Six Graduate Students Begin Penn State Translational Research Training Program

Image
Caption
Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute welcomes its new class of TL1 scholars. From left to right are Aarti Bhat, Rachael Bishop, Janhavi Damani, Sara Mills-Huffnagle, Makenzie Nolt and Zachary DiMattia.

PENN STATE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE INSTITUTE PROGRAM PROVIDES STUDENTS WITH KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ESSENTIAL FOR CONDUCTING INTERDISCIPLINARY TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH

Graduate students with varied research interests – including the impact of housing insecurity on biological health, the role of probiotic consumption on inflammation and traumatic brain injury recovery – have started a yearlong training program in clinical and translational sciences.

The TL1 Translational Research Training Program is offered by Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Graduate students in the TL1 program expand their major course of study by completing a dual-title doctorate in clinical and translational sciences or a graduate certificate in translational science. Medical students complete a master’s degree in public health or clinical research. TL1 program scholars are selected each year through a competitive application process.

The National Institutes of Health-funded program helps graduate and medical students to acquire the knowledge and skills essential for conducting interdisciplinary clinical and translational research. The flexible curriculum includes courses in statistics, epidemiology, clinical research methods, bioinformatics, research ethics and scientific communication combined with training in team-based research. TL1 scholars receive a 12-month stipend, 60% tuition (fall and spring semesters) and travel support.

Here are the TL1 program scholars for 2022-2023 and their research projects:

Arti Bhat is a doctoral candidate in the dual-title Human Development and Family Studies and Demography program at Penn State College of Health and Human Development. Bhat will investigate various types of Housing Insecurity (HI) experiences that can affect biological health in midlife and aging adulthood, the pathways that mediate the relationship between HI and health and how these HI events may differentially impact health among minoritized adults.

Rachael Bishop is a doctoral candidate in the Communication Arts and Sciences program at Penn State College of Liberal Arts. Bishop will examine the effects of minority stress and stigma on biopsychosocial well-being and the social and interpersonal conditions under which supportive communication protects against negative health outcomes.

Janhavi Damani is a doctoral candidate in the Integrative and Biomedical Physiology program at Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Damani will study the effect of dietary supplementation with prunes on immune outcomes in postmenopausal women.

Zachary DiMattia is a doctoral candidate in the Nutritional Sciences program at Penn State College of Health and Human Development. DiMattia will investigate the role of probiotic consumption on inflammation, intestinal permeability and gut microbial composition in older adults with obesity who are at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sara Mills-Huffnagle is a doctoral candidate in the dual-title Neuroscience and Clinical and Translational Sciences program at Penn State College of Medicine. Mills-Huffnagle will evaluate the impact of in utero heroin exposure and maternal intrathecal treatment with a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist on cognitive functioning in rat neonates.

Makenzie Nolt is a doctoral candidate in the dual-title Neuroscience and Clinical and Translational Sciences program at Penn State College of Medicine. Nolt’s research will focus on the impacts of the H63D mutation of the hemochromatosis gene HFE on glial cells and traumatic brain injury recovery.

CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 1: Train and Cultivate the Translational Science Workforce