Mentoring Clinical Researchers at the Intersection of NeuroAIDS and Substance Abuse (Cherner)

Written by Smith, David M., M.D.

PI: Mariana Cherner, Ph.D.
Agency Award Number: K24DA040550


Mariana Cherner, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and an NIH-funded neuroAIDS investigator for over 15 years. This is a proposal for a K24 Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research to increase Dr. Cherner's ability to mentor clinician scientists and bring them into the fold of research at the intersection of neuroAIDS and substance abuse. Dr. Cherner has mentored more than 30 trainees at various career stages, from undergraduates to junior faculty. Greater than half of her mentees have been from underrepresented backgrounds, and a majority are women. With support from the proposed K24 award, Dr. Cherner would be able to expand her mentoring efforts and maintain a special focus on attracting trainees from backgrounds that are not well-represented in academic medicine. During the proposed award, Dr. Cherner plans to provide mentoring in her current areas of research, broadly (1) individual differences in vulnerability to methamphetamine-related brain dysfunction in the context of HIV, and (2) cross-cultural applications of neuropsychological methods to detect effects of HIV and substance abuse in diverse populations. This work will be supported by her own funded grants as well as by her participation in large projects within the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program (HNRP) at UCSD, which include all the major neuro-oriented HIV studies at UCSD such as the Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC), the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC), a T32 grant for Training in Research on Addictions in Interdisciplinary NeuroAIDS (TRAIN), and the R25 Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS, which she directs. This superb "team-science" research environment, along with resources from the Psychiatry Department and the larger UCSD campus, affords excellent opportunities to attract highly qualified trainees and provide rich training experiences for early career patient-oriented researcher. Support from the K24 award would enable Dr. Cherner to reduce administrative and clinical duties to focus the majority of her effort on research mentoring and furthering her research program.

Sponsored by NIH/NIDA P50DA026306

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