Miami CTSI

CTSI Announces New Cohort of Pilot Awardees


FY21 Pilot Awardees: Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D., Delia Cabrera DeBuc, Ph.D., Ta Chen Chang, M.D., Andrew R Dykstra, Ph.D., Elizabeth Mahanna Gabrielli, M.D.

The Miami CTSI has awarded five new Pilot Awards for its fiscal year 2021 to faculty representing four departments. Two of the awards are collaboratively funded by the Department of Ophthalmology.

The awards provide up to $40,000 to support junior faculty whose proposals are innovative, translational, interdisciplinary, and/or health disparities-oriented. Investigators go on to generate data for publications and external funding.

The CTSI received a total of 16 applications. The five that were funded represented the departments of neurological surgery, biomedical engineering, anesthesiology, and ophthalmology.


Roberta Brambilla, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of neurological surgery, will investigate how dysfunction of oligodendrocyte cells in the central nervous system may affect primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Delia Cabrera DeBuc, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, will investigate the role of gender and racial/ethnic bias in Artificial Intelligence applications in the field of ophthalmology.

Ta Chen Chang, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, will do a geodemographic analyses of congenital cataract distribution.

Andrew R Dykstra, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering, will study the of effects of age on the neural basis of hearing in noise.

Elizabeth Mahanna Gabrielli, M.D., assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology, will study preoperative sleep disturbances and postoperative delirium in Latinos undergoing elective surgery.

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The Pilot Translational and Clinical Studies Program is supported by award number UL1TR002736 –of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

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