo, Ph.D.
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D.

Department of Defense Cancer Pre-doctoral Fellowships
David Barron, Ph.D.
Julie Carstens, Ph.D.
Chris Lopez, Ph.D.
Ashby Morrison, Ph.D.
Ti Nguyen, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Villegas

SACNAS Poster Awards
Carlos Cantu, III, Ph.D. (Best Clinical Poster)
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D. (Endocrine Society Award)

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 
Young Investigator's Award
 
Donald Glass II, M.D., Ph.D.

Award of Excellence Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies
Anjelica Gonzalez, Ph.D.

ASPET Doris Shockley Best Abstract Award
Antentor Hinton, Jr.

Endocrine Society Presidential Poster Finalist
Mario Oyola

Endocrine Society Minority Mentoring Poster Award
Mario Oyola

FOCIS Trainee Satellite Symposium Research Award
Tiara Byrd

Gordon Conference Best PhD Poster
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D.

WAESCO Third Place Research Award
Mario Oyola

Society of Toxicology
Christian Marin Mueller, Ph.D. (Best Poster)

Cambridge Health Institute of Cancer Models Symposium First Place Research
Julie Carstens, Ph.D.

FASEB Poster Award Vision Research
Ivette Sandoval, Ph.D.

Weintraub Award to Outstanding U.S. Ph.D. Students
Fernando Camargo, Ph.D.*

American Society of Cell Biology
Rashieda Hatcher-Bluiett, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)

FEBS Course: International ABC Proteins: Young Investigator Award 
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D.
David Ortiz, Ph.D. (Poster Finalist)

11th International Congress of Human Genetics-Best Poster Presentation
Gabriel Bien-Willner, Ph.D. (Best Poster)

International Tularemia Conference
Tiffany Williams, M.D., Ph.D. (Best Poster)

EAPSI Fellowship (Singapore)
Monica Galaz Montoya

Nominated to attend Nobel Prize Lectures
Rossitza Irobalieva
Carlos Perez Torres, Ph.D.

Selected to Attend Nobel Prize Lecturers Meeting in Germany
Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.

Congress on Human Genetics
Jocelyn Martin, Ph.D. (Poster Finalist)

International Workshop of Neuroendocrinology Bronze Medal Poster Award
Mario Oyola

NIH Supplements to Mentors’ Grants
Lakeisha Batts, Ph.D.
Torey Batts, Ph.D.
James Campbell
Cynthia Davies-Venn, Ph.D.
Ingrid Hansen, Ph.D.
Antentor Hinton, Jr.
Leroy Hubert, Ph.D.
Michael Lopez
Chi Mba
Miguel Medina, Ph.D.
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D
Diane Scaduto, Ph.D.
Maria Terron
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D.
Daniel Wansley, Ph.D.

Lynch Addiction Research Award
Edwin Alexander
Erika Perez

Mentoring/Professional Development Programs

AARC Scholar-in-Training
Gladys Morrison

Endocrine Society FLARE Award
Christina Camell, Ph.D.
Mario Oyola

GlaxoSmithKline Summer Internship
Torey Batts, Ph.D.

Jackson Laboratory Molecular Genetics Course
Antentor Hinton, Jr.

Neuroscience Society Scholar
Meagan Pitcher

Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program
Alex Brewer III
Antentor Hinton, Jr.
Laramie Lemon

UCSB Summer Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
Edwin Alexander

National Minority Research Forum
Anjelica Gonzales, Ph.D.
Kelvin Moses, Ph.D.
Glendie Marcelin, Ph.D.
Lori Horton, Ph.D.
Christina Camell, Ph.D.
JoyAnn Phillips Rohan, Ph.D.
Michele Washington, Ph.D.
Lakeisha Batts, Ph.D.

Biotechnology Institute Minority and Indigenous Fellows Program
Torey Batts, Ph.D.
Jocelyn Martin, Ph.D.
Rashieda Hatcher-Bluiett, Ph.D.
Leroy Hubert, Ph.D.
Ivette Sandoval, Ph.D.
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D.
Daniel Wansley, Ph.D.
Michele Washington, Ph.D.

Travel Awards

ABC Protein International Conference
David Ortiz, Ph.D.

American Society for Cell & Gene Therapy
Claudia Arambula Geldres, Ph.D.

ARVO Conference
Ivette Sandoval, Ph.D.

ASCB Conference
Rasheida Hatcher-Bluiett, Ph.D.
Kimberly Weiderhold, Ph.D.

American Society for Cell & Gene Therapy
Claudia Arambula Geldres, Ph.D.

American Society Human Genetics
Jocelyn Martin, Ph.D.

American Society for Microbiology
Bonnie Youmans, Ph.D.

Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction
Alex Brewer III

Cold Spring Harbor Asia
Danielle Martinez, Ph.D.

College on Problems of Drug Dependence Scientific Meeting
Alex Brewer III (Oral Presentation, 2014)

Developmental Biology Conference
Monica Garcia, Ph.D.

EMBO Intern Conference
Ashley Ramirez Herrick, Ph.D.

FASEB MARC Travel Awards
Antentor Hinton, Jr. (2013 & 2014)

Gordon Conference
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D.
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D. (Best Ph.D. Poster)
Hugo Villanueva

International Congress on Human Genetics
Jocelyn Martin, Ph.D.

International Gordon Conference
Indhira de la Rosa

International Neuroendocrinology Workshop
Mario Oyola

Johnson & Johnson Travel Award
Alex Brewer III

Keystone Conference
Julie Carstens, Ph.D.
Indhira de la Rosa
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D.

NIAAA to NHSN International Scientific Conference
Erika Perez

SACNAS Conference
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D.

Society for Study of Reproduction
Michael Fountain

Tenneco Fellow. NeuroStereology Workshop
Mario Oyola

Woods Hole Marine Biological Lab
Mario Oyola

US-South America Neuroscience Workshop
Mario Oyola

*International student

Baylor College of Medicine

Academic Awards

Academic Awards

Claude W. Smith Awards for Cell and Molecular Biology
Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.
Chris Bland, Ph.D.
Antentor Hinton, Jr.
Chris Lopez, Ph.D.
Jocelyn Martin, Ph.D.
Joel Otero, Ph.D.
Tiffany Sills, M.D.,  Ph.D.

John Trenton Award for Academic Excellence
Lynnette Burks Nance, Ph.D.
Juan Crespo-Barreto, Ph.D.
Jennifer Johnson
Joel Otero, Ph.D.
Michael Paolini

Commencement Speakers/BCM Alumni Awards

Chris Bland, Ph.D.
Alejandro Contreras, M.D., Ph.D.
Donald Glass II, M.D., Ph.D.
Ashley Ramirez Herrick, Ph.D.
Maria Fadri Moskwik, Ph.D. (alternate)
Carlos Peres Torres, Ph.D. (alternate)

Leadership Awards/Medical Awards

Houston Outreach Medicine Education & Social Services Clinic
Award for Outstanding Leadership Potential
Eric Hyun, M.D., Ph.D.

M.D./Ph.D. Program Service Award
David Barron, Ph.D.

M.D./Ph.D. Highest Honors
Eric Hyun, M.D., Ph.D.

Woman of Wonder - Quaker Oats Award
JoyAnn Phillips Courtney, Ph.D.

Outstanding Students

Outstanding BCM Graduate Student-Deborah K. Martin Award 
Chris Bland, Ph.D. (Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences)
Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Alejandro Contreras, Ph.D. (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
Ashley Ramirez Herrick, Ph.D. (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Richard Dickason Award for Outstanding M.D./Ph.D. Student
Richard King, M.D., Ph.D. (First awardee)

Outstanding BCM Student in a Ph.D. Program
Chris Bland, Ph.D. (Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, 2009, 2010)
Cynthia DeLeon Galvan, Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Monica Garcia, Ph.D. (Molecular Physiology & Biophysics)
Donald Glass, M.D., Ph.D. (Molecular and Human Genetics)
Rossitza Irobalieva (Structural Computational Biology & Molecular Biophysics)
Susan Magdaleno, Ph.D. (Cell Biology)
Kelvin Moses, MD, Ph.D. (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
Carlos Perez Torres, Ph.D.  (Translational Biology & Molecular Medicine)
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D. (Cardiovascular Sciences and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics)
Ronald Rodriguez, MD, PhD (Cell Biology)
Ryan Udan, Ph.D. (Developmental Biology)
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D. (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D. (Molecular Physiology & Biophysics)

Outstanding Urology Student
Wilmer Roberts, M.D., Ph.D.

Best Teaching Assistant
Chris Bland, Ph.D.

Research Awards

BCM Graduate Student Symposium

Outstanding Platform Presentation 
Chris Bland, Ph.D.
Cynthia DeLeon Galvan, Ph.D.
Fernando Camargo, Ph.D.*

Commendation for Platform Presentation
Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D.

First Place Poster
Susan Magdaleno, Ph.D.
Cristina Materon, Ph.D.
Evelin Young, Ph.D.

Second Place Poster
William Buitrago, Ph.D.
Berenice Carrillo, Ph.D.
Alejandro Contreras, Ph.D.
Antentor Hinton, Jr.  (2012 & 2013)
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D.
JoyAnn Rohan Courtney, Ph.D.
Ryan Udan, Ph.D. 
Wanda Vila-Carriles, Ph.D.

Third Place Poster
Victor Acevedo, Ph.D.
Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.
Lynnette Burks Nance, Ph.D.
Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D.
Maria Fadri-Boskwik, Ph.D.
Monica Garcia, Ph.D.
Anjelica Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Jennifer Johnson
Pascal Lafontant, Ph.D.
Chris Lopez, Ph.D.
Joel Otero, Ph.D.
Mario Oyola
Jonathan Respress, Ph.D.
Oyinkan Sofola Adesakin, Ph.D.*

BCM/UT Research Symposium Awards
Ivette Sandoval, Ph.D. (Second Place Poster)

Biochemistry Retreat Awards
Monica Galaz Montoya (Third Place Talk)
Leroy Hubert, Ph.D. (Best Talk)
Maria Rodriguez, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)
Ivette Sandoval, Ph.D. (Honorable Mention)
Victor Venegas, Ph.D. (Runner-up Poster Award)

Breast Center Retreat Awards
Joel Otero, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)

Huffington Center on Aging Retreat Awards
Fernanda Ruiz, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)
Michelle Seymour (First Place Poster)

Immunology Retreat Awards
Alan Guerrero, Ph.D. (First & Second Place Poster; Third Place Talk)
Aaron Orozco, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)
Hector Sandoval, Ph.D (Best Talk)

Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Retreat Awards 
Chris Bland, Ph.D. (Best Talk, Best Poster)
Fernando Camargo, Ph.D.* (Best Oral Presentation; Best Poster) 
Leah Elizondo, Ph.D. (Best Talk)
Antentor Hinton, Jr. (Best Poster)
Joel Otero. Ph.D. (Best Poster)

M.D./Ph.D Program Retreat Awards
William Buitrago, Ph.D. (Best Talk; Best Poster)

Molecular and Cellular Biology Retreat Awards
William Buitrago, M.D., Ph.D. (Best Poster; Best Talk)
Stacy Johnson, M.D., Ph.D. (Best Talk)*
Ashley Ramirez Herrick, Ph.D. (Third Place Talk, Third Place Poster)
JoyAnn Rohan Courtney, Ph.D. (Second Place Talk)
Michelle Seymour (Second Place Poster)
Hugo Villanueva (Poster Finalist)
Evelin Young, Ph.D.  (Poster Finalist, tied Best Talk)

Molecular Virology and Microbiology Retreat Awards
Berenice Carrillo, Ph.D. (Third Place Poster)
Jeanette Criglar, Ph.D. (First Place Poster; Third Place Talk)
Chisaroka Echendu, Ph.D. (Second Place Poster)
Chris Lopez, Ph.D. (First Place Poster, Second Place Talk)
Bonnie Youmans, Ph.D.  (Second Place Poster)

Structural Computational Biology & Molecular Biophysics Retreat Awards
Anjelica Gonzalez, Ph.D. (Tied First Place Talk)
Rossi Irobalieva (First Place Talk)
Michael Lopez, M.D., Ph.D. (First Place Talk)

Translational Biology & Molecular Medicine Awards
Claudia Arambula Geldres, Ph.D. (Second Place Poster)
Cristian Ildefonso, Ph.D. (Most Outstanding Publication, 2009-2010)
Valentine Ongeri, Ph.D. (Second Place Poster)

University of Houston Neuroscience Research Center
Erika Perez (Best Presentation)

Houston Area Fellowships

BCM Licensing Group Internship
Torey Batts, Ph.D.

Houston Area Biophysics Grant
Monica Galaz-Montoya

Keck Nanobiology Training Fellowship
Berenice Carrillo, Ph.D.
Rossi Irobalieva

CPRIT Fellowship
Joseph Valdez, Ph.D.

Genes and Environment
Jaclyn Bravo
Stanley Hooker, Jr.

National Library of Medicine
Stanley Hooker, Jr.

Keck Pharmacological Sciences
James Campbell

Keck Center Fellowships for Interdisciplinary Bioscience Training
Monica Galaz-Montoya
Elizabeth Jones, M.S.

Pharmacoinformatics Keck Fellowship
Lori Horton, Ph.D.