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  • Nov 07, 2022

GHUCCTS announces 2022 KL2 Scholar Dr. Amanda Blair Spence

The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Blair Spence, MD as the 2nd KL2 Scholar selected in our highly-competitive 2022 cycle. This new awardee, her research projects, and training plan are emblematic of our program objectives in that they pair a highly-promising junior faculty scholar-trainee with a mentor team that includes senior colleagues from across disciplines, departments, campuses, and institutions to pursue research that depends upon collaborations and methods from outside the scholars’ discipline, local research environment, or past experiences.

The GHUCCTS KL2 program is builds on the original National Institutes of Health “roadmap” K12 Clinical and Translational Research Scholars program and is similar to individual K-series awards, by providing up to three years of protected time and research support, focused on developing early-career faculty investigators through a multidisciplinary-mentored research experience to enable their success as independent, extramurally-funded investigators, preferably in programs of multidisciplinary, collaborative translational team science.

Amanda Blair Spence, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital will study “HIV viral suppression and comorbidities: outcomes and interventions in an aging population.” She seeks to understand the contributions of biology, behavior, and social determinants to the development and manifestation of comorbidities in persons living with HIV.  These data will be used to design and implement tailored, acceptable interventions to improve health outcomes. She is mentored by Dr. Seble Kassaye, a former KL2 scholar herself, now Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease,  with co-mentorship by Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell, Professor of Oncology in the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, both at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Dr. Spence will join our continuing KL2 Scholars including: 

Headshot of KL2 Scholar Dr. Christina MareaChristina Marea, PhD, MA, FACNM, a certified nurse midwife and Assistant Professor in the Georgetown University School of Nursing (GUSON). Dr. Marea is investigating the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of a 12-month model of postpartum care to address the negative health effects of structural racism for birthing people in Washington DC. Dr. Marea’s mentoring team includes Dr. Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza, a former KL2 scholar herself, Dr Kristi Graves, and Dr. Arnold Potosky, all members of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Headshot of GHUCCTS KL2 Scholar Maurice FluittMaurice B. Fluitt, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the Howard University College of Medicine .  Dr. Fluitt is investigating the use of microRNAs as early predictive biomarkers and mediators of autophagic response in diabetic kidney disease. Dr. Fluitt’s mentoring team includes Dr. Ben Afzali from the Immunoregulation Section of the Kidney Disease Branch at the NIDDK, Drs. Gail Nunlee-Bland and Hassan Ashktorab from the Department of Medicine at Howard University, Dr. Carolyn Ecelbarger from the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University, and Dr. Alison Kriegel from the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Headshot of GHUCCTS KL2 Scholar Roxanne Mirabel-BeltranRoxanne Mirabal-Beltran, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor in the Department of Professional Nursing Practice at the Georgetown University School of Nursing, is studying the “Impact of a Fertility and Pregnancy Educational Intervention in an Urban Setting on Women’s Knowledge Level of Fertility, Pregnancy, and Health-Seeking Behaviors to Build a Culture of Health". She is mentored by Drs. Laura Linnan, from the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Linda Gallo, from the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University. Co-mentorship is provided by Drs. Jane Fall-Dickson, from the Department of Professional Nursing Practice at Georgetown University and Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza, from the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Headshot of GHUCCTS KL2 Scholar Dr. Kaiyan HeHaiyan He, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Georgetown University will work on “A novel protein-degradation-based mechanism for fast homeostatic plasticity and its implication in neurodegenerative diseases.” Dr. He is investigating the in vivo function of a newly discovered neuronal membrane-associated proteasome as a fast-homeostatic mechanism and its potential link to neurodegenerative diseases. She is mentored by Dr. Seth Margolis from the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with co-mentorship by Drs. Dan Pak, Brent Harris, and Kathy Maguire-Zeiss, at Georgetown University Medical Center.                                      

Please join us in congratulating our new and continuing KL2 scholars.

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