Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Elena Ruff

M.D./Ph.D. Student

Elena Ruff is a medical student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD Program). She will enter into graduate school portion of the training program in 2025. 

About Me

Hello! My name is Elena Ruff, and I am originally from a small town called La Crescent, Minnesota (aka The Apple Capital of Minnesota). Before my introduction to science, I loved the arts and came from a very artistic family. I sang competitively and danced ballet, and I still try to catch a musical, symphony, or ballet performance as often as I can. I moved to Houston in 2017 to attend the University of St. Thomas and graduated with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. I’m a transplant to Texas, but now I use y’all like a native. Over my gap years, I worked as a research technician in a neurogenetics lab at Baylor College of Medicine and in a neuroscience lab here at UT Health San Antonio. 


I play tennis, love going to see live music, and have an ever-growing collection of houseplants. I also love reading classic literature and exploring local coffee shops. 

Research Topic

Neurodegeneration, Molecular Biology

Why I chose MD/PhD

I can’t imagine my future without research or medicine. My passion for one only increases my passion for the other. I think research and medicine have so much to gain from a closer relationship with one another, and I am so excited to be part of that bridge. 

Why I chose MD/PhD at UT Health San Antonio

Choosing your school and your home for 8+ years can be daunting. UTHSCSA made that choice so easy, from the competitiveness of the program to all the stories from students who felt supported and heard, it was a clear decision. 

Post-bac work or other affiliations

Research Technician at Baylor College of Medicine 

Research Assistant at UT Health Science Center San Antonio


B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology/Neuroscience, University of St. Thomas, Houston, 2021


van der Heijden, M. E., Kizek, D. J., Perez, R., Ruff, E. K., Ehrlich, M. E., & Sillitoe, R. V. (2021). Abnormal cerebellar function and tremor in a mouse model for non‐manifesting partially penetrant dystonia type 6. In The Journal of Physiology (Vol. 599, Issue 7, pp. 2037–2054). Wiley.