Institutional Career Development (Kl2) Program
The School of Medicine Kl2 Mentored Career Development Award provides didactic training, mentoring, and career development to prepare junior faculty for independent careers in translation research. Kl2 awardees receive advanced training in multiple disciplines, including biostatistics, epidemiology, study design, genetics, bioinformatics, and bioethics. Junior faculty from all health professions in the UTL, MCL, NTLR lines are eligible.
Kl2 Scholar Awardees pursue a mentored research project in their area of expertise. Research performed within the Kl2 program will provide the basis for an independent NIH award (e.g., K23, K08, or R01).
The Kl2 award provides salary support up to $120,000 per year (or $106,500 per year for surgical specialities) for two years. For non-surgeons, 75% of the Kl2 full-time professional effort must be devoted to the Kl2 program. Exceptions may be made for surgical specialties (e.g., 50% effort). Additional funding of $20,000 per year is available for research expenses and $2,000 per year for travel in support of the objectives of the award.
Iram Ahmad, MD, MME
Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Pediatric Otolaryngology
Radiographic Changes in the Auditory Pathway to Predict Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss
This project aims to evaluate changes in the auditory pathway in children with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), as a predictor of hearing aid outcomes by using DTI. Index of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) will be evaluated and compared to controls. We will evaluate their outcomes by audiometric and speech testing. This project will also determine if the microstructure changes to the auditory pathway is seen in patients with SNHL and cochlear implants. In our proposed study, changes to the auditory pathway will be measured to assess whether this impacts outcomes and can prognosticate care.
Vivek Charu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology
Predicting benefits of intensive glycemic control across multiple clinical outcomes to individualize treatment of type II diabetes
Glucose control is a cornerstone therapy for DM2. While clinical guidelines recommend individualized glycemic targets, quantitative criteria for selecting optimal targets do not exist. To test the hypothesis that the lack of benefit observed in large trials of intensive glycemic control masked important treatment heterogeneity, we will apply novel statistical methods to data from two large randomized trials in DM2. Our goal is to advance new methods to identify treatment heterogeneity while considering multiple outcomes simultaneously, and generate new evidence to support individualized glycemic targets in DM2.
Shoa Clarke, MD, PhD
Instructor, Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine
Integrating diverse data with novel methods to improve genetic risk prediction in Black and Hispanic populations
Polygenic risk scores (PRS) are a central focus in the development of precision medicine, and PRS for coronary artery disease (CAD) are now being used at some medical centers. However, current CAD PRS have been optimized for and validated in populations of primarily European ancestry with little genetic admixture. Thus, these scores have poor or unknown reliability for a large portion of the U.S. population. I will use recent large-scale diverse genome-wide association studies of CAD and CAD risk factors to build new PRS to improve risk prediction for Black and Hispanic populations. In parallel, I will continue to work to improve diverse representation in genetic studies by conducting new GWAS with larger sample sizes and improved methods for analyzing admixed populations.
Aaron Dawes, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Surgery, General Surgery
The Effect of Managed Care on Access and Quality for Medicaid Patients with Colon Cancer
Along with expanding enrollment to low-income adults, the Affordable Care Act allowed states to make changes to the structure of their Medicaid programs, most notably by transitioning their fee-for-service (FFS) enrollees into managed care. In California, all but one county currently require Medicaid patients to enroll in Medicaid managed care (MMC) programs. Since only 14 counties mandated MMC prior to the ACA, the remaining counties were forced to transition at the time of expansion. We plan to take advantage of this natural experiment by using a quasi-experimental approach to isolate the impact of managed care enrollment on both access and quality of care for patients with colon cancer.
Andrés Gottfried Blackmore, MD, PhD
Instructor, Medicine, Gastroenterology
Investigation into Pathogenesis of Gastroparesis and Functional Dyspepsia
The objective is to elucidate the immune-mediated mechanisms that result in gastroparesis. Preliminary data show that gastroparesis patients harbor immune dysregulation characterized by increased mucosal mononuclear phagocytes (MPs). These increased MPs significantly correlate with loss of serotonin-producing enterochromaffin cells (ECs) and delayed stomach emptying. I hypothesize that stomach mucosa MPs have a pro-inflammatory phenotype, and promote the loss of ECs in gastroparesis. My rationale is that by unraveling drivers of dysmotility in gastroparesis, we can harness these mechanisms therapeutically. This project aims: (1) to unravel the phenotype and function of gastroparesis MPs and (2) to evaluate the capacity of MPs to promote EC loss.
Christoher L. Bennett, MD, MA
Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
National Survey of Preventative Health Services in US Emergency Departments
With a focus on HIV testing, this project aims to understand what preventative health services are being offered in US Emergency Departments, where they are being offered, the reasons why or why not they are offered, and how this relates to CDC-designated priority areas.
Stephanie Chao, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery - Pediatric Surgery
Elucidating racial bias in child abuse reporting through standardized universal screening
This project aims to develop a novel, universal electronic-medical record (EMR) based screening tool to optimize child abuse detection. Dr. Chao will further seek to determine whether the implementation of the EMR-based screening tool improves screening accuracy and decreases racial disparities in child abuse identification.
Wendy Liu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology
The Role of Mechanosensitive Ion Channels in Intraocular Pressure-Mediated Cell Death in Glaucoma
Using genetic and functional approaches combined with animal models of glaucoma, this project seeks to elucidate the role of mechanosensitive ion channels in glaucoma.
Clifford C. Sheckter, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Private Equity Investing in Ambulatory Surgery Centers—Evaluating Transformation in Cost and Care
Surgery and procedural care within the US is increasingly performed at Ambulatory Surgery Centers(ASCs) instead of hospital-based facilities. Private equity (PE) investment in US health care has grown considerably in the past decade. We aim to investigate the effects of PE investment in ASCs leveraging national data on procedural case mix, procedural cost, and quality outcomes.
Kevin M. Alexander, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine – Cardiovascular Medicine
Metabolic Profiling to Elucidate Novel Biomarkers for Transthyretin Cardiac Amyloidosis (ATTR)
ATTR cardiomyopathy has a unique metabolic profile that could potentially be developed into a sensitive tool to promote early disease diagnosis. The goal of this project is to perform detailed molecular phenotyping in heart failure patients and to translate discoveries into a novel biomarker for ATTR cardiomyopathy.
Derek Amanatullah, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Orthopedic Surgery
Host Immunosuppression via Biofilm-associated Staphylococcal Persister Cells during PJI
We hypothesize that biofilm-associated small colony variants (SCVs) induce immune dysfunction through increased PD-1/L1 signaling and pharmacologic blockade of this pathway will increase antibiotic effectiveness and immune-mediated bacterial clearance. We evaluate bacterial defense mechanisms by 1) using anti-PD-1/L1 monoclonal antibodies to increase antibiotic effectiveness and immune-mediated bacterial clearance of stable Staphylococcus aureus SCVs in vitro, 2) characterize the synovial-like interface membrane of PJI by evaluating the expression of immune checkpoint molecules and assess for the presence of immunosuppressive cells when compared to aseptic patients, and 3) follow the effect of the immunosuppressive molecular profile has on the failure of current two-stage revision arthroplasty for infection.
Maya Kasowski, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology
Cellular Hierarchies and Metabolic Vulnerabilities of Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
The goal of this project is to determine the biological properties of leukemic stem cells at diagnosis and relapse by focusing on epigenetic and metabolic dysregulation, which are thought to play important roles in the pathophysiology of AML.
Surbhi Sidana, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine – BMT and Cellular Therapy
Patient Reported Outcomes in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy
The goal of this project is to understand a patient’s experience with CAR-T cell therapy, with the ultimate goal of developing interventions to improve patient outcomes. We will evaluate longitudinal patient reported outcomes after CAR-T cell therapy, including patients’ quality of life over time as well as financial burden with this novel, but expensive therapy. Longitudinal objective neurocognitive assessment will be done to evaluate any long-term changes in cognition associated with CAR-T cell therapy.
Alexander Vezeridis, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Radiology – Interventional Radiology
Catheter technology for sensing embolic delivery and reflux as a strategy to eliminate need for X-ray imaging during angiography
X-rays are required to guide angiographic catheters into the appropriate target artery and monitor the delivery of contrast material, therapeutics, and embolization materials. The goal of this project is to develop safer and more effective methods of angiography and embolization by making it possible to monitor the injection of contrast agents, embolic agents, and other therapeutics without using X-rays.
Gregory Charville, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology - Anatomic Pathology
Epigenetic profiling for the classification and treatment of sarcoma
The goal of this project is to augment current histologic approaches to tumor diagnosis of sarcoma by generating a database of tumor methylation profiles and identifying epigenetic signatures for both diagnosis and clinical risk prediction.
Pascal Geldsetzer, MBChB, ScD
Five Questions with Pascal Geldsetzer MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine - Primary Care and Population Health
Tailoring care to patients’ clinical and sociodemographic characteristics: a novel approach in electronic health record (EHR) data
This project aims to determine the feasibility and validity of a novel study design for clinical research that would allow researchers to determine causal effects under minimal assumptions while taking advantage of existing large-scale EHR data from routine care encounters.
Michael Ma, MD
Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery – Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Optimization of Surgical Repair Strategies in an Ex Vivo Model of Single Ventricle Physiology
Fontan circulation generally involves rerouting the inferior and superior vena cavae directly to the pulmonary arteries, and subsequently utilizing a single ventricle and atrioventricular (AV) valve to support systemic circulation. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the underlying AV valve biomechanics in Fontan circulation, and subsequently use this information to optimize AV valve surgical repair strategies.
Kelly Mahaney, MD, MS
Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurosurgery
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) clearance biomarkers in neonatal posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH)
The goal of this project is to determine if CSF levels of hemoglobin, ferritin, and free iron are significantly higher in neonates with severe IVH who subsequently develop PHH, compared to those who clear the IVH without development of PHH, reflecting an underlying contribution of iron toxicity to the development of PHH.