Pre-K Discovery Scholars Program

The Pre-K Discovery Scholars Program aims to place URM underrepresented in health-related sciences junior faculty on the path to be competitive for NIH K awards.

Nature and purpose

The Pre-K Discovery Scholars Program is designed to provide mentorship, oversight, and pilot funds to junior faculty underrepresented in medicine. In addition, it is an opportunity to take courses relevant to an individual’s career development needs. For those without the relevant formal coursework, the newly created Certificate in Clinical Research equivalent or coursework in the MS in Clinical Research will be required. Funds for these courses will be provided by CTSI-Ed in addition to the $50,000 award.

This two-year program aims to place underrepresented in Medicine (URM) junior investigators on the path to be competitive for NIH K awards. This RFA will be issued every year. Success of this program will be judged by the number of Scholars who go on to secure NIH K awards (including the intramural KL2) grants in the short term, and subsequently, NIH R01, and R01 equivalent funding in the long term in clinical and translational research.

Current Pre-K scholars

Current Pre-K scholars

Selma Carlson, MD, FACC

Minneapolis VA Medical Center/Department of Medicine
Mentors: Kristine Ensrud, John Connett
Project title: Evaluation of left bundle branch area pacing as a rescue strategy for cardiac resynchronization therapy non-response in patients with heart failure: A randomized controlled pilot study

Nakita Natala, MD

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Mentors: Suma Jacob, Ann Brearley
Project Title: Designing a digital developmental screening package for Autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders in Ghana

David Haynes II, PhD, MS 

Institute for Health Informatics
Primary Mentor: Anne Joseph
Additional Mentors: Tim Beebe, Adams Dudley, Constantin Aliferis, Sisi Ma
Project Title: Understanding Cancer Disparities at the Local Level

Ronald Ordinola Zapata, DDS, MS, PhD

Department of Endodontics
Mentors: Alex Fok, Weihua Guan
Project Title: Optimization of root canal therapy through the use of minimally invasive procedures

Stefani Thomas, PhD 

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Primary Mentor: Reuben Harris
Additional Mentors: Rachel Vogel, Wiehua Guan
Project Title: Proteome-level predictors of improved response to PARP inhibitor therapy in ovarian cancer

Glenn E. Simmons Jr., PhD 

Department of Medicine, UMD
Primary mentor: Peter Bitterman
Additional mentors: Ashley Petersen
Project title: Development of a novel lung cancer screening assay for high-risk patient populations

Former Pre-K scholars

Former Pre-K scholars

Brooke Cunningham, MD, PhD

Primary mentor: Diana Burgess
Additional mentors: Kola Okuyemi, Todd Rockwood, Richard Lee, Jim Hodges
Project title: Health Equity Climate: Survey Development  

Naomi Duke, MD, MPH

Primary mentor: Michael Resnick
Additional mentor: Barbara McMorris
Project title: Identifying Mechanisms for Health Disparities: Exploring the Impact of Youth Survival Expectations on Future Health

Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MS, PT 

Primary mentor: Kelvin Lim 
Additional mentor: Lei Zheng
Project title: Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Pediatric Hemiparesisurrent Stimulation in Pediatric Hempiaresis 

Guatam Jha, MBBS, MS

Primary mentor: Jeffrey Miller 
Additional mentor: Bardinath Konety, Bevan Yueh, and Chap Le
Project title: Potentiation of Cetuximab by Tregs Depletion With Metronomic Cyclophosphamide in Metastatic Squamous Cell Cancers of Head and Neck

Anne Marie Leuck, MD

Primary mentor: Gary Dunny
Additional mentor: Wiehua Guan
Project title: The role of rifampin in treatment of left ventricular assist device driveline functions

Stephanie Misono, MD, MPH

Primary mentor: Patricia Frazier
Additional mentor: Dipankar Bandyopadhyay
Project title: Development of Online Intervention for Distressed Voice-Disordered Patients

Hai Dang Nguyen, PhD

Department of Pharmacology
Mentors: David Largaespada, Lin Zhang
Project Title: Targeting R-loop regulation in myelodysplastic syndromes

Radha Rajasingham, MD

Primary mentor: David Boulware
Additional mentor: John Connett and Kathy Huppler-Hullsiek
Project title: Integration of Cryptococcal Antigen Screening into routine HIV care in Uganda

Scott Reule, MD

Primary mentor: Robert Foley
Additional mentors: Areef Ishani, David Gilbertson
Project title: Outcomes and Risk Prediction After Provider Switch

Erica Schorr, PhD, BSBA, RN

Primary mentor: Ruth Lindquist 
Additional mentor: David Vock
Project title: Utilizing Wearable Technology to Monitor Physical Activity and Sleep After Coronary Revascularization 

Rebecca Shlafer, PhD (current CTSI KL2 Scholar)

Primary mentor: Michael Resnick
Additional mentor: Wendy Hellerstedt
Project title: Nutritional Status and Unmet Needs among Incarcerated Women of Reproductive Age

Lucie Turcotte, MD

Primary mentor: Mike Verneris
Additional mentor: Xianghua Luo
Project title: The Role of the Immune System in Development of Cardiometabolic Syndrome Among Survivors of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Michael Usher, MD, PhD

Primary mentor: Anne Joseph
Additional mentor: Weihua Guan
Project title: Health Outcomes of Inter-hospital Transfers: Improving Health Care Delivery at the Local and National Level

Byron Vaughn, MD

Primary mentor: Alexander Khoruts
Additional mentor: Kyle Rudser
Project title: A Pilot Study to Characterize Bile Acid Metabolism and Dysbiosis in Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Beshay Zordoky, PhD

Primary mentor: Pamala Jacobson
Additional mentor: Haitao Chu
Project title: Preclinical Model of Juvenile Doxorubicin-induced Cardiotoxicity


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