Since the completion of my clinical training a decade ago, my research has focused on the question, "Why do some patients with Staphylococcus aureus infection do well, while others do poorly?" Recently, I have come to a distinct crossroad as a physician-scientist. I have erected a research infrastructure which is well-funded and has a breadth of research activities. While focused on S. aureus, it spans from the basic science of the organism's pathogenesis, to host genetic susceptibility, to direct clinical features of disease. I am in an institutional environment which allows me to tap into its substantial resources of training and trainees. I have also demonstrated a track record in providing mentorship to a wide variety of beginning researchers. For these reasons, I believe it is critically important for me to earn a K24 so I can focus on research and its mentoring and avoid the common pitfall of the physician/scientist who becomes clinically overcommitted. Thus, the overall goal of this proposal is to improve my mentoring skills by training the next generation of clinician-scientists in clinical and translational patient oriented research in the staphylococci. Mentoring skills are not innate;they can and should be learned. I will develop my mentoring expertise in several ways. First, my mentoring progress will receive regular formal review from an Advisory Board of senior researchers and mentors. Next, I will create the "Mentoring Mid-Career Mentors Program". In contrast to the senior-level input outlined above, this program will pursue a "peer to peer" approach to mentor skills development by bringing together Duke's mid-career K24 recipients to discuss common mentoring issues. Finally, I will participate in mentoring on a national level by involvement in the National Subcommittee on Mentoring of the Duke CTSA. Scientifically, I will facilitate my mentoring plan by pursuing two Specific Aims that incorporate the breadth of my research platform.
Each Aim i ncludes several distinct projects focused on patient oriented research of staphylococci. These projects will serve as the hypothesis-testing science that undergirds my mentoring plan.
Specific Aim 1, mentoring clinical patient oriented research in staphylococci, will be accomplished by pursuing 3 individual projects: one project focused on a randomized, multinational trial of a treatment algorithm for catheter-related staphylococcal bacteremia, and two other projects employing large clinical databases of staphylococcal infections.
Specific Aim 2, mentoring translational patient-oriented research in staphylococci, will be accomplished by pursuing several projects involving bacterial and host genetic determinants of S. aureus infection. My long-term objective is to create a multidisciplinary program that focuses on clinical and translational POR of staphylococci. By expanding the breadth of my research program, a K24 would enhance my progress towards this goal, and would help to prepare the next generation of clinician-scientists to confront this persistent pathogen.
OF THIS PROPOSAL TO PUBLIC HEALTH: This K24 proposal is highly relevant to the health of the American Public, as it aims to prepare the next generation of clinician-scientists to confront Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is one of the leading pathogens plaguing the American public. Rates of both infections and antibiotic resistance in S. aureus are increasing. The identification of clinical S. aureus isolates resistant to available antibiotics indicates the possibility of a pathogen resistant to all currently approved therapy. This proposal seeks to improve our understanding of this persistent pathogen by mentoring young investigators in clinical and translational patient oriented research of staphylococci.
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