Month: June 2018

CICATS Celebrates Outgoing Pre-K Scholars

In late June CICATS celebrated our outgoing class of Pre-K Scholars. The Pre-K Scholar 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 Pre-K program was highly beneficial to me as I completed the last 2 years of my tenure-track position,” said Michelle Judge, outgoing Pre-K Scholar. “The protected time and support of research productivity was very helpful. Using these supports, I have now secured tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. The directors provided fantastic insights for me as I build my own research trajectory. Discussion of day to day struggles to balance being a scientist and keep demands balanced with life was a wonderful support to me. Many of the speakers were helpful with various aspects of research. Overall, I had a great experience in the Pre-K program and am thankful for the opportunity.”

You can read more about the outgoing Scholars on our website. We look forward to following them along their research career paths and wish them all the best.

Special note: CICATS would also like to thank Anne Kenny for her contributions as a Pre-K Scholar Award Program co-director. Dr. Mark Litt will take her place as co-director for the incoming group in July.

Dr. Laurencin Mentee Tiahna Spencer Selected for NIH Research Program

CICATS is proud to announce that Tiahna Spencer, M.D. Candidate at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, is one of 37 talented students selected for the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) by the National Institutes of Health. Tiahna is a mentee of CICATS CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin.

The MRSP allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pause their university studies to live on the intramural campus of NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, and conduct basic, clinical, or translational research. The accepted scholars begin their fellowship in July/August 2018.

“I am very excited to participate in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, as this experience will afford me the opportunity to further develop my research skills and experiences at one of the world’s leading research centers,” said Tiahna. “I hope to draw from this experience, a skill or life lesson that will contribute to my development into the physician I intend to become.”

More information is available on the NIH website.

June Science Cafe Gets Squiddy With It

CICATS June Science Cafe was a terrific success, bringing together over 60 people including researchers, interested members of the public, school teachers and even some kids! Attendees heard a dynamic presentation from UConn scientist Sarah McAnulty about her work with squid and how friendly bacteria communicate. Following her presentation there was a 30 minute question and answer period with questions ranging from “Why are squid so squishy?” to questions about gene mapping. Sarah also discussed another project called Skype a Scientist, which she created as a vehicle to connect real world scientists with classrooms across the world.

CICATS Announces Selection of New Pre-K Program Co-Director (Press Release)

For Immediate Release June 7, 2018

FARMINGTON — The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut announces the selection of Dr. Mark D. Litt as Co-Director of the Pre-K Scholar Award Program.

The goals of the Pre-K Scholar Award Program include: (1) helping scholars develop the skills needed to compete for an NIH K award, (2) providing Pre-K Scholars with mentoring and career development guidance and (3) providing opportunities to connect with investigators across the UConn campuses.

“The Pre-K Program is one of the cornerstones of the work we do at CICATS,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, CICATS CEO. “We are training faculty to have the skills to effectively apply for an NIH K award while also providing valuable mentoring and networking opportunities.”

Dr. Litt is a Professor in the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health in the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, and also holds appointments in Psychiatry and in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the School of Medicine. “I am excited to have this opportunity to help support junior faculty, not only in guiding them through the application process for an NIH K award, but also in providing career development guidance,” said Dr. Litt.

Dr. Litt replaces Dr. Anne M. Kenny who contributed to the success of CICATS Pre-K Program for several years. He joins current Co-Directors Dr. Lisa C. Barry and Dr. Julie Robison, both of the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.

“The Pre-K program has experienced much success as many of our scholars have gone on to apply for NIH grants. We welcome Dr. Litt to our team and look forward to working with him,” said Dr. Barry.

To learn more about CICATS Pre-K Scholar Award Program visit our website.

For more information contact Michelle Noehren at