Translational Research Scholars
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:

Demidmaa Tuvdendorj, MD, PhDm Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, Endocrinology

For more information, read the details below.


Phase II ITS Scholars:

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

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

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.  Two positions are funded by the KL2 component of the CTSA grant, and additional positions may be funded 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. 
Each Scholar develops an individual development plan (IDP) with the primary mentor, which outlines plans for educational activities, research projects, funding initiatives, and publications.
Applicants must be members of an existing ITS Multidisciplinary Translational Team (MTTs), as listed below and on the ITS web site:  
     * Addictions and impulse control disorders
     * Aging muscle and sarcopenia
     * Burns injury and response
     * Epidemiology of estrogens
     * Hepatocellular carcinoma biomarker development
     * Gut inflammation
     * Obesity and its metabolic complications
     * Pediatric respiratory infections – bronchiolitis
     * Pediatric respiratory infections – otitis media
     * Phenotypes of severe asthma
     * Reproductive women’s health
     * Development of novel therapies for advanced colorectal cancer
     * Novel point-of-care diagnostic tests for neglected parasitic diseases
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, MS, PhD
Professor, Internal Medicine

Program Support:
Loren Provoyeur
ITS Education Office
6.118 Research Building 6
Phone: 409-772-1484


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 Directors will review applications for completeness.
Qualified applicants will be selected on the basis of:

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