Josephine Thinwa, M.D., Ph.D.

Josephine Thinwa, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Internal Medicine - Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine
  • Microbiology


Josephine Thinwa, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a member of its Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Microbiology.

Originally from Kenya, Dr. Thinwa holds a bachelor's degree in biology with a chemistry minor from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where she graduated cum laude. She earned her combined medical and doctoral degrees, with doctoral studies in microbiology and immunology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She then completed residency training in internal medicine at UT Southwestern, followed by fellowship training in infectious diseases as part of the Physician Scientist Training Program. Her long-held interest in innate immunity and viruses led her to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Beth Levine, M.D., an international leader in autophagy research and Professor of Internal Medicine, who died in 2020.

Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both internal medicine and infectious diseases, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2021.

Dr. Thinwa’s research focuses on autophagy, a natural cell-recycling process that helps cells break down and eliminate viruses and other unnecessary components. Her laboratory investigates how autophagy becomes activated by viruses that cause infections of the central nervous system. Her goal is to increase understanding on the role of autophagy in the immune response to viruses and, ultimately, to use this knowledge to develop new vaccines and treatments for an array of viruses.

In 2022, she received a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Education & Training
  • Graduate School - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2008-2013)
  • Medical School - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2006-2015)
  • Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2015-2017), Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2017-2019), Infectious Diseases
  • Clinical Research Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2019-2021)
  • Other Post Graduate Training - UT Health San Antonio (2008-2013)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • American Physician Scientists Association
Honors & Awards
  • Career Award for Medical Scientists 2022, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • NIH K08 Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award 2021, National Institutes of Health
  • Translational Science Training Scholar 2011
Books & Publications

Clinical Focus

  • Microbiology

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