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This week, CTSI awarded 12 researchers with travel awards to present their research at national conferences.

Judges evaluated nearly 70 posters at the CTSI Poster Session & Reception on Oct. 1, selecting winners in several categories.

Please join us in congratulating this year's winners!

Undergraduate Research Program
Sudip Bhandari
Mnwabisi Mbbangata

Advanced Research Program
Malek Okour
Joyce Trost

Melendy Scholar
Jenny Xiong

F&T Career Development Program
Caroline Diep
David Knorr

New Investigator Pre-K Career Development Program
Rebecca Shlafer

KL2 Scholars Career Development Program
Veronika Bachanova
Tetyana Shippee

K to R01 Transition to Independence
Lynda Polgreen

R to R
Marnie Peterson

_UMN6166.jpgThe University of Minnesota is known for its brilliant researchers who make groundbreaking research discoveries all the time. But last night, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) celebrated a specific, very remarkable subset of researchers - those committed to bringing their discoveries into practice.

Showcasing Translational Research
Nearly 70 researchers showcased how they're moving their discoveries along the translational path and into real-world practice. Researchers ranged from an assistant professor of medicine who is formulating a potential therapy for the treatment of head and neck cancer to a PhD student creating mobile-based interventions for obesity control and prevention.

"These researchers aren't content with simply publishing their findings and moving on to the next thing," noted CTSI Director Bruce Blazar, during a speech celebrating translational researchers. "Rather, they're bringing their discoveries into practice and doing their part to improve health."

Judges evaluated the posters, awarding 12 researchers with travel awards to present their research at national conferences.

Recognizing Strong Mentors
Last night CTSI also named Carol Lange, PhD, as the 2013 Mentor of the Year, an award driven by the compassion of the mentees who nominate their research mentors. Dr. Lange serves as a professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. She is also a director of the Masonic Cancer Center's Cell Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Program.

Dr. Lange received $2,500 for this honor. Letters nominating Dr. Lange's were full of praise and admiration for her commitment to mentorship, her dedication to knowing students on an individual level, her professional integrity and the success of her scientific career.

One letter read, "Dr. Lange has an amazing generosity of spirit. Her engaging energy and tremendous capacity for intellectual creativity has created a stimulating and productive scientific environment that I am excited to work in every day."

From the mentor award to the teams of translational researchers, collaboration was one of the evening's recurring themes. Dr. Blazar conveyed this as well, telling the crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members, "By working together, we can improve human health."

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CTSI honored Carol Lange, PhD, with the 2013 Mentor of the Year Award on Tuesday evening. Dr. Lange accepted the award from Dr. Tucker LeBien, PhD, (shown) in front of a crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members at the CTSI Poster Session and Reception.

Dr. Lange serves as a professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. She is also a director of the Masonic Cancer Center's Cell Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Program.

The award is driven by the compassion of the mentees who nominate their research mentors. Letters nominating Dr. Lange's were full of praise and admiration for her commitment to mentorship, her dedication to knowing students on an individual level, her professional integrity and the success of her scientific career.

"Since joining the Lange lab, I have flourished under her mentorship. Dr. Lange is, and will be, my template on how to become an independent and productive female scientific investigator."

"Dr. Lange takes her role as a mentor very seriously and works with trainees to make sure they are developing the necessary skills to succeed in a career in research. She also makes a sincere effort to understand the individual goals of her trainees."

"Dr. Lange has an amazing generosity of spirit. Her engaging energy and tremendous capacity for intellectual creativity has created a stimulating and productive scientific environment that I am excited to work in every day."

Dr. Lange received $1,500 for this honor. Congratulations, Dr. Lange!

At the CTSI Research Conference on September 12, 2012, Dr. Betsy Seaquist was honored as the first recipient of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Mentor of the Year.


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Dr. Seaquist is Professor of Medicine and holds the Pennock Family Chair in Diabetes Research. Her research focuses on the effect of diabetes on brain metabolism, structure and function. Dr. Seaquist directs the University of Minnesota site for the ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) Trial and is Principal Investigator on an NIH training grant for fellows in endocrinology and diabetes. She was recently elected Vice President of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Seaquist received her BA from Vassar College and completed her medical training, including residency and fellowship, at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Seaquist has trained scores of students, residents, and fellows. She has been the primary mentor for two K23 scholars, both of whom remain in academic medicine. She is the primary mentor for two current KL2 scholars (Drs. Silvia Mangia and Amir Moheet), and serves on the committee supervising K23 recipient Dr. Melena Bellin.

Dr. Seaquist's nominations were full of praise and admiration for her work as a mentor.

"Thanks to her absolutely stunning appreciation of team-work, the atmosphere of her lab is in fact truly electrifying for everyone. She is a natural source of positive energy that encourages us to always welcome challenges as possibilities for improvement rather than limitations."

"I will always be grateful to Betsy for the time she spends with me (she never skipped any meeting with me during these moths), for her intelligence, for her willingness to share with others the benefit of her intelligence, for her humanity, overall for being simply who she is. In a world that desperately needs positive human figures, Betsy is a deep breath of fresh air."

"Dr. Seaquist is the epitome of a successful mentor. She is a world-class clinical/translational researcher and academic endocrinologist dedicated to the development of junior faculty. She accomplished the challenging task of providing guidance and allowing for freedom."

Join us in congratulating Dr. Seaquist!

About the CTSI Mentor of the Year Award

Mentor of the Year candidates are nominated by a CTSI mentee with supporting letters from a former mentee and a faculty colleague. Award selection criteria include assistance with guidance in research, interpersonal and motivational skills, promotion and career development, and mentor training record and NIH biosketch.





On Tuesday, September 11, 56 University of Minnesota scholars and community partners presented their clinical and translational research projects in a poster session, which opened the first annual Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Research Conference

Posters were judged on the presenters' translation plans, including next steps, barriers to translation, and how the the project will contribute to improving human health. 

Top posters in each category were chosen for travel awards of up to $1200 to attend a national conference to present their CTSI-sponsored research.

Please join us in congratulating the 2012 CTSI travel award recipients!

Community Pilot Grant
Erica Gerrity
Submitted by: Rebecca Schlafer, Dept of Pediatrics.
Project Title: Health disparities in the context of a parenting and pregnancy support program for incarcerated mothers

Undergraduate Research Program (URP)

Nguyen-Tran, Hai
Training Program: CHE - Undergraduate Research Program
Area of Research: Women's Health; Health Disparities
Mentor: Rahel Ghebre
Project Title: Comparison of Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening Among Somali and Vietnamese Women

Truong, Uyen
Training Program: CTSI - Undergraduate Summer Research Program
Area of Research: Hematology, Pulmonary
Mentors: Anna Solovey; Robert Hebbel
Project Title: Analysis of muscularized pulmonary arteries due to pulmonary arterial hypertension in Sickle Cell Disease

Radtke, Kendra
Training Program: CTSI - Undergraduate Research Program
Area of Research: Pharmacology
Mentor: James Cloyd
Project Title: Glutathione Redox Status in Blood of cALD Patients Undergoing Hematopoetic Stem Cell Transplantation with NAC Adjuvant Therapy

Konchellah, Mercy
Training Program: Center for Health Equity Undergraduate Scholar
Area of Research: Addiction, Behavioral Sciences
Mentors: Jasjit S. Ahluwalia
Project Title: Are there Differences in Frequency of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Intent to Quit among Social Nondaily Smokers and "Other" Nondaily Smokers?

Advanced Research Program (ARP)
Aby, Elizabeth
Training Program: CTSI - Advanced Summer Research Program
Mentors: Jerrold Vitek; Diane Kachel
Area of Research: Neurology
Project Title: Evaluation of Clinician vs Automated ParkinTuneā„¢ Motor Score Assessments for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Programming in Patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD)

Agarwal, Suresh
Training Program: CTSI - Advanced Summer Research Program
Area of Research: Pharmacology, Neurology
Mentors: James Cloyd; Richard Brundage
Project Title: A Meta-Analysis of the Absorption Characteristics of Diazepam Following Alternative Routes of Administration to Optimize Future Bioequivalence Trial Design

Parker, Sarah
Training Program: CTSI Advanced Research Program
Mentor: Bruce Blazar
Project Title: Potential of Deriving iPS from Peripheral Blood T Cells using Retroviral Approach

F&T Pilot Grant Program
Frosch, Anne
Training Program: CTSI-F&T Pilot Grant
Area of Research: Infectious Disease, Immunology
Mentor: Chandy John
Project Title: The effect of HIV on malaria specific B-cell responses

Pre-K Pilot Grant and KL2 Scholars Program combined category
Bhargava, Maneesh
Training Program: CTSI KL2 Scholars Program
Area of Research: Biomarker Discovery in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Mentor: Chris Wendt
Project Title: Proteomic Biomarkers of Survival in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Clark, Cari
Training Program: KL2 Scholar
Area of Research: Epidemiology, Child Health and Development
Mentors: Michael Resnick; Susan Everson-Rose; John Connett; Iris Borowsky; Robert Krueger
Project Title: Dating Violence and its Association with Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Adulthood

Gillick, Bernadette
Training Program: CTSI Pre-K Scholar, CTSI BDAC Pilot Funding, MMF
Area of Research: Neurosciences, Pediatrics
Mentors: Kelvin Lim, Jeremiah Menk
Project Title: Safety of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Pediatric Hemiparesis

K2R and R2R Pilot Grant Program combined category
Cormier, Robert
Training Program: CTSI R01 to R01 Pilot Grant
Areas of Research: Cancer, Oncology
Co-Investigator: Kevin Silverstein
Project Title: Discovery of Fusion Oncogenes in Colorectal Cancer

Ostrander, Julie H
Training Program: CTSI - K to R transition award
Area of Research: Cancer
Mentors: Doug Yee, Chap Le
Project Title: PELP1 localization as a Biomarker for Early Mammary Carcinogenesis and Response to Tamoxifen Chemoprevention

Polgreen, Lynda
Training Program: CTSI K to R
Area of Research: metabolic bone disease
Mentor: Chester Whitley, Ph.D., M.D.
Project Title: Cross-Sectional Study of Associations of Osteocalcin with Obesity, Adipokines and Inflammation in the Mucopolysaccharidoses