Three KL2, VPCAT Scholars Honored at U of U Health Science’s Vitae
Dec 8, 2016 10:00 AM
Each year University of Utah Health Sciences features young investigators whose innovative research is making an impact. On Dec 8, three KL2 and VPCAT scholars were highlighted at this years’ event. Each gave engaging, lively presentations explaining their research and how their lives led them to where they are today.
Adam Bress, KL2 and CCTS scholar, Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences
“How do Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacogenetics Help Us Understand Health Disparities”
Personal Statement: Growing up in Baltimore with parents in health care, I saw what medicine could do, and the racial disparities that existed in health. I was formally trained as a cardiovascular clinical pharmacist and received additional research training in epidemiology, biostatistics and pharmacogenetics. With my love of science, data and genetics, I became a population scientist with a research portfolio motivated by social justice and focused on disparities in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. My lab uses pharmacoepidemiology (drug effects in populations) and population pharmacogenetics (genetic causes of variable drug effects) to understand the complex issues surrounding the social and genetic constructs of race and racial/ethnic differences in medication responses and outcomes. We apply these findings to understand the population-level impact, generalizability and cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular disease treatment in racially diverse groups.
Research Ambitions: To eliminate health disparities by precisely identifying the genetic and sociocultural aspects of race, making precision medicine more equitable and driving towards better population health.
Tracy Frech, KL2 scholar, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
“Adventure in Science”
Personal Statement: I am driven by the opportunity for team science, which can improve patient care and translational science discovery in rare disease. My research area is systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma). I chose this area because I was impressed during my fellowship training by how little we know about its pathogenesis and treatment. My research ambitions are to develop evidence based SSc treatment algorithms that focus on prevention and improving outcomes. I also would like to build the largest national registry for gastrointestinal samples for this disease. I believe this is possible with a fantastic collaborative team.
Research Ambitions: To develop evidence based SSc treatment algorithms that focus on prevention and improving outcomes.
Adam Spivak, KL2 and CCTS scholar, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
“Novel Approaches to Eradicate HIV”
Personal Statement: Combination antiretroviral therapy has transformed HIV infection from a progressive and lethal infection to a manageable chronic condition. As an HIV physician, I have the privilege to encounter patients with life-threatening immune deficiency and care for them as they regain their health. While these drug combinations represent a pioneering achievement for modern medicine, they are not curative. A tiny fraction of the virus is able to lie dormant in some of our most long-lived cells and persist despite ongoing treatment. My research focuses on ways to reawaken this persistent viral reservoir so that it can be recognized and targeted by the immune system. As a physician scientist, my career objective is to improve upon the management of HIV infection by exploring the nature of viral persistence and potential means to address it clinically.
Research Ambitions: I aim to identify novel means to reactivate the viral latent reservoir and engage the immune system in order to achieve a functional cure for HIV-infected patients.