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GHUCCTS Announces the 2010 KL2 Scholar Awardees

February 11, 2011

The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical & Translational Science (GHUCCTS) announces the KL2 Post- Doctoral scholar awardees for year-1. 

Drs. Jason G. Umans and Renee R. Jenkins, Directors of the KL2 Scholars Award Program, formally announce the 2010 awardees. 

The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (GHUCCTS has the opportunity to select and support two positions in a KL2 mentored research faculty program. This KL2 program is analogous both to the NIH “roadmap” K12 Clinical and Translational Research Scholars (CTRS) program and to individual K23 or K08 awards, with a focus on developing early-career (MD or clinically-oriented PhD) faculty investigators through a multidisciplinary mentored research experience so that they can become independent, extramurally-funded investigators, preferably in programs of multidisciplinary, collaborative, team science.

During 2010, GHUCCTS appointed two talented KL2 Scholars; Luisel Ricks-Santi and Victoria Shanmugam.  These two scholars and their projects are emblematic of our program objectives in that they pair scholar-trainees with mentors from outside their own disciplines, departments or institutions and depend on collaborations and methods from outside the scholars’ disciplines or departments.  Each has received salary support to guarantee 75% protected time for research as well as additional research project support.  Below are summaries of their projects:

Luisel Ricks-Santi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health and Research Associate in both the Howard University Cancer Center and the  National Human Genome Center. She is mentored by Georgia Dunston, PhD (HU), and Peter Shields, MD (GU)

Project Description:  The primary focus is on triple-negative breast cancer in African American women and its relationship to BRCA1/2 positivity, previously thought to be rare in this population.  Specific aims are to 1) Assess genetic variation in BRCA1/2 in African American women and to verify association to increased susceptibility to molecular cancer subtypes, 2) to develop prediction tools using clinical data and to use mutation status for clinical decision making, including treatment eligibility and clinical trial enrollment.   Project depends upon GHUCCTS collaborations and resources to facilitate community recruitment, querying electronic medical records systems, retrieving stored clinical and pathologic specimens.

Victoria K. Shanmugam, MD, MRCP, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University.  She is mentored by Anton Wellstein, MD, PhD (GU); Christopher Attinger, MD, FACS (GU); and Virginia Steen, MD (GU).

Project Description:  The primary hypothesis is that connective tissue disease-associated lower-extremity ulcers will be a useful compartmental model to study dysregulation of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in autoimmune disease. The research is divided into three clinical and translational projects: Project 1: Identify predictors and outcomes of vasculopathic wounds in a consecutive cohort of 500 patients evaluated in the Georgetown University Hospital Center for Wound Healing. Project 2: Delineate candidate vasculogenic and angiogenic pathways involved in pathogenesis and perpetuation of vasculopathic leg ulcers using immunohistochemistry and tissue microarray. Project 3: Develop an animal model using human ulcer tissue xenografted onto a SCID mouse.

Please join us in congratulating our 2010 scholars.

Jason G. Umans, MD, PhD
Associate Professor and KL2 Program Director

Renée R. Jenkins, M.D., F.A.A.P.  
Professor and KL2 Associate Program Director