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YCCI’S Education Leadership

March 29, 2019

Lloyd Cantley, MD, Co-director, Education

Lloyd Cantley, MD, is a noted nephrologist who studies the mechanisms of renal tubule formation and repair. He has mentored about 40 trainees in his lab, where he studies the mechanisms by which kidney cell regeneration occurs following acute kidney injury in order to develop therapies to enhance this process. His goal is to identify pathways that would be logical targets for drug therapy to either accelerate normal repair in the case of acute kidney injury, or block repair pathways in polycystic kidney disease or chronic kidney disease. From the beginning of Cantley’s career, he has enthusiastically pursued teaching and mentoring. As a fellow at Harvard University, he taught medical students; today, in addition to his appointment as co-director of education, he teaches physiology case conferences to first-year medical students.

He views his role at YCCI as mentoring on a larger scale, in which he has the opportunity to guide young investigators on becoming successful researchers. He is interested in the approach young faculty members take in answering research questions, and relishes the chance to offer a fresh perspective on their work.

Rajita Sinha, PhD, Co-director, Education

Rajita Sinha, PhD, is internationally known for her pioneering research on the neural and biobehavioral mechanisms linking stress to addiction. She directs the Yale Stress Center, started with one of the largest interdisciplinary Consortium grants from the National Institutes of Health, to study the effects of stress and self-control on addictive behaviors and chronic disease. The collaborative research conducted at the center by Sinha and other scientists is multidisciplinary. The Stress Center develops and tests interventions to reverse the toxic effects of stress and the loss of self-control that drive addictive behaviors. Sinha is examining the role of long-term stress and repeated stress exposures in alcohol and substance dependence to develop new therapies to reduce compulsive motivation to use alcohol and drugs of abuse.

She brings her interdisciplinary focus to her role as co-director of education, where she seeks to increase the diversity of trainees and mentors, and provides guidance in connecting trainees to colleagues in different disciplines. She enjoys helping young investigators shape their ideas into scientific hypotheses, and watching them get hooked on research.

Eugene Shapiro, MD, Co-director, Education

An experienced clinical epidemiologist in pediatric infectious diseases, Eugene Shapiro, MD, is especially interested in vaccines and in Lyme disease. He is currently involved in studies of the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in clinical practice. This work includes qualitative research to discover why uptake of the vaccine is low in the United States, as well as a case-control study to evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness by age at the time of vaccination and the number of doses given.

As a researcher who has had continuous NIH funding since 1983 and has mentored hundreds of young researchers, Shapiro is ideally suited to lead YCCI’s educational program. His interest in mentoring extends beyond mentoring younger colleagues. He was an author of a report on the results of a national trial of the effectiveness of a curriculum to train mentors. Despite the significant time commitment involved in mentoring, typically little attention is given to training faculty for this vital role. The response to the training program was so positive that Shapiro and Patrick O’Connor, MD, associate director of YCCI’s community research core, continue to co-teach a yearly course on mentoring for Yale faculty.

Submitted by Lisa Brophy on March 21, 2019