Table of Contents
CCTS Announces First Round of K12 Award Winners
Three junior faculty members and one postdoctoral fellow are the first K12 recipients at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston from the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS).
The K12 award is a training program that provides 50-75 percent salary support for up to three years and $15,000-$25,000 in research funds per year for junior investigators to conduct clinical or translational research studies under the mentorship of senior faculty mentors.
"K12 funding provides a wonderful opportunity for young clinical and translational investigators here to obtain support for their career development," said Jon Tyson, M.D., chair of the CCTS K12 Advisory Committee and assistant dean for clinical research at the Medical School. "The K12 awards provided through the CCTS involve a shorter proposal and a much faster review and availability of funding than do K awards submitted to the National Institutes of Health." Tyson is the Michelle Bain Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Public Health.
Kenneth Helmer, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, received support for his research proposal, "The Anti-Inflammatory Role of Ketamine in Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair." Helmer will work with mentor David Mercer, M.D., professor and vice chair of surgery and chief of surgery at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital.
"The study is concisely designed, innovative, potentially important, carefully designed to avoid biased results, and relatively straightforward to conduct," K12 reviewers said of Helmer's study.
Mary Ruppe, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, will study "Growth Determinants in X-linked Hypophosphatemic Rickets," under the mentorship of Dianna Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Medical Genetics, and Jacqueline Hecht, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics. Milewicz holds the President George Bush Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine.
Ruppe will use clinical, genetic and biochemical approaches to examine X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets - a rare, genetic disease among children that causes bowing of the legs, bone pain and dental deformities. "It has a high likelihood of yielding important information on much needed genotype-phenotype correlations," K12 reviewers said.
Keri Smith, Ph.D., research instructor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will study "Chemical Immunology Concepts and Their Possible Use in the Clinical Setting." Smith will work with two mentors, Sudhir Paul, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and W. Keith Hoots, M.D., professor of pediatrics.
"Dr. Smith has an outstanding publication record in the fields of immunology and vaccine design," K12 reviewers said. "She has put herself in a position to maximize her immunological skills while incorporating the novel strategies for inducing B cell tolerance to Factor VIII."
Mary Kay Koenig, M.D., fellow in pediatric neurology, will conduct research on "Mitochondrial Dysfunction." Her mentors are Diane Hickson-Bick, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Hope Northrup, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Pediatric Genetics.
Through her study, Koenig will assess the impact of a ketonic diet for the treatment of mitochondrial mutation-related diseases. "This candidate has backgrounds in biochemistry, microbiology and medicine that provide her an outstanding foundation to perform this clinical translational research in mitochondrial disorder," K12 reviewers said.
Milewicz, Hecht, Paul, Hoots, Hickson-Bick and Northrup have faculty appointments in the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.
K12 recipients also include a fellow and an assistant professor at the UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
By Camille Webb, Medical School
Previous story Next story