2018-2020 KL2 Career Development Award Program Scholars


Adolfo Cuevas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences
Project: Psycho-social stress and obesity-related inflammation


Shanthini Kasturi, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Tufts Medical Center, Rheumatology
Project: Integrating PROMIS into SLE clinical care


Elizabeth (Lila) Peacock-Chambers, MD, MS, Baystate Medical Center, Pediatrics
Project: Integrating a maternal opioid use intervention into Childhood Early Intervention services


Angie Mae Rodday, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center
Project: Treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma in patients aged ≥65 years


Alysse Wurcel, MD, MS, Tufts Medical Center, Infectious Disease
Project: Delivery of HCV care in jails


2016-2018 KL2 Career Development Award Program Scholars


Alexa Craig, MD, Assistant Professor, Maine Medical Center
Project: Delayed rewarming for neuroprotection in infants following cardiopulmonary bypass surgery: A safety study

Each year 40,000 babies in the United States are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), and one or more surgeries are typically required during the first year of life to correct their heart defects. While overall survival has improved, developmental outcomes remain suboptimal, given that 20% of infants classified with simple CHD and 50% of those with complex CHD experience significant developmental delay. My long-term goal is to improve developmental outcomes for infants with CHD through the identification and modulation of factors that adversely impact the brain and subsequently disrupt development.


Keren Ladin, PhD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences
Project: Mitigating disparities in shared decision-making and end-of-life care among African-Americans with kidney failure

The Decision-Aid for Renal Therapy (DART) is an interactive web-based decision-aid that can empower patients and caregivers to select the modality that best suits them. Although proven effective and in current use in the general population, DART’s effectiveness in an older population is unclear. The purpose of this project is to tailor and conduct a pilot study of DART’s feasibility and effectiveness to improve end-of-life planning and shared decision-making among older end-stage renal disease patients.


Teresa May, DO, Assistant Professor, Maine Medical Center
Project: Variation in sedation and neuromuscular blockade practices on outcomes after cardiac arrest

Targeted temperature management (TTM) is an established method of providing neuroprotection for survivors of cardiac arrest. During temperature management, sedation and neuromuscular
blockade (NMB) are needed to manage the physiologic state of lower body temperature, but there is significant variability in selection and application of this management. The lack of focused research connecting sedation and NMB to neurological outcomes means that sedation protocols vary widely among centers and that guidelines have not yet been able to address these aspects of care.

Most cardiac arrest registries focus on the pre-hospital and emergency department setting; one exception is the International Cardiac Arrest Registry (INTCAR), an American and European registry. This large dataset represents an opportunity to identify variability in sedation and NMB practices between centers, and evaluate their influence on functional and cognitive outcome. However, the current database does not have patient-level data on strategies for sedation and NMB use and lacks some important sedation-related outcomes, although these data can be collected prospectively at several of the larger centers. Collecting prospective data provides the opportunity to perform patient-level observational comparative effectiveness analysis of these different strategies and potentially offer individualized treatment regimens.


2014-2016 KL2 Career Development Award Program Scholars


Robert Blanton, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts Molecular Cardiology Research Institute
Project: Identification of Heart-Specific Anti-remodeling Molecules
Our laboratory seeks to identify new therapeutic targets for the syndrome of heart failure, a major cause of death in the U.S. We and others have found in pre-clinical models that a molecule called Protein Kinase G I (PKG) inhibits the structural changes in the left ventricle which lead to heart failure. However, drugs which activate PKG have been studied in humans with heart failure but have not yet improved clinical outcomes. The current project attempts to translate the basic findings on PKG into improved therapeutic strategies for heart failure. First, in basic laboratory studies we will try to understand how exactly PKGI cooperates with other molecules in the heart to inhibit cardiac remodeling, since understanding these cooperating molecules might reveal new therapeutic targets. Second, we will undertake the first study to date of PKG in heart tissue from humans with a specific type of heart failure, called nonischemic cardiomyopathy. We hope that understanding the regulation of PKG in the human heart will reveal new therapeutic strategies for patients with heart failure.


Deborah Linder, DVM, DACVN, Research Assistant Professor, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Project: Promoting Children’s Physical Activity with Pets
Pediatric obesity is a serious and growing public health concern, with significant physical and mental health consequences on youth that suffer from obesity. Unfortunately, the development of effective and sustainable obesity treatment interventions remains a challenge. Pets can potentially provide physical and psychosocial health benefits to improve impact and sustainability of obesity interventions. Our proposed study will test the hypothesis that incorporating pet dogs into a comprehensive behavioral intervention will significantly increase sustained physical and psychosocial factors in overweight and obese children. By testing the effectiveness of integrating human-animal interaction into a comprehensive obesity intervention, we hope to gain important knowledge on how to potentially improve and expand successful and cost effective obesity interventions to reduce the rate of the childhood obesity.


Quinn R. Pack, MD, MSc, Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Baystate Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
Project: Phase I Cardiac Rehabilitation and Hospital Outcomes
Inpatient cardiac rehabilitation assists hospitalized patients with cardiac disease begin to understand their disease, regain their strength, and improve their lifestyle to help prevent future heart problems. In this study, Dr. Pack will be studying the effects of inpatient cardiac rehabilitation on hospital readmission rates, hospital discharge placement to a nursing home vs. home, and the incidence of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. We will utilize the PREMIER database of more than 350 hospitals and adjust all outcomes for patient risk and hospital characteristics. We anticipate demonstrating that inpatient cardiac rehabilitation improves patient and hospital outcomes.