The University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Awards (CDA) program recently selected Nahla Zaghloul, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, College of Medicine – Tucson, as one of four recipients in its latest round of awards.
Dr. Zaghloul’s research focuses on periventricular leukomalacia, a white matter injury affecting the premature infant’s brain that is commonly associated with cerebral palsy. There is an urgent need to develop safe therapeutics, as no current therapy can reverse or ameliorate this condition. Dr. Zaghloul will investigate allopregnanolone, an endogenous neurosteroid that promotes neuroregeneration and cognitive function, and is essential for brain growth for both neuronal and glial cell survival.
“Neurological damage, especially in neonates and infants, is an incredibly underserved and challenging topic to work on. Beyond the discovery science implication of her research, I am very excited to see a potential new therapeutic avenue for allopregnanolone,” said Dr. Zaghloul’s primary mentor, Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science. “Dr. Zaghloul’s academic and clinical background clearly demonstrates her desire and commitment to become an independent clinician-scientist in neuroscience. I am confident that under this award her productivity will continue to increase.”
The CDA program was established by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences in 2014 to provide research training and funding for junior faculty members, and foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. Selected scholars are provided with mentorship, research training and salary support, plus funding for travel and research supplies.
The CDA scholars must complete an independent research project, which is expected to generate sufficient pilot findings to enable the submission of an NIH K-series or R01 grant (or equivalent) by the second year of the program. Each scholar also must choose a lead mentor, or mentors if the project is multidisciplinary.
Meet the other junior faculty members who were selected for this latest round of awards:
- Darren Cusanovich, PhD, research assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine, College of Medicine – Tucson;
- Lindsay Kohler, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of practice in health promotion sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health;
- Salma Patel, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, College of Medicine – Tucson.