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Introducing the 2024 Cohort of ITHS KL2 Scholars

Introducing the 2024 Cohort of ITHS KL2 Scholars

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences is pleased to announce the 2024 cohort of scholars for the ITHS KL2 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program. Benjamin Lidgard, Kristian Jones, Michelle Guignet, and Jonathan An are early career investigators who will be provided with research time, funding, mentorship, and other necessary resources to foster the development of their clinical and translational research skills. Their time in the 3-year long post-doctoral program began March 1st.

In addition to training tailored to their particular research and career development needs, the four will gain knowledge of the full spectrum of health sciences research in the NIH-sponsored program. They will attend interactive seminars along with the 2022 and 2023 cohorts, getting training in the core competencies for translational research developed by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) institutes. Scholars will also have the opportunity to enhance their presentation and writing skills.

When asked to reflect on her time as a KL2 scholar (2019–2021), Jane Lee, PhD, MSW, told us, “The KL2 program has been a pivotal point in my research career—it helped me to exponentially build upon my foundation and presented opportunities that have launched new collaborations and ideas.” We look forward to seeing what great ideas are launched by our latest group of promising scholars!

The 2024 Cohort

Jonathan An, DDS, PhD, is a dual-trained dentist and scientist, joining the program from the UW School of Dentistry. His research interests lie at the intersection between aging biology and oral health. Dr. An’s goal for this KL2 project is to be trained in clinical and translational research to improve oral health in people with Down Syndrome.

Michelle Guignet, PhD, comes to the KL2 program from the UW School of Pharmacy. She is currently an Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington’s Center for Epilepsy Drug Discovery, and she specializes in adapting clinical approaches to preclinical settings to develop novel therapies for drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). Support from the KL2 program will help her unique translational approach address critical gaps in understanding pharmacoresistance and associated comorbidities in females with drug-resistant epilepsy. Dr. Guignet aims to advance prediction and prevention strategies for both men and women living with DRE through novel preclinical platforms.

Kristian Jones, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the UW School of Social Work. His program of research examines how youth mentoring can be utilized to promote positive outcomes for Black youth and their families. Dr. Jones’ KL2 research project focuses on how community-based youth mentoring programs can prevent firearm violence in the communities they serve while promoting social justice among youth and families.

Benjamin Lidgard, MD,  is an Acting Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology in the UW School of Medicine. His research focuses on lipid molecule metabolism as a cardiovascular risk factor in patients with kidney disease. The support of the KL2 program will allow Dr. Lidgard to further develop the essential skills in translational science required for his career goal of investigating cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease as an independent physician-scientist.

The KL2 program is funded by the National Institutes of Health through ITHS’ grant with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Part of the KL2 program mission is to provide an entryway for early investigators to the field of Translational Science. Visit the ITHS Education pages to learn more about the KL2 program and other education offerings from ITHS.