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Pre-K Junior faculty Career Development Award Program

About the Program

The Pre-K Junior Faculty 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.

2022 Awardees

Name Research Title Where Are They Now?
Katherine Bernier Carney, Ph.D. Supporting Caregiver Skill Development and Emotional Well-being in Pediatric Cancer UConn School of Nursing
Cristina Colon-Semenza, Ph.D. Peer partners to enhance physical activity and disease management in Hispanics living with Parkinson’s disease UConn Department of Kinesiology
Jacob Earp, Ph.D. The relative contribution of five distinct modifiable determinants of muscle quality to overall muscle quality and physical function. UConn Department of Kinesiology
Amy Hunter, Ph.D. Improving Child Maltreatment Detection in Clinical Settings UConn Department of Public Health Sciences UConn Department of Pediatrics
Jolaade Kalinowski, Ph.D. A Novel Approach to Managing Stress in Black Women with Hypertension. Novel Approach to Managing Stress and Improving Physical Therapy in Black Women with Hypertension UConn Human Development and Family Sciences
Cutter Lindbergh, Ph.D. Computerized Cognitive Remediation of Post-COVID Neurocognitive Dysfunction in Older Adults UConn Health Department of Psychiatry
Christina Ross, Ph.D. Assessing the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mobile Health Application Named "Zuri" to Promote Black Female Adolescents' Sexual and Reproductive Health and Sexual Self-Efficacy UConn School of Nursing

2020 Awardees

Name Research Title Where Are They Now?
Loneke Blackman-Carr, Ph.D. Sociocultural Assets for Diet and Physical Activity Behavior and Adaptive Digital Health Intervention for Weight Gain Prevention Department of Nutritional Sciences
Eileen Carter, Ph.D., R.N. Intra-Emergency Department Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 School of Nursing
Kristen Cooksey-Stowers, Ph.D. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Mixed-Methods Approach to Examine The Relationship Between Neighborhood Food Environments, Home Food Environments, and Preschool Children's Food/ Beverage Intake Department of Allied Health Sciences
Jennifer Garza, Ph.D. The Effect of Occupational and Overall Activity During Pregnancy on Work and Maternal and Fetal Developmental Health Outcomes Department of Occupational Medicine
Oh Sung Kwon, Ph.D. Autophagy in Human Peripheral Blood Cells: Impact of Aging and Biomarker Role in Geroscience-Guided Clinical Interventions Department of Kinesiology
Kristin Morgan, Ph.D. Positive Neuromuscular Driven Gait Adaptation Post Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Department of Biomedical Engineering
Ben Ristau, M.D. Single Cell Transcriptome Investigation of Cellular Dysregulation in Bladder Carcinogenesis and The Application of Patient-Derived Organoids Towards Personalized Therapeutics Department of Surgery

2018 Awardees

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 Awardees

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 Awardees

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

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

UConn Center on Aging



Bin Feng

Bin Feng, PhD

Associate Professor

Biomedical Engineering, UConn



Mark Litt, Ph.D.

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

UConn Psychiatry

UConn Obstetrics and Gynecology

Scholar Testimonials

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Eliane Dutra UConn Health Orthodontics
"The [Pre-K Junior Faculty 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 K01 application, the commitment of the program directors was invaluable in this whole challenging process. The interaction with other Pre-K [faculty] has also helped to ease the struggles of grant application."
Alicia Dugan UConn Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine
“I truly appreciate the support that I received from the [Cato T. Laurencin Institute's Pre-K Junior Faculty 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.”
Kevin Manning UConn School of Psychiatry

“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."

Kristin Morgan Dept. of Biomedical Engineering

“The [Pre-K Junior Faculty Career Development Award Program] is exceptional in that it provided me with protected time for research and personalized proposal writing guidance from successful NIH awardees. My mentors’ feedback transformed my grant idea into a competitive proposal and set me on a path to become a leader in clinical and translational research. The diverse team of Pre-K peer [faculty] created an environment that made the grant writing process more productive and enjoyable.”