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Institutional Career Development (KL2) Program

The KL2 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.

Program Information

KL2 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 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 limited specialties (e.g., 50% effort for surgeons and other procedural-based specialties). Additional funding of $20,000 per year is available for research expenses, certificate programs or tuition.

Program Contacts

Steven Asch, MD, MPH
Faculty Lead

Ellen Orasa
Program Manager

KL2 Scholars


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.


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.