CTSC paves way for promising medical researchers through KL2 awards

The Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) serves as UC Davis’ powerhouse for translational biomedical research. Its wide range of services and resources provides essential training and infrastructure for medical researchers to develop their studies and boost their careers. One great way the CTSC supports researchers is through the KL2 Mentored Career Development program.

Jennifer Rosenthal and Stephanie Crossen Jennifer Rosenthal and Stephanie Crossen

“The KL2 Mentored Career Development program is an excellent opportunity for our junior faculty who conduct multidisciplinary, patient-centered clinical research,” said Allison Brashear, dean of the School of Medicine. “The program helps accelerate the career development of promising scholars and puts them on track to become independent clinical investigators.”

Under the KL2 program, qualified junior faculty are mentored by senior researchers and receive two years of financial support, with a possible one-year extension through a fund from the School of Medicine. There is a new call for applications for the upcoming round of KL2, with a submission deadline of Dec. 1, 2020, at 10 a.m.

KL2 paves the way for individual research grants

KL2 training prepares scholars to successfully apply for individual career development research grants. The transition from KL2 to a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award is an important benchmark for the career development of junior scholars. Recently, two UC Davis CTSC KL2 scholars received NIH-funded K23 awards.

Jennifer Rosenthal, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, is a 2017-2019 KL2 scholar and 2019-2020 Dean’s Scholar. She credits the award for helping her establish professional relationships with other researchers at Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hubs across the nation. Rosenthal is currently serving on the CTSC Leadership Team as a KL2 Scholar Representative. She is also working to establish a CTSA Visiting Professorship program for KL2 Scholars. This program would foster collaborations by allowing researchers to receive mentorship and training at other CTSA hubs.

“The KL2 Mentored Career Development program is an excellent opportunity for our junior faculty who conduct multidisciplinary, patient-centered clinical research.”

— Allison Brashear

Rosenthal has a four-year K23 grant, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). She is interested in pediatric interfacility transfers, frequent but understudied events. She will evaluate telehealth’s feasibility and potential impact, compared to telephone communication throughout these transfers.

Stephanie Crossen, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, is also a 2017-2019 KL2 scholar and 2019-2020 Dean’s Scholar. She was awarded a four-year K23 training grant funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). She will study the best ways to use telehealth and connected health technologies to improve care delivery and outcomes for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. With pediatric endocrinologists sparsely distributed, type I patients often are several hours away from their diabetes providers.

“I see how hard our young patients work to take care of themselves and their family, and how many hurdles they face in trying to achieve their goal,” Crossen said. “My role is to empower them with knowledge, support them with empathy and encouragement, and improve healthcare to be more accessible, equitable and effective.”

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