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YCCI Society of Mentors

Scholars in YCCI’s educational programs are mentored and monitored by one or more senior faculty members from their department. In addition to these primary mentors, each Scholar is guided by a Career Development Committee. These mentors are senior faculty members from various departments who provide an unbiased perspective on Scholars’ progress and career development and make suggestions about future directions for both research and grant proposals. This integrated program led by an interdisciplinary team of mentors provides scholars with a significantly broader grounding in the essential elements of clinical and translational research. Scholars meet with their committee at least twice a year and committee members also attend Research in Progress meetings at which Scholars present their research.

Members of each committee are chosen based on the breadth, depth, and quality of their clinical and translational research, on their track records in mentoring young scientists, and on their shared commitment to developing an exciting intellectual environment for YCCI trainees. We are fortunate in having a very large pool of senior faculty members who are outstanding investigators in all types of clinical and translational science and who also are experienced mentors. Faculty members shown below are available to serve in the role of Career Development Mentors for our YCCI Scholars.

  • Robert Sherwin

    C.N.H. Long Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine (Endocrinology)

    YCCI Director

    While most people move from the bench to the bedside during the course of their research careers, Robert Sherwin, MD, did just the opposite.

    In 1979, he and William Tamborlane, MD, devised a method of delivering insulin to children with Type 1 diabetes that more closely resembled how the pancreas produces it. Their study resulted in the development of the insulin pump, which is now used by hundreds of thousands of patients. This clinical research project also paved the way for the NIH-funded Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a landmark study which showed that treatment slows the onset and progression of diabetes-related complications.

    A concern about the long term consequences of repeated episodes of hypoglycemia led him to the lab, where he worked with rodents to better understand the brain’s response to low levels of glucose. His research began to shed light on how the hypothalamus activated the counterregulatory response in hypoglycemic animals. In the lab, Dr. Sherwin also helped to develop a mouse model of Type 1 diabetes that shares features of the human immune system to study how the disease triggers the autoimmune response.

    During the last decade, Dr. Sherwin has used cutting-edge imaging advances to move back to human studies to explore how to protect the brain better from hypoglycemia in Type 1 diabetes patients and also to understand feeding behavior in Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Working with a diverse group of researchers—from psychiatrists to pediatricians—his research has revealed dramatic differences between the brain responses of lean and obese children.

    As a seasoned researcher with over 35 years of continuous NIH support, Dr. Sherwin is uniquely qualified to serve as director of YCCI and PI of the CTSA. Because his work spans both clinical and basic science, he is well aware of the need to provide an infrastructure that affords the flexibility to support researchers whether their studies take place in the lab, the clinic, or the community. His commitment to ensuring that YCCI provides support services that span the entire life of research studies is fueled by a conviction that successful research requires a collaborative team effort.

    Having mentored over 100 young investigators, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their fields, Dr. Sherwin is especially passionate about investing in the careers of tomorrow’s researchers. “I feel that we can have a real impact by directly providing mentorship and an environment where people can transition from being a clinician to being a clinician researcher,” he said.

    The enthusiasm with which Dr. Sherwin pursues his own work serves as an inspiration to his younger colleagues. “There are enough questions to answer,” he said. “For me, the most important thing is to get excited about what you’re doing.”

  • Marcella Nunez-Smith

    Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); Director, Equity Research and Innovation Center; Director, Center for Research Engagement; Core Faculty, National Clinician Scholars Program; Deputy Director of Health Equity Research and Workforce Development, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Director, Yale-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship

    Deputy Director of Health Equity Research and Workforce Development

    Growing up in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, a health professional shortage area, Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, remembers countless stories of loved ones and members of her community who struggled with their health or died prematurely. That experience led her to pursue a career in medicine and conduct research that focuses on vulnerable populations and their interactions with healthcare systems.

    Ever since her arrival at Yale as a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program (CSP), Dr. Nunez-Smith has been on a mission to develop ways of addressing health and healthcare inequities wherever they are found: in patient settings, in the healthcare workforce, and in medical education. As a 2006 YCCI Scholar, she gathered preliminary data for what is now known as PreDict (Patient-Reported Experiences of Discrimination in Care Tool). PreDict is a tool that assesses the patient care experience and measures hospital performance with the goal of improving the quality of care delivery. “The Scholar award was tremendously helpful because it allowed me to launch a line of inquiry that was new and then provided me with the resources to complete the preliminary work that allowed us to be competitive for major NIH grants,” she said.

    Dr. Nunez-Smith went on to develop the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN), a collaborative multi-million dollar research study funded by the National Institute for Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD). ECHORN examines the risk factors and prevalence of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease in the Eastern Caribbean, a region for which such data are lacking.

    Both ECHORN and PreDict – which has spurred several related projects undertaken by her mentees – are now incorporated into the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), for which Dr. Nunez-Smith serves as director. ERIC builds on the local, national, and global experience of Dr. Nunez-Smith and 60 team members that are involved in research aimed at narrowing health and healthcare inequities, as well as disparities in the healthcare workforce and medical education.

    As a former YCCI Scholar, Dr. Nunez-Smith appreciates the benefits of mentorship and serves as academic advisor to Yale School of Medicine students. She also continues her involvement with the CSP as a core faculty member of the Scholars Program and co-director of Community Research Initiatives. “I’m working towards synergy across all of these programs so they’re not siloed,” she said. “The idea is to think about core elements of knowledge for our faculty for population health and health equity and engage stakeholders in our work.”

  • Melinda Irwin

    Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); Associate Cancer Center Director (Population Sciences), Yale Cancer Center; Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, Yale Cancer Center; Deputy Director (Public Health), Yale Center for Clinical Investigation

    Deputy Director

    An athlete her entire life, Melinda Irwin, PhD, MPH, originally planned on specializing in orthopedics. But college courses in exercise physiology, nutrition and human anatomy led her to shift gears to public health. She ultimately decided to pursue a PhD, rather than an MD, in order to explore the connection between lifestyle factors and chronic disease.

    Since joining Yale in 2001, Dr. Irwin has concentrated on the role of lifestyle behaviors in cancer prevention and prognosis.

    This is increasingly relevant for breast cancer – the focus of much of her work - since mortality has decreased during the past two decades but survivors are at risk for recurrence and debilitating side effects due to treatment. Her work has shown that

    even after women have been diagnosed with breast cancer, they can substantially lower the risk of both recurrence and mortality by exercising. This holds true even for women who don’t become physically active until after their diagnosis.

    She has expanded her research into other cancers, showing that a moderate-intensity walking program improved physical functioning and reduced cancer-related fatigue in patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Dr. Irwin, who considers herself a biobehavioral researcher, is also examining the effect of exercise and weight loss on cancer biomarkers, showing that weight loss decreased C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation related to cancer. Her current research interests are focused on examining whether lifestyle behaviors also indirectly improve survival via improvements in medication adherence.

    “Given the improvement in treatment for many diseases, especially cancer, some people have a window of opportunity to change their lifestyle,” she said. “Others may already be living a healthy lifestyle but have difficulty maintaining it because of treatment, so we need to help them do that.”

    Dr. Irwin hopes that this line of research will lead to incorporating weight management and exercise management into the clinic as part of reimbursable cancer care, in much the same way that cardiac rehabilitation is now standard of care.

    Dr. Irwin is interested in the effects of exercise on other chronic diseases and is excited about her role at YCCI, which is allowing her to collaborate with faculty across the Yale campus. She is focusing on creating efficiencies between centers and expanding resources and opportunities for public health and population science research. She is equally eager to foster opportunities for junior faculty and feels better equipped to mentor younger colleagues after taking YCCI’s course on mentoring.

    “I hope to be able to give back in terms of more collaborations, synergies, efficiencies, and training opportunities,” she said.

  • Patrick O'Connor

    Dan Adams and Amanda Adams Professor of General Medicine; Chief, General Internal Medicine

    Chief of General Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine at Yale, Dr. O'Connor's research has focused on the interface between primary care and substance abuse, resulting in nearly 200 scientific papers. His work has been published in leading medical journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, The Archives of Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Medicine, The Journal of General Internal Medicine, as well as in a number of substance abuse specialty journals.

    Dr. O’Connor has recruited and mentored a number of highly skilled clinical investigators (his faculty included 17 alumni of the RWJ Clinical Scholars Program) who are conducting groundbreaking work in clinical epidemiology, health services research, outcomes research and clinical effectiveness as well as focusing on chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart failure, cancer and substance abuse. Beginning with the recruitment and mentoring of Dr. D. Fiellin, and followed by the recruitment and mentoring of Drs. Justice, L Fiellin, and three new junior faculty—Drs. Tetrault, Becker and Edelman, Dr. O'Connor has built one of the most accomplished internal medicine-based substance abuse research programs in the United States.

    The research portfolio of this investigative group includes topics at the core of the Yale DAHRS program related to opioid dependence, alcohol use disorders, and the overlap between addiction and chronic pain. Dr. O’Connor’s accomplishments as a mentor and academic leader have been recognized by his receipt of two major national mentorship and leadership awards, one from the Association for Medical Education and Research on Substance Abuse (2005) and the other by The Society of General Internal Medicine (2007).

    During his tenure as Section Chief, Dr. O’Connor has successfully recruited a number of female faculty as well as faculty from underrepresented minority groups. He has built an internal medicine-based program focusing on research and education in substance abuse that includes several research staff and seven full-time faculty. Three of the senior faculty have held grants funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. O’Connor is the recipient of an R25 grant, Advancing Clinical Research Training Within Addiction Residency Programs, serving as MPI with Dr. Jeffery Samet.

    Dr. O’Connor has been the Principal Investigator on a number of research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health that explore topics at the core of the Yale-DAHRS program. Topics include:

    1. Integration of primary care and drug abuse treatment services
    2. Strategies for primary care-based opioid detoxification and opioid maintenance treatment
    3. Strategies for treating alcohol dependence in primary care settings
    4. Medical education about substance abuse

    Dr. O’Connor has been a highly active mentor and teacher in general internal medicine and specifically within the field of substance abuse. In recognition of his attributes as a mentor he received the Excellence in Mentorship award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) in 2005 and the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM)/Association of Chiefs & Leaders of General Internal Medicine (ACGIM) Chief’s Award in 2007.

    As Chief of General Internal Medicine (GIM) at Yale, he has transformed the program into the foremost GIM Section in the United States. He is the past President of AMERSA and is President-elect of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM).

  • Rajita Sinha

    Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Co-director of Education, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation

    Deputy Director for Interdisciplinary Research

    Rajita Sinha, PhD, has been fascinated by emotions since her youth, when she studied Indian classical dance, a disciplined practice filled with emotional expression. She later studied biological psychology and the physiological manifestations of emotion, working with addicts and people with psychiatric disorders. She was intrigued by brain mechanisms underlying stress, cravings and addiction. “The abundance of choices available in the world, and easy access to commodities, including highly palatable foods and drugs, challenges the body’s motivational systems in novel ways,” she said.

    Today, Dr. Sinha is internationally known for her pioneering research on the neural and biobehavioral mechanisms linking stress to addiction. She directs the Yale Stress Center, which was started with one of the largest interdisciplinary Consortium grants from the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of stress and self control effects on addictive behaviors and chronic disease. The collaborative research conducted at the Yale Stress Center by Dr. Sinha and other scientists includes the disciplines of neuroscience, genetics, psychiatry, basic neurobiology, diagnostic radiology, endocrinology, epidemiology and public health and clinical and behavioral outcomes. The Center is also developing and testing interventions to reverse the toxic effects of stress and loss of self control that drive addictive behaviors such as nicotine dependence, excessive alcohol use and overeating of comfort foods. Dr. Sinha is also examining the role of long-term stress and repeated stress exposures in alcohol and substance dependence to develop new therapies to reduce compulsive motivation for alcohol and drugs of abuse.

    Dr. Sinha’s work has shown that addiction itself debilitates the ability to handle stress, which has led her to conduct studies on medications to strengthen the brain circuitry involved in the ability to regulate emotions and cravings. Recognizing a reward/motivation component is obesity and food cravings, she is also conducting research in this area.

    Stress and addictions are major risk factors for cancer and chronic diseases, prompting Dr. Sinha to explore the biological underpinnings of these relationships. “We tend to divide up the body but that’s not how all diseases work,” she said. “What’s breaking the back of health care are the chronic diseases, which often occur in twos, threes, and fours. The challenge is in identifying the major risk factors and starting to address those, which allows us to think more broadly about these diseases.”

    In her interdisciplinary approach, Dr. Sinha utilizes neuroendocrine, physiological, neuroimaging, behavioral, neurocognitive, and clinical outcome approaches to explore stress and addiction interactions and their effect on chronic disease and health outcomes. She has also developed a clinical research core focused on developing large scale data sets to study genetic and environmental interactions that affect the risk of developing addictions and chronic disease. She brings her interdisciplinary focus to her mentees and her leadership role in YCCI, and the most important beneficiaries of this approach are the patients whose health is positively impacted by her work.

  • Kevan Herold

    C.N.H. Long Professor of Immunobiology and of Medicine (Endocrinology)

    Deputy Director

    As a researcher who does both basic science and clinical research, Kevan Herold, MD, is ideally positioned to engage the basic science community in translational research that benefits patients.

    After spending 20 years doing research and teaching at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, Dr. Herold joined Yale in 2006 as the first recruit of the Human and Translational Immunology (HIT) program. He is widely recognized for his work on anti-CD3, a monoclonal antibody that quiets the T cells responsible for destroying insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Starting in preclinical models and moving to investigations in humanized mice, Dr. Herold and his collaborators found that anti-CD3 induced T cells to migrate from the circulatory and lymph systems to the small intestine, where they produced the anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10. When the cells returned to circulation, they had become regulators of the immune response that play a role in arresting the destruction of beta cells.

    He has translated this work to clinical trials in patients, where he has shown that anti-CD3 has a significant effect on preserving insulin production in patients with new onset Type 1 diabetes. He also developed a novel assay to measure beta cell death by determining the level of insulin DNA in the blood that contains epigenetic markers that identify it as being of beta cell origin. He most recently used this assay in subjects at risk for Type 1 diabetes that has challenged previous notions of disease mechanisms.

    Dr. Herold serves as director of the TrialNet Center at Yale, part of a consortium that conducts clinical trials to prevent Type 1 diabetes in those who are at high risk of developing the disease and treat newly diagnosed patients. Relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes have a 10 to 15 times greater risk for developing the disease than people with no family history. Family members are screened for diabetes-related antibodies; those who test positive can participate in studies designed to test medications – including an unprecedented multicenter trial with anti-CD3 - to prevent the disease from occurring. Dr Herold is also collaborating on studies to identify biomarkers in at-risk patients who progress to Type 1 diabetes.

    The treatments Dr. Herold is developing may have an impact on the lives of people who haven’t yet developed diabetes or aren’t aware they are at risk for developing it. “These are the people we’ll ultimately be able to help and that’s quite a strong motivation,” he said.

    In his role as YCCI’s deputy director, Dr. Herold has been instrumental in developing the Immune Monitoring Core and establishing a centralized biorepository for storing and tracking samples that is linked to Yale’s clinical research management system. “The depth it adds to the research is phenomenal,” he said.

  • Margaret Grey

    Annie Goodrich Professor of Nursing; Deputy Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Professor of Pediatrics (secondary)

    Deputy Director

    As a pediatric nurse practitioner, Margaret Grey, DrPH, RN, FAAN, is well aware of the toll that chronic illness takes on young patients. That’s why she has pursued research that aims to improve the lives of children with type 1 diabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes in high-risk children and adolescents.

    Dr. Grey’s research on coping skills training for teenagers with type 1 diabetes showed that it helps these young patients better control their blood sugar, which translates into reduced long-term complications. Leveraging teenagers’ interest in technology, she adapted this innovative program for the Internet and has also used it to study prevention of Type 2 diabetes in teens. She envisions a growing role for mobile technologies in helping patients manage and prevent other chronic diseases as well.

    Combined with her role in the development of practice-based research networks in nursing, Dr. Grey’s experience in community-engaged research make her ideally suited for her role as Deputy Director of YCCI and director of the Community Research Core. “All research ought to have a piece of community engagement,” she said, adding that community-engaged research may not necessarily happen in the community.

    It should, however, involve the community and address the concerns of its members. Dr. Grey and her team work closely with members of the New Haven community through the Cultural Ambassadors program, a group whose participation she considers to be integral to boosting community-engaged research and translation of findings within the community. She has also established ties with New Haven’s Mayor’s office and has created working groups with basic and clinical scientists, clinicians in the community, and community members to strategize research opportunities in areas that matter to New Haven’s residents.

    Her commitment to strengthening Yale’s community-engaged research activities is evident in her emphasis to train young investigators in this type of research. As director of the Community Research Core, she has provided opportunities for them to develop projects and obtain pilot funding. She believes that mentoring junior faculty members “assures the future of science,” and has mentored more than 100 trainees during her academic career.

    Dr. Grey notes that community-engaged research is interdisciplinary in nature and she has sought to leverage the expertise available at Yale by including leadership for the Community Research Core from across the medical campus. “I believe that by bringing together scientists from a multitude of disciplines with clinicians in our community health centers and community members, we can adapt innovative approaches,” she said. “Ultimately the collaborative work between the community and YCCI changes health in the area.”

  • Richard Bucala

    Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology) and Professor of Pathology and of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Chief, Rheumatology, Allergy, & Immunology

    Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Epidemiology & Public Health.  He studies the mechanisms by which protective immune responses lead to immunopathology, focusing on MIF-family cytokines and their genetics, which his group first cloned and characterized experimentally.  Currently, his laboratory is leading multidisciplinary efforts to develop immunotherapies tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup. An anti-MIF antibody developed by the group is undergoing clinical testing in oncology, and an anti-MIF receptor antibody, recently FDA approved, is under evaluation in SLE. Dr. Bucala also is credited with the discovery of the fibrocyte, which is being targeted therapeutically in different fibrosing disorders.  He is a co-founder of Cytokine Networks and of MIFCOR, a biotechnology startup begun as a student-advised project.  Dr. Bucala was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Arthritis & Rheumatology and has served on numerous advisory boards for the NIH, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and private foundations.

  • Sonia Caprio

    Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology)

    Pediatric endocrinologist Sonia Caprio, MD, recalls a time when obesity was so rare in children that they didn’t get type 2 diabetes, which was referred to as “adult onset diabetes.” Today, pediatric obesity has escalated to epidemic proportions and type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise.

    Dr. Caprio’s research focuses on the pathophysiology of juvenile obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as its treatment. To combat obesity, she worked with registered dietician Mary Savoye, on a study to develop Bright Bodies, a weight management program for children that uses education, exercise and lifestyle modification. Today, hundreds of children are enrolled in Bright Bodies and it is “the pearl of our clinical work,” according to Dr. Caprio, professor of pediatrics (endocrinology).

    Yale was one of the first centers to point out the issue of pre-diabetes, which led to two major studies funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Youth (TODAY) examined different treatments for type 2 diabetes in adolescents and showed that these young patients have more rapidly progressive disease than those who are diagnosed as adults.

    The Restoring Insulin Secretion (RISE) study, for which Yale is one of only three participating centers in the country, also involves adolescents with pre- and early type 2 diabetes. RISE aims to prevent full blown diabetes in these patients by testing a new approach - insulin followed by metformin - compared to metformin alone. “The rational for using insulin for pre-diabetes is that by diminishing the level of glucose toxicity we may be able to prevent further beta cell loss,” said Dr. Caprio.

    She is conducting a study in the Hospital Research Unit with Robert Sherwin, MD, and Rajita Sinha, PhD, using functional MRI to study the effect of glucose and fructose on the brains of adolescents, who are the major consumers of soda in the U.S.

    She is also working with Savoye on a study to reduce fat content in the liver - a precursor to diabetes - by increasing the content of omega fatty acids in the diet. This study utilizes the CTSA-supported metabolic kitchen to prepare meals and the Church Street Research Unit (CSRU), YCCI’s outpatient research facility, to conduct oral glucose tolerance testing.For the past decade, she has been using the CSRU to test children for diabetes or pre-diabetes. In fact, it’s the first stop for every patient in every study she does.“Without that, we can’t determine the next study to do on the child,” she said. “The CTSA is my second home.”

  • Sarwat Chaudhry

    Associate Professor of Medicine (General Medicine); Co-Director, National Clinician Scholars Program; Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, Dean’s Faculty Advisory Council

    Sarwat Chaudhry, MD is a board-certified internist who completed her clinical training at the University of Chicago. She came to Yale for the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and now holds a faculty position as Associate Professor of Medicine in the Section of General Medicine. Her work focuses on improving the care and outcomes of hospitalized patients, with a focus on older patients hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Chaudhry serves as Director of the Academic Hospitalist Program at Yale and she founded the Center for Healthcare Innovation, Redesign, and Learning at Yale. This Center, originally funded by AHRQ, is studying and improving care in the hospital setting. In March 2019 she was appointed Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Dean’s Faculty Advisory Council.  

  • Paul D Cleary

    Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) and Professor of Sociology and in the Institute for Social and Policy Studies; Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA)

    Paul D. Cleary, Ph.D. is the Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He served as Dean of the Yale School of Public Health from 2006 to 2017. He holds secondary positions as Professor of Sociology and in the Institute for Social and Institute for Social and Policy Studies. He directs the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), which provides infrastructure support to over 50 research and training grants and over 180 affiliated scientists and community members.

    Dr. Cleary received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin. His earliest work focused on studies of health behavior. He conducted theoretical and empirical research on smoking as well as patients’ perceptions and responses to physical symptoms and factors affecting use of medical care. He also studied the recognition and management of conditions such as mental illness, alcohol abuse and functional impairment in primary care settings.

    For more than 20 years, Dr. Cleary has been actively involved in research focused on persons infected with HIV. Since early in his career, he has investigated the ways in which infection affects people’s lives and the factors affecting the quality of medical care for infected persons. He led a key component of the HIV Costs and Services Utilization Study (HSCUS), in which his team investigated the physician and clinic characteristics that predict the quality of care that patients receive. He also conducted a major national evaluation of a quality improvement program in HIV clinics funded by the Ryan White Care Act.

    He has studied how organizational characteristics affect the costs and quality of care for persons with AIDS; evaluated a national continuous quality improvement initiative in clinics providing care to HIV infected individuals; and studied the long-term impact of patient-centered hospital care. He is Principal Investigator of one of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) projects funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop information gathering surveys for consumers regarding their health plans and services. He also is Principal Investigator and Director of the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). He has published more than 300 journal articles describing his research.

    Dr. Cleary has been a member of the Academy of Medicine (AOM) since 1994 and served as Chair of two AOM Committees: the Committee on the Ryan White CARE Act: Data for Resource Allocation, Planning and Evaluation in 2002-2003, and the Committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care from 2010 to 2011. He has also been a member of the Connecticut Academy for Science and Engineering since 2007. In 1996, he was selected as a distinguished fellow of the Association for Health Services Research, and in 2002, received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy. In 2010, Dr. Cleary was awarded the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care by the Picker Institute.  In 2018, he received the L:eo G. Reeder Award for Distinguished Contributions to Medical Sociology.

    From 2005 to 2016 Dr. Cleary chaired the National Advisory Committee for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program. He has served as editor of The Milbank Quarterly, associate editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, consulting editor of the Journal of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, and an editorial board member of The Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine and the Advanced Handbook of Methods in Evidence Based Health Care.

  • Gail D'Onofrio

    Professor of Emergency Medicine; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine

    “Academic faculty members need to be very proactive in their career trajectory,” said Gail D’Onofrio, MD, MS. “They need someone to help them navigate the academic waters. It’s an active process.”

    Dr. D’Onofrio has extensive experience mentoring dozens of young investigators from multiple disciplines at Yale and other institutions. She is Co-PI with Patrick O’Connor, MD, on a training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to train Fellows from such fields as emergency medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics to become independent investigators focusing on drug use, addiction, and HIV prevention in general medical settings. She also leads grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to train primary care residents and students in the professions of medicine, nursing, social work, and counseling. Her mentees include researchers from fellow-CTSA sites like New York University and the University of North Carolina.

    As a mentor, Dr. D’Onofrio has a hands-on approach in helping junior colleagues align their interests with fundable research proposals; write grants; establish a professional network at Yale and in the wider community; and balance professional activities with scholarship.

    Dr. D’Onofrio is a national expert on heart disease in women and internationally known for her work in screening emergency department patients for alcohol and other drug use. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was the first-known randomized trial comparing three treatment strategies for opioid-dependent patients receiving emergency care. Eighty percent of those treated with buprenorphine in the emergency department were engaged in treatment 30 days later and were less likely to use illicit opioids. Dr. D’Onofrio, co-PI David Fiellin, MD, and other colleagues are currently developing plans to expand this treatment model to multiple sites.

    Dr. D’Onofrio is committed to expanding the cadre of clinical researchers at Yale University. Working with Yale-New Haven Hospital—the fourth largest hospital in the United States—she said “we have the opportunity to enroll patients with a wide range of diseases and to work with community and outreach programs to improve the health of the public. Centralized CTSA-supported resources are critical to these efforts.”

  • Pietro De Camilli

    John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Cell Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Chair, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Kavli Institute for Neuroscience and Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR)

    A native of Italy, De Camilli studied at the Liceo Manzoni in Milan, earned his M.D. degree from the University of Milano in 1972 and obtained a postgraduate degree in medical endocrinology from the University of Pavia in Italy. He was a postdoctoral fellow (1978-79) with Paul Greengard in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale, and subsequently an assistant professor in the Yale Section of Cell Biology. Following a return of a few years to Milan, he moved back to Yale in the late 1980s, where he is now John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience. He became an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1992. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and since 2005 he is Founding Director of the Yale Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair. Since 2015, he serves as Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience.

    The De Camilli lab is interested in the cell biology of neuronal synapses. His studies on synaptic vesicle dynamics have contributed to the general fields of exocytosis and endocytosis. His research has provided insight into mechanisms of membrane fission and has revealed ways through which membrane-associated proteins can generate, sense and stabilize lipid bilayer curvature. His discovery and characterization of the role of phosphoinositide metabolism in the control of endocytosis have broad implications in the fields of phospholipid signaling and of membrane traffic. Building on this work, he has recently become interested in the role of membrane contact sites in the control of the homeostasis of bilayer lipids. His studies of synapses have also contributed to the elucidation of pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases. 

  • James Duncan

    Ebenezer K. Hunt Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering; Vice Chair, Bioimaging Sciences in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology

    James Duncan, the Ebenezer K. Hunt Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has focused his research and teaching in the areas of biomedical image processing and analysis.

    Duncan, who holds joint appointments in diagnostic radiology and electrical engineering, is the associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering as well as the vice-chair for bioimaging sciences research in diagnostic radiology. He is particularly interested in the use of model-based mathematical strategies for the analysis of biomedical images. He helped pioneer the use of geometrical models for segmenting deformable (typically anatomical) objects of approximately known shape and for tracking certain forms of non-rigid object motion, and later soft tissue deformation, most notably that of the heart.

    Duncan and his research team performed seminal work starting in 1987 on the use of parameterized global shape models to incorporate a notion of known prior object shape into the segmentation process using a Bayesian reasoning strategy, helping lead the way towards the use of strategies for automatically finding certain known anatomical structure from any of a variety of medical (e.g. computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound) and biological (e.g. confocal microscopy) images.

    The strategies he developed have resulted in major advances in bioimaging. He and his research collaborators have applied these strategies to locate the cortical gray matter layer and a variety of co-localized subcortical gray matter structures in the brain as well as to locate the structure near the prostate gland. More recently, Duncan’s team has begun to show that these same techniques will be useful for estimating gray matter-constrained activations from functional MRI data and could help guide the recovery of quantitative biochemical information from MR spectroscopy.

    Beginning in the late 1980s, Duncan also pioneered using shape features on the inner and outer surfaces of the heart wall as material tags for tracking left ventricular motion. This technique was successfully applied to other non-rigid tracking problems in cell biology and became the basis for a variety of efforts internationally. Duncan and his research team used this strategy for more sophisticated analysis in echocardiography. The team’s approach is now recognized in the medical-image-analysis community as among the first to incorporate true physical models into image analysis strategies and has helped develop a more general area of physical/biomechanical model-based re covery of both structural and functional information from biomedical images. Duncan’s laboratory has also developed initial forms of these techniques to estimate brain shift during epilepsy neurosurgery and guide fractionated prostate radiotherapy, among other uses. His work has resulted in three U.S. patents.

    Duncan is the principal investigator of major research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Before coming to Yale in 1983, he worked for Hughes Aircraft Company. He holds a B.S.E.E. from Lafayette College, an M.S. from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

    Duncan is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is president of the International Society for Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention and is a member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the I.E.E.E. Computer Society, among other professional organizations.

  • Mark Gerstein

    Albert L Williams Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, of Computer Science, and of Statistics & Data Science

    After graduating from Harvard with a A.B. in physics in 1989, Prof. Mark Gerstein earned a doctorate in theoretical chemistry and biophysics from Cambridge University in 1993. He did postdoctoral research in bioinformatics at Stanford University from 1993 to 1996. He came to Yale in 1997 as an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and since 1999, in the Computer Science Department. He was named an associate professor in 2001, and the following year became co-director of the Yale Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Program. Gerstein has published appreciably in the scientific literature, with >400 publications in total, including a number of them in prominent venues, such as Science, Nature, and Scientific American. His research is focused on bioinformatics, and he is particularly interested in data science & data mining, macromolecular geometry & simulation, human genome annotation & disease genomics, and genomic privacy. 

  • Thomas M. Gill

    Humana Foundation Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics) and Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Investigative Medicine; Director, Yale Program on Aging; Director, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center; Director, Yale Center for Disability and Disabling Disorders; Director, Yale Training Program in Geriatric Clinical Epidemiology and Aging-Related Research

    As increasingly more people live active lives well into their seventies, eighties, and beyond, geriatric physicians are charged with helping their elderly patients live not only longer, but healthier lives. In his research and clinical practice, Thomas Gill, MD, Director of the Yale Program on Aging, addresses this challenge by drawing upon the wealth of knowledge from his clinical practice to inform his research.

    Dr. Gill’s research focuses on the mechanisms of the aging process and the impact of the inevitable decline in function - and the increase in disability - in older patients. His ongoing study, the Yale Precipitating Events Project, which began in 1998, has been closely monitoring a large cohort of elderly patients over more than 20 years, and has shed new light on the resiliency of older people to recover from debilitating events that can frequently occur during daily life. The study has changed how both family and professional caregivers view disability in the elderly, and how to manage it. An earlier clinical trial led by Dr. Gill showed that home-based physical therapy, or “prehabilitation,” is an effective strategy for preventing injury and stopping the effects of decline before they start. Dr. Gill is currently leading a large multi-site clinical trial that is evaluating the effectiveness of an evidence-based intervention to reduce the risk of serious fall injuries among vulnerable older persons.

    As a clinician, Dr. Gill, who began his career at Yale as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar in 1991, sees the results of his research play out in the lives of the patients he treats, and finds new questions to ask as well. To him, research and clinical training go hand in hand. He encourages his clinically trained mentees to “take advantage of their clinical knowledge and experience when framing their research questions and hypotheses,” in order to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields.

  • Peter M. Glazer

    Robert E. Hunter Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Professor of Genetics; Chair, Department of Therapeutic Radiology

    Radiation oncologist Peter M. Glazer, MD, PhD, is the chair of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology. He has dedicated his career to helping cancer patients receive the highest quality of care available in a supportive environment.

    “When patients are undergoing radiotherapy for cancer, it can be a sensitive and challenging time for them and their families,” he says. “Our team does everything possible to keep our patients safe and comfortable throughout treatment.” 

    Dr. Glazer makes it his priority to provide patients seeking care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and its Care Centers with the most advanced technologies and evidence-based treatments. “We take great pride in giving our physicians the best tools to treat cancer,” he says.

    As a professor of both therapeutic radiology and genetics at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Glazer researches new therapeutic strategies for treating cancer and the role of altered DNA repair in tumor progression. His research was recently recognized by the National Cancer Institute of the NIH with a prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award of $7 million that will support his efforts to develop novel DNA repair inhibitors for cancer therapy.

  • Cary Gross

    Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); Director, National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale

    “Remember what you are striving to accomplish as a researcher,” Cary Gross, MD, tells his mentees. “We are not simply trying to generate new knowledge, we are trying to generate knowledge that is relevant, and can eventually help people.” As a physician, researcher, and mentor, Dr. Gross is focused on easing the leap from the lab to real-world patient care.

    In his outcomes research, Dr. Gross examines the disconnect between evidence produced by clinical trials, and the experiences and needs of patients and populations. He has received NIH-funded grants to explore barriers to clinical trial enrollment, the impact of non-cancer illnesses on older persons with cancer, and the dissemination of new cancer screening and treatment methods into clinical practice. After documenting that older persons are disproportionately excluded from clinical research, Dr. Gross also demonstrated that applying trial results to patients who were above the age limit of trial eligibility was associated with a higher risk of harm.

    As a founding director of Yale’s Cancer Outcomes Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center, Dr. Gross leads and conducts research on how to improve the care and outcomes of cancer patients. In a recent viewpoint published in JAMA, Dr. Gross and a colleague advocated for a new paradigm in cancer research, one that focuses on improving efficacy and value, as well as ensuring population health impact and generating new knowledge.

    Beyond his outcomes research, Dr. Gross serves as Director of the National Clinical Scholars Program, which is a key part of the YCCI training program and aims to create the next generation of change agents in the American healthcare system, by using an inter-professional training program that focuses on research skills, experiential training in leadership, and building a nuanced understanding of social determinants of health as well as health policy.

    Gross tells his mentees that their own research project may be only one step removed from directly influencing patient care, or it may be several steps, but the end goal is the same. Researchers who truly wish to effect change must “work with stakeholders who may have different perspectives than you, to understand the knowledge gaps that must be addressed to improve health and well-being.”

  • David A. Hafler

    William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology and Professor of Immunobiology; Chair, Department of Neurology; Neurologist-in-Chief, Yale New Haven Hospital

    Dr. Hafler is the William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor and Chairman Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine and is the Neurologist-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He graduated magna cum laude in 1974 from Emory University with combined B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biochemistry, and the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1978. He then completed his internship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins followed by a neurology residency at Cornell Medical Center-New York Hospital in New York.

    Dr. Hafler received training in immunology at the Rockefeller University then at Harvard where he joined the faculty in 1984. He was one of the Executive Directors of the Program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School and was on the faculty of the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology program where he was actively involved in the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

    Hafler, in many respects, is credited with identifying the central mechanisms underlying the likely cause of MS. His early seminal work demonstrated that the disease began in the blood, not the brain, which eventually led to the development of Tysabri to treat the disease by blocking the movement of immune cells from the blood to the brain. He was the first to identify myelin-reactive T cells in the disease, published in Nature, showing that indeed, MS was an autoimmune disorder. He then went on to show why autoreactive T cells were dysregulated by the first identification of regulatory T cells in humans followed by demonstration of their dysfunctional state in MS. As a founding, Broad Institute member, Hafler identified the genes that cause MS, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature. More recently, he identified the key transcription factors and signaling pathways associated with MS genes as potential treatment targets. Finally, he recently discovered that salt drives induction of these pathogenic myelin reactive T cells, both works published in Nature. Hafler was the Breakstone Professor of Neuroscience at Harvard, and became Chairman of Neurology at Yale in 2009, where he has built an outstanding clinical and research program that strongly integrates medical sciences. He has received numerous honors including the Dystel Prize from the AAN for his MS research and is among the most highly cited living neurologists.

  • Roy S. Herbst

    Ensign Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Professor of Pharmacology; Chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital; Associate Cancer Center Director for Translational Research, Yale Cancer Center

    Dr. Herbst is nationally recognized for his leadership and expertise in lung cancer treatment and research. He is best known for his work in developmental therapeutics and the personalized therapy of non-small cell lung cancer, in particular the process of linking genetic abnormalities of cancer cells to novel therapies.

    Prior to his appointment at Yale, Dr. Herbst was the Barnhart Distinguished Professor and Chief of the Section of Thoracic Medical Oncology in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (UT-MDACC) in Houston, Texas. He also served as Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and Co-Director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program.

    Dr. Herbst’s primary mission is the enhanced integration of clinical, laboratory, and research programs to bring new treatments to cancer patients. He has led the Phase I development of several of the new generation of targeted agents for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), including gefitinib, erlotinib, cetuximab, and bevacizumab. More recently, he participated in the successful registration of pembrolizumab for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer, following the successful Yale-led KEYNOTE 10 study of the immune therapy drug commonly used to treat other cancers. He was co-leader for the BATTLE-1 clinical trial program, co-leads the subsequent BATTLE-2 clinical trial program, and served as a Co-program Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program for the YCC Support Grant. Dr. Herbst’s laboratory work is focused on immunotherapy angiogenesis; dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) inhibition in NSCLC, and targeting KRAS-activated pathways. More recently, he has explored predictive biomarkers for the use of immunotherapy agents. This work has been translated from the preclinical to clinical setting in multiple Phase II and III studies which he has led.

    After earning a B.S. and M.S. degree from Yale University, Dr. Herbst earned his M.D. at Cornell University Medical College and his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City, New York. His postgraduate training included an internship and residency in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. His clinical fellowships in medicine and hematology were completed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, respectively. Subsequently, Dr. Herbst completed a M.S. degree in clinical translational research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Dr. Herbst is an author or co-author of more than 275 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. His work has been published in many prominent journals, such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature. His abstracts have been presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the World Conference on Lung Cancer, the Society of Nuclear Medicine Conference, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

    Dr. Herbst was a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum (1998-2014) for which he organized an Institute of Medicine meeting focused on policy issues in personalized medicine. He is a member of ASCO and, as a member of AACR, he chairs the Tobacco Task Force. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and an elected member of the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Herbst is also a member of the medical advisory committee for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation and chair of the communications committee for ASCO and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

    He is currently the Vice Chair for Developmental Therapeutics for the Southwestern Oncology Group (SWOG) Lung Committee, Principal Investigator of the SWOG 0819 trial, and steering committee chair for the Lung Master Protocol (Lung MAP). Dr. Herbst was awarded the 2010 Waun Ki Hong Award for Excellence in Team Science by the Division of Cancer Medicine, UT-MDACC. The Alvin S. Slotnick Lecture Award for notable contributions to lung cancer research was bestowed upon him by Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in 2014. That same year, the Bonnie Addario Foundation honored him with the Annual Addario Lectureship Award and the Bonnie J. Addario Excellence in Collaboration and Innovation Award. In 2015, the Clinical Research Forum presented his project “Predictive Correlates of Response to the Anti-PD-L1 Antibody MPDL3280A in Cancer Patients” its top Clinical Research Achievement Award in the United States for 2015. For his lifetime achievement in scientific contributions to thoracic cancer research, Herbst was awarded the 2016 Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer at IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Vienna, Austria. His work has been funded by ASCO, AACR, the United States Department of Defense, and the National Cancer Institute. In 2015, his team at Yale was awarded a lung cancer SPORE by the NCI, and he serves as a principal investigator for the AACR/ Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team grant.