Volume 11, Issue 2 - August 2021
UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center
Welcomes New Scholars
Improvement in the health of our patients and communities depends on developing the next generation of clinical and translational investigators, and this is a core mission of the UC Davis CTSC. We are thrilled to welcome new cohorts in the K12 and the TL1 programs. These early career colleagues inspire us with their dedication and their willingness to acquire new skills and knowledge needed to advance the spectrum of clinical and translational research. These diverse scholars, M.D. and Ph.D., predoctoral and postdoctoral, are the foundation of our community of scholars dedicated to team science and serving our communities. We are heartened the demand for these positions is increasingly competitive and pleased with the outstanding individuals joining the CTSC family.
Over the years, CTSC scholars represent an array of disciplines from across the campus. They include clinical and translational researchers at multiple career stages – graduate, medical, and veterinary students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and junior faculty. The diversity exemplified by their research interests, career stages, and skill sets of the scholars creates a natural environment for the genesis of novel research ideas, interdisciplinary collaborations, and unique approaches to advancing health. These scholars join an active nationwide network of fellow clinical and translational investigators through parallel CTSA-funded programs.
The junior faculty who make up our KL2 scholars will conduct a multidisciplinary clinical/patient-oriented research investigation, supported by tailored trainings and the mentorship of senior investigators. The goal of the KL2 program is to accelerate their development as independent clinical multidisciplinary research investigators.
Temitayo O. Oyegbile-Chidi, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Clinical Professor
Department of Neurology
Dr. Oyegbile-Chidi has a special interest in understanding sleep disorders in relation to co-existent neurologic and psychiatric conditions in both adults and children. She conducts clinical research in the field of epilepsy with a focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment in children with epilepsy by evaluating sleep abnormalities and functional neuroimaging.
Meagan Talbott, Ph.D.
Assistant Professional Researcher
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Talbott's research focuses on gesture and language development, early identification and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and telehealth approaches to evaluating infant development and treatment efficacy. She is currently studying the utility of a telehealth-based assessment for identifying infants at high likelihood of ASD, and the developmental trajectories and clinical outcomes of infants with very early symptoms.
Our TL1 scholars - early-career trainees - receive didactic instruction, participate in multidisciplinary "team research," and benefit from mentored research experience that prepares them to undertake innovative clinical research.
Vanessa Hull, B.S./B.A., M.S.
Graduate Student in Neuroscience
Ms. Hull is currently studying potential therapies for Canavan disease, an inherited and devastating pediatric leukodystrophy. Canavan disease is characterized by extremely elevated levels of the abundant brain amino acid N-acetyl-L-aspartate (NAA) in the brain due to the loss of aspartoacylase, an oligodendroglial-enriched enzyme responsible for the break down of NAA.
Pablo Juarez, B.S.
Graduate Student in Integrative Pathobiology
Mr. Juarez’s long-term career goal is to become a translational researcher that focuses on designing and implementing effective therapeutic approaches to improve the health and quality of life of autistic individuals. As a TL1 student, he seeks the knowledge and mentorship to ensure the success of his research and growth as a translational research scientist.
Morgan Kumro, B.S.
Ms. Kumro’s research interests are in the field of neuroscience and intricacies of the central nervous system and studied patient morbidity and mortality regarding surgical treatment modalities for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in geriatric patients. As a TL1 student, she seeks to develop skills, knowledge, and breadth of experience working as a research investigator with the guidance of mentors who have significant experience conducting translational research.
Niraj Punjya, B.S.
Mr. Punjya’s research interests include using gene therapies to treat genetic disorders. At UC Davis, he works with Dr. David Segal and Dr. Kyle Fink to study 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (DiGeorge syndrome) using CRISPR activation technologies to upregulate the deleted genes characterizing the disorder. His previous research experiences involved developing gene-editing technologies to study myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) in the Porteus lab at Stanford University.
In the News
Dr. Brad Pollock, associate dean for public health sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine, said one of the issues keeping youth from getting the vaccine is their sense of feeling too healthy to be susceptible to the virus. "They certainly have a lower risk for a lot of things that kill us but they're not invulnerable," Pollock said.