Kick Off Meeting for the Mid-South Chapter of SOCRA


UTHSC is collaborating with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to re-establish the Mid-South SOCRA chapter. There will be a virtual kick off meeting on January 25, 2021, from 12:30 to 1:30 pm CST, to discuss the chapter focus, meeting schedule, introduce the Co-Chairs and the Educational Committee members. Margaret Lynn, LMSW, RDN, CCRP, CIP, Director of Clinical Research Development with the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute is the Co-Chair of the Mid-South SOCRA Chapter.

The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) is a non-profit, charitable and educational membership organization committed to providing education, certification, and networking opportunities to all persons involved in clinical research activities. SOCRA, the premier educational organization for oncology site coordinators, has now emerged as a leading educational organization for clinical researchers in all therapeutic areas, supporting industry, government and academia.

Please join us for this meeting! We would love to hear your ideas for professional development and educational topics.


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Event number: 177 970 1726
Event password: CR3ducat1on
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Wenjing Zhang Secures TN CTSI Pilot Project Award for Cutting-Edge Research using Cutting Edge Technology


The Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute (TN-CTSI) continues to support innovative research for improving the health of Tennesseans, most recently by awarding pilot funding to Wenjing Zhang, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics, Genomics, and Informatics for her project entitled “De novo periodontal ligament regeneration using Biosynsphere technology”.

Dr. Zhang is collaborating with co-PI George Huang, DDS, DSc, Professor of Bioscience Research in the College of Dentistry, on the project. Using the cutting-edge technology of Biosynphere, a bio-ink used in stem-cell derived 3D bioprinting, the team aims to create periodontal ligament-covered roots for regeneration of the periodontal ligament on avulsed teeth. The team will conduct in vitro tests, followed by testing the regeneration of PDL in animal models.

The $20,000 award was part of a TN CTSI pilot funding opportunity designed to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, team-based health disparities research, with the ultimate goal of giving rise to future extramural funding.


UTHSC Professor Madlock-Brown Participating in National COVID Data Research Collaborative


One of UTHSC’s data scientists is applying her extensive expertise in informatics to a national effort to leverage big data in the fight against COVID-19.

Charisse Madlock-Brown, PhD, MLS, and faculty member in Health Informatics and Information Management at UTHSC, is a co-lead for one of the clinical domain teams of the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C). The N3C is a partnership among the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)-supported Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hubs. It includes clinicians, informaticians and biomedical researchers from more than 60 institutions working to turn data from hundreds of thousands of medical records from coronavirus patients into treatments and predictive analytical tools that can help address the evolving pandemic.

Dr. Madlock-Brown is the co-lead for the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) team. The team’s goal is to identify questions that either validate current research or answer new questions for local policy around COVID-19, the impact of groups experiencing resource challenges, and the impact of the pandemic on inequalities.

“The N3C project has provided researchers from across the country with invaluable resources to identify the social determinants of health (SDoH) related to vulnerability to high COVID-19 incidence and poor outcomes,” Dr. Madlock-Brown said. “As co-lead for the SDoH task team, I can facilitate the development of robust research protocols, integrate various datasets, coordinate training on the N3C platform, collaboratively analyze COVID-19 data, and provide opportunities for investigators to share related research and propose ideas.”

Dr. Madlock-Brown, who is also the Co-Director of UTHSC’s Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute (TN-CTSI) Informatics Core, received training over the summer on the N3C data access platform and is the point of contact for UTHSC’s utilization of N3C. UTHSC researchers interested in COVID and SDoH are free to join and should contact Dr. Madlock-Brown at

Sarah Rhoads Awarded Supplemental Funding for COVID-19 Related Study


Congratulations to Professor Sarah Rhoads, PhD, DNP, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, FAANon the funding of a supplemental proposal titled “COVID-19 Related Enhancement Funding – Comparing Quality of Telemedicine & Standard Provider Visits with Healthcare Utilization Metrics of Older Patients with Heart Failure During Covid-19 Pandemic.” The $162,409 award provides one year of additional funding on Dr. Rhoads’ subaward with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) for the PCORI award iCOACH INNOVATIVE CARE MODEL FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH CHRONIC HEART FAILURE. Dr. Rhoads is named as Co-Investigator and site Principal Investigator on the supplemental award. The purpose of the study is to evaluate telehealth implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on quality, satisfaction, and usability. Dr. Rhoads will help recruit telehealth patients and providers from two health systems – UAMS and West Tennessee Healthcare for a survey and qualitative interviews.

UTHSC Pilot Project Awards Given to Support Innovative Research And Improve Health of Tennesseans


The Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute (TN-CTSI), the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s newest research institute, recently awarded four pilot grants to collaborative research groups in support of new projects aimed at addressing the most-pressing health needs in the Southern United States.

The 2019 TN-CTSI Pilot Project winners and their project titles are:

• “Adapting the Exercise is Medicine Solution in Appalachia: Linking Primary Care to Community to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention and Control in a Rural Setting”: Michael Davis, MD; Gregory Heath, DHSc, MPH; and Karissa Peyer, PhD. This study aims to determine if an “Exercise is Medicine” intervention for rural adults who are at risk for or are being treated for a chronic cardiometabolic disease effectively increases their physical activity, level of adoption, and implementation by both health care providers and patients in the clinical setting.

• “Unraveling the Role of Microbial Dysbiosis in Breast Cancer Health Disparities”: Athena Starlard-Davenport, PhD; Joe Francis Pierre, PhD; Elizabeth Tolley, PhD; Liza Makowski-Hayes, PhD; and Gregory Vidal, MD, PhD. The project is looking at associations between gut microbial metabolites, obesity, and breast cancer, and how these factors potentially differ in women based on their race.

• “Role of Phosphorylation in Microbial Short Chain Fatty Acid Production in a Defined Microbial Community”: Michelle Puchowicz, PhD, and Joseph Pierre, PhD. The research aims to reveal mechanisms of gut microbial regulation leading to the development of targeted therapies for those with diet-induced obesity and associated metabolic syndrome patients.

• “Improving Human Papillomavirus Rates Among Adults: A Pharmacy-Dental Partnership Focusing on Provider Communications Strategies”: Justin Gatwood, PhD, MPH; Vickie Jones, RDH, MS, MDH; Tracy Hagemann, PharmD; and Kenneth Hohmeier, PharmD. This project will pull together dentists and pharmacists to collaboratively improve human papillomavirus vaccination rates in adults ages 26-45 through strategic communications and training.

“Disparities in Tennessee persist,” said Michelle Martin, PhD, FACSM, director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research: A Community Cancer Alliance for Transformative Change at UTHSC, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, and co-director of TN-CTSI. “Differences in health outcomes are seen by race and ethnicity, by where individuals live, and by many other sociodemographic characteristics. We are excited that our inaugural pilot projects will be conducted across the state and will address a range of topics important to understanding and reducing these disparities.”

Established in 2018, the TN-CTSI aims to improve the health of Tennesseans and underserved populations in the South by providing education and training, fostering interdisciplinary teams, improving quality and efficiency, and engaging community stakeholders and partners in meaningful collaboration. The pilot project awards, totaling $55,000, are designed to promote new lines of innovative, clinical and translational health disparities research with the ultimate goal of giving rise to future extramural funding.

“We hope that the TN-CTSI pilot program will provide the needed support to these investigators in order to accelerate clinical and translational research in our state, with the ultimate goal to improve human health,” said Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH, other co-director of TN-CTSI, chair and Endowed Professor of Women’s Health in the UTHSC Department of Preventive Medicine.

The TN-CTSI, the University of Mississippi Medical Center Clinical Research Institute, and the Tulane University Translational Science Institute, have together formed the Delta Clinical and Translational Science Consortium (DCTSC). This collaborative consortium supports high-quality interdisciplinary team-based clinical and translational research locally, regionally, and nationally, by fostering innovation in research methods, training, and career development, with a unique focus on underserved populations. UTHSC and Tulane University serve as hub institutions, while the University of Mississippi Medical Center functions as a collaborating institution. Long-term, the Delta Consortium’s goal is to obtain a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).