Workforce Development Core introduces 2018 KL2 and BTC Scholars cohort

2018 KL2 and BTC Scholars cohort

Maximiliano Rapanelli, PhD, Swapna Thota, MD, and Bonnie Vest, PhD

Published January 23, 2018

The UB CTSI Workforce development core is pleased to introduce the 2018 KL2 and BTC Scholars cohort.

Maximiliano Rapanelli, PhD, was appointed to the KL2 Award Program on January 1, 2018. Dr. Rapanelli received his PhD in neuroscience-physiology from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2010 and is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (JSMBS). His proposed research studies autism spectrum disorder (ASD) etiology, with an overall focus on understanding the role of KDM1 in the pathophysiology of autism, and exploring it as the potential therapeutic target for treating ASD. Dr. Rapanelli is using a multifaceted approach, including electrophysiology and epigenetics, to study the function and pathophysiology of KDM1 in ASD. Dr. Rapanelli’s primary mentor on the project is Zhen Yan, PhD, from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in JSMBS.

Swapna Thota, MD, was appointed to the BTC Award on January 1, 2018. Dr. Thota received her MD from Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad, India in 2008, and completed her residency and fellowship in internal medicine and hematology at the Cleveland Clinic in 2014. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Dr. Thota’s proposed project focuses on the spectrum of myeloid neoplasms that includes myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative overlap neoplasm (MDS/MPN), which are diseases of the elderly for which few effective therapies exist. The goals of her project are to improve outcomes of MDS and MDS/MPN patients by investigating the role of genotype-directed therapy in patients through a pilot phase II clinical trial study and to interrogate the genomic landscape of patients with myeloid neoplasms belonging to varied groups of our community. Dr. Thota’s primary mentor on the project is Eunice Wang, MD, from the departments of medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute and UB’s JSMBS.

Bonnie Vest, PhD, was appointed to the BTC Award on January 1, 2018. Dr. Vest received her PhD in cultural anthropology from UB in 2012, and is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the JSMBS. The goal of her proposed pilot study is to examine how substance use, co-occurring mental health problems and social environment interact in the context of veterans’ participation in higher education, and how they impact academic success, as an indicator of successful reintegration. Veterans’ ability to succeed in academic settings is significant for their overall successful reintegration after military service because it directly relates to economic and employment opportunities, which in turn impact overall well-being. Dr. Vest’s primary mentor on the project is Gregory Homish, PhD, from the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The Clinical and Translational Science Award-linked KL2 Mentored Career Development Award (MCDA) Program offers research mentoring, career and professional development, and funding to outstanding junior faculty and senior fellows transitioning to independent faculty positions.

The Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) Mentored Career Development Award is run in conjunction with the KL2 MCDA, such that all of the goals, application materials, requirements, funding and career and professional development strategies are identical to the CTSA-linked KL2 MCDA.