September is National Urology Month

  Friday, September 8, 2023
  Around Campus, Community, Research

By Saira Cabrera

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – SEPT. 8, 2023 – A fourth-year medical student at the UTRGV School of Medicine is conducting urological research that may translate to better understanding and treatment for an underrepresented community.

Simita Gaglani has always known her career path was in medicine, but it wasn't until she began participating in healthcare-related community service that she saw the "alluring" interplay of public health and medicine.

Her efforts are highlighted this month, National Urology Month – observed annually in September – to inform about urological health and preventive treatments. 

simita gaglani utrgv med student
Simita Gaglani, a fourth-year UTRGV School of Medicine student, hopes to continue exploring urological research, which she considers an alluring field. Her research on transgender women has led her to seek treatment development for a specific market in the urological specialty. (Courtesy Photo)


"I've wanted to be a doctor my whole life," she said. "The idea of using my strengths and passions to leave the world better than I found it was what made it click for me, and I haven't looked back since."   

Urology has been a focus for her throughout most of her medical studies.    

"It's such a cutting-edge, experimental field that is so multi-faceted, and it completely aligns with everything I love about medicine," she said. "The innovation in this field is alluring to me, and I hope to continue exploring it."    


Her interest in urology has led to research that may help answer questions about urology and prostate cancer research in transgender women.   

"I started thinking about populations that weren't represented in the literature I had seen," Gaglani said. "Transwomen were the first population to come to mind. I realized that certain physical characteristics put you at risk for prostate cancer. But, if people aren't viewing you as one gender or the other, it can create confusion."   

To address the lack of clarity she saw in research, Gaglani started investigating how prostate cancer is characterized in transgender women.  

"We found minimal data exists, and we realized this might not represent the actual population," she said. "We wanted to look at the data from one specific institution – the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York (where Gaglani was conducting summer research) – to see if it matched up with the characteristics of the disease that we were seeing in the literature." 


Gaglani learned that whether using exosomes – mediators of communication between cells – for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes or the development of prostate cancer in transgender women, research may lead to different treatment options in the urology field, including that for prostate cancer in transgender patients.  

"This research may lead to a more cohesive, population-based study that would more properly characterize the disease in this population so it could be better addressed when screening for it or treating it," she said. "Or addressing hormone therapy and the risks that come with that when it comes to prostate cancer."    

Gaglani presented her research on prostate cancer and the transgender populations at the UTRGV School of Medicine's annual Research Symposium in mid-September last year, at the fifth annual hosting of the research gathering.

She hopes to continue exploring and contributing to the field of urology.  

"I'm excited and passionate about urology. I'm thrilled about the things that I don't know and the questions that have been left unanswered," she said. "Hopefully, I can help find those answers in the future. I look forward to, hopefully, being part of something bigger in urology."  


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.