Mario Acunzo, Ph.D., assistant professor of pulmonary disease and critical care medicine at VCU School of Medicine, will investigate the role of microRNA in lung cancer progression. In particular, he will focus on elucidating the role of post-transcriptional modifications as drivers of malignant progression. His line of investigation will integrate fundamental mechanisms of disease and biomarker discovery with a goal of informing diagnostic and therapeutic decision making.
“Being a KL2 scholar represents a great opportunity to advance my career as a researcher. The KL2 program is committed to helping young investigators reach independence. I look forward to having the protected time and support required to build a successful research program.”
Elizabeth Wolf, M.D., M.P.H, assistant professor of pediatrics at VCU School of Medicine, plans to identify the geographic and patient-level risk factors for inadequate prenatal care and well-child care in the Greater Richmond Region. She will partner with the VCU Center on Society and Health and Engaging Richmond to develop strategies to improve attendance of well-child and prenatal appointments and reduce health disparities for vulnerable women and children.
"The KL2 award will give me the skills I need to conduct this study and will support the growth of pediatric health services research at VCU. The grant will further my career development with my mentor, Dr. Alex Krist, in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health."
Guizhi Zhu, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutics at VCU School of Pharmacy and associate member of the VCU Massey Cancer Center, will spend his KL2 time as a Clinical Research KL2 Scholar developing next-generation nanomedicines for combination cancer immunotherapy. His overarching research interests include innovating nanomedicine and nucleic acid therapeutics for the immune engineering and immunotherapy of cancer and other immune disorders.
"I am honored to have been selected as a Clinical Research KL2 Scholar. The KL2 scholarship will be a great opportunity and encouragement for me to establish my independent research team, and eventually translate our research development from the bench to bedside."