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Current MD-PhD Student - Talha Ijaz

Talha Ijaz

Name: Talha Ijaz

Year in Program: GY3

Undergrad University: Centre College

Mentor: Allan R. Brasier, MD

Graduate Program: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


    Research Interests

  • Lucidation of inflammatory signaling pathways in formation of aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections

    Honors & Awards

  • Elected into Phi Beta Kappa, Centre College (2009)
  • 1st place award for poster presentation at Gill Heart Institute Cardiovascular Research Day, University of Kentucky (2009)
  • Thomas N. and Gleaves James Scholarship for research and academic excellence, UTMB (2012)
  • 1st place award for best student poster in basic science research, 16th Annual Forum on Aging, UTMB (2012)


  • Venkateswaran Subramanian, Jonathan Golledge, Talha Ijaz, Dennis Bruemmer, and Alan Daugherty (2010). Pioglitazone induced reduction in atherosclerosis occur via smooth muscle cell-specific interaction with PPAR-gamma. Circulation Research. 107: 953-8.
  • Stephen E. Asmus, Benjamin T. Cocanougher, Donald L. Allen, John B. Boone, Elizabeth A. Brooks, Sarah M. Hawkins, Laura A. Hench, Talha Ijaz, Meredith N. Mayfield (2011). Increasing proportions of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive interneurons colocalize with choline acetyltransferase or vasoactive intestinal peptide in the developing rat cerebral cortex. Brain Research. 1383: 108-19.
  • Venkateswaran Subramanian, Adam H. Uchida, Talha Ijaz, Jessica J. Moorleghen, Deborah A. Howatt, Anju Balarikshnan (2012). Calpain inhibition attenuates angiotensin II-induced abdominal aortic aneurysms and atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 59: 66-76.


  • Talha Ijaz. Characterization of tyrosine hydroxylase interneurons in the cerebral cortex. John C. Young Scholars’ Symposium; April, 2009, Danville, KY.
  • Hench, Laura, Donald Allen, Sarah Hawkins, Talha Ijaz, and Steve Asmus. Colocalization of tyrosine hydroxylase with VIP and ChAT in interneurons in the developing rat cerebral cortex. Kentucky Academy of Science Annual Meeting; November, 2009, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY.
  • Talha Ijaz, Hong Lu, Deborah A. Howatt, Anju Balarikshnan, Richard J. Charnigo Jr, Lisa A. Cassis, Alan Daugherty. Low dietary sodium increases atherosclerosis in LDL receptor deficient mice. 11th Annual Gill Heart Institute Cardiovascular Research Day; October, 2009, Lexington, KY.
  • Venkateswaran Subramanian, Talha Ijaz, Haruhito A. Uchida. Pharmacological inhibition of Calpain attenuates angiotensin-II induced atherosclerosis and abdominal aortic aneurysms in male LDL-receptor deficient mice. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Annual Conference; April, 2010, San Francisco.
  • Venkateswaran Subramanian, Jonathan Golledge, Talha Ijaz, Dennis Bruemmer, and Alan Daugherty. (2010). Pioglitazone induced reduction in atherosclerosis occur via smooth muscle cell-specific interaction with PPAR-gamma. Circulation Research. 107: 953-8.

    Hobbies or just something about yourself in general:

  • I enjoy reading, playing sports, and spending time with family.

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.