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Congratulations to CARTI Scholars

May 2024 CARTI training track graduation, from left to right: Jon Mark Hirshon, Marey Shriver, Edward Traver, Chengyan Chu, Jiachen Zhuo, Rebecca Schwartz, Leigh Smith, Brittany Drazich Burch, J. David Gatz, Dena Tran, Shannon Takala-Harrison, and E. Albert ReeceOn June 5th, nearly 30 faculty members, department chairs and other academic leaders gathered in the School of Medicine board room to celebrate the completion of CARTI’s second training track. The latest cohort of eight scholars of CARTI’s Clinical, Translational, and Public Health training track spent a half-year learning the ins and outs of research rigor, compliance, and grant writing with training track leads Jon-Mark Hirshon and Shannon Takala-Harrison and numerous other senior faculty members from around UMSOM.  

The goal of the training track, according to CARTI director E. Albert Reece, is to support faculty members to successfully garner federal funding. Several participants have already submitted grant applications and at least one participant was awarded funding during the course. In May, Chengyan Chu, a research associate in diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine received a Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission Discovery award—his first as a principal investigator—for his study of the NLRP3 inflammasome, its role in cerebral small vessel disease, and the use of intra-arterial delivery in an animal model of its inhibitor to potentially reduce neuroinflammation.  

 “This training track helped me so much in getting this funding,” says Chu. “My previous applications were not successful—CARTI made the difference.” 

 The training track curriculum culminates in having a grant application reviewed by a mock NIH study section, and a graduation ceremony where scholars presented five-minute lightning talks about their ongoing research projects.    

The mock NIH study section was led by Jon Mark Hirshon and members included Odessa Addison, Jonathan Baghdadi, Jonathan Bromberg, Nicholas Carbonetti, Allan Doctor, Thomas Ernst, Karen Kotloff, Miriam Laufer, Nikhil Pandey, Elizabeth Powell, Zaker Rana, Alexis Salerno, who all graciously volunteered time to critically read and spend three hours reviewing and discussing the scholars’ applications.   

It was so useful to experience and receive such input,” says Rebecca Schwartz, a visiting instructor of surgery and provider at R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, who is studying the benefit of emergency medical services using whole blood versus component therapy to stabilize patients in transport to the hospital.   

I learned that less is more, when it comes to communicating about my research,” says Jiachen Zhuo, an associate professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine. “I used to try to add as much as possible to my own slides. But I would attend conferences and be lost within a few minutes of a talk and think it was me and not the speaker. Now I know better!  

I am perfectly comfortable giving clinical talks, but when it came to research, it seemed pretty daunting, but I’m learning,” says J. David Gatz, an assistant professor of emergency medicine, who seeks to establish improved screening protocols for pulmonary embolism.  

CARTI now is accepting applications for its first basic science training track, and will be announcing another clinical/translational training track later in 2024.  


Click video below to watch Jiachen "Chenny" Zhuo's research talk at the graduation.

Click video below to watch J. David Gatz's research talk at the graduation.