The Colorado StARR Program (Stimulating Access to Research in Residency) is pleased to announce the selection of four new scholars for the program. Congratulations to Kellen Gil, MD, Katarina Leyba, MD, Kaitlyn McLeod, MD and Jack Zakrzewski, MD.
The goal of the Colorado StARR Program – which is funded by an R38 award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the NIH – is to recruit, train and retain outstanding clinician-investigators focused on translational research in heart, lung and blood disorders. The program provides a career-defining research experience by leveraging our successful clinical and research enterprise that includes outstanding housestaff undergoing rigorous clinical training, a diverse spectrum of accomplished and experienced mentors of prior clinician-investigators, an environment of state-of-the-art facilities and resources, and successful fellowship and collaborative training programs in heart, lung and blood disorders. The program MPIs are David Schwartz, MD, Steve Abman, MD and Peter Buttrick, MD.
These newly awarded scholars will join the program’s incoming and current scholars embarking upon a one- to two-year period of dedicated time for research during their residency.
Department of Medicine
Mentor: Maria Amaya, MD, PhD
Project: Pro-inflammatory signaling axis in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
Department of Medicine
Mentor: Dave Kao, MD
Project: Heart failure subpopulations and phenotyping
Department of Medicine
Mentor: Prateeti Khazanie, MD
Project: Cardiology clinical trials and outcomes
Department of Surgery
Mentor: Matthew Stone, MD
Project: A murine heart transplant model to study therapeutic potential of SP1 delivery to donor hearts
Dr. Isabel Hardee is a pediatric resident at University of Colorado, interested in pursuing a career in pediatric emergency medicine with a focus on precision medicine and translational research. Dr. Hardee earned her BS in Chemistry from the College
of William & Mary, and her MD from Emory University’s School of Medicine. She has also worked at the NIH, studying the genetic basis of rare diseases as a through the Undiagnosed Diseases Program.
Dr. Hardee’s StARR research project aims to characterize pediatric patients presenting to the emergency department with undifferentiated wheeze using transcriptome modeling. Longitudinally, she hopes to build towards a personalized care model of treatment prior to the age at which these children are given a formal diagnosis of asthma. She will be working under the primary mentorship of Rakesh Mistry, MD, with additional mentorship by Andy Liu, MD, in collaboration with Max Seibold, PhD, at National Jewish Health.
Dr. Alexander Heilman is a second-year resident in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Colorado. After residency, he plans to pursue a fellowship in cardiology with the eventual plan to work as an academic cardiologist. Dr. Heilman
received his BE in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University and attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Dr. Heilman's StARR research project aims to address gaps in the care of diabetes patients early after diagnosis, specifically regarding the appropriate initiation of statin medications to mitigate cardiovascular risk. He plans to characterize statin initiation and LDL reduction in the early period following diabetes diagnosis in patients receiving care from the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Following this, he plans to develop atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk equations optimized to newly diagnosed diabetes patients at the VA with tools for transferability between health systems, as well as quantify real-world cardiovascular outcomes associated with guideline-recommended lipid treatment in diabetes based on different ASCVD risk estimators. Dr. Heilman will be working under the primary mentorship of Dr. Sridharan Raghavan at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA.
Dr. August Longino is an internal medicine resident at University of Colorado, interested in pursuing a career in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, with a focus on the pathophysiology of septic shock, using translational methods to understand the
mechanisms underlying this heterogenous disease. Dr. Longino earned his BA at Tufts University, before receiving his MD/MPH at the University of Washington. He has also spent time in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where he coordinated healthcare delivery
between the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health and an American non-governmental organization.
Dr. Longino's StARR research project is focused on understanding the role of the microvasculature in patients with septic shock. By serially evaluating this little-understood organ, he hopes to better understand the dynamic changes that occur in patients with septic shock. Looking ahead, Dr. Longino hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, under the ongoing mentorship of Eric Schmidt, MD, Joseph Hippensteel, MD, and Ivor Douglas, MD among others."
Dr. Natalie Longino is a second year resident in the University of Colorado internal medicine Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) with plans to specialize in hematology and oncology. Natalie completed her MD and PhD at the University of Washington where she studied the immunobiology of Merkel cell carcinoma. Her ongoing research interests including comparing and contrasting the immunobiology of pregnancy and cancer. During her year in the StARR program, she will study a unique cell type called decidual Natural Killer cells to determine whether melanoma tumors are employing this unique cell type to create an immune tolerant environment similar to the immune microenvironment found in the pregnant uterus.
Department of Pediatrics
Mentor: Steve Abman, MD
Project: Antenatal endotoxin impairment of lung growth and function in infant rats