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Career Development Awards


COM Clinician Scientist K12 Program

The SCTR Institute and MUSC College of Medicine announce opportunitites for a cohort of institutionally-funded K12 Mentored Career Development Scholars in clinical and translational science.  This K12 program supports the career development of scholars holding a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent. The goal of the program is to foster the discipline of clinical research and by doing so increase the clincial research capacity to expedite clinical and translational research.  The K12 program will accomplish this through a mentored program bridging clinical training with research independence.

Term Length: 2 years, optional 3rd year
Award: 40% salary support (subject to NIH salary cap)
$20,000 project funds ($5,000 from COM + $15,000 Dept/Div Match)
Key Dates: Biostatistics Consults Request: March 14, 2014 - final day to submitt SPARC Request
Applications Due: April 2, 2014
Appointment Date:July 1, 2014
Interviews / Presentations: Late May by invitation only
Rebecca Barry, 792-1497, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
RFA Apply
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John McGillicuddy, MD, is an Assistant Professor in Transplant Surgery.  With support from mentor, Frank Treiber, PhD, Dr. McGillicuddy will lead a feasibility randomized controlled trial (RCT) which will evaluate whether use of a telehealth healthcare management system involving patient-friendly electronic monitoring devices and an associated behavioral skills training program will result in lower rates of medication nonadherence, improved measures of blood pressure and blood glucose, and lesser degrees of immunosuppressant concentration variability as compared to an attention control group. These findings will help develop the submission of an NIH R01 award application.

Mark Scheurer, MD, is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Cardiology.  In partnership with mentor, Andrew Atz, MD, Dr Scheurer will be addressing the issue of APC elimination prior to Fontan.  An increasing number of patients with single ventricle physiology survive infancy to become Fontan candidates. The resources utilized for this patient group, including hospital length of stay, is extraordinarily high compared to most other patients with congenital heart disease. Therefore attempts to improve postoperative hemodynamics and thus reduce the duration of pleural effusion drainage after the Fontan could result in reduced morbidity and important improvements in resource utilization. If APC flow were found to be associated with suboptimal outcomes, more aggressive efforts to find and occlude vessels at catheterization would be advocated. If APC flow were found to NOT be associated with suboptimal outcomes, the need for routine preoperative catheterization could be called in to question.  This goal of this project is to provide preliminary clinical outcome effects of coil occlusion of APCs to allow for the proper design of a larger, multi-institutional randomized study of coil occlusion of APCs in pre-Fontan patients.

SCTR KL2 Scholars Program

The goal of the SCTR KL2 program is to foster the discipline of clinical research and increase clinical research capacity through the training of junior faculty bridging clinical and translational research training with research independence. The SCTR KL2 will provide mentored, protected research experiences to enhance the development and retention of early career investigators.  The program includes an option to pursue a master’s degree in clinical or translational science, a supportive environment, start-up research funds and access to program faculty who will provide expertise and guidance in research design, measurement and questionnaire design, study coordination, data management, biostatistical analysis, publishing and presenting research, and grant writing.

Currently all SCTR KL2 Scholar positions have been appointed. 
Please refer to the previous RFA (link below) for more information about this award & the application process.

Term Length: 2 years, optional 3rd year

Award: 75% salary support (subject to the NIH salary cap), $25,000 annual project budget & $1000 toward travel per year.

Questions: Rebecca Barry, 792-1497, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Join the SCTR weekly e-nnoucements to be the first to receive our next KL2 RFA.

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Sinai Zyblewski, MD, MSCR is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.  The overall goal of this project is to address a widespread health problem in the cardiac infant population - poor postnatal growth - through a collaborative effort between pediatric cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, neonatology, microbiology and immunology.  Her project aims to improve the intestinal function and feeding tolerance of infants with critical congenital heart disease.  Sinai will receive the experienced mentorship of Carol Wagner, MD and receives collabotative support from Andy Atz, MD. 

Andy Goodwin MD, MSCR
Anya Benitez PhD
Melissa Cunningham MD, PhD


Heather Bonilha, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Health Sciences & Research. Her project investigatees the standardization of Laryngeal Endoscopy.  This technique is used for: diagnosing voice disorders; planning and assessing the results of medical, surgical and behavioral treatment; educating patients; and, as a research method for investigating the voice and voice disorders.  This research is directly applicable to clinical use, will enhance the utility of laryngeal endoscopy and stroboscopy, will allow for clearer communication between professionals regarding patient status and patient progress, and will provide a standardized method of using laryngeal endoscopy with stroboscopy in research. Her mentoring team includes Bonnie Martin-Harris, PhD from the Department of Otolaryngology (COM) & Kit Simpson, DrPH from the Department of Health Sciences & Research (COHP).

Bei Liu, MD, MS, MPH is an Assistant Professor in Immunobiology & Cancer Immunology. Her project investigates a Stem Cell Vaccine Against Cancer.  In this proposal, she aims to test if a stem cell vaccine is effective against other types of cancer such as leukemia and breast cancer, to define the cross-protective antigens that are shared by the tumor cells and the stem cells, and to advance the concept of stem cell-based cancer vaccine further into the clinics, by preparation and filing of an Investigative New Drug application through US Food and Drug Administration in preparation for a phase I clinical trial against metastatic colon cancer. Her mentor is Zihai Li, MD, PhD an Associate Professor in Immunobiology & Cancer Immunology and the CoEE Endowed Chair in Cancer Stem Cell Biology.

Chrystal Paulos, PhD is an Assistant PRofessor in Microbiology & Immunology.  Dr. Paulos is working with mentor David Cole, MD & consulting with Skikhar Mehrotra, Phd on her KL2 project: Targeting the ICOS/ICOSL pathway to improve tumor immunotherapies with Th17 cells.  Successful completion of this work will shed novel insight into fundamental aspects of Th17 cells biology and will provide the rationale for designing clinical trials to be performed in the Center for Cellular Therapy at MUSC with TCBs incorporating ICOS; such therapies have very recently received enthusiastic media attention in the context of treating patients with leukemia

Christopher Robinson, MD is an Assistant Professor in Maternal Fetal Medicine. He was admitted to the 2009 cohort (matriculation 2007) of the MSCR program as a result of support from the MUSC KL2 Scholar’s Program.  His project seeks to discern alterations in the plasma proteome of patients affected by early-onset, severe preeclampsia (EOS-preeclampsia) versus healthy, gestational age-matched controls. He will also confirm whether the placenta serves as a source for differentially expressed proteins in maternal plasma through evaluation of placental gene and protein expression. His mentoring team includes experts in gel proteomics and mass spectrometry and clinical mentors with expertise in hypertensive Ob/Gyn research.

Michael G. Hughes, MD
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. His project focuses on increasing the understanding of the pathogenesis of hepatitis C viral (HCV) recurrence. As part of his project, he will determine the contributions of quasispecies selection and receptor density in relation to HCV recurrence. He will use results of his study to target the development of interventions that could slow or potentially prevent HCV recurrence. He is supported by a mentoring team that includes experts in Microbiology and Immunology.

Peter Tuerk, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. His project focuses on the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through a combination of Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE) and yohimbine. He will also investigate the ability to habituate to aversive non-trauma-related stimuli and this effect in patients with PTSD. He is backed by a strong mentoring team composed of well-established and highly qualified researchers with extensive experience in the field of interest.

Tanya Turan, MD is an Assistant Professor in Neurosciences. Her plans as a KL2 Scholar are to develop an in-vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to identify and quantify plaque components in intracranial atherosclerosis, with the goal of performing a multi-center prospective study using MRI to identify high-risk plaque components which predict stroke. Although still a Junior Investigator, she is well-suited to lead this collaborative project based on her research interest in studying the pathophysiology and treatment of intracranial stenosis and previous research experience. Her mentor is Robert J. Adams, MD, MS a Professor in the Department of Neurosciences and Director of the MUSC Stroke Center.

Keith T. Borg, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine. His project investigatees biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). He also proposes to validate the reliability of existing methods to measure the severity of TBI in emergency medicine. He seeks to determine a biomarker that guides treatment and diagnostic strategies in TBI patients. His mentoring team includes experts in Emergency Medicine, Neurosciences, Pharmacology and Rheumatology.

Contact Information

Rebecca Barry

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Phone: 843-792-1497