Mentored Career Development Program (KL2)

The KL2 program equips a cohort of independent faculty with the training and support needed to conduct exceptional clinical and translational research.

About KL2 Program

The KL2 program equips a cohort of independent faculty with the training and support needed to conduct exceptional clinical and translational research. KL2 Scholars receive training and mentorship in multi-disciplinary, team-based, and patient-oriented clinical and translational research. KL2 Scholars become leaders and innovators in their respective professional fields and departments.

Based on a NIH-style competitive application process, a scientific review panel selects scholars to develop their research portfolios by receiving 75% salary support for up to five years. 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.

The Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) continues to accept applications from highly qualified candidates from across the country each year.

Research Interests

To date, KL2 scholars at CTSC have been drawn from a variety of disciplines, including pharmaceutical sciences, pediatrics, and neurology. KL2 scholars have studied viral outbreaks in children, the mechanisms behind alcohol and intimate partner violence, and non-invasive methods of altering brain plasticity.

KL2 Scholars

KL2 Scholar, Eliseo Castillo, PhD

Eliseo Castillo, PhD
FY 17 – Present
Dr. Castillo's research involves the molecules and mechanisms that balance immunity and inflammation in the gut.

"Uncontrolled inflammation can be debilitating, and can lead to life-threatening complications. My work focuses on understanding the genetic factors that underlie inflammatory responses."

KL2 Scholar, Brandi Fink, PhD

Brandi Fink, PhD
FY14 – Present
Dr. Fink aims to better understand why intimate partner violence is frequently associated with alcohol use.

"I'm curious about people and why they do the things they do. I care about kids having good outcomes. And that starts with the parents and the environment parents' interactions create."

KL2 Scholar, Kathryn Frietze, PhD

Kathryn Frietze, PhD
FY 18 - Present
Dr. Frietze’s research focuses on using a novel technology to identify and understand the ;antibodies ;generated in response to infectious diseases, mainly Dengue virus infection.

“Antibodies are important mediators of the immune response to infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. I am interested in characterizing the role of specific antibody responses and translating this knowledge into new diagnostic and prognostic tests, therapeutics, and vaccines.”

KL2 Scholar, Justin Baca, MD, PhD

Justin Baca, MD, PhD
FY 18 - Present
Dr. Baca is studying intercellular communication and microRNA signatures in the development of chronic pain. He tests the efficacy of novel point-of-care devices through clinical trials in the Emergency Department.

"Chronic pain is one of the most difficult conditions to treat, especially in the Emergency Department setting. I seek to understand how and why chronic pain develops after certain infections My team and I also work with a broad range of clinicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop and test new point-of-care technologies."

Need more Information?

Associate Director, CTSC

Director, KL2 Mentored Career Development 

Matthew Campen, PhD

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CTSC Research Concierge

CTSC Research Concierge • 505-272-3183



CTSC Administration Office

900 Camino de Salud NE

Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: 505-272-6042