Antimicrobial Resistance (TPAMR)

Texas Medical Center Training Program in Antimicrobial Resistance (TPAMR)

Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), T32 AI141349 


Program Director:  
Cesar Arias, MD, PhD
Professor, Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
UT Health

Co-Program Director: 
Kevin Garey, PharmD
Professor and Chair, Pharmacy Practice &Translational Research
University of Houston College of Pharmacy

Co-Program Director:
E. Lynn Zechiedrich, PhD
Professor, Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Baylor College of Medicine


Program Administrators:
Vanessa Herrera, herrera@rice.edu, and Karen Ethun, kethun@rice.edu


Overview of AMR: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become one of the top public health priorities worldwide.  Our new, innovative, inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional AMR program will train the next generation of physicians, physician-scientists, PharmDs and PhD researchers on the complex, multifaceted and challenging problems that AMR presents.

Trainees will be immersed in the rich and fertile environment of the Houston Texas Medical Center and will interact at the interface of clinical practice, basic science, drug discovery, public health and hospital epidemiology. Our world-class AMR researchers, existing resources, institutional support, administrative organization and a collaborative, cross-disciplinary environment already in place offer the perfect platform for a high-quality training program encompassing 7 major biomedical research institutions:

  • University of Texas Health Science Center (UTH)
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDA)
  • Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)
  • University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UH)
  • Rice University (RU)
  • Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT)

Our goal is to provide the training, skills, and tools needed to translate research findings into actionable items in the clinic and to translate patient-based observations back into the laboratory to counteract AMR in patients across the medical spectrum.


TPAMR Overview, Trainee Eligibility, Requirements and Benefits

This Training Program in Antimicrobial Resistance (TPAMR) addresses the critical need to train young postdoctoral researchers in multidisciplinary fields to acquire the appropriate tools and expertise to approach antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in a transformative and logical manner. TPAMR will provide clinical fellows, postdocs, and PharmDs with innovative training opportunities, including 1) rigorous grounding in AMR fundamentals, 2) intensive, co-mentored, multidisciplinary research experiences, 3) broad exposure to established and emerging areas of AMR, 4) strong career development training, and 5) opportunities for international research programs in AMR.

Trainee Slots in Year 1: 2 slots (1 MD slot and 1 PhD or PharmD slot)

Length of Training Period: One year (12 months). Trainees will have the opportunity for reappointment (total of two years) if progress is satisfactory. Tentative training period for Cohort 1: July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021.

Overview of TPAMR Training Period:

Trainee Eligibility and Level

  • Must be US or Dual Citizen, or Permanent Residents at the time of application
  • Must be employed at one of the seven participating institutions
  • MDs, MD/PhDs, PharmDs will apply at the end of their first year in their program
  • PhDs will apply at the end of their first or second year as a postdoc in a TPAMR faculty research lab

Trainee Mentors and Co-Mentors: Applicants will select ONE primary mentor and TWO secondary / co-mentors with complementary expertise, preferably from different departments and institutions. The primary mentor and 1st co-mentor must be selected from the TPAMR Training Faculty list (see Training Faculty). 

Additionally, we are now allowing designated Early Stage Investigators (ESI, who are not yet TPAMR faculty) to participate as a 3rd or 4th mentor.  This is an option, not a requirement. Current ESI faculty participating in TPAMR are:
Jessica Galloway-Peña, PhD, Asst. Professor, Infectious Diseases, MDA
Blake Hanson, PhD, Asst. Professor, Center for Infectious Diseases, UTH School of Public Health
William Miller, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH
Truc Tran, PharmD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH

Requirements during Training Period

  • Take TPAMR Foundations Course, offered annually each Fall (see Curriculum)
  • Conduct AMR research project (with mentor and 2 co-mentors with complementary expertise)
  • Take (audit) a biostatistics course or provide evidence of completion of a recent comparable course
  • Participate in mentorship of a predoctoral student in the UTHealth Infectious Disease fellowship program
  • Attend and present poster and research talk at TMC Annual AMR and Stewardship Conference (held early Spring; January 22-24, 2020)
  • Attend and present poster at Keck Annual Research Conference (held in Fall; October 11, 2019)
  • Attend weekly Keck Seminars, and AMR monthly seminars, journal club
  • Attend and present AMR research project progress at the annual progress review with the TPAMR Steering Committee
  • Attend and submit abstracts to regional and national meetings such as IDWeek and ASMMicrobe
  • Develop and review Individual Development Plan
  • Take workshops in Responsible Conduct of Research and Rigor and Reproducibility
  • Take career development seminars (minimum of 2 each year)
  • Write a career development proposal (NIH K award); may take grant writing workshops to prepare a proposal
  • Engage in post-training with the next cohorts of TPAMR trainees
  • OPTIONAL:  Participate in international rotations ( 1 month for clinical; 1+ month for research) at Universidad El Bosque in Colombia.

Benefits of Fellowship

By participating in this program, trainees will have a co-mentored project by mentors in complementary research areas to leverage their training and research in these diverse areas. Additionally, each appointment provides up to 24 months of NIH Postdoctoral stipend support (current levels will be used, per NIH FY2019), plus partial support for tuition, fees and health insurance (not fringe) and travel. The trainee’s primary mentor/department is responsible for the fringe, and the remainder of the stipend and health insurance (up to the institutional level). All NIH-Funded postdoctoral fellows are subject to the terms and conditions of the NRSA Payback Agreement

TPAMR Application Instructions & Additional Information

The Call for Applications has ended.

Our next call for applications will be announced here.

Appointment Period for Cohort 1:  July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021 (Trainees will have the opportunity for reappointment (total of two years) if progress is satisfactory.

Note: Primary mentors may sponsor only one applicant.

The Gulf Coast Consortia is committed to providing equal opportunity in training for individuals with disabilities and individuals from racial and ethnic groups who are currently under-represented in STEM fields. We welcome applications from all qualified trainees, regardless of ethnicity, race, or disability status. All GCC member institutions are ADAAA compliant and have offices of disability support services that provide accommodations and support services to trainees, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Selecting your mentors:

  • Identify a primary mentor, who will be a member of the TPAMR Training Faculty. (typically, this will be the faculty in whose lab you are a postdoc, clinical fellow or PharmD).
  • Select at least one co-mentor from the current list of TPAMR Training Faculty.
  • Select an additional co-mentor either from the current list of TPAMR Training Faculty or one who is an Early Stage Investigator (ESIs, are not yet TPAMR faculty).  Current ESI faculty participating in TPAMR are: Jessica Galloway-Peña, PhD, Asst. Professor, Infectious Diseases, MDA; Blake Hanson, PhD, Asst. Professor, Center for Infectious Diseases, UTH School of Public Health; William Miller, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH; Truc Tran, PharmD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH.
    *NOTE: It is preferable that mentors come from different departments and different institutions.

Components of the application

Items needed from others:

  1. Mentor Recommendation form from all mentors (download form). Mentors are to email their completed forms directly to herrera@rice.edu.
  2. Two (2) Letters of Recommendation from people other than your mentors. The recommenders should email them directly to herrera@rice.edu. These letters must be received by the application due date. These recommendations are not required to be on letterhead or signed, as long as the name, title, department and institutional affiliation are included in the text. These recommenders may be former professors, employers, etc., and describe qualities that they observed in the applicant which qualify him/her to be a TPAMR trainee.

Items needed from trainee applicant:

Email all following items in one email to herrera@rice.edu:

  1. Fellowship Application form (download form). Components besides educational background and published papers include:
    • Project description
    • Laymen’s description of project
    • Mentoring and Training Plan
    • Career Goals
    • Curriculum – Complete the curriculum section with your proposed courses or workshops. Note: TPAMR requires a Foundations course, offered at UTHealth each fall.
    • International Component – Indicate if you are interested in pursuing the optional international component in Colombia.
  2. CV or resume: Email to herrera@rice.edu a current resume or CV outlining your professional work experience and academic history, including the dates you received your degree(s).
  3. Transcripts are required from postdoctoral applicants: official copies are preferred, but unofficial copies will be accepted. Email the following as PDFs (not photos)
    • Undergraduate transcripts from all institutions you attended
    • Master’s degree transcript (if applicable)
    • Doctoral degree transcript, which includes a listing of courses attended (not just a diploma); documentation must also include the official receipt date of your doctoral degree (e.g. “conferred May 9, 2019”). If the transcript is in a foreign language, you must submit an English translation for all degrees; you may use a copy of the transcripts that you provided to your institution.
  4. Proof of US or Dual citizenship (birth certificate or passport; a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship) or Permanent Residency (“Green Card”): email a clear PDF scan (not a photo). You must already have received your Green Card to be eligible to apply. If a Permanent Resident is appointed to a fellowship, s/he must provide a notarized copy of the card to the GCC to submit to the agency. Inquire in your department about finding a Notary Public to do this.

Interviews:

Applications are reviewed by, and selected applicants are invited to interview with, the Program Directors and the TPAMR Steering Committee. All applicants will be notified via email whether or not they have been selected for an interview. Interviews are a total of 15-20 minutes (8-minute presentation + Q&A) and are held within one month of the application deadline. Interviews include a brief presentation of the research project, planned coursework, and mentoring plan.

Mentors (primary and co-mentors) are expected to participate in the interview in support of their trainee.

See the section Instructions for Interviews for details about limits on time and number of slides.

TPAMR Instructions for Interviews

Selected applicants and their mentors will be invited for an interview before the TPAMR Program Directors and Steering Committee. All interviews will take place on one day. All of the below should be in your presentation.

Prepare a brief oral presentation:

  • 8 minutes maximum, with a maximum of 6 PPT slides + title slide + acknowledgment slide.
  • Do not embed movies in your slides.
  • The interview will last a total of 15-20 minutes, including your 8-minute oral presentation, then questions from the reviewers.
  • Please practice so that you do not exceed this 8-minute time limit (hint: do not get bogged down in the details of the experiments).
  • Aim to keep your presentation simple; you will be assessed on how well you can explain things concisely to a broad audience, as the TPAMR Steering Committee includes faculty from various disciplines related to AMR.

Your presentation should provide an overview of your proposed research project and should address the following:

  • the interdisciplinary nature of the project and the approaches you propose to use. Highlight the parts of your project that are novel.
  • the importance of your project to addressing the complex, multifaceted and challenging problems that AMR presents. This does not need to be lengthy or highly detailed, but it should be explicit. Oftentimes this may be obvious to you and others in your specific area, but it may not be clear to a diverse, interdisciplinary review group.
  • the roles that both your primary mentor and co-mentors will play in the proposed research / mentoring plan, especially how the mentors together will enable you to conduct research that could not be accomplished otherwise.
  • your timeline for required and elective courses/workshops – this should be addressed in your slides and reflect the actual semesters in which the courses/workshops are offered. Be sure you include all required parts, e.g. AMR Foundations course, Responsible Conduct of Research, Rigor and Reproducibility, Grant Writing, etc.
  • your timeline for submitting a career development grant, such as K awards, K99/R00.
  • your interest in the optional international component at Universidad El Bosque in Bogata, Colombia.
TPAMR Curriculum

The TPAMR Foundations Course is outlined in the PDF below. These lectures will be for 1 hour, twice weekly during the fall semester, at UTHealth. Dates: Trainees are expected to participate during their first year of appointment.  Certificates of completion will be provided.

TPAMR Foundations Course Outline

TPAMR Training Faculty and Steering Committee

See complete list of TPAMR Training Faculty

Our faculty were selected for their robust research programs as well as for the strength of their training and mentoring of young researchers.

Training faculty serving as primary mentors may sponsor only one applicant. Faculty may serve as co-mentors for more than one applicant. Early Stage Investigators (ESI), or those who have secured K awards or are transitioning into tenure-track faculty positions, are encouraged to participate in TPAMR training activities.  We anticipate adding ESIs to the TPAMR training faculty once they have independent funding such as R01 or similar grants. Current ESI faculty participating in TPAMR are: Jessica Galloway-Peña, PhD, Asst. Professor, Infectious Diseases, MDA; Blake Hanson, PhD, Asst. Professor, Center for Infectious Diseases, UTH School of Public Health; William Miller, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH; Truc Tran, PharmD, Division of Infectious Diseases, UTH.

TPAMR Steering Committee

The steering committee will review and select candidates for appointment to TPAMR and monitor the educational programs and progress of TPAMR trainees.