Pilot Grants Awarded

2023 – 2024 Pilot Grants Awarded


Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

  • Dong Xu, Idaho State University
    Retrospective and prospective study in pharmacological protection against noise-induced hearing loss
  • Jennifer Pearson, University of Nevada, Reno
    Feasibility and Acceptability of Switching to E-cigarettes Among Cigarette Smokers Engaged in Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Ellen Schafer, Boise State University
    Got WIC? Characterizing WIC enrollment and retention barriers in Idaho Health District 4
  • Maria Wong, Idaho State University
    Identifying Momentary Risk and Protective Factors for Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors among Emerging Adults: A Pilot Study
  • Subhash Verma, University of Nevada Reno
    Identifying the determinants of long-COVID
  • Ryoko Kausler, Boise State University
    Feasibility and Acceptability of a Telehealth Intervention Among Women with Perinatal Depression /Anxiety and Substance Use Risk
  • Joel Perry, University of Idaho
    Improving Arm Function After Stroke Using Synergy-Based Assistance in Wearable Exoskeletons
  • Monika Gulia-Nuss, University of Nevada Reno
    Epigenetic markers for early Lyme Disease diagnostics/app title: DNA methylation markers for early Lyme Disease diagnostics
  • Hyunwha Lee, University of Nevada Las Vegas
    Home-based and Mobile App-guided Dual-Task Exercise for Cognition and Functional Capacity after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
  • Vanessa Hiratsuka, University of Alaska
    Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Pilot of Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Alexandra Gantt-Howrey, Idaho State University
    Mitigating Mental and Social Health Outcomes of COVID-19: A Counseling Approach
  • Bethaney Fehrenkamp, University of Idaho
    Mechanistic effects of early life feeding exposure on infant inflammatory and health status
  • Dong Yeong Shin, New Mexico State University
    Prevalence and Factors of the Polypharmacy/PIM Use among Elderly NSCLC Patients
  • Nicholas Murray, University of Nevada Reno
    Prediction of sport-related concussion diagnosis using a visual system provocation exam and machine learning (IRB Identification of Persistent Impairments following Concussion)
  • Jingchun Chen, University of Nevada Las Vegas
    Genetic Correlation in Patients with COVID-19 & Alzheimer’s Disease

Community Engaged Research Pilot Grants (CERPs)

  • Paul Kwon, University of Nevada Reno
    Reducing a barrier to gender-affirming surgeries
  • Jongwon Lee, University of New Mexico
    COVID19-driven anti-Asian Racism and its Impact on Mental Health among Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) in NM
  • Lorraine Benuto, University of Nevada Reno
    Reducing mental health disparities among Latins with a telenovela intervention (irb title: UP Telenovela)
  • Clariana Ramos de Oliveira, University of Nevada Las Vegas
    Development and testing of a racial-equity evidence-based nurturing care mental health strategy for Latina mothers
  • Diane King, University of Alaska
    Engaging Clergy and Congregants as “Citizen Scientists” to Promote Health and Well-Being within Faith-Based Communities Nathan West
  • Bethany Contreras, University of Nevada Reno
    A pilot evaluation of assent-based applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder (irb title qualitative analysis of applied behavior analysis practitioners views and approaches to assent-based behavior analytic therapy for autistic children
  • Eric Moody, University of Wyoming
    Improving Title X Services for People with Disabilities in Rural Communities
  • Katherine Doyon, Boise State University
    Examining the Feasibility, Efficacy, and Acceptability of a Collaboratively Designed Communication Guide to Facilitate Communication with Refugees.

Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

  • Szu-Lee Ping, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Yuri Yoshida, University of New Mexico, Sheila Clemens, University of Kentucky, Yu-Jen Chang, West Virginia University, Yo Shih, University of Oklahoma 
    Examining socioeconomic disparities in functional outcomes of people with lower limb amputation – a multi-site collaborative study

Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

  • Ali Habashi, Idaho State University, Susan Tavernier, University of Alaska
    Biomarkers of Breast Cancer: Focus on Renin-Angiotensin System Components


    2022 – 2023 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 10

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Arpita Basu, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Associations of oral health and microbiome with dietary intakes in adults with the metabolic syndrome with or without food insecurity
    • Loraine Benuto, University of Nevada Reno
      Examining the underlying mechanisms of race-based trauma—is it a form of PTSD? (Race-based trauma: Examining Physiological Underpinnings)
    • Cara Gallegos, Boise State University
      The Mental Health Effects of a Mindfulness App in Parents of a Child With Medical Complexity
    • Joshua Garn, University of Nevada Reno
      Characterizing protein biomarkers of post -infection irritable bowel syndrome
    • Cynthia Lancaster, University of Nevada Reno
      Do interpersonal trauma and ethno-racial discrimination disrupt the social regulation of vigilance and arousal?
    • Nirmala Lekhak, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Loving-Kindness Meditation for Loneliness in Older Adults: A Pilot Study
    • Dejan Magoc, New Mexico State University
      The Healthy Kids+ Initiative: Promoting Active Living through Healthy Choices
    • Ryan Mizner, University of Montana
      Developing Tech-Informed Neuromuscular Training (TNT) for Knee Rehabilitation
    • Humairat Rahman, New Mexico State University
      Association of arsenic exposure and risk of diabetes, hypertension and renal disease with zinc status in a Latino population
    • Annie Roe, University of Idaho
      Feasibility of Egg-Based Diet Interventions and Assessing Perinatal Mental Health
    • Jennifer Tabler, University of Wyoming
      Thriving in the American rural-frontier after COVID-19: how resource availability, isolation, and access to care shape health outcomes of aging adults living in diverse rurality
    • Craig Ulrich, University of Nevada Reno
      High Times: The Effect of Cannabinoids on Uterine Contraction
    • Kristin Van De Griend, Idaho State University
      Healing Motherhood: Intermountain Enhanced Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Screening
    • Irene Van Woerden, Idaho State University
      Purchasing Patterns and Food insecurity among college students
    • Ann Vuong, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Early life exposure to flame retardants and kidney function in adolescence
    • Shuqi Zhang, Boise State University
      Physiological recovery timetable of sports-related concussion in adolescents

    Community Engaged Research Pilot Grants (CERPs)

    • Sarah Friedman, University of Nevada Reno
      From opioid prescribing to opioid deprescribing: Investigating individual, provider, and system level determinants of harmful opioid dosing decreases
    • Gabriel Garcia, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      Addressing Racism and Mental Health through University and Community Education and Training
    • Elaine Nguyen, Idaho State University
      Interdisciplinary referral approaches to evidence-based diabetes services throughout rural Idaho
    • Jennifer Pharr, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Building Healthy Outcomes Using a Supportive Environment for Sexual and Gender Minorities
    • Vanessa Simonds, Montana State University
      Strengthening Healthy Relationships among Apsaalooke Youth
    • David St. Jules, University of Nevada Reno
      Exploring whole grain intakes in people with chronic kidney disease

    Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

    • Tin Nguyen, University of Nevada Reno, Tyler Bland, University of Idaho, Cheryl Jorcyk, Boise State University, & Marianne Berwick, University of New Mexico
      Tackling Cancer Disparities: A Bayesian Approach for Personalized Pathway Analysis and Risk Prediction

    Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

    • Monika Gulia-Nuss & Peter Jones, University of Nevada, Reno
      Novel DNA methylation markers for Lyme disease diagnostics


    2021 – 2022 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 9

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Gabriel Bargen, Idaho State University
      Esomeprazole otoprotection against cisplatin-induced hearing loss in cancer patients
    • Yoon Hee Cho, University of Montana
      Epigenetic biomarker for prenatal fipronil exposure and health outcomes in newborns
    • Daniel Fitzsimons, University of Idaho
      Myosin cross-bridge activation of contraction in human myocardium
    • Ruby Fried, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      Traditional food security (TFS) and health: Validating a novel TFS assessment tool, and examining the relationship between TFS and diet quality among Alaska Native people
    • Ezra Holston, University of Nevada Reno
      Describing Brain Activity of African-American Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease: Pilot Study
    • Jagdish Khubchandani, New Mexico State University
      Mental Illness and Health Information Technology Use in the United States
    • Aida Midgett, Boise State University
      Development, Acceptability, and Short-Term Outcomes of a Parent Module for a Brief, Bullying Bystander Intervention for Middle School Students in Rural, Low-Income Communities
    • Luke Montrose, Boise State University
      An air quality-focused personnel intervention to improve health among nursing home residents
    • James Morton Jr, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
      Thriving Alaska Native Veterans: Translational Research for Health Promotion and Harm Reduction among Military Service Members
    • Corey Pew, Montana State University
      Enhanced Control for a Lower Limb Prosthesis using High-Density Surface Electromyography
    • Andrew Thomas Reyes, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Testing the Preliminary Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Smartphone App Intervention for Nurses Traumatized from the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Timsy Uppal, University of Nevada Reno
      Human herpesviruses in augmenting COVID-19 symptoms

    Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

    • Shuguang Leng, University of New Mexico
      Novel methods of assessing household wood smoke exposure in the rural Mountain West 

    Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

    • Brian Ward & Mohamed Trabia, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Predicting and Preventing Failure of Colorectal Anastomoses Using Finite Element Modeling Validated with an Ex-Vivo Model


    2020 – 2021 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 8

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • James Becker, University of Montana
      Movement Screening To Prevent Musculoskeletal Injury in Adolescent Runners
    • Hannah Calvert, Boise State University
      Health Impacts of Adoption of Universal Free Meals in High Poverty Schools
    • Rebecca Carron, University of Wyoming
      A Pilot Management Program for American Indian/Alaska Native Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
    • Shiyi Chen, University of Idaho
      Determining the Impact of Emotive Intelligent Space on Children’s Self-Regulation and Cognitive Performance
    • Yimin Chen, University of Idaho
      Reducing Maternal Stress in Mothers of Preterm Infants Using a Mindfulness-based Intervention
    • Catherine Egan, University of Idaho
      Mountain West CTR-IN Development of a fitness surveillance system to track and evaluate obesity prevention efforts in Idaho youth
    • Barbara Gordon, Idaho State University
      Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Interstitial Cystitis (AID-IC): A randomized controlled cross-over trial evaluating the efficacy of an anti-inflammatory diet on symptom severity among women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)
    • Mingon Kang, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Predicting an Inpatient’s Risk of Benzodiazepine and Opioid Overdose
    • Kathryn Olszowy, New Mexico State University
      Water Insecurity: A Neglected Social Determinant of Non-communicable Chronic Disease Risk
    • Evan Papa, Idaho State University
      Influence of community-based group exercise on fall risk in Parkinson’s Disease
    • Christopher Sroka, New Mexico State University
      Modeling Disparities in Obesity Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
    • Dieu-My Tran, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      MOBILE Intervention in College Students with Elevated Blood Pressure

    Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

    • Jennifer Hettema, University of New Mexico
      Evaluation of Secondary Prevention for Opioid Misuse, Problems, and Disorder 

    Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

    • Mitchell Strominger & Christopher Von Bartheld, University of Nevada, Reno
      Archaic gene introgression as a risk factor for horizontal strabismus


    2019 – 2020 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 7

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Ann Brown, University of Idaho
      Physiological & Psychological Health Disparities Among Rural & Urban Adolescents
    • June Cho, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Health Disparities in Very-Low-Birthweight and Preterm Birth in Nevada
    • Tsuyoshi Fujita, University of Hawaii
      Mitochondrial and Metabolic Dynamics in HIV-Associated Cardiovascular Disease
    • Christine McKibbin, University of Wyoming
      Leveraging Technology to Improve Health Outcomes in Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disturbances and who are Prescribed Second-Generation Antipsychotic Medications
    • Elaine Nguyen, Idaho State University
      Diabetes-management across Rural Idaho Via pharmacist-provided Education (DRIVE)
    • Kathleen Reyes, University of New Mexico
      Pharmacogenetics to Improve Opioid Prescribing for Native Americans: Pilot Study
    • Lori Saiki, New Mexico State University
      Train-the-Trainer Resource for Promotoras on Urinary Incontinence Self-Care
    • Ellen Schafer, Boise State University
      Familial & Community Infant Feeding Social Networks Among Low-Income WIC Mothers
    • Alfred Schissler, University of Nevada, Reno
      Accessible precision medicine through Bayesian integration of single-subject studies and demographic data

    Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

    • Karla Wagner & Jennifer Garfield, University of Nevada, Reno
      A mixed methods study of methamphetamine use in the context of the opioid epidemic: Identifying opportunities for intervention

    Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

    • Paul Chestovich & Samir Mojaes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Measurement and Numerical Analysis of Pavement Surface Temperature and Light Intensity in a Desert Climate
    • Ali A. Habashi & Susan Tavernier, Idaho State University
      Identifying and Validating Plasma Circulating Angiotensin Peptides as Biomarkers for Different Inflammatory Diseases
    • Eric Moody & Qin Zhu, University of Wyoming
      Validating a Novel System with Real-time INteraction and Motion Tracking in Immersive VR for Tele-habilitation


    2018 – 2019 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 6

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Lorraine Benuto, University of Nevada, Reno
      iYo no estoy loco/a! Using a telenovela style Education Entertainment Video to reduce stigma among Latinos in an integrated Healthcare Setting
    • Tyler Brown, Boise State University
      Analysis of Knee Motion to Prevent and Treat the Increasing Incidence of Premature Knee OA
    • Brian Cherrington, University of Wyoming
      The Role of Citrullination in the Etiology of Female Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Cynthia Curl, Boise State University
      Assessment of Risk Factors for Health Disparities among Latina Farm Workers
    • Cynthia Lancaster, University of Nevada, Reno
      Augmenting Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
    • Sophia Newcomer, University of Montana
      Bridging the rural-urban disparity: a mixed-methods analysis of human papillomavirus vaccine uptake in Montana
    • Renee Robinson, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      Assessing the Long-Term Outcomes of Specialized Supportive Care on the Health of Infants with ln-Utero Opioid Exposure
    • Chloe Wardropper, University of Idaho
      Perceptions of Lead Contamination and Behavioral Intentions in a Mining Region
    • Nicole Young, University of Hawaii
      Secondary Stroke Prevention among Filipinos Compared with Other Racial Groups in Hawaii
    • Atif Zafar, University of New Mexico
      Healthcare disparities among Hispanics, Native Americans, and Caucasians in lschemic Stroke Patients

    Developmental Translational Team Grants (DTTGs)

    • Musaberk Goksel, Holly Martinson, & Max Kullburg, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      Reprogramming tumor-induced myeloid suppressor cells using targeted C3-liposome delivery of JAK/STAT inhibitors
    • Arthur Islas & Nicholas Murray, University of Nevada, Reno
      Evaluation of smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements following sport-related concussion during a spot-like functional task
    • Jun Ren & Michelle Hillaire, University of Wyoming
      Role of Plasma MicroRNA-206/133b and Autophagy in metabolic therapeutic outcomes in overweight /obese subjects
    • Ann Brown & Clarissa Richardson, University of Idaho
      Addressing Health Disparities among Rural Adolescents in Idaho: Promoting Lifelong Physical and Mental Health
    • Laurie Slovarp & Sarjubhai Patel, University of Montana
      Establishing Proof-of-Concept To Investigate the Underlying Mechanism Responsible for Effectiveness of Behavioral Cough Therapy (BCT)


    2017 – 2018 Grants Awarded

    YEAR 5

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Jinan Banna, University of Hawaii at Manoa
      Preventing excessive gestational weight gain via short mobile messages in WIC
    • Heather Burkin, University of Nevada Reno
      Mechanisms of Dysfunctional Quiescence in Preterm Labor
    • Luke Conway, University of Montana
      Improving Smoking Cessation Treatments via Nature Exposure
    • Mariah Ehmke, University of Wyoming
      Behavioral Economic Measures for Improved Child Immunization Rates in Wyoming
    • Fang Jiang, University of Nevada Reno
      Multisensory perceptual training in the elderly
    • Michael Johnson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Decision-Making Factors that Influence Cervical Cancer Screening Among Transgender Men
    • Lindsay Larkins, University of Idaho
      Mechanical Treatment for Pregnancy Related Lumbopelvic Pain: Immediate treatment effects and gait changes
    • Aida Midgett, Boise State University
      Evaluating a brief, stand-alone bullying bystander intervention for mixed-race middle schools in underserved, predominantly Hispanic population
    • Ernesto Moralez, New Mexico State University
      Adapted Integrative Health Coaching to Improve Pain Management for Hispanic Patients in Primary Care
    • Julie Salvador, University of New Mexico Health Sciences
      Expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders in Rural Primary Care
    • Alex Santos, University of Montana
      Rapid screening of TBI in student athletes and veterans of rural mountain west
    • Elizabeth Morgan Schniedewind, Idaho State University
      Access and Barriers to Primary Care among Deaf Users of American Sign Language
    • Sherry Weitzen, University of New Mexico Health Sciences
      Identifying predictors of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) towards developing a risk score model
    • Yan Yan Wu, University of Hawaii at Manoa
      Socioeconomic and Behavior Determinants of Heath Disparities in Hawaii, a Multi-Ethnic Study

    Multi-Site Pilot Projects (MSPPs)

    • Todd Seto, University of Hawaii & Sreejayan Nair, University of Wyoming
      Return to Traditional Hawaiian Diet Study: Pilot Project to Improve Cardiometabolic Disparities among Native Hawaiians
    • Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, University of Wyoming & Merrill Landers, University of Nevada Las Vegas
      Decreasing health disparities for persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in rural communities: Assessing feasibility of coordinated telehealth


    2016 – 2017 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 4

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Sandra Benavides-Vaello, Montana State University
      Determining Diabetes and Hypertension Healthcare Needs for Low-Income Hispanics
    • Jingchun Chen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      To Develop a Cellular Model of Microglia for Schizophrenia Research
    • Annette Crisanti, University of New Mexico Health Sciences
      Development of the Impact of Peer Support Worker Instrument (I-PSW-I)
    • Michelle D`Antoni, University of Hawaii at Manoa
      Therapeutic Targeting of Chemokine Receptors to Probe Immunopathogenesis of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
    • Clare Fitzpatrick, Boise State University
      Optimizing Surgical Treatment of Crouch Gait on a Patient-Specific Basis
    • Karen Heath, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      A Multi-Level Community-Based Fitness Intervention for Adults with ID
    • John Holmes, Idaho State University
      Integrated Clinical Telepharmacist Delivered Chronic Disease Management in Rural Primary Care Clinics
    • Daniel Hudock, Idaho State University
      EEG time-course analysis of the sensorimotor mu rhythm during speech perception
    • Bryn Martin, University of Idaho
      MRI-based Biomarkers for Characterization of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
    • Marian Melish, University of Hawaii at Manoa
      Effect of Doxycycline on Developing Coronary Aneurysms in Kawasaki Disease
    • Cristina Murray-Krezan, University of New Mexico Health Sciences
      Informative Drop-out in Mammographic Density and Breast Cancer Risk Studies
    • Domen Novak, University of Wyoming
      Robust driver attention monitoring by combining driving behavior with physiological measurements
    • Phillip Post, New Mexico State University
      Aggie Play
    • Laurie Slovarp, University of Montana
      Development of the Montana Screening for Behavioral Cough Therapy
    • Jacqueline Snow, University of Nevada Reno
      How human food decisions are influenced by real objects versus image displays
    • Qing Wu, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      A pilot study to Develop Personalized Reference Values of Bone Mineral Density


    2015 – 2016 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 3

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Mary Cloud Ammons, Montana State University
      Biochemical association between skin microbiome and metabolomic landscape
    • Ivo Sah Bandar, University of Hawaii
      Role of gut Macrophages and the microbiome in HIV-associated Immune Activation
    • Rajal Cohen, University of Idaho
      Lighten up: Modifying postural state to reduce fall risk in older adults
    • Robert Coker III, University of Alaska Fairbanks
      Therapeutic nutrition for alcohol rehabilitation
    • Diana Doumas, Boise State University
      Efficacy of a web-based alcohol intervention for high school students
    • Craig McFarland, University of Montana
      Using memory and imagination to combat depression
    • Katherine Morris, University of New Mexico
      HSCG-CSF and G-CSFR as novel prognostic biomarkers in colorectal cancer
    • Sreejayan Nair, University of Wyoming
      Effect of Fenugreek Furostanolic Saponin on insulin sensitivity in obese subjects
    • Frances Nedjat-Haiem, New Mexico State University
      Improving advance care planning for older latinos with advanced cancers
    • Diane Ogiela, Idaho State University
      Electrophysiology of plural -s processing in specific language impairment
    • Brach Poston, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation for Parkinson’s disease
    • Thomas Rau, University of Montana
      The development of a mulit-dimensional system of oculomotort evaluation for mTBI
    • Christopher Remien, University of Idaho
      Mathematical modeling of acetaminophen-induced liver injury to assess outcome
    • Susan Tavernier, Idaho State University
      The patient voice in healthcare
    • Christopher Von Bartheld, University of Nevada, Reno
      Analysis of Molecular links between strabismus and schizophrenia
    • Dong Xu, Idaho State University
      Predicting the risks of drug-induced serotonin syndrome in elderly patients


    2014 – 2015 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 2

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Heather Burkin, University of Nevada, Reno
      Myometrial mTOR Regulation of Preterm Labor
    • Jiguo Chen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
      Clinical application of preferential amplification of pathogenic sequences method
    • Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, University of Wyoming
      Expanding the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) to Adolescents and Adults with Cerebral Palsy
    • Andrea Ferrante, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
      Immunogenetic analysis of Autoimmune Hepatitis in Alaska Natives
    • Jane Grassley, Boise State University
      Building Young Women’s Health Literacy Skills through an Online Game to Promote Breastfeeding
    • Elizabeth Hodges Snyder, University of Alaska Anchorage
      More water in the home for basic hygiene needs: Addressing feasibility, acceptability, and optimization of rainwater capture for rural Alaska homes that do not have in-house piped water.
    • Merrill Landers, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      High-intensity exercise and fall prevention boot camp for Parkinsons disease
    • Ryan Mays, University of Montana
      Community-based walking exercise enhanced by orthoses to improve walking ability in patients with peripheral artery disease
    • Mary Miles, Montana State University
      Sugar-sweetened beverages decrease benefits of exercise in overweight adults
    • Jean Pfau, Idaho State University
      Correlating Autoantibody Profiles in Asbestos Lung Disease Phenotypes
    • John Scarbrough, New Mexico State University
      Screening and Brief Intervention for Diabetes and Hypertension in Medically Underserved Hispanic Males
    • Isabel Silvestre, University of Nevada, Reno
      Risk of CFS Due to Alleles of IgG Receptor Genes that Impair ADCC
    • Mingzhou Song, New Mexico State University
      Genome-wide nonparametric functional dependency studies across ethnic populations
    • Chantal Vella, University of Idaho
      Exercise and c-reactive protein in young, overweight and obese adults
    • Xiaomeng Xu, Idaho State University
      Understanding the role of self-expansion in physical activity


    2013 – 2014 Pilot Grants Awarded

    YEAR 1

    Single Pilot Project Grants (PPGs)

    • Brian P. Bothner, Montana State University
      Mass spectrometry-based analysis of clinical predictors for hemorrhagic shock
    • Blakely Brown, University of Montana
      Developing and pilot testing parent education activities within a childhood obesity prevention after-school program
    • Iain Buxton, University of Nevada, Reno
      Post-Translational S-nitrosation of Therapeutic Targets in Preterm Labor
    • Robert Coker, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
      Muscle Preservation during Weight Loss in Older, Obese Individuals
    • Luke Conway, University of Montana
      Using Cognitive Complexity Research to Increase Hardened Smokers’ Quit Attempts
    • Eric Dugan, Boise State University
      Temporal structure of variability in gait post stroke
    • Mark Guiberson, University of Wyoming
      Telehealth Behavioral Phenotype Language Impairment Markers for Spanish-speakers
    • Suzanne Christopher Held, Montana State University
      Understanding treatment adherence and health promoting behaviors of individuals with chronic disease on the Crow Reservation
    • Kenneth Izuora, University of Nevada, Reno
      Impact of periodontal disease on outcomes in diabetes
    • Cheryl Jorcyk, Boise State University
      Association of serum OSM levels with metastatic breast cancer and therapeutic options
    • Yu Kuang, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Combined Circulating Tumor DNA and Molecular Imaging to Monitor Therapeutic Response in Sarcoma
    • David Lee, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Walking biomechanics of persons with amputations wearing the Odyssey bionic ankle
    • Colin McGill, University of Alaska, Anchorage
      Devil’s Club: Therapeutic Potential for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Mary Nies, Idaho State University
      Spatial and Census Data to Evaluate Obese Persons and their Environment (SCOPE)
    • Samantha Ramsay, University of Idaho
      Effectiveness of Child Centered Nutrition Phrases to Improve Food Behaviors
    • Kristynia Robinson, New Mexico State University
      Technology use to support behavior change in adults with chronic illness: A pilot
    • Martin Schiller, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Combinatorial GWAS analysis of patients with Alzheimer’s disease
    • Seth Walk, Montana State University
      Multicenter surveillance of Clostridium difficile infection in the United States: Examination of current testing guidelines
    • Denise Wingett, Boise State University
      An NK cell subset and beta-adrenergic agonist dysregulation of T cell CD40L in asthma
    • Wendy Woodall, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      ERH screening Medical/Dental Risk Factors and CVD, T2 Diabetes, and Sleep Disorders

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    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.

    Dr. Lauren Lessard is the Associate Director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research & Design (BERD) Core. She is an associate professor of Health Sciences and a maternal & child epidemiologist at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies. She has extensive experience developing research protocol & interventions addressing reproductive health disparities and inequities. Her current projects include a PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness study evaluating enhanced prenatal care systems, Project EMBRACE. Her previous projects focused on coordinating with practitioners & patients to address key maternal health issues including maternal mental health; obesity & contraception use; racial & cultural humility in clinic settings; adolescent preconception health; and co-morbidities associated with preterm birth. She completed her PhD in Public Health at UCLA, MPH at UC Berkeley in Maternal & Child Health, and Bachelor of Arts in Political & Community Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Andrea Bersamin, PhD is the Associate Director of the Community Engagement & Outreach Core and also serves as a CEO Core Site Director. Shei is an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Wildlife and the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at UAF. Dr. Bersamin was a faculty pilot project awardee for 2018-2019. She earned her Ph.D. in nutrition at the University of California, Davis, and completed her postdoctoral training in cardiovascular disease prevention and epidemiology at the Stanford School of Medicine.

    Dr. Bersamin’s research focuses broadly on preventing nutrition-related health disparities among underserved, minority youth and their families. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how the social-ecological context of communities promotes or hinders health and health behaviors; designing and evaluating culturally grounded community-based interventions to prevent obesity and improve diet quality; and enhancing local food systems, particularly traditional food systems, to improve food security, and food sovereignty. Currently she is conducting a cluster randomized trial to prevent obesity among Head Start students in 12 Yup’ik communities in southwestern Alaska. She’s interested in understanding whether promoting plants and berries from the land through a subsistence life-style can help children meet the recommendations for vegetables and fruit.

    Deborah Kuhls, MD, is the Associate Director for the Community Engagement & Outreach Core. She is also a professor of surgery and chief, section of critical care in Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV’s Division of Acute Care Surgery, is a trauma surgeon who is board-certified in general surgery and critical care. She also is program director of the Kerkorian School of Medicine’s Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program and medical director of University Medical Center’s Trauma Intensive Care Unit. She has a passion for teaching medical students, residents and fellows.

    Dr. Kuhls graduated from the Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel University School of Medicine). She completed her general surgery residency at Albert Einstein University and a fellowship in critical care and trauma at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. She subsequently completed Drexel University’s Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine fellowship.

    Dr. Kuhls’ research interests include injury prevention of all types, including vehicular crash, firearm and other violence-related injuries, as well as disaster management, medical education and the clinical care and outcomes of injured patients.

    Dr. Kuhls is the president of the Nevada Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, chair of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Injury Prevention and Control Committee, school of medicine’s representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Women in Medicine, and treasurer of the Clark County Medical Society.

    Dr. Rebecca Palacios is the Associate Director for the Community Engagement & Outreach (CEO) Core. She is a Health Psychologist and a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU). She has over 25 years of experience conducting community health research along the U.S./Mexico border, including needs assessments, program evaluation, health promotion and cancer education, and cultural adaptations of evidence-based programs for Hispanics. Her research in the past 7 years has focused on culturally tailoring cancer education for Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer. After assessing the needs and communication patterns of Hispanic mothers diagnosed with cancer and their school age children, her team culturally adapted an evidence-based cancer parenting education program which counsels child-rearing mothers with cancer on communication and parenting strategies. Dr. Palacios recently completed a randomized clinical trial testing the efficacy of the culturally adapted Conexiones program. With much of this clinical trial occurring during 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Palacios’ team also assessed the impact of the pandemic on young Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer. More recently, Dr. Palacios is working to refine the Conexiones program for Latina mothers diagnosed with advanced cancer. She also collaborates on research examining the influence of masculine norms/attitudes on the health behaviors of Hispanic men living along the US-Mexico border. Dr. Palacios also serves as the NMSU Site Director for the MW CTR IN’s CEO Core and is also heavily involved in mentoring early-stage investigators in their pilot research projects. Dr. Palacios is the coordinator of the PhD program in Health Equity Sciences.

    Judith Owens-Manley, Ph.D has been working directly with Community Engagement & Outreach (CEO) Core of the MW CTR-IN since its inception to facilitate respectful, community-engaged health disparities research throughout Alaska.  Her training as a social worker in policy, practice, and research and working for more than two decades as a community-level practitioner grounds her in the need for and applicability of community-level data.  She has worked with a variety of populations in community settings and with organizations on the evaluation of their programs and services.  For the past two decades, her role in higher education was as Director of the Center for Community Engagement & Learning at UAA (now retired),  providing the link between academic courses and faculty research to meaningful work accomplished in the community, including developing students and faculty in the principles of community-based participatory research. She has publications on poverty and domestic violence, refugee resettlement research, and deepening levels of community engagement. 

    Dr. Charlotte Gard is an Associate Director of the Mentoring Unit for the Professional Development Core of the MW CTR-IN and an Associate Professor of Applied Statistics in the Department of Economics, Applied Statistics and International Business at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Dr. Gard earned her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Washington and has more than twenty years of experience as a statistician supporting applied collaborative research. Her primary research interests are in breast cancer risk prediction modeling, maternal and child health, and health disparities. Since beginning at NMSU in 2012, Dr. Gard has mentored more than 100 graduate students across the Colleges of Business; Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Engineering; and Health, Education and Social Transformation. Dr. Gard also serves as the NMSU faculty biostatistician for the MW CTR-IN Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core, providing biostatistical support to NMSU investigators developing MW CTR-IN pilot grant proposals.

    Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani is a Professor of Public Health at New Mexico State University. He received his Doctorate in Medicine from India, MPH from Western Kentucky University, and PhD from University of Toledo. Within the past decade, he has coauthored more than 200 articles in prestigious journals such as the Lancet, Journal of American Medical Association, and the New England Journal of Medicine with emphasis on injury and violence prevention, global health, and social epidemiology. More recently, his research has received widespread attention from media outlets such as CNN, Bloomberg News, NY Times, WSJ, and Huffington Post. He has served as a reviewer on grant application panels for NIH, OASH, OMH, and SAMHSA. Currently, he is an editorial board member for multiple journals in the field of medicine and public health and has also served as an elected Director for the World Association of Medical Editors.

    Dr. Mark Greenwood is a Professor of Statistics at Montana State University in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, where he has been since 2004. He holds a BA in Math/Stat from Luther College (1996) and a Statistics MS and PhD from the University of Wyoming (2000, 2004). He does statistical methodology research in high dimensional data analysis and visualization techniques, focused on functional data analysis and cluster analysis. He has written one textbook on intermediate statistical methods and is working on a textbook on linear mixed models. His primary collaborative research areas are in Multiple Sclerosis and knee osteoarthritis research and using proteomics and metabolomics for developing classifiers in those domains. He was the Director of Statistical Consulting and Research Services at Montana State University from 2019-2022 and has decades of experience collaborating on statistical applications across many disciplines. 

    Jack Chen, PhD, is an Associate Director of Faculty Mentoring in the Professional Development (PD) Core of MW CTR-IN. He is a tenured Professor in the Department of Biology & Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and a Public Health Lab Scientist/CLIA consultant in Alaska State Public Health Laboratories. Dr. Chen earned his PhD degree in Pathology and Gene Therapy from Osaka University Medical School and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Virology and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Program. Dr. Chen currently teaches Principles of Virology and Infectious Diseases for undergraduate and graduate programs at UAF.

    Dr. Chen has been working in virology, public health and infectious diseases field for more than thirty years. His research focuses primarily on human viral pathogens that have broad impact on clinical/public health and maintains a high-impact clinical and translational research program to address regional health disparities. Dr. Chen is a Board certified High-Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director (HCLD) by the American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB) and a certified Molecular Biologist (MB) by American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

    Jay Shen, Ph.D., is Associate Dean of the School of Public Health and Interim Director of Center for Health Disparities Research. His research covers health services research and public health with focuses on clinical outcomes and quality of care, healthcare disparities, effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery in such areas as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, palliative care, maternal health, behavioral and mental health. He has been funded as PI and co-PI by AHRQ, PCORI, CDC, CMS, and NCSBN. He has served on the grant review study sections of AHRQ, NIH, DoD, and the National Science Foundation of New Zealand. He has authored and co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book chapters. He earned his SM from Harvard School of Public Health and PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University.

    Lorraine Evangelista, PhD, RN, FAAN is recognized internationally for her investigation into the care of patients with heart disease and the effects of this disease on the patients and family members. She has over 125 publications on adherence, self-care, quality of life, and health literacy and has received over 10 million dollars from the National Institute of Health for her research. Lorraine brings significant experience in research, funding, publishing, and mentoring. She comes to us from the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing where she served as Associate Dean for Research & Scholarship and Professor Lena Finke Distinguished Chair for Nursing. Dr. Evangelista earned a Master’s Degree in June 1993 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing in June 2000, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has received several recognitions including being a fellow of both the American Heart Association and the American Association for Nursing.


    Rei Serafica, Ph.D., MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, CNE is an Associate Director of the  Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core of the Mountain West Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN) Program. Dr. Serafica is a tenured Associate Professor in the School  of Nursing at the University of Nevada,  Las Vegas.  He is  a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Nurse Educator. Dr. Serafica earned his undergraduate and graduate studies in nursing from Gardner-Webb University, his advanced graduate certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his Ph.D. in Nursing (Research and Education) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Serafica’s research trajectory centers on acculturation as it relates to chronic disease of immigrants. His research has led to the development of a new concept: dietary biculturalism, where he explores the phenomenon of unhealthy traditional food consumption by immigrants that elevates their risk of developing food-related chronic illnesses as much as when they consume an unhealthy Western diet during the post-migration phase. Dr. Serafica’s collaborative research team is assessing food insecurity and low sodium diet adherence  as it relates to quality of life and mental health status including psychological distress,  in patients with hypertension within the primary care setting. Dr. Serafica serves as an associate editor to the Journal of Transcultural Nursing and has published several articles and presented in multiple national and international conferences.

    Dr. Jeffrey Ebersole, PhD joined the School of Dental Medicine as a professor of Biomedical Sciences and associate dean for research, and teaches microbiology and immunology to predoctoral students. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Ebersole leads multiple studies focused on the immunobiology of oral infections, emphasizing in vitro, and in vivo studies of host-pathogen interactions using animal and human models of oral disease(s). His CV lists more than 300 publications, reviews, and book chapters about the microbiology and immunology of oral diseases, and directed a major Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant from the National Institute of Health for 13 years. Prior to joining UNLV, Dr. Ebersole was the Alvin L. Morris Professor of Oral Health Research, director of the Center for Oral Health Research, and associate dean for research in the College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Ebersole earned his bachelor’s in biology from Temple University, his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Immunology at The Forsyth Institute.

    Chantal A. Vella, PhD, FACSM, is a tenured professor in the Department of Movement Sciences and the Director of the Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory at the University of Idaho. Dr. Vella graduated from the University of New Mexico with a PhD in Exercise Science. Her post-doctoral fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism focused on factors associated with glucose regulation in patients with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Vella’s education and research expertise give her a unique perspective on chronic disease prevention across the lifespan. Her primary research focus is understanding the health benefits of physical activity and health consequences of sedentary behavior. She is interested in understanding the independent effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on cardiometabolic disease risk factors such as obesity, inflammation, insulin resistance, and the gut microbiome.

    Rachel Boren, PhD, is the Associate Director for the Tracking & Evaluation Core. Dr. Boren earned her doctorate in Educational Research, Statistics, and Evaluation from the University of Virginia, where she was trained in program evaluation and research methods in education and the social sciences. She has worked as an evaluator in higher education for over a decade for programs that focus on university student success, K-12, healthcare, and workforce development. She is currently the Director of the SOAR Evaluation and Policy Center at New Mexico State University in the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation. There, she oversees her SOAR team as evaluators on many grants in and outside of the university for funders at the federal, state, and local levels. She is on the NMSU Institutional Review Board and has a background in mixed methods research and survey design.

    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.

    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, 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 “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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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 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.