Mentorship, Career Development Key to ICTR KL2 Program

A composite image of three individual portraits; a woman with dark hair, a bald man with glasses, and a bearded man with glasses.

Three clinician scientists were appointed this summer to the ICTR KL2 Scholars career development program; a rheumatologist, a radiologist, and a pharmacist. Shivani Garg, Ali Pirasteh, and Edward Portillo will enjoy 75% protected time for research, state-of-the-art mentoring, and career development training as part of their KL2 awards through the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Awards program (CTSA). NIH KL2 awards are guaranteed for two years and can last longer depending on progress and availability of local funding.

A strategic focus of our KL2 program is to create a community of peers, mentors, and other supportive colleagues for individual scholars. Former scholar Sean Ronnekleiv-Kelly,  Assistant Professor of Surgery, notes,

Overall, the KL2 was a very, very positive experience. Without the program I would NOT have been set up as effectively for a research career trajectory.

‘You don’t know what you don’t know until you know.’ Through the KL2 career development programming, I learned how to identify essential early career steps and who could help me in ways I had not previously understood.

Headshot of a woman in a white top and gray jacket, posed against a brick wall.
Bo Liu, PhD
Headshot of Marin Schweizer in a blue top
Marin Schweizer, PhD

The KL2 program recently appointed two new Co-Directors to replace outgoing directors, Corrine Voils and Manish Shah. Our new Co-Directors are Marin Schweizer, a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, and Bo Liu, a professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery. Schweizer was an associate director for workforce development at the University of Iowa CTSA site prior to coming to UW-Madison and Liu ran a T32 program focusing on postdoctoral training. Additionally, both Schweizer and Liu lead productive, federally-funded research groups in clinical and translational research. They comment,

We anticipate that this will be a smooth transition because the program was managed so well by Drs Voils, Shah, and Hatfield. We look forward to getting to know these excellent scholars and we aim to implement changes in order to increase diversity among our funded scholars.

The next round of KL2 applications is already under review for start dates in July 2023. Applications start with a nomination by a departmental chair or dean and the call for nominations occurs annually each June.

More information about the program and a list of all current KL2 scholars.