Friday, May 22, 2020

By Victoria Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved a degree proposal for a doctorate in Human Genetics at the UTRGV School of Medicine.

The next step is for the Board of Regents to submit the proposal to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for review of criteria and appropriate action the fall. If approved, the doctoral program will admit seven students per cohort starting fall 2021.

The proposed doctoral program, designed to address the growing need for researchers in human genetics and genomics in South Texas, is for a full-time, four- to five-year, research-focused degree with a total of 72 credit hours.

Dr. John H. Krouse, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and executive vice president for Health Affairs, said the new doctoral program will focus on developing the next generation of independent scientists in the fields of human genetics and genomics.

“This program will provide intensive research training. It is designed to develop researchers prepared to face the unique health challenges of the Rio Grande Valley and across South Texas,” Krouse said. “We are excited about the research possibilities it offers and the results it could yield for understanding the molecular etiology of complex diseases.”

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the field of human genetics is vital not only for the School of Medicine, but also for the region.

“Human genetics play an important role in how we look at diseases, especially those prevalent in South Texas,” Bailey said. 

“We are thrilled that the Board of Regents supports the research and demand for human geneticists in the region.”

The UTRGV School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics is dedicated to working on common diseases with high prevalence in South Texas, such as diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease.

Some existing resources to the program will include the UTRGV’s School of Medicine’s South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute Genomics Computing Center in Brownsville, and UTRGV research facilities in Edinburg, San Antonio and Brownsville.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.