MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

I.   Introduction and Mission 

The goal of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (MID) Program is to promote scientific excellence by providing intense and modern student training in microbial model systems and the molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis. Microbes are especially well suited for graduate training because their inherent rapid growth and availability of a wide variety of approaches allow an individual student to make a significant contribution to scientific understanding. Most of the existing knowledge of molecular and cellular biology is based on analysis of microbial model organisms. Microbes also are responsible for a wide variety of infectious diseases that affect every single human during their lifetime and cause significant morbidity and mortality. This focus on microbial systems is unique within the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). The Program functions in cooperation with the GSBS. Program faculty are members of the GSBS and are expected to be full participants in GSBS activities.

II.   Program Organization

All committee assignments are held from September 1st-August 31st. The administrative organization of the MID Program is as follows:

A.  Director

The director is responsible for organizing all program activities or delegating the organization of specific activities to other faculty, students and/or staff.

The Director's responsibilities include:

The Director will be elected by the Program faculty. The Steering Committee will submit the names of nominees for Director to the GSBS Deans’ Office. GSBS will then solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large to serve as Director. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the GSBS Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the program members. The Director-Elect of the Program will serve as Co-Director for two years and subsequently, upon election, as Director for a single two-year term.

B.  Co-Director and Director-Elect

The Co-Director/Director-Elect will carry out the Director's responsibilities in the Director's absence. As stated above, the Co-Director/Director-Elect will serve in this position for two years prior to becoming Director upon election. This arrangement ensures continuity between directors' terms. In the event of a vacancy in the Director position, the Co-Director/Director-Elect will become the Director and an election will be held to fill the Co-Director/Director-Elect position.

C.  Program Steering Committee

The Director and Co-Director will be advised by a Program Steering Committee comprised of the Director, Co-Director, four at-large elected MID faculty members and one MID student. At least three of the four at large faculty members will be regular Program members. The chair of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) department will serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the Program Steering Committee

The four at-large MID faculty members on the Steering Committee will be elected by the Program faculty and each will serve a single four-year term. The terms will be staggered by one year such that each year one member is replaced. GSBS will solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large to serve on the Steering Committee. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the program members.

The Student member will be elected by Program students to serve a one-year term. GSBS will solicit volunteers from Program students to serve on the Steering Committee. To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing and have completed the first year of training at GSBS. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Program Director and the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the Program members. The student representative may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The Steering Committee will:

D.  Program Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee is composed of at least four Program faculty appointed annually by the Steering Committee. This committee is responsible to the Director and the Program faculty. The Admissions Committee works closely with the GSBS Admissions Committee to aid in evaluating prospective GSBS students with an interest in the MID Program. Ideally, one member of this Program committee serves on the GSBS Admissions Committee.

The Admissions Committee will:

E.  Student Advisory Council

The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is composed of the student representative on the Program Steering Committee and two additional MID Program Students. The two at large SAC members will be elected by Program students to serve a one-year term. The standing SAC members will nominate candidates to serve on the SAC and the Program will solicit additional nominations from Program students. To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing and have completed the first year of training at GSBS. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Program Director, the Program will conduct the election and report the results to the Program faculty and students. The student representatives may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The SAC will:

III.   Program Faculty

The goal of the MID Program is to provide rigorous training in the study of bacterial and eukaryotic microorganisms and to foster scientific interactions between students and faculty. These goals require enthusiastic Program faculty who are dedicated to graduate student education and have vigorous and well-funded research programs. The Program Faculty members must be members of the GSBS. Program faculty will include Regular Members, Associate Members and Distinguished Senior Lecturers as determined using the GSBS Membership Committee Criteria.

MID Program faculty will:

Applications for membership in the MID Program are submitted to the Program Director. Applications should include the applicant’s CV and a letter stating the applicant’s reasons for requesting to join the Program. This letter should indicate what the applicant expects to gain from being a Program faculty and what the applicant can contribute to the Program. Applications are reviewed by the Steering Committee with input from the MID Program faculty. Criteria for membership include, but are not limited to:

The Steering Committee reviews the contributions of Program faculty every five years in conjunction with GSBS’s review using the GSBS Membership Committee criteria as a guideline. Faculty participation reports provided by GSBS should be augmented by reports/statements of Program-specific activities.  The Program sends GSBS a list of faculty that are inactive. Inactive faculty will be notified by GSBS that they are on probation for one year. At the end of this time, if there is no increase in activity, the Program Steering Committee may terminate membership.  Faculty who are asked to leave the Program or who apply for program membership in later years but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans. Faculty determined to be disengaged are subject to not being reappointed as GSBS faculty members.

The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of any new or terminated faculty members.

IV.   Program Students – Admission to the Program  

GSBS PhD students who elect to perform thesis research in the laboratory of a MID Program faculty member can be considered for membership in the Program (termed “Affiliated Students”). If a student joins the lab of a GSBS but non-MID Program faculty member and wishes to join the MID Program, an arrangement can be made at the Director’s discretion in consultation with the Steering Committee. All Program students are required to fulfill all Program and GSBS requirements. Exceptions regarding completion of required Program courses may be made by the Director on a case-by-case basis. PhD and MS Students in Program faculty laboratories who are not formally in the Program may, by common agreement of the Director, the student, and the student’s faculty advisor, participate in Program activities (termed “Participating Students”).

V.   Website

The MID Program website contains all the essential information concerning the MID Program curriculum, course requirements, and other requirements. The Program Director consults with the Steering Committee concerning any changes to the website and is responsible for updating the website annually. The Director alerts students to any substantive changes.

VI.   Amendments to Bylaws

An amendment to the Bylaws of the MID Program may be accomplished by a majority vote of the Program faculty after the following procedure has been followed. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Program Director who will send it to the GSBS Deans Office for review to ensure that it meets GSBS guidelines. The Program Director will then send the amendment electronically to the Program Faculty for consideration at least two weeks before a vote is to be taken. If the amendment is to be discussed at a faculty meeting, a final vote may be taken at the meeting. If the amendment is to be approved electronically, GSBS will send the final version of the amendment to the Program Faculty to approve by electronic ballot.