Published: March 25, 2024

The Miami CTSI has named three new scholars to its Mentored Research Career Development Program Awards in Clinical and Translational Science (K12). These awardees, who represent the departments of pediatrics, neurology and medicine, mark the inaugural cohort of the CTSI’s five-year K12 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Fall of 2023.

Funding is awarded to those who demonstrate a commitment to a career in clinical translational science and whose proposals are translational and address community and/or health disparities.

The K12 program provides a structured research training environment that allows Early-Stage Investigators to acquire the skills and experience needed to become outstanding independent clinical and translational investigators.

These faculty will receive mentorship, an individualized research and career development plan, experiential training with established faculty, and access to educational programs and supportive resources through CTSI’s various programs.


Joanne L. Duara, M.D., MPH

Joanne L. Duara, M.D., MPH

Joanne L. Duara, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology

Project Title: Neonatal Hyperoxia and the Development of Glomerular Disease: The Role of OSBPL7

Dr. Duara aims to explore the mechanisms underlying podocyte injury in premature and low birth weight infants due to hyperoxia exposure, a common occurrence in neonatal intensive care units. It is focused on two potentially protective factors: Hypoxia Inducible Factor stabilization and the role of Oxysterol Binding Protein-Like 7 (OSBPL7) in mitigating hyperoxia-induced Endoplasmic Reticulum stress. Her study seeks to uncover novel strategies to prevent podocyte injury and the subsequent risk of chronic kidney disease.

Mentors: Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D. (primary), Shu Wu, M.D., and Pankaj Agrawal, M.D., MMSc

Deirdre O’Shea, Ph.D.

Deirdre O’Shea, Ph.D.

Deirdre O’Shea, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology

Project Title: Developing a DNAm Biomarker for Cognitive Aging: Addressing Disparities and Promoting Community Engagement

Dr. O’Shea will investigate cognitive aging disparities among different racial and ethnic groups, focusing on the potential association with socio-economic factors and DNA methylation (DNAm), a process involved in biological aging. In addition, she will measure community attitudes towards DNAm biomarkers and genetic research through an ethnographically informed survey to identify potential utilization barriers and foster community engagement.

Mentors: James E Galvin, M.D., MPH (primary) and Lily Wang, Ph.D.


Candice Sternberg, M.D.

Candice Sternberg, M.D.

Candice Sternberg, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease

Project Title: Bon Bagay Pwolonje (Good Stuff Continued): PrEP Delivery in the Haitian Community in Miami

There are vast disparities in PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) utilization especially among black individuals and among people of Haitian descent. Dr. Sternberg will develop an implementation strategy through a community engaged process to increase PrEP awareness and linkage among people of Haitian descent.

Mentors: Maria Alcaide, M.D. (primary), Sannisha Dale, Ph.D. (primary), and Christopher Hoffmann, M.D.


Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., lead the K12 program as its multiple principal investigators and directors and Patricia Avissar, M.S., is the program’s administrator.

Dr. Fornoni is also one of the CTSI’s Research Mentoring Workshop Directors; Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology; Director and Chair of the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Institute; and Co-Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Rundek is also the Director of the CTSI’s Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Investigation program (MSCTI); Professor of Neurology and Public Health Sciences; Evelyn F. McKnight Endowed Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging; Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute; Executive Vice Chair of Research and Faculty Affairs, Director of the Clinical Translational Research Division in the Department of Neurology at the Miller School of Medicine.

To learn more about the Mentored Research Career Development Program Awards in Clinical and Translational Science (K12), visit our web page.




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