CTSI Announces Four Mentored Career Development Awards in 2014
The CTSI Mentored Career Development (KL2) Award provides training opportunities for junior faculty working in clinical and translational research to become independent investigators. The program focuses on those junior faculty with strong potential for careers in translational research. KL2 scholars are provided 75% protected time, salary and benefits up to $140,000, and up to $25,000 in research support per year for up to three years of supervised career development activities and mentored clinical and translational research.
Early on, KL2 scholars are expected to focus on their own mentored research project and the development of a major grant proposal. During the training period, awardees have opportunities to attend national meetings that can enhance their career and provide networking opportunities in addition to participating on institutional research-related committees such as IRBs, Translational Research Units Scientific Review Committees, and others.
This year, CTSI is proud to announce four Mentored Career Development Awardees.
Carmen Bergom, MD, PhD
Carmen Bergom, MD, PhD has the goal to better understand how small GTPases can be manipulated to enhance breast cancer treatment. Her research aims at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) will characterize the novel and poorly explored family of DiRas tumor suppressors. The results from these studies will help define novel signaling pathways in breast cancer that may modulate the functions of pro-oncogenic small GTPases, and ultimately may lead to new therapeutic targets. Dr. Bergom’s mentors include Gilbert White II, MD, Professor, Medicine/Hematology and Oncology at MCW and Carol Williams, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Erin Bishop, MD
Erin Bishop, MD, is working on two specific areas: first, to investigate whether and how mesothelial cells contribute to adhesion and invasion of patient-derived ovarian cancer spheroids compared to single ovarian cancer cells in vitro. Her second area of focus is to characterize the clinical behavior of patient-derived ovarian cancer spheroids compared to single cells, and to determine if spheroids are resistant to chemotherapy treatment. Achieving these aims will aid in determining the role mesothelial cells play in triggering ovarian cancer spheroid adhesion, invasion and metastasis. As an MCW researcher, Dr. Bishop is mentored by Ramani Ramchandran, PhD, Professor, Pediatric/Developmental Biology/Human Molecular Embryology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Guilherme Garcia, PhD
Guilherme Garcia, PhD, is a Medical College of Wisconsin researcher evaluating the role of pharyngeal compliance and airway shape in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathophysiology and oral appliances (OA) treatment by performing objective in vivo measurements. He plans to develop validated computational models of pharyngeal collapse which can be used to increase understanding of OSA pathophysiology. With his research, he hopes that surgeons may use these patient-specific computational models in a virtual surgery environment to identify the primary site of airway collapse (i.e., the surgical target) and to test the efficacy of various surgical approaches digitally as part of their surgical planning. Dr. Garcia’s mentor is John Rhee, MD, MPH, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Amy Van Hecke, PhD
Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, PhD, is a CTSI researcher at Marquette University and has already started to explore the potential for interventional neural rehabilitation in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), finding evidence of neuroplasticity in adults and adolescents with ASD in response to clinical interventions. Through her current research, Dr. Van Hecke aims to extend her previous work by examining, with a higher-resolution imaging technique, whether the function and structure of neural systems supporting social behavior can be altered in adolescents with ASD in response to an empirically validated social-behavior intervention. Dr. Van Heck’s mentors are Edgar DeYoe, PhD, Professor and Director of the Lab for Neuroscience Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Robert Scheidt, PhD, Professor and Director of the Neuromotor Control Laboratory at Marquette University.