One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200
UTB Life Health and Science Building
The University of Texas at Brownsville
University of Utah
The University of Utah

About the Program

The University of Utah and The University of Texas at Brownsville Bridge Grant promotes inter-institutional partnerships to improve the quality and quantity of students in underrepresented groups. As a participant in the bridge program at UTB, students will be engaged in science by working in research labs and will travel to the partner institution to participate in a research lab summer internships. Students will also be exposed to scientifically enriching activities during the two year bridge program. These activities will include the following:

  • Seminars presented by The University of Utah BMI track leaders
  • Workshops and seminars organized by the UTB program faculty, financed through the RISE program
  • Paper presentations at scientific conferences

 After completing the bridge program at UTB, a total of five minority graduates (in two-year cycles) who 1) meet the GPA and GRE standards, and 2) are recommend by their M.S. research committee chairman for entering the Ph.D. program, will be able to compete for successful acceptance as Ph.D. candidates in the BMI Department of U of U. 

UTB Bridge M.S. Program

The Bridge Project joins The University of Utah and The University of Texas at Brownsville. Qualified candidates begin their master’s research at UTB working with outstanding faculty from diverse disciplines that offer students a wide variety of options for course work, research projects and interdisciplinary training that will make them extremely competitive to enter the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah. 

Biomedical Informatics

The discipline of Biomedical Informatics is relatively new and is growing rapidly. Biomedical Informatics is viewed as essential to the delivery of high quality health care and the advance of biomedical sciences. Biomedical Informatics has roots in healthcare informatics and clinical support and today the program covers the entire field of biomedicine. The focus is in the use of information technology and advanced research computing in the practice of biomedical sciences and medicine. 

The UTB Component

The Bridge Project is an exciting new program that brings together the Biomedical Informatics Department at University of Utah and The University of Texas at Brownsville.

Qualified candidates begin their Masters research at UTB working with outstanding faculty from diverse disciplines that offer students a wide variety of options for course work, research projects, and interdisciplinary training.

The Bridge to Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics (BMI) program, inaugurated under the auspices of late Dr. Luis Colom, consists of four master’s tracks, requiring at the minimum:

  • 30 credit hours of course work
  • 6 credit hours of research
  • Thesis (written)

The four master's program tracks are in:

  • Dept. of Biology under Dr. David Hicks
  • Dept. of Computer Science under Dr. Juan Iglesias
  • Dept. of Mathematics under Dr. Jerzy Mogilsky
  • Dept. of Physics under Dr. Soma Mukherjee

Curricula for all four tracks include prerequisite courses for entry into the University of Utah Department of BMI Ph.D. program. Ph.D. candidates should be well versed in the areas of:

  • Computer Programming
  • Database Management
  • Statistics​
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genomics

Financial support is available for students who qualify for the program.

University of Utah Component

The Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah has existed, under various names, since 1964. The program was founded by Dr. Homer Warner, one of the visionary individuals who founded the field of biomedical informatics. Dr. Warner's legacy of excellence and innovation has persisted and the department remains a leader in informatics research, training and implementation. The department is recognized as one of the most prestigious training programs for informatics in the world. The department has granted more than 100 Ph.D. degrees and hundreds of M.S. degrees. These alumni have gone on to prestigious positions in academia, clinical medicine, government and private industry. The department routinely draws international scholars (both faculty and students) from across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Unmatched Opportunities for Research

The breadth and depth of research opportunities at Utah is simply unmatched. The program is unique for its strength across all of the informatics sub-disciplines: clinical informatics and public health informatics. 'Real world' clinical informatics research is ongoing at several collaborating institutions including Intermountain Medical Center (home of the world-famous HELP electronic medical record), the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, and the VA medical center. Research in translational informatics is fostered by the finest genealogy database in the world: the Utah Population Database. Public health informatics research is performed in close relationships with state, county and local public health agencies. 


Our faculty members are internationally recognized for contributions to biomedical informatics across a wide range of areas; mentoring and teaching are an important mission to our faculty. Many faculty are directly involved with developing and managing information systems at affiliated institutions.

Collaborative Institutions

Our department is affiliated with a wide variety of local, state, and national institutions for research projects, including:

  • University of Utah Healthcare
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Salt Lake City VA Medical Center
  • Utah Population Database
  • Utah Department of Health
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute

Training Tracks

We offer three training tracks for students in the department. These tracks provide a framework for students to tailor their coursework and research to meet their educational interests.

Clinical Informatics Track

This track focuses on the development and evaluation of clinical health informatics systems, covering a wide range of areas including clinical decision support, health data standards, knowledge engineering, distributed clinical trials and imaging.

Clinical Research and Translational Informatics Track

This track focuses on a wide range of research in Bioinformatics, Clinical Research Support, and Translational Informatics. The research from this track has been a traditional strength of the department. Students and faculty have access to a unique genealogic database and clinical data warehouses that provide opportunities for gene finding, pharmaco-genetics, high performance computing, cancer informatics, and other basic science research.

Public Health Informatics Track

This track focuses on the application of informatics tools and methods for public health and population-based practice and research. The CDC-funded Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics provides opportunities to conduct research in collaboration with our local and state public health partners. Research opportunities include access to extensive clinical disease registries and surveillance systems, record linkage, simulation, NIH caB™ infrastructure, and other areas addressing public health problems.

For more information contact Dr. Saraswathy Nair, UTB Bridge Grant Campus Coordinator at 956-882-5108  ( or Dr. Julio Facelli, Univ. of Utah Bridge Grant Campus Coordinator (​)

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