Pilot Grants Awarded

2017 – 2018 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 6)

  1. 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
  2. Tyler Brown Boise State University                                                                                                                                            Analysis of Knee Motion to Prevent and Treat the Increasing Incidence of Premature Knee OA
  3. Brian Cherrington, University of Wyoming                                                                                                                                The Role of Citrullination in the Etiology of Female Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Cynthia Curl, Boise State University                                                                                                                                    Assessment of Risk Factors for Health Disparities among Latina Farm Workers
  5. Cynthia Lancaster, University of Nevada, Reno                                                                                                                   Augmenting Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
  6. Sophia Newcomer, University of Montana                                                                                                                            Bridging the rural-urban disparity: a mixed-methods analysis of human papillomavirus vaccine uptake in Montana
  7. 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
  8. Chloe Wardropper, University of Idaho                                                                                                                                  Perceptions of Lead Contamination and Behavioral Intentions in a Mining Region
  9. Nicole Young, University of Hawaii                                                                                                                                                  Secondary Stroke Prevention among Filipinos Compared with Other Racial Groups in Hawaii
  10. Atif Zafar, University of New Mexico                                                                                                                                       Healthcare disparities among Hispanics, Native Americans, and Caucasians in lschemic Stroke Patients

2016 – 2017 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 5)

Multi-Site Pilot Projects

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

Health Disparities Pilot Grants

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

2015 – 2016 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 4)

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

2014 – 2015 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 3)

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

2013 – 2014 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 2)

  1. Heather Burkin, University of Nevada, Reno
    Myometrial mTOR Regulation of Preterm Labor
  2. Jiguo Chen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    Clinical application of preferential amplification of pathogenic sequences method
  3. Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, University of Wyoming
    Expanding the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) to Adolescents and Adults with Cerebral Palsy
  4. Andrea Ferrante, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    Immunogenetic analysis of Autoimmune Hepatitis in Alaska Natives
  5. Jane Grassley, Boise State University
    Building Young Women’s Health Literacy Skills through an Online Game to Promote Breastfeeding
  6. 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.
  7. Merrill Landers, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    High-intensity exercise and fall prevention boot camp for Parkinsons disease
  8. Ryan Mays, University of Montana
    Community-based walking exercise enhanced by orthoses to improve walking ability in patients with peripheral artery disease
  9. Mary Miles, Montana State University
    Sugar-sweetened beverages decrease benefits of exercise in overweight adults
  10. Jean Pfau, Idaho State University
    Correlating Autoantibody Profiles in Asbestos Lung Disease Phenotypes
  11. John Scarbrough, New Mexico State University
    Screening and Brief Intervention for Diabetes and Hypertension in Medically Underserved Hispanic Males
  12. Isabel Silvestre, University of Nevada, Reno
    Risk of CFS Due to Alleles of IgG Receptor Genes that Impair ADCC
  13. Mingzhou Song, New Mexico State University
    Genome-wide nonparametric functional dependency studies across ethnic populations
  14. Chantal Vella, University of Idaho
    Exercise and c-reactive protein in young, overweight and obese adults
  15. Xiaomeng Xu, Idaho State University
    Understanding the role of self-expansion in physical activity

2012 – 2013 Pilot Grants Awarded (YEAR 1)

  1. Blakely Brown, University of Montana
    Developing and pilot testing parent education activities within a childhood obesity prevention after-school program
  2. Suzanne Christopher, Montana State University
    Understanding treatment adherence and health promoting behaviors of individuals with chronic disease on the Crow Reservation
  3. Luke Conway, University of Montana
    Using Cognitive Complexity Research to Increase Hardened Smokers’ Quit Attempts
  4. Kenneth Izuora, University of Nevada, Reno
    Impact of periodontal disease on outcomes in diabetes
  5. Yu Kuang, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Combined Circulating Tumor DNA and Molecular Imaging to Monitor Therapeutic Response in Sarcoma
  6. Seth Walk, Montana State University
    Multicenter surveillance of Clostridium difficile infection in the United States: Examination of current testing guidelines
  7. Brian P. Bothner, Montana State University
    Mass spectrometry-based analysis of clinical predictors for hemorrhagic shock
  8. Iain Buxton, University of Nevada, Reno
    Post-Translational S-nitrosation of Therapeutic Targets in Preterm Labor
  9. Robert Coker, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    Muscle Preservation during Weight Loss in Older, Obese Individuals
  10. Eric Dugan, Boise State University
    Temporal structure of variability in gait post stroke
  11. Mark Guiberson, University of Wyoming
    Telehealth Behavioral Phenotype Language Impairment Markers for Spanish-speakers
  12. Cheryl Jorcyk, Boise State University
    Association of serum OSM levels with metastatic breast cancer and therapeutic options
  13. David Lee, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Walking biomechanics of persons with amputations wearing the Odyssey bionic ankle
  14. Colin McGill, University of Alaska, Anchorage
    Devil’s Club: Therapeutic Potential for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
  15. Mary Nies, Idaho State University
    Spatial and Census Data to Evaluate Obese Persons and their Environment (SCOPE)
  16. Samantha Ramsay, University of Idaho
    Effectiveness of Child Centered Nutrition Phrases to Improve Food Behaviors
  17. Kristynia Robinson, New Mexico State University
    Technology use to support behavior change in adults with chronic illness: A pilot
  18. Martin Schiller, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Combinatorial GWAS analysis of patients with Alzheimer’s disease
  19. Denise Wingett, Boise State University
    An NK cell subset and beta-adrenergic agonist dysregulation of T cell CD40L in asthma
  20. 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.

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Beth Tigges Bio

Beth Tigges, PhD, PNP, RN will serve as the Interim Director for the Tracking & Evaluation (T&E) Core of the MW CTR-IN Program. She is a tenured associate professor and Regents’ Professor at The University of New Mexico College of Nursing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the current Tracking & Evaluation Director of the University of New Mexico – Health Sciences Center’s (UNM-HSC) Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC), she is a member of leadership groups on interdisciplinary teams that seek to improve research-related infrastructure and processes and, ultimately, research productivity at organizational, regional, and national levels. Dr. Tigges received her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Penn State and went on to earn her Masters in Nursing from Yale University, and a PhD degree from Columbia University in socio-medical sciences that focused on public health and social psychology .

During an academic career that has encompassed teaching and research and spanned 33 years—Yale University (1984-87), Columbia University (1987-89), and The University of New Mexico (1989-present)— Dr. Tigges has accumulated 27 years of clinical practice in which she has served as staff nurse, school nurse, community health nurse, and pediatric nurse practitioner. Dr. Tigges’ has been and is currently funded as an investigator on numerous [U.S.] National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Center grants that include funding for UNM-HSC CTSC, UNM Pediatric Clinical Trial Site, UNM Center for Brain Recovery and Repair, Mountain West CTR-IN Program, and National Children’s Study. As the co-chair of the Program Evaluators’ Group for the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award Centers, her passion is to work collaboratively in research partnerships—on teams with other scientists, clinicians, and community members.

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.

Melissa Ann Schiff Bio

Melissa Ann Schiff, MD, MPH is the Associate Director of the MW CTR-IN BERD Core. Dr. Schiff is also a Research Professor for the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Preventative Medicine at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and MD Degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at the University of New Mexico and went on to complete her Masters in Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology at the University of Washington.

Dr. Schiff has over 30 years of experience as an epidemiologist including extensive experience focusing on the areas of maternal and child health as well as injury epidemiology and prevention. She has been involved in research, teaching and mentoring which also includes experience in the design and analysis of epidemiologic studies both as a principal investigator and as an advisor/mentor for public health students, medical students, residents and faculty. Dr. Schiff has also served as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, A HRSA-funded training program for public health MPH graduate students at the University of Washington. She has also developed and taught a Summer Institute course to train public health professionals in basic epidemiology and is currently teaching medical students the University of New Mexico epidemiology and biostatistics. Her unique background is integral to the BERD Core as she assists its director in developing education and training for the MW CTR-IN network investigators.     

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.

Merle Kataoka-Yahiro Bio

Merle Kataoka-Yahiro, DrPH, MS, APRN is an Associate Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core of the MW CTR-IN Program since 2013. She coordinates the Education/Training for the PDC. She is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Additionally, she has served as PI for the NIH Extramural Associates Research Development (EARDA) Awards, Office of Research Development in 2013, and served as the Section Leader and Co-Leader for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Multidisciplinary and Translational Research Infrastructure Expansion Hawaii Grant (RMATRIX) from 2010 – 2014. Dr. Kataoka-Yahiro earned two Master’s degrees in Parent-Child Nursing (Rush University) and Public Health (Northwestern University) and a DrPH in Public Health from the University of Illinois, School of Public Health in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Kataoka-Yahiro’s research area has been in health disparities research focused on chronic disease management with vulnerable populations which include women, children, older adults, and minority populations. Currently, she is examining and analyzing population data sets of Asian Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian groups and chronic diseases, specifically in prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and associated cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, and obesity). Dr. Kataoka-Yahiro has mentored a cadre of diverse faculty and students through developing and providing scientific research training opportunities targeting towards health disparities research in clinical translational research.

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 for the MW CTR-IN Program and the Director for the Mountain West CTR-IN’s Ambassador Translational Research in Progress (ATRIP) 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, MA, PhD, is the Director of the MW CTR-IN 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 Pilot Projects Program has successfully administered the single institution, single investigator and the multi-site pilot grants since the inception of the MW 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.

Carl Reiber Bio

Carl Reiber, PhD, has served as the MW CTR-IN Program Deputy Director since 2013. He is also the Senior Vice Provost and a Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the College of Sciences. Additionally, he has been the Program Coordinator of the NV INBRE since 2008, and the Steering Committee Lead since 2017. Previously, he was the cluster leader in two statewide NSF EPSCoR grants ($6M) and functioned as the coordinator for an NIH Bridges grant. He also served as an ad hoc and permanent member of several NSF review panels including mentoring numerous undergraduate and graduate students (MS and PhD). Dr. Reiber received his Masters degree in Cell Biology from George Mason University, Fairfax in Virginia and PhD degree in Zoology-Physiology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst Massachusetts followed by Postdoctoral training from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

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.