Biomedical Research Education Programs : UNM Health Sciences Center

Mentored Career Development Program (MCDP)

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Mentored Career Development Program (also known as the KL-2 program) was initiated in June 2006 with a call for applications from junior faculty from the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and College of Nursing. Based on a NIH-style competitive application process, three scholars were selected in 2006, one in 2007, and two in 2009 by a scientific review panel to receive 75% salary support for up to 5 years to dedicate time to developing their research portfolios. The Clinical and Translational Science Center continues to accept applications from highly qualified candidates from across the country each year.

The KL-2 program supports the research career development of clinical researchers who have recently completed professional training and who are commencing basic, translational and/or clinical research.  The goal of this program is to foster the discipline of clinical research and, by increasing clinical research capacity, to expedite clinical and translational research.  For more information, please email Elaine Manzanilla

2014 Scholars

Coming Soon!


2013 Scholars

Dawn Delfin, PhD

Darrell Dinwiddie, PhD


2011 Scholars

Sarah Pirio Richardson, MD

Project: "Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Combined with Botulinum Toxin for Treatment of Cervical Dystonia"

Mentors: Bill Shuttleworth, PhD, & Leslie Morrison, MD

"My research is aimed at non-invasively altering plasticity in the brain, using transcranial magnetic stimulation, to improve symptoms and quality of life in patients with movement disorders." ~ Dr. Pirio Richardson 


2010 Scholars

Jon Femling


Sonlee West

My research is designed to further define the immune response after trauma and to evaluate the dysregulation of the host defense mechanisms following severe injury, with a focus on changes in the response of monocytes.



Former Scholars

Christopher Abbott, MD

Project: "Network Modulation and White Matter Integrity during Novelty Detection in Patients with Schizophrenia with a Long Duration of Illness"

Mentors: Juan Bustillo, MD & Vince Calhoun, PhD

"My research is designed to compare differences between patients with early-onset, late-life schizophrenia & age-matched controls in task modulation of executive control and default mode networks with fMRI during an auditory oddball discrimination task." ~ Dr. Abbott 


 Ellen Beswick, PhD

Project: "Potential role of H. pylori-induced MIF in Gastric Cancer"

Mentors: Carolyn Mold, PhD & Thomas Ma, MD, PhD, FACG

"My research is designed to examine the chronic inflammatory pathways that link macrophage migration inhibitory factor produced during Helicobacter pylori infection to gastric cancer and give insight in general into inflammation associated cancers." ~ Dr. Beswick


  Alberta Kong, MD, MPH

Project: "Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in Adolescent School-Based Health Centers"

Mentors: Sally Davis, PhD & Mark Burge, MD

"My research is designed to assess adolescent obesity management using telemedicine technology in school-based health centers.”~ Dr. Kong


 Amit Pai, PharmD

Project: "Brain Antifungal Pharmacodynamics: Use of 19F-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Microdialysis"

Mentor: C. Rick Lyons, MD, PhD

My research is designed to develop a novel, noninvasive method for measuring brain concentrations of antimicrobials." ~Dr. Pai

Dr. Pai was selected as a scholar in 2006 and has since accepted a position at the Institute for Clinical Pharmacodynamics ( in Albany, NY. Congratulations Dr. Pai!


Akshay Sood, MD, MPH

Project:  "Adiposity, Activity and Asthma: A Clinical Translational Study"

Mentors: Mark Schuyler, MD & Marianne Berwick, PhD

"My research is designed to understand whether high body fat or decreased physical activity is contributing to the increasing occurrence of asthma in the United States." ~Dr. Sood


Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, MD

Project: "The Role of Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors in Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease"

Mentors: Vojo Deretic, PhD & Robin Ohls, MD

"My research project is designed to determine whether use of phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as sildenafil can correct one of the basic defects that contributes to the development of lung disease in cystic fibrosis." ~Dr. Taylor-Cousar 

Dr. Taylor-Cousar recently took a position as the Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Program at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, CO.  Congratulations Dr. Taylor-Cousar!