Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Adam Sacks

M.D./Ph.D. Student

Adam Sacks is a graduate student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD Program) studying DNA repair under the mentorship of Patrick Sung, D.Phil. For his research, Adam is studying the mechanism by which the Shieldin complex controls DNA end resection via its inhibitory action on the 5’-3’ exonuclease EXO1. In particular, his work aims to define the role of Shieldin DNA-binding and protein-protein interactions in the cellular response to DNA damage. He hopes to use his results to improve current cancer treatment regimens and aid in the development of novel cancer therapeutics. For his clinical specialty, Adam is considering pursuing medical oncology, radiation oncology, or dermatology.

About Me

Born in Miami, raised in Pittsburgh, and living in Texas for the past 11 years, I am fortunate to have ended up here in San Antonio. I have enjoyed getting to know this city and the many good people at our school. Regarding my interest in medicine, I first chose to pursue a medical career after having open-heart surgery during high school. Later on, my career aspirations further focused through participation in numerous volunteering efforts and a research post-bacc. I’m now dedicated to working in the field of oncology and using my dual degree-training to help those in need. More personally, I’m engaged to my wonderful fiancee, Michelle, who is currently an ob/gyn resident at UTMB. Although long-term distance isn’t ideal, we’ve made it work and are planning to co-locate in the coming years. At moment, we only have our little cat Sasha, but we are looking to adopt a dog once we live together. If you have ever need cat pictures, my door is always open.


When I have time, I enjoy being active, such as going for hikes, cycling, or just getting outside. I also have a long-standing interest in languages, history, and learning about the world around me. Cooking is also very fun for me, and I like trying new recipes when I get the chance.

Research Topic

Oncology, DNA damage repair, biochemistry, and drug design

Why I chose MD/PhD

During the summer after my senior year of college, I rode a charity bike-ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. During this ride, I met with many cancer researchers and was deeply inspired by their work. Motivated by this experience, I pursued a dual-degree training so that I could combine my passions for patient care and science, ultimately allowing me to bring long-lasting change to the field of oncology.

Why I chose MD/PhD at UT Health San Antonio

As an internal transfer, I chose to switch from an MD-only education to the MD/PhD training because I felt that this path better suited my professional goals. I particularly felt that the STX MSTP was a very welcoming, collaborative program that would support me over my many years of training. I am pleased to say that this assumption held true and that I am very thankful for our program.

Post-bac work or other affiliations

Research Assistant, Xhemalce lab

Univeristy of Texas Austin 


B.S., Neuroscience, University of Texas Austin, 2017