Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Clinical and Translational Research – Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) Pilot Grants
  1. What is the purpose of the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program?
  2. What type of research activity will the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program support?
  3. Are animal or cell culture studies supported by the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program?
  4. Who is eligible to apply for a CTR-IN Pilot Grant?
  5. Does the Pilot Grants Program accept multiple Principal Investigator applications?
  6. What are the responsibilities of a Pilot Grant recipient?
  7. What are the permitted expenses for a CTR-IN Pilot Grant?
  8. Does the Pilot Grants Program allow large equipment purchases (i.e., > $5,000)?
  9. How much should I budget for the CTR-IN Annual Scientific Meeting in my pilot grant application?
  10. What approvals are required for conducting human research?
  11. How will pilot grant applications be reviewed?
  12. How are funding award decisions made?
  13. What are the program priorities that help to guide funding decisions?
  14. What are the reporting requirements for pilot grantees?
  15. Will there be opportunities to meet with other grantees and network with potential research partners?
  16. What other resources are available through the CTR-IN?
  17. What is the CRDEB?
  18. How much time will the CTR biostatistician have toward my pilot project?
  19. Will the biostatistician help with my pilot application?
  20. What if I use a biostatistician that is not supported through the CRDEB?
  21. What is the CREMCaD?

What is the purpose of the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program?
The CTR-IN Pilot Grant Program is a Limited Competition Mentored Career Development funding opportunity. The mission of the CTR-IN is to build clinical and translational research capacity and facilitate extramural funding success among investigators with faculty appointments at the 13 universities in the Mountain West Research Consortium. The program provides research funding, and a mentored pathway of milestones leading to publication, expansion of research skills, and career development to achieve independent investigator status as reflected in the submission of an NIH R-type grant proposal (or equivalent) in clinical or translational research.Pilot funding support can be transformative in the Mountain West by helping existing programs reach national competitiveness, addressing regional health disparities, and providing opportunities for new investigators to become successful in clinical or translational research, and for established basic scientists to transition into these areas.

What type of research activity will the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program support?
Eligible clinical ortranslational research embraces a spectrum of scientific disciplines (e.g., epidemiology, statistics, pharmacology, social and behavioral sciences, nutrition, nursing, dental health, and medicine), methodologies (e.g., observational and experimental), health professions (e.g., nursing, public health, pharmacy, clinical psychology, sports physiology, physical therapy), and medical specialties and subspecialties. Any application proposing clinical translational research meeting the NIH definition will be eligible.

Clinical research includes (1) patient-oriented research; (2) epidemiologic and behavioral studies; and (3) outcomes research and health services research. Further detail of this definition can be found in the Human Subjects Research Definitions and Terms of the PHS 398 (Part III-25): click here …

Translational research (T1-T4) includes:

  • T1, Translation to Humans: Testing basic science discoveries in humans for clinical effect and/or applicability;
  • T2, Translation to Patients: Testing new interventions in human subjects under controlled environments to form the basis for clinical applications and evidence‐based guidelines
  • T3, Translation to Practice: Research on the application of new interventions or therapies in general practice; research that yields knowledge on best ways to implement new medical interventions in the clinic; and
  • T4, Translation to Population: Investigations of factors and/or interventions that influence the health of populations; ultimately results in improved health of the public.

Are animal or cell culture studies supported by the CTR-IN Pilot Grants Program?
We appreciate the fact that many pre-clinical (animal and cell culture) studies provide important information that are essential before translation to human studies is possible. However, the NIH program that funds the CTR-INrequires us to follow a strict definition of translational type 1 (T1) research that excludes most pre-clinical animal and cell culture studies. This policy supports the CTR program goal of developing new clinical and translational research programs in the region, following NIH guidelines for this type of work. These guidelines also serves to complement (rather than duplicate) support provided by other INBRE and CoBRE mechanisms at IDeA institutions that emphasize support for pre-clinical programs.

Who is eligible to apply for a CTR-IN Pilot Grant?
Applicants must have a faculty-level appointment at a participating CTR-IN Institution. While the Principal Investigator of a pilot project application must be a faculty member (or hold a letter of academic title) from one of the partner institutions, other collaborators will be encouraged to participate as co-investigators to foster new clinical collaborations. Early or New Stage Investigators (click here … ) are encouraged to apply. Established researcherswanting to move from basic science into translational or clinical research also are eligible to apply.Per IDeA program policy, an awardee may not concurrently receive research funding through other IDeA mechanisms (e.g., COBRE or INBRE).

Does the Pilot Grants Program accept multiple Principal Investigator applications?
The CTR-IN encourages multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations, but the CTR-IN pilot grants are designed to fund a single Principal Investigator. The inclusion of co-investigators and consultants on pilot projects is strongly encouraged.

What are the responsibilities of a Pilot Grant Recipient?
Pilot Grant recipients are expected to interact with the CREMCaD, work with a mentor, utilize educational and statistical resources provided by the CRDEB, provide brief quarterly reports and a final report, and attend the CTR-IN Annual Scientific Meeting.In addition, Pilot Grant recipients are expected to use the knowledge and data obtained through CTR-IN support to develop and submit “R-level”grant proposals to NIH Institutes to continue their research, and to report on those activities both during and after the period of their Pilot award.

What are the permitted expenses for a CTR-IN Pilot Grant?
Permitted expenses include support for half of the salary and benefits associated with the PI’s effort, salaries for research personnel, research supplies, and participant expenses. The PI must devote a minimum of 20% effort to the pilot grant, but please see ‘Special requirements regarding PI support’ below. All expenses must be allowable under NIH guidelines. The following are not allowable: Equipment costs over $5,000, significant foreign participation, and subcontracts to institutions located in non-IDeA states. Services provided in non-IDeA states can be purchased on a fee-for-service basis.

Budgets must also include expenses to travel to, and present at, the CTR-IN Annual Scientific Meeting. Other travel expenses are permitted if necessary for conducting field work as part of the pilot project, or for domestic travel if justified for establishing a mentorship relationship, accessing experts or other resources, or presentation of peer-reviewed findings from the project at up to one national meeting per year.

Budgets may not support office supplies, phone costs, or other costs considered to be indirect expenses under NIH guidelines, unless justified as directly related to research data collection. Facilities and Administration rates (i.e., indirect costs) will be held to 10% according to the agreement endorsed by the responsible official at each of the partner institutions. Budget items not well-justified may be reduced or removed upon the recommendation of scientific reviewers, and/or the Internal Advisory Committee.

Special requirements regarding PI support: Pilot Grant PI’s must devote at least 20% effort to the proposed research, and up to 50% effort may be proposed. While the budget narrative must reference the full amount of effort required to accomplish the proposed scope of work, the budget may request CTR-IN funds for not more than half of the PI effort. The balance of PI effort is to be covered by institutional support in the form of release from teaching, direct salary support, assignment of time provided to pursue scholarly activity, or other mechanism appropriate to the institution. This support is not formal cost share and no recording/reporting requirements exist. Budgets should list the full PI effort proposed as appropriate for their appointment in calendar months, or academic and summer months. Support requested may not exceed half of that value.

Does the Pilot Grants Program allow large equipment purchases (i.e., > $5,000)?
The CTR-IN is particularly focused on building Clinical and Translational Research capacity at partner institutions by focusing on researchers and the provision of support expertise and training. Large equipment purchases (i.e., > $5,000) are not allowable expenses for Pilot Grant projects.

How much should I budget for the CTR-IN Annual Scientific Meeting in my pilot grant application?
The pilot grant applicant should plan on a 3-4 day meeting in Las Vegas, NV with expenses to include hotel, airfare and local travel. There will be no registration fee. Budgeting $1500 for the pilot grant PI to attend the meeting should be sufficient.

What approvals are required for conducting human research?
As with any NIH-funded research, projects must adhere to all requirements regarding protection of human subjects, including approval by the grantee’s Institutional Review Board when relevant. Funds related to collection of human subjects’ data will not be released to the investigator until necessary IRB approvals are in place. Awardees must also provide documentation of human subjects training for key personnel (e.g., CITI). Other regulatory requirements such as the use of biohazard materials will be monitored per the procedures and guidelines of the investigator’s institution.

How will pilot grant applications be reviewed?
Pilot grant application will be assigned to experienced grant application reviewers. In addition to the projects significance, innovation and approach, reviewers will be asked to qualitatively respond to the following questions: (1) Are plans for future extramural grant application(s) clear?; (2) If the proposed pilot project is successful, will the findings yield sufficient preliminary data to support a future NIH grant application?; and (3) Does the pilot project include, or have the potential for leading to, multi-disciplinary and/or multi-institutional collaboration? Reviewers will be asked to adhere to standard conflict of interest guidelines.

How are funding award decisions made?
Following the meeting of the scientific review committee, the external peer reviews and fundingrecommendations will be forwarded to the CTR-IN Internal AdvisoryCommittee (IAC) and the External Advisory Committee (EAC) for review. The EAC will make funding recommendations to the CTR-IN Principal Investigator. The CTR-IN PI will make final decisions on the awards based on peer-review, IAC and EAC recommendations and program priorities.

What are the program priorities that help to guide funding decisions?
The primary program priorities are 1) to develop new clinical and translational research programs in the region; 2) to foster the development of investigators in the region who can conduct clinical and translational research; 3) to foster collaborations that can help achieve those goals;4) support health research relevant to rural and vulnerable populations; and 5) to provide distribution of program resources across the partner institutions concordant with the guidance of scientific peer review.

What are the reporting requirements for pilot grantees?
Brief quarterly progress reports and a final report will be required of all pilot grantees. Quarterly reports will include a brief summary of research progress and milestones, expenditure of project funds, unanticipated barriers or problems, meetings with mentor(s), publications and abstracts submitted or accepted, presentations made at professional meetings, grant applications submitted or accepted, and goals for the next quarter. The first quarterly report will also identify support linkages that have been established to include, at minimum, a mentor and a biostatistician.

Will there be opportunities to meet with other grantees and network with potential research partners?
Pilot Grant investigators will present interim findings and progress in a poster at the CTR-IN Annual Scientific Meeting that will be attended by Network members, experts from the External Advisory Committee, and invited outside scientists.This will serve as an opportunity for pilot investigators to highlightresearch progress and pose emerging questions, receive expert feedback, and develop external collaborations.

What other resources are available through the CTR-IN?
Pilot Grant recipients will have access to, and be expected to participate in, the educational and career development activities provided by the CRDEBand the CREMCaD. They will also have access to editorial assistance for abstracts and manuscripts based on their supported work, and to editorial assistance with human subjects applications.

What is the CRDEB?
The Clinical Research Design, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics(CRDEB) is a Core resource within the CTR-IN. The CRDEB provides education in the fundamentals of clinical and translational research. It supports CTR-IN investigators through assistance with study design, biostatistics, and basic data management.The CRDEB has identified a biostatistician at each partner institution who is funded by the CTR-IN and available to investigators for local support. Additional resources are available to CTR-IN investigators through the CRDEB Core, located at the University of New Mexico Clinical Translational Science Center.For more information on CRDEB please click here … .

How much time will the CTR-IN biostatistician provideto assist with my pilot project?
Investigators who request biostatistical support on their project are expected to meet with the CRDEB biostatistician at their institution during the planning stage of the pilot grant proposal. Up to 50 hours of free biostatistical support on funded pilot projects will be provided through the CRDEB, exclusive of time spent preparing the proposal.

Can I include biostatistician whois not supported through the CRDEB on my pilot project?
No, theCTR-IN and CRDEB will only support the designated biostatistician(s) at your institution.Another biostatistician from one of the eligible institutions could be the Principal Investigator or collaborator on a pilot grant application, but this biostatistician’s effort on the pilot grant would not be financed by the CRDEB.

What is the CREMCaD?
The Clinical Research Education, Mentoring, and Career Development (CREMCaD)is a Core resource within the CTR-IN that will work with each individual Pilot Grant recipient to facilitate their development towards independent clinical or translational research. Investigators will receive access to coursework developed for training in all aspects of clinical and translationalresearch. This will be provided via multiple modalities to facilitate access by investigators with diversebackgrounds and locations. For more information on CREMCaD please click here … .

Envelope Icon

Contact Us

To contact the MW CTR-IN Administrative Core by phone, you may call (702) 895-1079 between 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday - Friday, excluding holidays. Or, you may email us at ctr-in@unlv.edu at any time.

Sitemap Icon

Site Map

Nancy Pandhi Bio

Nancy Pandhi, MD, MPH, PhD, serves as the CTSC Liaison for the MW CTR-IN Program. She is Associate Chair, a practicing family physician and tenured Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico. In addition, she is Director of the UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center.

The aim of Dr. Pandhi’s community-engaged mixed methods research program is improving the delivery of ambulatory care to vulnerable populations through participant-centered engagement approaches implemented at the individual, team, and organizational levels. She is a founding member of the Health Experiences Research Network and serves on its national steering committee. She co-led the first U.S. project applying these rigorous internationally vetted methods for examining lived health experiences and translating them for educational and clinical quality improvements. At the University of Wisconsin, she co-founded the Primary care Academics Transforming Healthcare collaborative to bring together multidisciplinary change leaders and physicians and bridge primary care clinical transformation and rigorous scientific study.  Dr. Pandhi received her B.A. at the University of Chicago, MD at Virginia Commonwealth University, and MPH and PhD at the University of Wisconsin.

Jeffery Chaichana Peterson, PhD

Jeffrey Chaichana Peterson received his PhD from the University of New Mexico and trained as a Minority Research Fellow for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Association of Schools of Public Health/Prevention Research Centers. Currently, he is a Research Professor in the University of Montana’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences and the Associate Director of the Mountain West CTR-IN’s Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core. He works in the area of implementation science and advocates for community-based, participatory, and culture-centered approaches to translate evidence-base research from academia tot he front lines of public health practice. In his career, he has worked with diverse populations including the urban homeless, migrant farm workers, Latina pregnant or parenting teens, American Indian communities, and transgender sex workers, among other vulnerable populations.

Beth Tigges Bio

Beth Tigges, PhD, RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN is the Director for the Tracking & Evaluation (T&E) Core of the MW CTR-IN Program. She is a tenured Professor and Regents’ Professor at The University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has experience with mixed methods evaluation of large and complex research centers, particularly those emphasizing infrastructure development, team science, mentoring, and institutional change.  She is the founding Director of Tracking and Evaluation for the University of New Mexico NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Center (2010–present), and past Co-Chair of the national NIH-NCATS CTSA Program Evaluators’ Group (2017-21). She leads the evaluation for the following NIGMS-funded grants:  UNM Center for Brain Recovery and Repair; UNM Autophagy, Inflammation, and Metabolism Center of Biomedical Research Excellence; and the UNM study, Effectiveness of Innovative Research Mentor Interventions among Underrepresented Minority Faculty in the Southwest. She has a background in instrument development and psychometrics, and has designed and/or conducted eight community-based studies, including the U.S. National Children’s Study in New Mexico. Dr. Tigges received her B.S. in Nursing from Penn State, her M.S. in Nursing from Yale University, and a PhD degree from Columbia University in public health and social psychology.

Robert Seville Bio

Robert “Scott” Seville, PhD, will serve as the Associate Director of the MW CTR-IN Pilot Projects (CP3) Core and is the Chair of the Concierge Network. He is currently a Professor of Zoology and Physiology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wyoming. Currently, he serves as the Lead Concierge for MW CTR-IN Concierge Network. Previously, he served as the Associate Dean for the University of Wyoming Outreach School where he had oversight of UW facilities, staff and programs across Wyoming including managing UW Academic Regional Centers located on each Wyoming community college and the Wind River Indian Reservation. He received his Master’s and PhD degrees, and Postdoctoral training in Zoology/Physiology/Parasitology from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, in Wyoming followed by a NSF/NATO Fellowship in Parasitology.

Dr. Seville’s research has focused on the taxonomy, systematics, and parasite-host co-evolution using gastrointestinal protozoan parasites (coccidia) in wild hosts as a model system. Additionally, he brings experience in leading and managing NIH-funded activities as the Program Director/Principal Investigator, Outreach/Education Core Director, and previously Program Coordinator for the IDeA-funded Wyoming INBRE program. In these leadership roles, he has been responsible for working with the INBRE leadership team and the University of Wyoming Office of Research and Economic Development in managing ~$35M in support from NIGMS IDeA Programs with a number of research, education programs and projects focused on addressing health disparities in rural and American Indian communities in Wyoming.

Tony Ward Bio

Tony Ward, PhD, will serve as the Director for the new upcoming Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core in Years 6-10 of the MW CTR-IN Program. In addition to teaching within University of Montana’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences, Dr. Ward’s research focuses on investigating the relationship between air pollution and respiratory health, working with rural and American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) populations throughout our region. Concurrently, he is the Co-PI on two NIEHS-funded R01s investigating the impact of residential wood burning on respiratory health in both children and elderly populations living in rural and tribal areas located in the southwest, northern Rocky Mountains, and rural Alaska Native communities. He is also the Co-PI on a NIH funded Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project that educates rural and AI/AN students in schools throughout Montana, Idaho, and Alaska about air quality/respiratory health. Moreover, Dr. Ward is the Chair at the University of Montana, School of Public and Community Health Sciences in Missoula, Montana, and the State of Montana Director of the CEO Core for the AI/AN Clinical Translational Research Project (CTRP). Dr. Ward received his Masters degree in Environmental Science and Industrial Hygiene from the University of Houston, Clear Lake in Texas, and his PhD degree in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Montana, Missoula, in Montana along with a Postdoctoral.

Dr. Ward has experience conducting Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in rural and underserved communities, including AI/AN communities. His experience with the AI/AN CTRP will be a valuable asset for his role as the CEO Core Director for the CTR-IN, providing synergy for both of the IDeA Programs.

Chad Cross Bio

Chad Cross, PhD, MFT, PStat(R) is the Co-Associate Director for the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research and Design (BERD) Core for the MW CTR-IN Program. In this role, Dr. Cross provides expertise in scientific research, biostatistical analysis, and Core leadership. Dr. Cross has been a faculty member at several universities (currently at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), worked for approximately 10 years in federal service (US Environmental Protection Agency and the Veterans Health Administration), and worked in private industry as a scientific subject matter expert and statistician.

Dr. Cross is trained as a multidisciplinary scientist. He received is PhD in Ecological Sciences (focus in Quantitative Ecology and Statistics) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He additionally holds several master’s degrees: Computational & Applied Mathematics/Statistics (Old Dominion University), Medical Entomology & Nematology (University of Florida), and Counseling (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). His undergraduate training was at Purdue University, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in biological sciences and the other in wildlife science. Dr. Cross has several active areas of research. These include: (1) Public Health: Investigations in population health related to chronic and infectious diseases, with special emphasis on quantitative methodology and use of large databases; (2) Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Applications of statistics and epidemiological principles to problems in the health sciences – for example clinical trials, multivariate models, and population sampling strategies; (3) Medical Entomology & Parasitology: Applied research and field work in arthropod-borne and parasitic diseases, including population-based estimation of disease burden and the intersection of medical entomology and forensic science; (4) Quantitative Ecology: Applications of statistics to problems in the environmental and ecological sciences – for example Bayesian models for estimating avian fatality around wind turbines and mark-recapture sampling; and (5) Psychometrics: Applications of statistics to problems in the psychological sciences – for example randomized controlled trials for interventions and pattern recognition for finding clusters of patients with shared pathology.

Ruben Dagda Bio

Ruben Dagda, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core for the MW CTR-IN Program. In this role, he coordinates the Advance to Funding (ATF) Program and the Grant Writing Workshops (GWW). He received his PhD degree in Pharmacology from the University of Iowa and received his Postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Dagda is also an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Nevada Reno

In this role for the ATF Program, he assists research investigators in the review of their grants prior to submission to the NIH to provide constructive feedback from our many expert reviewers to increase their probability of extramural funding. Hence, the ATF Program functions very much like a “study section”. He is also in charge of coordinating the GWWs, which assist research investigators in improving their knowledge and skills in the preparation of grants to make them more competitive for extramural grant funding. He is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in cell culture, tissue and animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Dagda has authored multiple research manuscripts and review articles in the areas of toxicology, toxinology, mitochondrial function, and neurobiology. At the University of Nevada Medical School (UNSOM), he is committed to the training and education of undergraduate, graduate students and postdocs in his lab. His main research goals are to elucidate the prosurvival signaling pathways that regulate mitochondrial function, transport and turn-over in neurons and how aging and neurodegenerative diseases negatively impact these processes. The end goal is to develop novel small molecular drugs that can reverse neurodegeneration and elevate mitochondrial function in age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Brach Poston Bio

Brach Poston, PhD, is an Associate Director of the Educational Resources in the Professional Development (PD) Core of the Mountain West Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN). He is an Associate Professor in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences Department.  He teaches Neurophysiology of Movement, Scientific Basis of Strength Training, and Advanced Strength Methods within the undergraduate program, and Neurophysiology of Movement and Biomechanics of Strength within the graduate program.

Dr. Poston’s research focuses primarily on the use of non-invasive brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation) to improve motor skill and learning in Parkinson’s disease, aging, and young adults. He also conducts research on strength training and muscle fatigue as well as concussion in boxing and mixed martial arts.

Before coming to UNLV, Dr. Poston was a project scientist at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Prior to this position, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Human Motor Control Section, Medical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health. He also received postdoctoral training at Arizona State University in neural and motor control.

Dr. Poston earned his Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, a Master’s in Exercise Physiology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Southwest Missouri State University. He has received research funding from NIH/NINDS, Mountain West CTR-IN, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Poston has also served on several NASA human performance grant review panels and will become Director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Ph.D. program at UNLV in 2022.

Juli Petereit Bio

Juli Petereit, MS, PhD is the Associate Core Director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) core for the MW-CTR-IN Program. In addition, she is the Director of the Nevada Bioinformatics Center and Co-Director for the Data Science Core for Biomedical Research, NIH IDeA NV INBRE at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Dr. Petereit received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and MS in Applied Mathematics from UNR in 2016 and 2010 respectively. 

As a bioinformatics scientist, Dr. Petereit supports researchers at UNR as an expert in small- and large-scale statistical analyses, quantitative analyses, statistical inference, (social/gene) network modeling, analysis of complex statistical data, analysis of large-scale high-throughput omics data, and other advanced bioinformatics and biostatistical applications. She serves an interdisciplinary research community and is involved in numerous research projects ranging from survey studies in social behavioral science to studies examining protein levels across multiple experimental conditions.

Dr. Petereit has been involved with the Nevada Bioinformatics Center since March 2017 and has continued to contribute her unique skill set towards providing comprehensive support for the MW CTR-IN Program’s need for study design, biostatistics, and data management. She is committed to integrating biostatistics support into the fabric of MW CTR-IN clinical and translational research culture by providing state-of-the-art bioinformatics and (bio)statistics services for individual research projects by conducting custom and standardized data analytical protocols (for bioinformatics, biostatistics, and biomedical data science), developing statistical & computational pipelines to ensure reproducible research, and assisting in pre-proposal support and extramural grant applications.

Akshay Sood Bio

Akshay Sood, MD, MPH

Akshay Sood, MD, MPH is the Associate Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core for the Mountain West CTR-IN Program. As the Associate Director for the PD Core’s Mentoring Unit, Dr. Sood’s focus is on the Mentorship Program. Dr. Sood obtained his Master’s in Public Health from Yale University and completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine at Yale University – School of Medicine.

Dr. Sood is currently the Assistant Dean of Mentoring and Faculty Retention for the School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Career Development at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM-HSC). In addition, he is a Tenured Professor for UNM-HSC’s Department of Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine and Epidemiology. Dr. Sood’s interest in the epidemiology of chronic lung diseases has helped him build a unique academic career around the clinical translational basis for the association between non-smoking host factors and obstructive lung diseases. He leads the UNM HSC Faculty Mentor Development Program and is the P.I. of a U01 grant on the “Effectiveness of Innovative Research Mentor Interventions among Underrepresented Minority Faculty in the Southwest (NIGMS U01GM132175-01)”. He serves as a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Diversity Program Consortium at the NIH. Dr. Sood has a natural passion for research education, supporting scholars, and trainees as they learn the steps necessary to assemble an independent research program. His mentoring experience provides a strong basis for his leadership for the MW CTR-IN Program’s PD Core.

Larissa Myaskovsky  Bio

Larissa Myaskovsky, PhD, is the Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core, Director for the Mountain West CTR-IN’s Ambassador Translational Research in Progress (ATRIP) Program, and Director of Mentoring Unit for the Mountain West CTR-IN Program.  She is a tenured Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Director of the Center Healthcare Equity in Kidney Disease at the University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Myaskovsky received her BA in Psychology with Specialization in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, her MA in General-Experimental Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and a fellowship in Health Services Research at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. With more than 20 years of research experience and funding, her NIH and VA-funded research focuses on the social determinants of health and using a multi-method and multi-disciplinary approach to identify and understand disparities in healthcare processes and outcomes, and to develop interventions to reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations. Before joining the UNM faculty in 2017, Dr. Myaskovsky was a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and completed a year-long NIH-funded Professional Mentoring Skills Enhancing Diversity leadership training program through the National Research Mentoring Network, and was the 2017 recipient of the Philip Troen, MD Excellence in Medical Student Research Mentoring Award. She has taught medical writing and presentation, research grant design and development, measurement design and development, and healthcare disparities research methods to early career faculty, fellows, graduate and medical students. Dr. Myaskovsky is passionate about research education, and supporting scholars and trainees as they assemble an independent research program. Her mentorship and leadership experience provides a strong basis for leading the MW CTR-IN Professional Development Core.

Curtis Noonan Bio

Curtis Noonan, PhD, MA is the Director of the Clinical Pilot Projects Program (CP3) Core. He has served in this role for the past five years and will continue to serve in this role for the next grant cycle. The CP3 Core has successfully administered the single institution, single investigator and the multi-site pilot grants since the inception of the Mountain West CTR-IN Program.

Dr. Noonan received his MA degree in International Health and Development from George Washington University and his PhD in Environmental Health, Epidemiology from Colorado State University. He is currently a Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana. He has led NIH funded multi-site randomized trials focused on improving health outcomes and reducing exposures among vulnerable populations exposed to elevated levels of particulate matter from burning of biomass fuels for residential heating. Dr. Noon is a member of the Infectious, Reproductive, Asthma and Pulmonary Conditions (IRAP) Study Section.

Weiyu Mao Bio

Weiyu Mao, PhD, MSW, MPhil is an Associate Director of the Educational Resources in the Professional Development (PD) Core of the Mountain West Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN) Program. Dr. Mao is a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Mao received her Master of Social Work, PhD, and post-doctoral training from the University of Southern California (USC) as well as her Master of Philosophy in Social Welfare from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Bachelor of Law from Nankai University, China.

Dr. Mao’s research program aims to improve health and quality of life for vulnerable older adults and their families. Dr. Mao’s current research has focused on the investigations of social determinants of health (including oral health) in both heritage- and receiving- cultures. Dr. Mao strives to further the understanding of health disparities (including oral health disparities) among older ethnic and racial minority populations (e.g., older Asians and older Asian Americans) and explicate how social determinants, especially understudied psychosocial determinants, are associated with varying exposures and vulnerabilities to health inequities.

Dr. Mao has been gravitating towards interdisciplinary research and leading interdisciplinary teams, including collaborators from sociology, nursing, public health, and medicine. Dr. Mao’s work has been featured in high impact peer reviewed journals, including The Gerontologist, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Journal of Dental Research, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, and The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Mao is currently working on two pilot projects funded by the Asian Research Center for Minority Aging Research (Asian RCMAR), National Institute on Aging and by Division of Aging and Disability Services, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Mao has a passion for advocating, promoting, and supporting research and related activities.     

Richard Larson Bio

Richard Larson, MD, PhD, serves as the CTSC Liaison for the MW CTR-IN Program. He is the Executive Vice Chancellor for Research of Health Sciences at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center as well as a tenured Professor at the University of New Mexico. In addition, he is also the PI of the UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Genome Research. In 2001, he co-founded Cancer Services of New Mexico, a non-profit organization which serves, free of charge, over 2000 New Mexicans suffering from cancer each year. Moreover, he is the President of the Cancer Services of New Mexico Foundation. In addition, Moreover, he also serves as the Chair of the Mountain West Research Consortium, which was critical in laying down the ground work for the eventual development of the MW CTR-IN Program. Dr. Larson received his MD and PhD degrees from Harvard University and performed his residency training at Washington University in St. Louis and fellowship training at Vanderbilt University in Pathology.

Francisco Sy Bio

Francisco S. Sy, MD, DrPH is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the MW CTR-IN Program. He is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Public Health. Dr. Sy earned his Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Immunology & Infectious Diseases in 1984 from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and his Master of Science (SM) in Tropical Public Health in 1981 from Harvard T.F. Chan School of Public Health. He obtained his MD degree in 1975 and BS Pre-Med in 1970 from the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Sy worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 12 years. In 2004, he was appointed as a Health Scientist Administrator in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) where he developed and managed the NIMHD Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Program. He also managed the NIMHD Loan Repayment Program and the Research Endowment Program. In 2007, Dr. Sy was promoted to the position of Director of  Extramural Activities and Scientific Programs at NIMHD.  As the DEA Director, Dr. Sy was responsible for the scientific and administrative management of the division, and served as the principal advisor to the NIMHD Director on programmatic resource decisions and research administration policies. He provided leadership and oversight of the Grants Management Office, Scientific Review Office, and the Scientific Programs Office at NIMHD. Dr. Sy advocated and wrote the justifications for adding sexual and gender minorities (SGM) in the list of health disparities populations which was approved by the NIH Director and Secretary of HHS in 2016. When he retired from NIH in May 2016, his colleagues at NIH, CDC and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) created the Francisco Sy Excellence in Mentorship Award. It is an annual award given to an outstanding scientist who has excelled in mentoring junior scientists at HHS.

Dr. Sy worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 4 years. He was a Senior Health Scientist in the Program Evaluation Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. He was a member of the CDC SARS Outbreak Investigation Team in 2003. He led the CDC SARS Community Outreach Team in Asian communities in the U.S. to mitigate the fear and stigma associated with SARS.  Dr. Sy was an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at University of South Carolina School of Public Health and taught infectious disease epidemiology for 15 years. Dr. Sy developed and continues to serve since 1988 as the Editor of AIDS Education and Prevention- An Interdisciplinary Journal, a bimonthly peer reviewed international journal published by Guilford Publications in New York.

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu

Dr. Xu is a 2015 MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant Awardee recipient. Her project was entitled, “Understanding the Role of Self-Expansion in Physical Activity”. Her research focuses on cardiovascular behavioral health including weight control, smoking and physical activity; close relationships, especially romantic; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) neuroimaging. Dr. Xu is also interested in these research areas in the context of individual differences such as trait self-control, and development over time, such as aging or as a romantic relationship progresses.

Dr. Xu received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from New York University, and Master of Arts Degree in psychology from Stony Brook University, and a Ph.D. in social health psychology from Stony Brook University. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship sponsored by the National Institutes of Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Xu is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology at Idaho State University and was honored as a 2015 Rising Star from the Association for Psychological Science. As a result of her advanced work in the field, the Association for Psychological Science has recognized Dr. Xu as an outstanding psychological scientist. As facilitated by the Individualized Development Plan (IDP) which is a critical component of the CTR-IN PG award, Dr. Xu had a successful mentorship experience with her mentor, Claudio Nigg, PhD, from the University of Hawaii. The pilot grant’s IDP provides mentorship for career development. As a result of the mentoring facilitated by the IDP, Dr. Xu has collaborated with Dr. Nigg on various projects, which have led to a manuscript publication, poster presentations, future collaborations, etc. Moreover, based on her academic productivity which has been significantly facilitated by the MW CTR-IN PG award, she will be applying for tenure at Idaho State University.

Susan Tavernier

Education: BSN from Whitworth University in Spokane in Washington; MSN from Loyola University of Chicago; PhD in Nursing from the University of Utah; Postdoctoral fellowship from the College of Nursing at the University of Utah.

MW CTR-IN helped to provide education in grant management, post-award processes, timeline projections, and meaningful tools for grant tracking.

Dr. Tavernier was a Year 4 MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant Awardee in 2016. Her project was entitled, “The Patient Voice in Healthcare”. The MW CTR-IN pilot grant was also instrumental in helping her with the nuances of grant management including hiring personnel, budgets, quarterly and annual reports. As a nurse scientist, her research area focuses on cancer patients. She has gained expertise with large qualitative data sets and has conducted research in the clinical setting. Dr. Tavernier is currently an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University in the School of Nursing and was a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship for new health service researchers from Academy Health.
Additionally, she has authored a chapter on Symptom Distress in the textbook Cancer Symptom Management 4th Edition, and has served as a review panel member for the Oncology Nursing Foundation for research and awards. She is also an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society.

Blakely Brown

Education: PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota; RD from the University of Minnesota

MW CTR-IN helped to expand collaborations for a nutrition and physical activity study with a direct impact on the health of community children.

Dr. Blakely Brown was a MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant (PG) Awardee and Visiting Scholar in 2014. Her project was entitled, “Developing and Pilot Testing Parent Education Activities within a Childhood Obesity Prevention After-School Program”. Dr. Brown built upon this PG research funding from the MW CTR-IN Program and secured 3 additional extramural grants also in the areas of childhood obesity totaling $278,167 in extramural grant funding as follows: (1) Partnerships to Prevent Childhood Obesity on the Flathead Indian Reservation; (2) Generations Health Project: An After-School and Home Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Program; (3) and USDA Strengthening Grant: Growing Strong Generations. These research studies have allowed Dr. Brown to successfully expand her research collaborations with rural and Native American communities that have resulted in longitudinal outcomes reporting risk factors for diabetes in native and non-native children, assessments of environmental and behavioral factors associated with risk for childhood obesity and diabetes in youth in rural communities.
Dr. Brown’s research, teaching and service focus on nutrition and chronic disease prevention, maternal-child health, childhood obesity and diabetes prevention, community-based participatory research methods, Native American health and diversity-related activities.