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Utah StARR Scholar News: Archive

Scholar Highlight: Dr. Williams Published in Science Advances

Utah StARR scholar Dr. RJ Williams' manuscript, "Integration of population-level data sources into an individual-level clinical prediction model for dengue virus test positively," has been accepted for publication in Science Advances. This publication, like his prior manuscripts, focuses on infectious disease surveillance from a global health perspective. RJ is currently completing his fourth year as an Internal Medicine resident working under Dr. Daniel Leung. He plans to pursue a career in Infectious Disease working within the realm of global health and neglected tropical diseases, and to continue focusing on employing sero-surveillance and other location specific parameters to develop a clinical prediction model for Dengue Virus. The link to the manuscript will be made available within the next several weeks. In the meantime, view Dr. Williams’ ORCiD profile here:

Scholar Highlight: Dr. Olsen Accepted to ADA Scholars Program

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scholars Program is a career training program for early-career professionals who treat and/or research diabetes and its complications. Dr. Olsen shares on his UStARR scholar profile that, "As a person with type 1 diabetes, he has broad interests within both type 1 and type 2 diabetes research. His areas of focus have included diabetes genomics, beta-cell biology, novel therapeutics, management strategies, and clinical outcomes." During the course of a year, the ADA Scholars Program offers its participants practical guidance on career development, aids participants in networking and developing relationships with their peers in diabetes research, introduces them to senior leaders in the field, in-person programming training, and more. Utah StARR congratulates Dr. Olsen, and is excited to see how the ADA Scholars Program can further support his research goals.

Scholar Highlight: Dr. Vardell and Dr. Zheutlin Graduate UStARR

Utah StARR is pleased to announce the June 2023 graduation of two exceptional scholars: Dr. Victoria Vardell Dr. Alex Zheutlin have successfully completed their internal medicine residencies and the rigorous requirements of the StARR research training program. Dr. Vardell will remain in Salt Lake City as an incoming hematology-oncology fellow at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), where she plans to continue her work in epidemiological and outcomes research in Hematologic Malignancies. Dr. Zheutlin matched at his first-choice fellowship at the prestigious cardiology program at Northwestern University, where he will continue focusing on understanding barriers to appropriate cardiovascular risk-reducing care - particularly among vulnerable populations. Congratulations to both Dr. Vardell and Dr. Zheutlin. We are excited to see the bright future for the graduating scholars and wish them the best on the next step of their clinical research careers!

Scholar Highlight: UStARR Welcomes Our New Scholars

Utah StARR had an exceptional year for recruiting talented residents into the program. We would like to welcome Dr. Alex Kolomaya from Internal Medicine, Dr. Boomer Olsen, Dr. Meera Nagarajan from Pediatrics, Dr. Boomer Olsen from Internal Medicine, and Dr. Cecilia Peterson from Internal Medicine as our newest scholars! We were impressed with each of their research history and dedication to a career in academic medicine. For more information on our scholars, please visit the scholars page here:

Scholar Highlight: Alex Zheutlin First-Author on Statin Therapy

Dr. Alex Zheutlin is the first-author on a publication in the American Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The article, titled “Clinical encounter length and initiation of statin therapy for primary prevention among adults with elevated atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk,” found that only 53% of US adults ≥ 40 years with diabetes from 2015 to 2018 were on statin therapy despite over 90% having healthcare. This is significant, given that there are decades of evidence making the case that statin medication reduces the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Read Dr. Zheutlin’s publication here: 10.1016/j.ajpc.2022.100450

Mentor Highlight: Dr. Adam Bress Receives Mentoring Award

UStARR mentor Adam Bress, PharmD, MS has received the Department of Internal Medicine Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award. Recipients of this award must be nominated by PGY3 internal medicine residents and is selected based on their submitted comments. One such comment stated, "From the beginning of our relationship, Adam has helped to direct me to projects that were intersting and meaningful but would also allow me to develop skills working with different data sources and applied methodology." Congratulations Dr. Bress!

Scholar Highlight: Victoria Vardell Presents at ASH 2022

Dr. Victoria Vardell presented two oral presentation and one poster presentation at this year’s American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition. Her two oral presentations were titled “Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Overlap Syndromes: A National Analysis of Overall Survival and Demographic Features” ( and “T-Cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia: Trends in Overall Survival Demonstrate Marginal Improvement Over Time and Minimal Benefit with Currently Available Treatments” (

Scholar Highlight: Alex Zheutlin Accepts Cardiology Fellowship

Following a successful tenure as a Utah StARR resident investigator, Dr. Alex Zheutlin has accepted a fellowship position at the prestigious Northwestern University in Illinois. Northwestern’s three-year cardiology fellowship is considered one of the top training programs in the world. Dr. Zheutlin will begin this position in 2023 alongside 20 other fellows, where we expect his research career will continue to flourish. Congratulations, Dr. Zheultin!

Scholar Highlight: Victoria Vardell and Alex Zheutlin Present at IM Grand Rounds

Dr. Victoria Vardell and Dr. Alex Zheutlin presented at the University of Utah’s Internal Medicine Residency Program’s Ground Rounds on October 27 2022. The title of their discussion was “Future StARRS: Highlighting the Work of our Senior Residents in the Utah StARR Program” and they each presented their research interests in the context of the Utah StARR program.

Scholar Highlight: Kathleen Campbell Published in Cambridge University Press

Graduated UStARR scholar Dr. Kathleen Campbell and her coauthors were published by Cambridge University Press in July. The article discusses findings stemming from her R38 award and is titled, "Abnormal infant neurobehavior and later neurodevelopmental delays in children with critical CHD.” Her findings found that impaired infant attention may be a sensitive marker for later motor delay, which in turn is often an early symptom found in children who have critical congenital heart defects (CHD). Citation: Campbell, K., Malik, L., Jones, C., Ou, Z., Presson, A., Miller, T. A., Winter, S., & Glotzbach, K. (2022). Abnormal infant neurobehavior and later neurodevelopmental delays in children with critical CHD. Cardiol Young, 1–10. Epub 2022 July 14. PMID: 35833213.

Scholar Highlight: Victoria Vardell Receives Huntsman Pilot Project Award

Dr. Victoria Vardell has received the FY22 Hematologic Malignancies and Hematology Pilot Project Award to support her research project, "Cardiovascular Events in Multiple Myeloma: A Retrospective Review of the SEER-Medicare Claims Database." These awards are given with the goal of "promoting transdisciplinary, collaborative research that will impact our understanding, prevention, and/or treatment of hematology." Congratulations to Dr. Vardell and we look forward to the findings she uncovers during the course of her research.

Scholar Highlight: Lauren Gimbel graduates from Utah StARR June 2022

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Lauren Gimbel is our second Utah StARR scholar to graduate from the program. Lauren's research focus has been on maternal mental health outcomes, most recently examining maternal emotional dysregulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to Dr. Gimbel, and we are excited to see where her future clinical research takes her.

Scholar Highlight: Victoria Vardell Highlighted by UofU School of Medicine

Dr. Victoria Vardell was recently highlighted by the University of Utah's Department of Internal Medicine for her publication on the influence of race and ethnicity on leukemia survival. This report examined the largest cohort of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority CLL patients. As Dr. Vardell and her coauthors state in the background of the paper, “chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most prevalent adult leukemia and results in highly variable clinical outcomes. Epidemiologically, CLL occurs in White ethnicity more frequently and thus, CLL outcomes among underrepresented minorities are not well studied. We sought to examine differences in treatment patterns and survival outcomes based on racial identity of CLL patients and how these have changed over time.” Her work was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and can be found under the title “Influence of racial and ethnic identity on overall survival in patients with chronic lymphocytic lymphoma.”

Scholar Highlight: Alex Zheutlin Interviewed by Medscape Cardiology on Publication

Dr. Alex Zheutlin was interviewed by Medscape Cardiology to discuss his publication in JAMA Network Open: "Analysis of Therapeutic Inertia and Race and Ethnicity in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial". Dr. Zheutlin stated in the interview that, "overall, we found that therapeutic inertia was similar in different races in the SPRINT trial. We did not see disparities that have been reported in previous observational studies... These results show that a well-resourced approach in which a standardized approach to blood pressure measurement and treatment intensification is followed can overcome the racial disparity that is seen in therapeutic inertia and the treatment of blood pressure." Dr. Zheutlin’s research interests involve improving cardiovascular outcomes using prediction modeling incorporating environment, genomic, and clinical data. He has been an exemplary participant in the Utah StARR program, and the program directors have been thrilled with his drive and consistent work. Congratulations Dr. Zheutlin!

Scholar Highlight: Kathleen Campbell is the first Utah StARR Graduate June 2021

The Utah StARR team is pleased to announce Dr. Kathleen Campbell as the first scholar to complete the Utah StARR Program. Dr. Campbell was awarded a Developmental Pediatrics Fellowship with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Campbell's final year in the Utah StARR Program focused on completing her StARR research blocks, publishing multiple papers, and research projects. Dr. Campbell was awarded "Best Trainee Poster" for her submission to the 9th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopment Outcome Collaborative. Dr. Kola Okuyemi and Dr. Molly Conroy are proud of the exemplary work and relationships created by Dr. Campbell during her time within the Utah StARR Program. The Utah StARR team looks forward to watching Dr. Campbell's progress in the next chapter of her research-investigator career!

Scholar Highlight: Alex Zheutlin First-Author on Lipid-Lowering Therapy Publication

Dr. Alex Zheutlin is the first-author on a publication titled “Lipid-Lowering Therapy Use and Intensification Among United States Veterans Following Myocardial Infarction or Coronary Revascularization Between 2015 and 2019.” The manuscript was published on October 14, 2022 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, and found that “less than half of veterans received lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) intensification in the year after MI or coronary revascularization suggesting a missed opportunity to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk.” DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.121.008861