First scholars named to clinical research development program

The National Institutes of Health’s K12 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program in the School of Medicine, in collaboration with its institutional partners, has named its first seven scholars, who will begin the program July 1.

The scholars are funded by a five-year, $11.5 million NIH grant received late last year by Victoria Fraser, M.D., professor of medicine and clinical chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine.

The program is designed to promote multidisciplinary collaboration in clinical research and will provide training to fellows, post-doctoral scholars and junior faculty from diverse fields.

Based at the School of Medicine, the program will provide funding for up to 20 junior faculty members’ salary, research support, travel and tuition for course work leading to a master’s degree in clinical investigation or in public health.

“The scholars we have chosen this year are extraordinary researchers who we believe will make tremendous contributions to clinical and translational science and to public health as a result of this program,” Fraser said.

Scholars are from the partner institutions, which include Saint Louis University School of Public Health, University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

The first scholars to take part in the program are:

• Robert H. Baloh, M.D., Ph.D., instructor, Department of Neurology, WUSTL;

• Jen-Jen Chang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, Department of Community Health in Epidemiology;

• Lisa de las Fuentes, M.D., assistant professor and co-director, cardiovascular imaging, WUSTL;

• Jay R. McDonald, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, WUSTL;

• Robert T. Naismith, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Neurology, WUSTL;

• Susan L. Stark, Ph.D., assistant professor, Program in Occupational Health, WUSTL; and

• Monique M. Williams, M.D., instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, WUSTL.

New scholars will be added each year, Fraser said.

“The K12 program is unique in that it facilitates collaborative research across five institutions in the St. Louis area,” she said. “The program’s focus on training in multidisciplinary clinical research will provide for an increase in patient-related research and thus, improvement in patient outcomes.”