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May 24, 2023

iTHRIV Scholars to Target COVID, Lung Transplants, More

A collage of the latest iTHRIV Scholars

The integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV) is pleased to announce its seventh cohort for the iTHRIV Scholars Program. Five outstanding early career researchers from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic will participate in this two-year structured research training and mentorship program. 

  • Caitlyn Collins, PhD, from Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, will research “Development of strain-associated biomarkers for precision medicine in delayed fracture healing” and be mentored by Raffaella De Vita, PhD.
  • Lora Henderson Smith, PhD, MEd, from the University of Virginia’s Department of Human Services, will research “Leveraging data from mental health emergency department visits to inform an online, multi-part, mixed-reality training for school mental-health professionals” and be mentored by Catherine Bradshaw, PhD.
  • Jamie MacLeod, MD, from UVA Health’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine, will research “Biomolecular and clinical outcomes of FK-506 immunosuppression in lung transplantation” and be mentored by Michael Shim, MD.
  • Jennifer Sasson, MD, MS, from UVA Health’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health in the Department of Medicine, will research “Acute and long-term implications of IL-13 in COVID-19 associated hypoxic respiratory failure” and be mentored by William Petri, MD, PhD.
  • Mary Wesley, DrPH, MPH, from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Department of Health Systems and Implementation Science, will research “Facilitators and barriers of integrating community health workers (CHWs) into maternal and infant care for rural populations in Southwest Virginia” and be mentored by Kathy Hosig, PhD, MPH, RD.

The iTHRIV Scholars Program, launched in 2017, is a cohort-based, mentored career development award for dedicated early career clinical and translational researchers. The program emphasizes data science training and interdisciplinary research collaboration. 

iTHRIV Scholars dedicate 75% of their time to their research and career development. The program brings together training in clinical translational research, data science, team science and proposal development in a strong mentoring environment with support from peers and seasoned scientists and clinicians. 

“All of these newly appointed Scholars have a vision for truly impactful research that will significantly improve the lives of patients. The activities of the iTHRIV Scholars Program will help these faculty realize these visions and establish a foundation for sustained research careers in clinical translational science,” said Jason Papin, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Co-Director of the iTHRIV Scholars Program. (The Department of Biomedical Engineering is a joint venture of UVA’s School of Medicine and School of Engineering.)

“The entire iTHRIV partnership is excited to get to know this transdisciplinary cohort of Scholars so we can learn from one another and help advance important health-related discoveries,” said Leanna Blevins, Assistant Vice President for Virginia Tech Health Sciences Education and Student Affairs and the Site Director for the iTHRIV Scholars Program at Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic. 

The 2023 iTHRIV Scholars Program cohort begins its appointment in July and joins the 2022-2024 iTHRIV Scholars Program cohort

iTHRIV and the iTHRIV Scholars Program are supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, through awards UL1TR003015/KL2TR003016. For information, visit

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