Science Café on Structural Biology Meets Drug Discovery Finds Great Success

The UConn Partnership for Excellence in Structural Biology, a CICATS Core Interest Group, held a Science Café on Structural Biology Meets Drug Discovery on September 11, 2017 at the Nathan Hale Inn on the UConn Storrs campus. The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Jonathan Moore, Senior Research Fellow and Vice President of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston. Dr. Moore’s insightful remarks focused on the intersection of structural biology and drug discovery and touched on targeting disordered proteins as a new mode of action. Dr. Dennis Wright, of UConn Pharmacy, briefed the group on the PITCH and NPDD academic drug discovery initiatives at UConn. The Science Café attracted a broad cross section of interested faculty as well as administrators, who engaged in a lively discussion of challenges and opportunities.

To learn more about our Science Cafe’s click here.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Receives New Appointment

We are pleased to announce that CICATS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cato Laurencin has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement and Dr. Laurencin received this award in May of 2016 at the White House from President Barack Obama. With this appointment, Dr. Laurencin will make recommendations about which nominees should be selected for this distinguished honor.

CICATS Science Cafe Funding Opportunity

 

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) is pleased to announce the Science Cafe funding opportunity to UConn Health and UConn Storrs. Funded by The Kavli Foundation, CICATS Science Cafés create a social environment for individuals to interact and discuss innovative ideas about translational science and scientific research in general. The maximum amount of funding available for an approved event is $3000.

Click here to view the guidelines and the upcoming CICATS Science Café events.  To submit your application, please download the Science Café Planning Form from this page and send an email with the subject line “Science Café Proposal Submission” to Dr. Kevin Lo at wlo@uchc.edu.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Kevin Lo directly at wlo@uchc.edu.

Event: CICATS Science Cafe on Structural Biology Meets Drug Discovery @ UConn – 9/11/17 @ 4:00PM

Date: Monday, September 11, 2017

Time: 4:00-7:00 PM

Place: Nathan Hale Inn on the Storrs Campus

Sponsored by the UConn Partnership for Excellence in Structural Biology, CICATS and The Kavli Foundation

Featuring: Dr. Jonathan Moore, Senior Research Fellow and Vice President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Followed by Group Discussion on Challenges and Opportunities moderated by Drs. Sandra Weller (UConn Health) and Dennis Wright (UConn Pharmacy), co-leaders of the CICATS Drug Discovery Core Interest Group

Light supper will be served.  Attendance is free and open to the public.

Registration required via email to pschultz@uchc.edu

 

2017 CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn will host the 2017 CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research. This year’s keynote speaker is Hannah Valantine, MD, MRCP, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH Office of the Director and Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Hannah Valantine, M.D., MRCPNIH Addresses the Science of Diversity: Focusing on Institutional Change

The University of Connecticut School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 – UConn Health, Keller Auditorium
Keynote Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m. | FREE
Registration starts at 2:30 p.m.

Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 pm, Keller Lobby | FREE

Directions to UConn Health Main Building

RSVP to Attend

About Dr. Hannah Valantine

Background
Hannah Valantine is the first NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, and a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Prior to starting this position in April 2014, Dr. Valantine was Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at Stanford, a leadership position she held since November 2004. She is nationally recognized for her transformative approaches to diversity and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award for Diversity in the Scientific Workforce. She is currently leading NIH efforts to promote diversity through innovation across the NIH-funded biomedical workforce through a range of evidence-based approaches. Dr. Valantine maintains an active clinical research program that continues to have high impact on patient care. Current research extends her previous finding that an organ transplant is essentially a genome transplant, and that monitoring the level of donor DNA in a recipient’s blood as a marker of organ damage will detect early stages of rejection. She is currently overseeing a multi-site consortium of mid-Atlantic transplant centers to validate these findings clinically toward the development of a non-invasive tool for detecting early signs of organ rejection.

To read more about her NIH diversity activities, visit the links below.


About the CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research

The Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship is designed to feature the important role of advancing translational research in areas such as health policy, health disparities, regenerative engineering, chronic diseases and much more. The Lectureship was inaugurated in 2011 to commemorate the memory and work of the late Dr. Lawrence G. Raisz.

Dr. Raisz was the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine who was dedicated to raising awareness of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases among physicians and the public. Each year a distinguished researcher or physician, notable for producing significant research related to clinical and translational research, is invited to give a public lecture at UConn Health or the University of Connecticut.

New Course in the Master’s program in Clinical and Translational Research

CICATS’s Master of Science Program in Clinical and Translational Research is offering a new course in Fall 2017, entitled “CLTR 5360: Critical Issues Involving Science Publication:  The Scientific Review (3 credits, class # 17063).” The course will be taught by Cato Laurencin, MD, PhD; Helen Wu, PhD; Kevin Lo, PhD; and Jorge Escobar Ivirico, PhD.  The course registration via Graduate School is open to clinicians, residents, medical students, MPH students and graduate students who are interested in clinical and translational research.

If you have any inquiries, contact Dr. Helen Wu.

CICATS announces new cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn, a cross-university translational institute, has announced its next cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program.

The aim of the M1 Mentorship Award is to develop a cadre of accomplished investigators who will participate in cultivating an academic environment that elevates mentorship to a discipline with consistently high standards and practices. The program focuses on the recruitment and mentorship of underrepresented students at all stages of the academic pipeline.

The M1 Award recipients, selected through a peer review process, include:

Jennifer Cavallari Sc.D., CIH

Jennifer Cavallari, Sc.D., CIH Dr. Cavallari is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Healthcare and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at UConn Health. Dr. Cavallari is an epidemiologist and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). She received her doctorate in Environmental Health from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in 2007 where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship.

Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater, M1 Mentor

Nicholas Leadbeater, Ph.D. Dr. Leadbeater is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the UConn Storrs campus. A native of the United Kingdom, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nottingham and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Bill Zempsky, M1 Mentor

William Zempsky, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Zempsky is a professor of Pediatrics at the UConn School of Medicine and is the Head of the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Zempsky received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.  He graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed a pediatric residency on the Harriet Lane Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

“I am pleased to welcome this next cohort of M1 Mentors, comprised of yet another talented group of faculty representing UConn and UConn Health,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, chief executive officer, CICATS. “Mentorship is a fundamental component of student success, and I look forward to the impact from our mentors across CICATS and the UConn community.”

The inaugural cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program included Dr. Anne Delany and Dr. Syam Nukavarapu, UConn Health faculty, and Dr. Elaine Choung-Hee Lee, a faculty member from UConn Storrs.

Each M1 Award recipient utilizes program funds to guide and lead the development of their mentees towards becoming academic scientists. The activities focus on promoting the development of these students starting in high school through to junior faculty. CICATS aims to expand the M1 Mentorship Award Program nationally, using this model to promote pipeline development at other academic institutions.

For additional information about the M1 Award, please contact Lana Angelo at langelo@uchc.edu, or visit our website at http://cicats.uconn.edu/m1-mentorship-award-program/.

Regenerative Engineering Science Cafe featured notable panel

The first Regenerative Engineering Science Cafe took place on Thursday, July 6 at local restaurant “Butchers and Bakers” in Farmington to a large crowd. The Cafe panel, facilitated by Paulos Mengsteab, included six exciting leaders in the field who discussed their work and vision in an interactive fashion: Dr. Lakshmi Nair, Dr. Yusef Khan, Dr. Joseph Walker, Dr. Thanh Nguyen, and Dr. David Gardiner. Over 40 people, including students, faculty, researchers, engineers, clinicians, and staff attended the event.

Regenerative Engineering is a new field focusing on the Convergence of Advanced Material Sciences, Stem Cell Science, Physics, Developmental Biology and Clinical Translation for solving next generation challenges in tissue regeneration. This event was sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and CICATS.

To view additional photos from the event, please visit our Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cicats/albums. For more information about upcoming Science Café events, please visit: http://cicats.uconn.edu/science-cafes/.

Dr. David Gardiner - Regenerative Engineering Science Cafe
Crowd at Regenerative Engineering Science Cafe
Dr. Cato Laurencin - Regnerative Engineering Science Cafe

CICATS Science Café on Mentorship kicks off monthly series

On June 30, CICATS launched its 2017 Science Café Series: A Kavli BRAIN Event with its first program featuring a focus on mentorship. Over 35 people, including students, faculty, researchers, and staff attended the event which was held in the Academic Lobby of UConn Health.

A panel of two faculty mentors: Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater and Dr. Bill Zempsky, and three students: Archibald Agyekum-Yamoah, Aiyana Ponce, and Obum Umerah shared their experiences as mentors and mentees guided by moderator, Lauren Branche. Through engaging conversation and audience questions, the Mentorship Science Café was well-received and generated positive feedback from attendees.

The CICATS Science Cafe Series: A Kavli BRAIN Event was developed to bring faculty, scientists, clinicians, and the general public together on a monthly basis to discuss a specific topic. Previously, CICATS had hosted "Kavli BRAIN Coffee Hour" events, and as a result of their initial success, this spring The Kavli Foundation announced their renewed and increased support. The next Science Café is scheduled for the first week of September with a theme of “Innovation.”

These programs would not have been possible and successful without the support of CICATS faculty, partners, affiliates, the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and especially, The Kavli Foundation.

To view additional photos from the event, please visit our Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cicats/albums. For more information about upcoming Science Café events, please visit: http://cicats.uconn.edu/science-cafes/.

Mentorship Science Cafe
MentorshiP Science Cafe - CTL
Mentorship Science Cafe panelists

CICATS’ Science Cafes highlighted in the Hartford Business Journal

In the May 8 edition of the Hartford Business Journal, staff writer John Stearns highlighted the CICATS Science Cafe concept and how it played a role in funding the research of Dr. Pramod Srivastava.

Science Cafes, which are hosted by CICATS’ Core Interest Groups, are informal events designed to engage the public with interactive discussions in the topic area of the host CIG, and increase opportunities for collaborative research. To learn more about CIGs or Science Cafes, please click here or contact Dr. Kevin Lo.

Here’s the full article from the Hartford Business Journal.