The University of Arizona Health Sciences has appointed Julie Ledford, PhD, as the new co-director of the Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program. Dr. Ledford is an associate professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson.
The Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program offers three master’s and doctoral degrees for graduate and postgraduate students interested in careers in research. It became the first UArizona Health Sciences-administered graduate program in 2015 and operates across the five Health Sciences colleges on the Tucson and Phoenix campuses. The program matches students who have a range of translational research interests with faculty mentors to receive foundational training in biostatistics, research design and methodology, and the responsible conduct of research relevant to human health and disease.
Dr. Ledford will co-lead the program with Ronald Hammer, PhD, professor of basic medical sciences in the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
“Dr. Ledford’s strong research background and expertise mentoring students who wish to become research scientists make her uniquely qualified to co-lead the Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program,” said Michael D. Dake, MD, senior vice president for the University of Arizona Health Sciences. “The program has seen tremendous growth since its inception, and I am confident it will reach new levels of success under the leadership of Drs. Ledford and Hammer.”
An associate professor of cellular and molecular medicine, Dr. Ledford has more than 10 years of experience mentoring and training medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and fellows. She is a member of the UArizona Health Sciences Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and BIO5 Institute. Additionally, she serves as co-director of the Lung Research Focus Group in the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, a National Institutes of Health-funded center in the UArizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy’s Center for Toxicology.
Dr. Ledford’s research focuses on respiratory disease, specifically the genetic and molecular mechanisms of allergic airway diseases in children. Researchers in her lab examine the mechanisms behind restrictive lung diseases with the goal of developing new therapeutics for diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.
Dr. Ledford graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Georgia and completed her doctorate in genetics and molecular biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University before joining the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson in 2015.