The ITS Career Development Program

The ITS supports the Translational Research Scholars Career Development Program (ITS Scholars) and offers the Translational Research Scholars Program (TRSP) for ITS and other UTMB faculty.

The Translational Research Scholars Program (TRSP) prepares scientists to become independent investigators and improve understanding of disease mechanisms, prevention and treatment. Scholars from across the institution, form a peer group, and benefit from interactions within the group as they pursue the common goal of becoming skilled and funded researchers. The program focuses on preparing an initial successful grant application in a structured and mentored environment. It also provides more advanced training for success in funded research, productive grant management, and planning for a successful competitive renewal application. Scholars pursue individual, defined programs of education and skills development under the guidance of mentors of their own choosing. The process may also include earning a M.S. or Ph.D. degree through the Clinical Science Graduate Program. The endpoint of the program is attainment of independent funding from NIH or other funding agency. Collaborating Programs include various UTMB career development programs supported within UTMB departments as well as other NIH grant awards. These include the ITS Translational Research Scholars Career Development Program (NIH-KL2000072), UTMB Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH, NIH-K12HD052023), the Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program (NIH-K12HD052023), the UTMB Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Center of Excellence (NIH-K12HD001269), and the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (NIH-P30AG024832). See the TRSP brochure, list of directors and participants, and seminar schedule for more information. Click here for: TRSP Scholar application or Associate Scholar application.

The ITS Translational Research Scholars Career Development (ITS Scholars) Program supports several young scholars by providing salary support and protecting at least 75% of effort for research career development.

The ITS Scholars Program will provide up to three years of NIH support for clinical and translational scientists and is comprised of two phases.


Phase I ITS Scholars:

Sara Dann, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Microbiology & Immunology

Jonathan Hommel, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty in the Center for Addiction Research

Elizabeth A. Jaramillo, MD, Assistant Professor, Institute for Translational Sciences

For more information, read the details below.


Phase II ITS Scholars:

Micah Drummond, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Department of Physical Therapy, Salt Lake City, UT;  NIH Award: “Nutrient regulation of amino acid transporters in aging human skeletal muscle” NIA-K01AG038556, 01SEP2011-31AUG2015, PI: Drummond)

Celeste C. Finnerty, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery; NIH Award “Effects of Catecholamine Exposure on Post-Burn Scarring” R01GM112936 (15Jan2015-31Dec2019, PI: Finnerty)

Meera R. Gupta, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine-Allergy and Immunology

Konrad Pazdrak, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Iryna Pinchuk, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology NIH Award “Regulatory role of CD90+ stromal cells in Th1/Th17 activity in Crohn’s Disease” NIDDK-R01DK103150 (01JUL2014-30JUN2018, PI: Pinchuk)

Tammara L. Watts, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Division of Head & Neck Surgery; NIH Award “Targeting Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Head and Neck Cancer” K08CA184915 (15Apr2015- 31Mar2020, PI: Watts)


Translational Research Scholars
Career Development Program

The Institute for Translational Sciences’ Translational Research Scholars Career Development (ITS Scholars) Program is an early mentored research career development program and a component of the UTMB Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from NIH. The aim of the Program is to provide a mentored research experience leading to external funding of a research program in clinical and/or translational research relevant to the mission of the ITS, which is the home of the CTSA at UTMB. Four positions are funded by the KL2 component of the CTSA grant or by matching institutional funds provided to the ITS for up to 3 years or until a scholar secures independent funding. This annual application process is intended to fill vacant positions when they become available.

The Translational Research Scholars Program (TRSP) is an ITS-CTSA program and is a required part of the ITS Scholars Program, It is a series of seminars and workshops for junior faculty members preparing initial grant applications. Additional members of TRSP, numbering about 20, are supported by other sources such as other K12 programs or departmental funds. Many members of TRSP who do not have K12 support are strong candidates for KL2 support and are encouraged to apply.

Preference will be given to applicants who are ITS members and members of one of the ITS Multidisciplinary Translational Teams, as listed below and on the ITS web site:  

* Novel biomarkers and therapeutics in addictions and impulse control disorders
* Aging muscle and sarcopenia
* Burns injury and hypermetabolic response
* Clinical epidemiology of estrogens in asthma
* Hepatitis C and Hepatocellular carcinoma
* Development of novel therapeutics for Clostridium difficile infection
* Obesity and its metabolic complications
* Pediatric respiratory infections - bronchiolitis
* Pediatric respiratory infections – ear, nose & virus
* Phenotypes of severe asthma
* Reproductive women’s health
* Maternal fetal medicine
* Development of novel therapies for advanced colorectal cancer
* Novel point-of-care diagnostic tests for neglected parasitic diseases
* Patient-centered decision support in cancer

Financial support of the Scholar is shared between the ITS and the respective department or school.


Recruitment and application processes will be coordinated through the ITS Education Office:

Program Director:
Bill T. Ameredes, PhD

Program Support:
Marie Carr, MS  
ITS Education Office
6.118 Research Building 6
Phone: 409-772-1484
Fax: 409-772-1968

APPLICATION TIMELINE: Applications for ITS Scholar positions for 2014 are due on May 16, 2014. Reviews of applications submitted by the May 16 deadline will be completed by the end of July 2014.  We anticipate that 1 award will be issued on September 1, 2014 or as funds become available. 

Application materials must be submitted to ITS Education Office via any of the following methods

E-Mail: to with Subject - ITS Scholar Application

Campus mail: ITS Education Office, Route 0342

Questions regarding application submission may be directed to the ITS Education Office via e-mail ( or phone (409-772-1484).



The KL2 Program Director or designee will review applications for completeness.
Qualified applicants will be selected on the basis of:

Appropriateness of the research plan to the stage of research development and as a vehicle for developing the research skills as described in the career development plan

KL2 Scholars will be selected after consideration of the following factors: