KL2 & Affiliate Scholars

2020-2022 KL2 Scholars

portrait of doctor Cajita

Mia (Maan Isabella) Cajita, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, UIC College of Nursing

Mentor: Susan Dunn, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, Associate Professor and Department Head, Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, UIC College of Nursing

The overarching goal of Dr. Cajita’s research is to empower individuals to effectively perform self-care behaviors. Her current study is focused on the development and testing of an online health literacy-based heart failure self-care intervention.

portrait of doctor Cliff

Betsy Cliff, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Administration, UIC School of Public Health

Mentor: Jamie Chriqui, PhD, MHS, Professor and Director, MPH Program, Division of Health Policy and Administration, Co-Director, Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy

Dr. Cliff uses microeconomic theory and methods to examine how incentives affect consumer behavior and spending in the medical system. Her studies have looked at low-value care, health insurance benefit design, provider prices, and price transparency initiatives. In her current project, she will examine medical care use for people in high-deductible health plans with chronic conditions and stratified by income.

portrait of doctor riley

Andrew Riley, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, UIC College of Pharmacy

Mentor: Terry Moore, PhD. Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UIC College of Pharmacy

Dr. Riley’s research focuses on the discovery, design, and development of novel small-molecules that target GPCRs and ion-channels implicated in pain and addiction. In doing so, he looks to provide new pharmacological tools to study the function of these receptors in the central nervous system and translate these basic science discoveries into new treatment options for patients.

2020-2022 Affiliate Scholar

portrait of doctor crooks

Natasha Crooks, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor, Department of Women, Children and Family Health Science, UIC College of Nursing

Mentor: Geri Donenberg, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, UIC College of Medicine, Associate Dean of Research, School of Public Health, Director of the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science, Director of the Healthy Youths Program

Dr. Crooks’ research program centers on addressing sexual health disparities in Black girls and women. Her current research focuses on translating her conceptual model into practice, exploring sexual pathways, and identifying Black girls at risk for early sexual engagement, sexual trauma, and STIs. Her future research goals include developing and conducting a multi-level STI/HIV prevention intervention to improve Black female sexual and reproductive health across the life course.

2019-2021 KL2 Scholar

portrait of doctor Yazici

Cemal Yazici, MD, MS CTS

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UIC College of Medicine

Mentor: Ece Mutlu, M D, MS, MBA, Rush University

Dr. Yazici’s research has focused on two specific aims. They include  (1) determining the contribution of diets high in animal protein and fat (DH-APF) to disease severity in acute pancreatitis and the differences in dietary intake of African Americans and Caucasians with and without acute pancreatitis in a longitudinal study and (2) determining the differences in gut sulfidogenic bacterial abundance and H2S levels in AAs and Caucasian with and without acute pancreatitis and their correlation to diet by measuring sulfidogenic bacteria composition and H2S levels in serum samples

In 2020, Dr. Yazici and Dr. Brian Layden, Division Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism were  awarded UO1 funding for their research proposal titled “Mechanisms of diabetes from acute pancreatitis in African Americans and Hispanics” by the National Institute of Health. In this multi-PI grant, they will investigate 1) the relationship between acute pancreatitis (AP) and diabetes, and the factors associated with development of diabetes, 2) how diet, specifically enriched in animal protein and fat, through its interaction with the gut microbiota, impacts AP-driven diabetes, and 3) how fiber from the diet, through the generation of short chain fatty acids, mediates AP-driven diabetes.

2019-2021 Affiliate Scholar

portrait of doctor Toth-Manikowski

Stephanie Toth-Manikowski, MD, MHS

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, UIC College of Medicine

Mentor: James Lash, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, UIC College of Medicine

Dr. Toth-Manikowski’s research project consists of utilizing a mixed methods approach to evaluate access to health care in patients with CKD. She will leverage the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study, a large prospective cohort with a diverse patient population and broad spectrum of kidney dysfunction, to evaluate the impact of access to health care on CKD disease management and long-term outcomes

Dr. Toth-Manikowski was awarded a grant from the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Young Investigator in 2019.

2019-2020 KL2 Scholar

portrait of doctor trotter

Andrew Trotter, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, UIC College of Medicine

Mentor: Geri Donenberg, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, UIC College of Medicine, Associate Dean of Research, School of Public Health, Director of the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science, Director of the Healthy Youths Program

Dr. Trotter’s research focuses on adapting and piloting an evidence-based peer navigator intervention (LINK-LA) to improve linkage and retention in HIV care for people living with HIV (PLHIV) who are released from prison. This project involved PLHIV who were released from Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) prisons into the care of the UIC Community Clinic Network (UCCN) HIV primary care clinics.

In 2020, Dr. Trotter was recently awarded pilot funding from UIC CCTS for his COVID project entitled, “Artificial Intelligence Modeling for COVID-19 Disease (AIMCOVID) to define COVID-19 clinical disease severity stages, improve clinical management decisions and develop a clinical outcome prediction model”

2018-2020 KL2 Scholar

portrait of doctor Bulman

Zackery P. Bulman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, UIC College of Pharmacy

Mentor: Alexander Mankin, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Biomolecular Sciences, UIC College of Pharmacy

Dr. Bulman investigates novel pharmacotherapeutic approaches that aim to overcome drug resistant bacteria and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Bulman was also recently awarded the Vahlteich Award from UIC College of Pharmacy this past June. His grant is entitled, “Tailor Made Antibiotic Combinations for Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae The goal of the project is to rationally optimize combinations with beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitors and aminoglycosides for carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae.

In 2020, Dr. Bulman received the UIC College of Pharmacy Hans W. Vahlteich Research Award.

portrait of doctor calip

Gregory Calip, PharmD

Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, Center Affiliate, Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, UI Cancer Center

Mentor: Edith Nutescu, PharmD, MS CTS, FCCP, UIC College of Pharmacy

Dr. Calip’s research focuses on the relationships between multiple myeloma (MM) and its treatment with risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and differences in risk by race as racial minorities are disproportionately affected by increased incidence, morbidity and mortality from various cancers in the United States (U.S.).

In 2020, Dr. Calip was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). In his tenure, he has over forty publications with 20 published with grant support from the KL2 program.

portrait of doctor Reed

David Reed, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology, UIC College of Dentistry

Mentor: Lyndon Cooper, DDS PhD, Professor, Oral Biology, College of Dentistry

Dr. Reed’s research project is to define key aspects of the mechanobiology of healthy and diseased mandibular chondrocytes and to evaluate if select pathways can be therapeutically targeted to attenuate the progression of temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ OA).

Dr. Reed was recently awarded his first NIH R56 grant entitled, “Cell-Matrix Regulation Of Fibrochondrocytes In TMJ OA”. This R56 defines how degradation of cartilage is communicated to the cell, how this process suppresses mechanisms that protect against cell death, and study how cell protection pathways can be promoted with monoclonal antibody therapy to attenuate the progression of TMJ arthritis.

portrait of doctor Lutz

Sarah Lutz, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, UIC College of Medicine

Mentor: Ernesto R. Bongarzone, PhD. Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Dr. Lutz’s research focuses on the better understanding the function and permeability of the blood brain barrier, in health and neuroinflammatory processes, particularly in multiple sclerosis. Her current project involves the regulation of the migration of Treg cells across the blood brain barrier by transcellular transcytosis.

In 2019, Dr. Lutz received a NHLBI supplement. Recent publications: