The Georgia Clinical and Translation Science Alliance is now accepting applications for two mentored training grants, both funded by the National Institutes of Health. The programs provide personalized, didactic and mentored research training for junior faculty and pre- and postdoctoral students, respectively.
The Georgia CTSA is an NIH-funded, interinstitutional coalition composed of four academic partners: UGA, Emory University, Georgia Tech and the Morehouse School of Medicine. The training grants also carry NIH funding: the KL2 Scholar grants are intended for junior faculty, while the TL1 (similar to an NIH T-32 grant) is available for pre- and postdoctoral trainees.
“The purpose of the Georgia CTSA is to leverage unique strengths between partner institutions to improve education and training, as well as the health of all Georgians,” said Brad Phillips, director of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and principal investigator of the Georgia CTSA at UGA. “UGA leads in many areas by contributing unique faculty expertise, research, education and programs from across the campus and the state.”
The KL2-Mentored Clinical and Translational Research Scholars program helps junior faculty become independent, established and ethical clinical and/or translational research investigators, providing 75% annual salary support for up to two years, a $25,000 yearly budget for research-related expenses, and tuition for UGA’s master’s program in clinical research or certificate program in translational research.
UGA’s current KL2 scholar, Andrea Sikora Newsome, saw the potential benefits to her future career researching acute respiratory distress syndrome and medication safety.
“This program is the single most important thing I have done with regard to my research career,” said Newsome, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy. “I applied because I wanted to become stronger with regard to research/study design and my understanding of statistical methodology. Although my Doctor of Pharmacy and postgraduate residency training made me into the clinician I am today, I did not have this understanding of study design, statistical analysis, execution, grantsmanship, etc. Nor do I think there are great mechanisms to get this type of training without a program like KL2.
“If you are a junior faculty member looking to do high-level, NIH-funded research at a large scale,” Newsome said, “this program is absolutely necessary.”
The TL1 program focuses on providing didactic and mentored research training for pre- and postdoctoral trainees interested in a career focused on research relevant to human health. The program provides a 12-month pre- or postdoctoral level stipend and tuition support to complete a master’s or certificate program in clinical and translational research, respectively.
Timothy Jones, the current UGA TL1 trainee, already sees the benefits it’s had.
“Translational research is what I hope to do for my career, applying novel laboratory discoveries to clinical research with efficient methods,” said Jones, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Pharmacy. “My training has been incredibly beneficial for the stroke research I am conducting. Specifically, the animal models of stroke I have been learning. The TL1 program helps me view research as a continuum, and that perspective is fundamental for developing strong hypotheses. After I complete my Ph.D., I plan to use this training to compete for faculty positions that focus on working with laboratory and clinical teams.”
Since joining the alliance in 2017, UGA has worked to broaden CTSA participation across campus while strengthening research relationships with the partner institutions.
“We’re doing this for a couple of reasons,” Phillips said. “One is so all interested faculty, students and trainees at UGA can take full advantage of the Georgia CTSA to advance their education, research and success. The other is to foster discoveries, community-engaged outreach, and new treatments or approaches that meaningfully improve the health and wellness of Georgians.”
Each training program is offering a free application workshop in early December via Zoom. For more information on these workshops, visit georgiactsa.org. The deadline for junior faculty to apply for the KL2 program is March 1, 2021, and the application deadline for the TL1 program is Feb. 15 and March 15, 2021, for pre- and postdoctoral students, respectively. Contact Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.