Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Myrna G. Garcia, PhD

M.D./Ph.D. Student

Myrna Garcia completed her PhD in the lab of Tyler Curiel, MD, MPH in May 2022. As a student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD Program), Myrna has transitioned back to medical school for her final two years of clinical training before an anticipated MD graduation of May 2024. Myrna's graduate research focused on improving tumor response to immune checkpoint blockade agents in aged hosts with a focus on the PD-1/PD-L1/PD-L2 signaling axis. Myrna is interested in pursuing a career in OBGYN for her clinical specialty. 

About Me

I was born in Monterrey, NL in Mexico and moved to Houston when I was 8 years old. I grew up in Houston and went to undergrad at UH (GO COOGS!!). I am super family oriented which is why I decided to come to SA, so I would be far enough but close enough from home. Fun fact, I am the oldest of four girls (yes, my father is doing okay lol). Here in SA I live with my two younger sisters, our cat Gustavo and our doggo Chispita.


I really enjoy outdoor activities like running, hiking, swimming, etc so on my free time I'll either be somewhere in the hillcountry or taking a break from the heat at a restaurant! I also really like movie theaters with reclining seats, there's something about the smell of popcorn and a huge screen that makes a movie 100x better!

Research Topic

Tumor immonology/immunotherapy, specifically looking at immune checkpoint blockade and efficacy in older hosts.

Why I chose MD/PhD

I had the opportunity to volunteer in a lab at MD Anderson and I mostly did it so I could make my med school application better but I ended up falling in love with research. I started wondering if maybe I should consider grad school instead of med school and shortly after I learned that there was a program where you could get an MD and a PhD and I just knew that was for me.

Why I chose MD/PhD at UT Health San Antonio

My first reason was personal- I wanted to be close to my family (they live in Houston), but after interviewing, I really felt at home. I focused a lot on the research opportunities offered at UTHSA and how that aligned with my interests and I also considered the overall environment of the program and it felt like a good fit.


B.S., Biology, University of Houston, 2015

Ph.D., Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Molecular Immunology & Microbiology, UT Health San Antonio, 2022

Dissertation Title: "Distinct treatment and immunological responses to aPD-1, aPD-L1 and aPD-L2 cancer immunotherapy in aged versus young mice ." Defended on May 17, 2022.


CTSA Translational Science (TL-1) Fellowship Award, 2019


Garcia, M. G., Deng, Y., Murray, C., Reyes, R. M., Padron, A., Bai, H., . . . Curiel, T. J. (2022). Immune checkpoint expression and relationships to anti‐PD‐L1 immune checkpoint blockade cancer immunotherapy efficacy in aged versus young mice. Aging and Cancer. doi:10.1002/aac2.12045

Murray, C., Galvan, E., Ontiveros, C., Deng, Y., Bai, H., Padron, A. S., Garcia, M.G., . . . Curiel, T. J. (2022). Pharmacologic Tumor PDL1 Depletion with Cefepime or Ceftazidime Promotes DNA Damage and Sensitivity to DNA-Damaging Agents. Int J Mol Sci, 23(9). doi:10.3390/ijms23095129

Reyes, R. M., Deng, Y., Zhang, D., Ji, N., Mukherjee, N., Wheeler, K., Garcia, M.G.,. . . Curiel, T. J. (2021). CD122-directed interleukin-2 treatment mechanisms in bladder cancer differ from alphaPD-L1 and include tissue-selective gammadelta T cell activation. J Immunother Cancer, 9(4). doi:10.1136/jitc-2020-002051