Program Description


Program Benchmarks

1. Establish Mentor Team

2. Establish ICDP

3. Complete didactic course work

4. Complete the MCTS program

5. Presentation at meetings

6. Peer-reviewed publications

7. K or R series grant funding

The goal of the HTRC training program is to provide an intensive, mentored career development experience in basic and translational hemoglobinopathy research leading to research independence.  A variety of competitive projects related to pre-clinical animal models of sickle cell disease, mechanisms of endothelin action in a variety of organ systems, nitric oxide metabolism, globin gene regulation, fetal hemoglobin induction, and gene therapy will be mentored by a cadre of highly-skilled NIH-funded independent investigators at Augusta University. We are committed to training new investigators with a clear commitment to and potential for a successful basic/translational hemoglobinopathy research career. We will recruit the most talented researchers from all groups to increase diversity.

Goal 1: Train new investigators on how to conduct high-impact mentored basic/translational hemoglobinopathy research through the development of an Individualized Career Development Plan.
Goal 2: Assist scholars to achieve transition to independent translational research careers.

 Within the first quarter of matriculation to the HTRC, scholars are required to design an Individualized Career Development Plan (ICDP) in collaboration with the Primary Mentor to provide a foundation to conduct a mentored research project (MRP). During the first quarter the scholar will also complete the Hemoglobinopathy Core Curriculum and a Hemoglobin Variants laboratory rotation while attending the Sickle Cell Center seminars and conducting clinical responsibilities (if applicable). By the end of the first year, scholars will commence their MRP and enroll in the MCTS program.

Mentor Team

The Mentor team will facilitate the design and implementation of the ICDP. The team will consist of:

1. The primary mentor with the expertise to design the MRP

2. A secondary mentor to gain additional expertise in areas required to accomplish the MRP

3. Biostatistics faculty to guide them through the HTRC and MCTS programs

4. A faculty member from the scholar’s department to guide professional growth.

The primary and/or secondary mentor will be an expert in hemoglobinopathy research. The Mentor Team will meet quarterly to monitor progress and the scholar will meet with their primary mentor on a regular basis to develop the MRP. Scholars will be formally evaluated twice a year and a report generated by the External Advisory Committee for feedback on the scholar’s progress.

Administrative Structure

Program Director: Dr. Betty Pace, Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, will serve as Director. She will provide oversight of all program activities including communication with scholars, program staff, committee members, and mentors.
Program Coordinator: Natasha Alford, Program Coordinator, will be instrumental in assisting the Director in scholar recruitment, application receipt, and processing.
Statistician: Dr. Hongyan Xu will provide statistical support to scholars for the development of their mentored research projects.
External Advisory Committee (EAC): The EAC is chaired by Dr. Michael DeBaun (Vanderbilt), who will be joined by Dr. Marilyn Telen (Duke University) and Dr. Mark Gladwin (Pittsburg University). The EAC will oversee the career development plan and monitor the scholar’s progress through scheduled evaluations.
Recruitment & Admissions Committee (RAC): The RAC chaired by Dr. Kutlar is composed of Augusta University faculty, Drs. Robert Gibson and Rick McIndoe. The RAC will establish the procedure for scholar recruitment and application review and will make recommendations to the Director for scholar support.