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Current MD-PhD Student - Latham Fink

Latham Fink

Name: Latham Fink

Year in Program: GY3

Undergrad University: Rhodes College

Mentor: Kathryn A. Cunningham, Ph.D.

Graduate Program: Neuroscience


    Research Interests

  • Neuropsychopharmacology, Addiction, Cognitive Enhancement, Gene Therapy, Engineered Cell Signaling, RNAi

    Honors & Awards

  • Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction Travel Award, 2011
  • T32 Training Grant: Neural and Pharmacological Mechanisms of Abused Drugs
  • Young Researcher's Travel Award, IV International Conference on Polyomaviruses and Human Disease, 2007
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2003


  • Seo GJ, Fink LHL, O'Hara B, Atwood WJ, Sullivan CS. Evolutionarily conserved function of a viral microRNA. J Virol 2008 82: 9823-9828


  • Latham HL Fink, Sonja J Stutz, Marcy J. Bubar, Kathryn A. Cunningham. Selective stimulation of the 5-HT2CR signalosome is associated with elevated basal and reduced 5-HT2CR-evoked levels of novelty-induced motility. Biology, Behavior, and Chemistry, San Antonio 2011. Re-presented at the National Student Research Forum, Galveston 2011.
  • Noelle C. Anastasio, Andrew G. McGinnis, Patricia K. Seitz, Latham HL Fink, Cheryl S. Watson, Fernanda Laezza, Anton Agarkov, Amarnath Natarajan, Scott R. Gilbertson, and Kathryn A. Cunningham. Innovative strategy for maintaining activation of the serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT2CR) signalosome. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego 2010.
  • Latham HL Fink, Gil Ju Seo, Bethany A. O'Hara, Don Ganem, Walter J. Atwood, and Christopher S. Sullivan. Biogenesis and function of Polyomaviral microRNAs. International Conference on Polyomaviruses and Human Diseases. Barcelona, Sep 30-Oct 3, 2007.
  • Latham Fink, Don Ganem, and Christopher S. Sullivan. Biogenesis and function of viral microRNAs. Workshop on Mechanisms of Viral Oncogenesis: DNA Repair, Genetic Instability, and MicroRNAs. Lake Tahoe, Sep 7, 2007.
  • Latham Fink, Don Ganem, Christopher S. Sullivan. Biogenesis and function of polyomaviral microRNAs. ICGEB DNA Tumor Virus Meeting. Trieste, July 17-22, 2007.

    Hobbies or just something about yourself in general:

  • I take up hobbies faster than I can handle. My latest batch: fishing, sailing, rock climbing, coffee roasting, cycling, fine spirits, podcasts and audiobooks.

Career Development

The career development of an MD-PhD student is critically important and extends out well past the date of graduation with the dual degrees. The UTMB MD-PhD Program carefully guides and nurtures students throughout the Program. Early in the Program, critical issues are mentor selection and choice of a graduate program. MD-PhD students meet regularly with a faculty advisor, a student "big sibling" and members of the advisory committee. Opportunities to be exposed to research opportunities are provided through Program activities as well as the scientific activities on campus. Most students do their initial laboratory rotation during the summer before starting medical school. Additional laboratory rotations can be completed during the summer before the first and second years of medical school and after the second year of medical school. Once students are established in their labs, they are guided through their research by a mentor and dissertation committee.

For MD-PhD students, selection of the dissertation committee is essential and our Program requires students to include a member who is an MD scientist who can provide guidance on career progress and residency selections. As thesis defense approaches, students design their optimal clinical experiences with members of the MD-PhD committee to maximize chances to obtain the types of residency training that will be most compatible with further development as a physician scientist. The Program runs career guidance seminars to alert students to many of the important issues, pitfalls and milestones that they will need to navigate in the future. These include the pros and cons of short-track residencies, the need for additional postdoctoral training, and how to select and negotiate a first faculty appointment. The UTMB MD-PhD graduate is thus well positioned to make the most out of the advantages that MD-PhD careers offer.