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Clinical and Translational Science Track

Moving new biomedical discoveries into clinical use as new treatments and cures takes considerable time and resources. A translational scientist is at the forefront of this work, teaming with an integrated group of experts focused on taking knowledge gained through research and translating it for use in health care settings. This bench-to-bedside effort is essential to bridging the gap between basic science and patient care.

The Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Track within the Ph.D. Program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Science is built upon Mayo Clinic's extensive interdisciplinary research and medical environment. It prepares you to lead the biomedical research teams of the future that will rapidly translate discoveries to new treatments and change the paradigms of how we conduct biomedical research.

As a graduate of this program, you’ll be able to conduct research leading to meaningful scientific contributions. In addition, you’ll be prepared to change and improve how biomedical research is conceptualized and implemented.

The Clinical and Translational Science Track allows students to personalize their studies in three areas of emphasis:

  • Population-based translational science
  • Patient-based translational science
  • Laboratory-based translational science

A great strength of the Mayo Clinic CTS track is its focus on providing mentored research experiences for each student. The pre-eminent physicians, scientists, and educators who comprise the faculty at Mayo Clinic are available as mentors or co-mentors for students in the track.


All doctoral students in the CTS track have a common core curriculum.  Depending on your area of concentration (laboratory-, patient- or population-based translational science), you’ll select your advanced courses from either track courses or graduate school courses in the basic science disciplines.

Year 1

  • Core required courses  
  • Track required courses  
  • Lab rotations  
    • Introduction to research projects and methodologies used in the laboratories of clinical/translational investigators
    • Completion of three research experiences or laboratory rotations, each lasting eight weeks
    • Selection of laboratory for thesis research

Year 2

  • Advanced elective courses (areas of interest)
  • Thesis research
    • Research gathering preliminary data for a thesis research project
    • Preparation of a thesis proposal in the format of a grant application
    • Selection of faculty for the oral qualifying exam committee, followed by defense of the research proposal in the oral exam (to be completed before the end of the fall quarter)
  • Written Comprehensive Examination

Years 3-5+

  • Oral Qualifying Examination (presentation of thesis proposal)
  • Ongoing workshops/seminars/journal clubs
  • Completion of thesis research and any remaining course requirements
  • Selection of your Graduate School Thesis Advisory Committee that will evaluate the proposed direction, specific aims, and experimental strategies of your project, as well as meet with you at least twice a year to discuss your research progress
  • Works-in-progress presentation of research project
  • Final Oral Examination (thesis defense)

Recent thesis topics


  • “Improving Facial Paralysis Surgical Outcomes: Targeting Facial Nerve Regeneration,” Marissa Suchyta (Mentor: Samir Mardini, M.D.)
  • “Regenerative Capabilities of Extracellular Vesicles in Myocarditis,” Danielle Beetler (Mentor: DeLisa Fairweather, Ph.D.)
  • “Machine Learning-Aided Biomarker Discovery and Precision Genomics for Gallbladder Cancer,” Linsey Jackson (Mentor: Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.)
  • “Pathway Discovery in Neurodegenerative Diseases by Integration of Multi-omics Data,” Yuhao (Harry) Min (Mentor: Nilufer Taner, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • “Investigating Uterine Fibroids in Women of Color: A Translational Approach,” Minerva Orellana (Mentors: Felicity T. Enders, Ph.D. and Elizabeth (Ebbie) A. Stewart, M.D.)
  • “Natural Language Processing Aided Discovery of Adverse Symptoms during Fertility Procedures,” Karen DSouza (Mentor: Megan A. Allyse, Ph.D.)


  • “Understanding and Promoting Student Wellbeing Through Social-Emotional Behavioral Programming,” Catherine Knier (Mentor: Dr. Anthony J. Windebank, M.D, and Christopher K. Pierret, Ph.D.)
  • “Reducing the Burden of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Among Migrant Populations: Improving Prevention and Outcomes Through Disease Modeling,” Kenneth Valles (Mentor: Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.)
  • “Living Systematic Reviews and Guideline Updates in Areas with Rapidly Evolving Evidence,” Irbaz Bin Riaz (Mentor: M. Hassan Murad, M.D.)
  • “Sex Differences in Mitochondria During Acute cvb3 Myocarditis,” Damian Di Florio (Mentor: DeLisa Fairweather, Ph.D.)
  • “The Role of Convection-Enhanced Delivery for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma,” Erica Power (Mentor: David J. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D)
  • “Subcutaneous Combination Biodevice for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes,” Ethan Law (Mentor: Quinn P. Peterson, Ph.D.)
  • “Technologies to Enable Closed-loop Neurochemical Control in Deep Brain Stimulation,” Aaron Rusheen (Mentor: Kendall H. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.)


  • “Functional Validation in Unsolved Rare Disease Patients as a Method of Providing and Clarifying Diagnosis,” Brad Bowles (Mentor: Karl J. Clark, Ph.D. and Eric W. Klee, Ph.D.)
  • “The Role of Glypican-3 Isoforms in the Development of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells for Liver Cancer Therapy,” Aarti Koluri (Mentor: Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.)
  • “Clinical Implementation of Tobacco Cessation Treatment among Cancer Patients,” Josh Ohde, Ph.D. (Mentor: David O. Warner, M.D.)
  • “Metabolic Abnormalities Associated with Disease Alter Progenitor Cell Function and Precede Tissue Deterioration,” Josiane Joseph (Mentor: Jason D. Doles, Ph.D.)
  • “Breast Cancer Mode of Detection Varies by Breast Density and Stage at Diagnosis in Population Based Cohort,” Susanna Basappa (Mentor: Lila J. Rutten, Ph.D.)


  • “Role of Fumarate-NRF2 Response in the Pathogenesis of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD),” Maria V. Irazabal Mira, M.D., Ph.D.  (Mentor: Vicente E. Torres, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • “Anatomy and Histology of the Domestic Pig: Implications for Vagus Nerve Stimulation,” Elizabeth Eckert, Ph.D. (Mentors: Kip Ludwig, Ph.D and Aaron J. Johnson, Ph.D.)
  • “Place and Poverty: Using Area Deprivation Index to Assess the Impact of Socioeconomic Disadvantage on Health Behaviors and Outcomes,” Shaheen S. Kurani, Ph.D. (Mentor: Nilay Shah, Ph.D.)

Previous to 2016

  • “Antitumor Synergy of Novel Combinatorial Therapy in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma (ATC),” Antoneicka Harris, Ph.D. (Mentor: John A. Copland III, Ph.D.)
  • “Neural Circulatory Control and Genetic Pathogenic Variants in Patients with Epilepsy and the Risk of Sudden Unexpected Death”,  Choudhary Anwar Chahal, Ph.D. (Mentor: Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • “In vivo Genome Editing,” Jarryd Campbell, Ph.D. (Mentor: Stephen Ekker, Ph.D.)
  • “Step-Down of Medication Therapy in Asthma: Generation and Translation of New Knowledge,” Michael Gionfriddo, Ph.D. (Mentor: Victor Montori, M.D.)
  • “Sex-specific Mechanisms of Blood Pressure Regulation in Women,” Ronee Havey, Ph.D. (Mentor: Michael Joyner, M.D.)
  • “Cellular Senescence as a Therapeutic Target in Diabetes,” Allyson Palmer, Ph.D. (Mentor: James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • “Early Exposure to Anesthesia and Learning/Behavioral Outcomes in a Population-based Birth Cohort,” Danqing Hu, Ph.D. (Mentor: David Warner, M.D.)
  • “Characterizing the Mechanism Behind Breaking Immune Tolerance in Pregnancy,” Elizabeth Ann Enninga, Ph.D. (Mentor: Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • “Adolescent Outcomes in Mental Health InSciEd Out,” Joanna Yang, Ph.D. (Mentor: Stephen Ekker, Ph.D.)

Your future

Many graduates of the Clinical and Translational Science Track choose to pursue postdoctoral training regardless of whether they intend to pursue careers in academia or industry. Other students choose to enter advanced training programs, such as genetics fellowships.

Meet the directors

Anthony Windebank, M.D.Clinical and translational science is a rapidly developing area of science. Advances in technology and the way we approach and treat diseases or other conditions have set the stage for improved human health.

Our program combines the clinical and scientific resources of Mayo Clinic, where you’ll graduate with an understanding of how research is translated to health care, and ready to carry out research that accelerates medical discoveries into better health.

Anthony Windebank, M.D.
Clinical and Translational Science Track Director
Professor of Neurology
Phone: 507-284-4716
Profile photo of Dr. Felicity EndersEmail:
See research interests

Felicity Enders, Ph.D.
Clinical and Translational Science Track Associate Director
Professor of Biostatistics
Phone: 507-538-4970
See research interests


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