News Archive 2017

2nd Annual Biomedical Science Freshman Research Initiative (BFRI) Research Symposium - December 5, 2017

71 BMED students participated in the 2nd Annual Biomedical Freshman Research Initiative (BFRI) Research Symposium on December 5th, 2017 where Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences faculty and staff judge their posters and provide them feedback on how they can improve their projects and presentation skills. The first year BFRI students took a “Research Methods” course this semester and presented their own research project which they designed, executed and analyzed by applying the fundamentals of research they learned in the course. The second year students took a “Research Experience” course this semester where they were part of Dr. Saraswathy Nair and Dr. Hongxing Lu or Dr. Michael Lehker and Dr. Seratna Guadarama’s research stream. They worked on a research project connected to the faculty mentors’ research field and provided an update of their project at the symposium which they will continue to work on next semester.

2nd Annual Biomedical Freshman Research Initiative (BFRI) Research Symposium
BFRI group picture Dr. Lehker and Dr. Guadarama's Research Stream
1st and 2nd year BFRI students

Dr. Lehker and Dr. Guadarama’s 2nd Year BFRI Stream

Dr. Nair and Dr. Lu’s Research Stream

Dr. Nair and Dr. Lu’s 2nd Year BFRI Stream

Read about all the winners in the BFRI Photo Album page.

College of Health Affairs students return from the ANNUAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS (ABRCMS) with 1stPlace Winners.

ABRCMS 2017 students

Fifteen students from the CoHA and the CoHA RISE Program attended the “ANNUAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS (ABRCMS)”, Nov 1 to 4, 2017 in Phoenix Arizona.

Read more about the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students...

College of Health Affairs Students Take Home Winning Posters at (SACNAS) 2017

CoHA students at SACNAS

Rio Grande Valley, TX – October 26, 2017 - College of Health Affairs at SACNAS 2017

Students from the College of Health Affairs attended the national scientific conference SACNAS 2017, October 19 -21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Science is the largest National Diversity in STEM Conference.  Fifteen students from the College of Health Affairs were accompanied by the Dean of the College, Dr. Michael Lehker and CoHA RISE program Staff, Ms. Bianca Farrell, Ms. Noemi Hernandez, Ms. Magali Ayala and Ms. Ednia Gutierrez to the conference and experienced three days of cutting-edge science, professional development, training and mentoring. Ten students presented their research at the conference. Four student posters placed first in the student competition.

Read the full article here.

UTRGV students and faculty provide medical attention in rural Nicaragua

UTRGV students in Nicaragua

UTRGV biomedical sciences students provided healthcare this summer for patients in rural Nicaragua. A group of 25 students and two faculty members with the UTRGV chapter of Medical Brigades – a student-led organization that focuses on providing medical attention to underserved areas both domestic and overseas – provided consultations, medications, dental work, lab work and preventive educational presentations to more than 800 people in three rural communities in Nicaragua: Susuli Central, El Zapote and El Hatillo.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – OCT. 12, 2017 – A group of 25 biomedical sciences students and two faculty members from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley this summer provided basic medical services and information to rural communities in Nicaragua. Read the full article here.

Medical Brigades at UTRGV Brownsville travel to Nicaragua

Medical Brigades is a global organization that seeks to provide free medical care to underrepresented communities located in Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras. Members shadow medical professionals, get clinical experience and learn from community members.

In August 2017 they traveled to Nicaragua and worked together with doctors and pharmacists to help the local community.

Nicaragua group1 Nicaragua clinic1 Nicaragua clinic2 Nicaragua clinic3 Nicaragua clinic4 Nicaragua clinic5 Nicaragua clinic6 Nicaragua clinic7 Nicaragua group2 Nicaragua group3

To learn more about Medical Brigades at UTRGV Brownsville visit:

Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences Student Organizations page



Cooperative Pharmacy Program - Fall 2017

There are slots open for students to apply to the Cooperative Pharmacy Program this year. If there are any BMED students that want to go to pharmacy school and have taken the PCAT or will take it Sept 8, Dr. Lydia Aguilera (Director of CPP, COHA) would like to talk to them about applying thru the CPP program. Our faculty can provide advisement to optimize their candidacy for pharmacy school. Dr. Cruz even leads a Mock Admissions session.

Early admission deadline is Sept 5 and regular admission deadline is November 1, 2017.

Dr. Bianca Cruz is responsible for coordinating mock multiple mini interviews (MMIs) for CPP students with the UTRGV Career Center. UT Austin College of Pharmacy is currently the only pharmacy school in Texas that uses the MMI method. Important information about signing up for mock MMIs. Please know that students who want to participate in the mock MMIs MUST:

  1. Plan on applying to UT Austin College of Pharmacy in Fall 2017
  2. Be interested in being part of the UTRGV/UT Austin CPP, meaning that they would return to the UTRGV during their third and fourth years of pharmacy school

Any students not applying to UT Austin College of Pharmacy or who do not want to be part of the CPP may contact the UTRGV Career Center on their own to set up mock interviews. Please let Dr. Cruz know if you have any questions.

College of Health Affairs Information Sessions - October 2017

These info sessions for October will focus on supporting COHA majors academic progression as well as looking into life after graduation. Many University centers, i.e. Student Health Clinic, Student Accessibility Office, on-campus Food Bank, Writing Center, will be at the events in addition to the Career Center and Advising Center. If you are thinking and planning life after graduation, you will be able to talk to our graduate programs as well as the University Graduate College.

COHA Info Sessions - Flyer


Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Health Affairs Building West
1st Floor Breezeway
11:30am - 1:30pm


Thursday, October 12, 2017
Student Union Lawn
11:30am - 1:30pm

Join us if you need more information on:

  • Polish your writing skills
  • Learn stress reduction techniques
  • Enhance your health
  • Understand student accessibility policies
  • Apply to graduate school
  • Explore other options after graduation
  • Update resume and prepare for job interview
  • Access Student Food Bank on campus
  • Join student organizations at CoHA to meet new friends and establish connections
For more information and/or special accommodations, please call the College of Health Affairs Dean's Office at 956-665-2291 (Edinburg) or 956-882-5000 (Brownsville).

National Recovery Month

Join the voices for recovery. Strengthen families and communities.

September is National Recovery Month and the UTRGV Collegiate Recovery Program is hosting several events on campus to engage the university and surrounding communities in a vibrant discussion about recovery from addiction while highlighting the hope and enrichment recovery brings to individuals, families, and communities. Most of all we want to show everyone that recovery from addiction is possible!

Schedule of Events

Poster for National Recovery Month September 2017, which includes Why blaze it when you can glaze it, CRP Open house on September 12 and 13 2017, Movie Night: Generation Found on September 20 2017, and recovery walk a thon on September 26 2017

CRP Open House

Tuesday, 9/12 Edinburg: EUCTR 102
Wednesday, 9/13 Brownsville: Cortez 220
10am - 3pm

Movie Night: "Generation Found"

Edinburg: Tuesday, 9/16 6:30pm
UTRGV Plains Capital Bank Theater (Student Union)

Brownsville: Wednesday, 9/20 6:30pm
Salon Cassia (MAIN 2.402)

Recovery Walk-A-Thon

Edinburg: Tuesday, 9/26 11:00am - 1:00pm

Brownsville: Wednesday, 9/27 11:00am - 1:00pm
MAIN Courtyard

Time to Remember, Time to Act - International Overdose Awareness Day August 31 2017

International Overdose Awareness Day

Thursday, August 31st

9:00am - 4:00pm

Edinburg University Center Fountain / Brownsville Student Union Lawn

For special accommodations or additional information, please contact The Counseling Center at (956) 665-2574

Health Professions Open House - Information Session

Link to download Health Profession Open House PDF

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Health Affairs Building West
1st Floor Breezeway
11:30am - 1:30pm

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Student Union Lawn
11:30am - 1:30pm

For more information and/or special accommodations, please call the College of Health Affairs-Dean's office at 956-665-2291 (Edinburg) or 956-882-5000 (Brownsville)

Graduate School Information Session

Graduate School Information Session from September 12 2017 and September 21 2017

Edinburg Campus

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Time: 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Dining & Ballroom Complex
RSVP to: Stephanie Larralde, Graduate Recruiter- Edinburg Campus, 956-665-3558

Brownsville Campus

Date: Thursday, September 21, 2017
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm
Location: Salon Cassia, Room 2.204
RSVP to: Mari Montelongo, Graduate Recruiter- Brownsville Campus, 956-882-7787

Reserve your seat today at

Biomedical Science Program (BMED) Student Panel & Movie (Concussion)

Friday, September 22, 2017
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Casa Bella Clubhouse (2651 FJRM Ave. Brownsville, TX 78520)

This event will consist of BMED upperclassmen talking about the Medical School Application process, how to find research opportunities, MCAT prep tips, Medical School interview tips, individual experiences and their journey with the BMED program.

Two students will also be speaking who are currently getting interviewed at various medical schools. Afterwards, we will show the movie Concussion featuring Will Smith who plays the role of a neuroscientist who wants find a cure for CTE.

Biomedical Science Program (BMED) Student Panel and Movie on September 22, 2017

For any special accommodations please contact

Biochemistry scientist in space breaks record!

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets NASA Record For Most Days In Space

NASA NPR- April 24, 2017 - Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

Engaged Scholar Symposium highlights student research, recognizes community engagement


The Engaged Scholar Symposium (ES2), the largest multidisciplinary gathering of undergraduate scholars in South Texas, kicked off Tuesday, April 18 on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus. ES2, a two-day event, was initiated to share and celebrate multidisciplinary undergraduate research, service-learning projects, and creative works being conducted by UTRGV students. During the symposium, UTRGV students showcased their work through oral and poster presentations and displays, which were judged by faculty and graduate students. ES2 continues on the Edinburg Campus Wednesday, April 19. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Visit our Student Engagement page to see the full list of presenters.

Photo Gallery


Project SMILE

SMILE interview

Marcy Martinez from KGBT CBS 4 News interviewed Kelsey Medina, Anitta Saju, and Alejandra Torres regarding their medical mission trip to Haiti.

Watch the full story here on

Project SMILE: Mission Trips is a UTRGV student organization that was established on January 2017 with the goal of providing medical care to underserved local and international communities. project smile

During Spring Break 2017, Project SMILE took 6 students (four BMED students: Kelsey Medina, Li-Yuen Poy, Anitta Saju and Alejandra Torres, biology student Zhikynah Lamsis and Computer Engineering student Jovin Joseph) and 3 health care workers to Haiti for its first medical mission trip.. The team was able to successfully provide diagnosis, treatments, and care packages to a total of more than 1000 patients in three days. The students that attended obtained a lot from this experience. They not only attained medical experience but also acquired leadership skills. The students faced many unexpected challenges and learned to find solutions to the problems. They also learned to work together as a team and enhance their communication skills throughout the week to uphold a successful mission. Each individual learned to be confident in his/her strengths and adapt to and engage with a different culture.

All of this would not have been possible without the Haitian community that patiently waited to receive care and work with them to create an efficient system. The positive outlook they had towards life despite the hardships they faced every day inspired and encouraged each of the team member to work harder to serve the community there.

Project SMILE delivered a successful mission this year, and the team is excited to learn from their experience and host another effective medical mission next year.

Project SMILE photo album

UTRGV BMED major presents diabetes research at Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

Lakshman Vigneswaran, a biomedical sciences major at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, represented the university at the Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in late March. Vigneswaran presented his research proposal, “Medical and Social Barriers to Optimal Diabetes Care in a Community Health Center.”
Lakshman Vigneswaran, a UTRGV freshman biomedical sciences major, met with Rep. Eddie Lucio III (District 38) while presenting his research at Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 28.

Read the full article here.

The Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences is pleased to announce three visiting professors coming to our Brownsville campus.
When Where Who
Tuesday, March 21
Sabal Hall 1.106 Dr. Rajesh Singh, Ph.D. – Professor - Microbiology & Parasitology - The Andes University Venezuela - “Drug Delivery Approach Using Novel Nanoparticle”
Thursday March 23
LHSB 1.410

Dr. Upal Roy Ph.D. - Research Scientist II - Microbiology - Biosciences Division, Stanford Research Institute International - "Effect of HIV-1 Infection and Targeted Therapeutic Strategies"

Tuesday March 28
Main 1.220 Dr. Abdul Hye Khan

The Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences is pleased to announce Dr. Silvana Vielma’s presentation “Beyond Immunopathogenesis: From Viruses to Cancer”
Link to download Dr. Vielma - Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences Presentation PDF When: Friday March 10, 2017 at 9:30am-11:00am
Where: BSABH 1.106 (Brownsville campus)