Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program

The Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program is a 2-year interactive program designed to equip junior faculty with the knowledge and competencies to effectively apply for an NIH Research Career Development Awards (K award) as well as become leaders in clinical and translational science. The long-term goal is to increase the pipeline of researchers applying for a K award and a culture that supports this goal.

2020 Call for Applications

Application Deadline: April 30, 2020

The Connecticut Convergence Institute (CCI) led by Dr. Cato T. Laurencin is pleased to announce a new funding announcement and call for applications for the Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program. The Pre-K Program is a 2-year interactive program designed to equip junior faculty with the knowledge and competencies to effectively apply for a NIH Research Career Development Award (K Award). An additional goal is to positively impact the diversity of UConn affiliated researchers applying for K Awards and create a culture that supports this goal.

The Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program curriculum assists faculty in developing a strong NIH K Award application by focusing on identifying mentors, writing specific aims, developing a research plan, determining career development needs, obtaining letters of recommendation and institutional support, and general grantsmanship. Pre-K Scholars are awarded 30% protected time, as well as funding for travel to national conferences. The program is open to all UConn Health/UConn faculty members with the rank of Assistant Professor. Faculty outside of UConn/UConn Health are eligible to apply only if their respective institution will cover 30% of their protected time and related travel costs.


  • Possess a doctoral-level degree in a health discipline that can be applied to clinical, translational, or basic research.  These degrees include, but are not limited to, MD, DO, DMD, DDS, DPH, PharmD, as well as PhD in clinically relevant fields, such as biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioral science, or nursing.
  • US citizen or permanent resident.  Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
  • Hold a junior faculty appointment at time of application at the University of Connecticut or UConn Health.  If an appointment does not exist, the applicant’s institution will be required to support the 30% of full time effort.
  • Committed to pursuing an academic career in clinical, translational, or basic research.
  • Must not have received substantial prior research support as a Principal Investigator of an R01, Center or Mentored Career Development (K) grants, or as project leader on sub-projects of program projects (P01) or center grants (P50), or equivalent non-PHS peer reviewed research grant.
  • Those with an interest in the field of regeneration through the convergence of research on stem cells, developmental biology, biomaterials, physics, data science, or clinical translation are especially encouraged to apply.


  • Two-year commitment to the Pre-K program.
  • Committed to devoting 30 percent of full-time professional effort to the program with approval from applicant’s department chair/head.
  • Identify a multidisciplinary mentorship team with extensive clinical, translational, or basic research experience where one of the members is willing to serve as the primary mentor on the developed K Award application.
  • Submit an NIH K award application within the first year of the program (June 2021).
  • Attend bi-weekly program sessions in person.
  • Prepare materials (such as specific aims, manuscript drafts, responses to review, etc.) in advance of CCI Pre-K scheduled meetings, as scheduled in the syllabus.



For more information about the program please contact Lana Angelo at

      2018 Scholars

      Name Research Title Where Are They Now?
      Jenna Bartley, Ph.D. The Effect of Metformin on Influenza Vaccine Responses and T Cell Function in the Elderly Significance UConn Center on Aging
      Eliane Dutra, D.D.S., M.S.D., Ph.D. Anabolic Responses of Intermittent PTH Treatment in the Mandibular Condyle UConn Health Orthodontics
      Stephanie Gernant, Pharm.D., M.S. Improving MTM Delivery through Community Pharmacy Workflow Re-Design UConn Pharmacy
      Alexander Hogan, M.D., M.S. A Mixed-Methods Approach to Decreasing Late Asthma Readmissions Connecticut Children's Pediatrics
      Insoo Kim, Ph.D. Smart Sensing Platform for Upper Limb Prosthesis Monitoring and Functional Evaluation UConn Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine
      Minjung Kim, Ph.D. Mobile Adherence Evaluations in Heart Failure Care Management UConn Health Calhoun Cardiology Center
      Jeffrey Pella, Ph.D. The Costs and Benefits of a Teacher Delivered Intervention for Pediatric Anxiety UConn Health Psychiatry

      2016 Scholars

      Name Research Title Where Are They Now?
      Carolyn Greene, Ph.D. The Role of Parental Emotion Regulation in Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with PTSD UConn Health Psychiatry
      Michelle P. Judge, Ph.D., R.D. The Role of Parental Emotion Regulation in Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with PTSD UConn School of Nursing
      Ruth Lucas, Ph.D., RN Measuring Neonatal Sucking Microstructure During Breastfeeding in Clinical and Home Settings UConn School of Nursing
      Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D. Neurobiological Influences on Impulsivity and Alcohol Misuse in Young and Older Adults UConn School of Psychiatry
      Erin Mead, Ph.D. Addictive Potential of Little Cigar/Cigarillos in Dual Users: Effect by Flavor and Sex UConn Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine
      Mario F. Perez, M.D., M.P.H. Airway Inflammatory Profile of E-Cigarette Users UConn Health Medicine
      Stefan Pinter, Ph.D. Escapee Regulation and Gene Dosage Therapy in Turner Syndrome (TS) UConn Health Genetics and Genome Sciences
      Carla Rash, Ph.D. Developing Sustainable Contingency Management Interventions for Soup Kitchen and Homeless Facility Patrons UConn Health Calhoun Cardiology Center
      Emily Wakefield, Psy.D. The Development of a Health-Related Stigma Scale for Adolescents with Chronic Pain and their Parent Connecticut Children's Pain and Palliative Medicine

      2014 Scholars

      Name Research Title Where Are They Now?
      William L. Baker, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS-AQ Magnesium and Arrhythmias UConn Pharmacy
      Angela Bermúdez-Millán, Ph.D., M.P.H. Social Determinants of Health: Food Insecurity in Low Income Populations UConn Health Community Medicine and Health Care
      Alicia G. Dugan, Ph.D. Surviving at Work: Cancer Survivors’ Work Experiences and Workplace-based Supports UConn Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine
      Damion J. Grasso, Ph.D. Autonomic and Genetic Risk of Trauma-Related Psychopathology in Young Children UConn Health Psychiatry
      Melissa Santos, Ph.D. Pain and Weight Treatment for Those Inflicted with Chronic Pain and Obesity Connecticut Children's Obesity Center


      Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H.

      Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

      UConn Center on Aging


      Mark Litt, Ph.D.

      Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, UConn School of Dental Medicine

      UConn Psychiatry

      UConn Obstetrics and Gynecology


      Julie Robison, Ph.D.

      Professor of Medicine

      UConn Center on Aging

      Scholar Testimonials


      "The Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program has helped me to succeed in so many ways. From protecting my research time to guiding me in every single step of my KO1 application, the commitment of the program directors was invaluable in this whole challenging process. The interaction with other pre-K scholars has also helped to ease the struggles of grant application."- Eliane Dutra

      “I truly appreciate the support that I received from the CICATS Pre-K Scholar Career Development Award Program. It gave me the protected time and know-how to write a compelling grant application - one that I was proud to submit.”- Alicia Dugan

      “I have found the program directors to be extremely approachable and helpful in addressing issues pertinent to my K, as well as overall career issues / questions. Their feedback was instrumental in me submitting my K and having it funded. I found the core workshops led by the directors to be excellent and of high quality. The amount of protected time I received to participate in the program was crucial and extremely helpful. This is a stand-out program for junior investigators at UConn. I would not be where I am today without this program."- Kevin Manning