Highlights of the 2024 Southeast Regional Clinical and Translational Science Conference

leadership team
Southeast CTSA and NCATS leaders (L-R): “Mendy" Elizabeth C. Dunn, MSN, RN, UF CTSI; Andrew C. West, MBA, MHA, Georgia CTSA/Emory; Robert P. Kimberly, MD, UAB CCTS; Jing Wang, PhD, MPH, RN, FSU CTSA; Andrés J. García, PhD, Georgia CTSA/Georgia Tech; Francisco J. Leyva, MD, PhD, ScM, NCATS; Bradley G. Phillips, PharmD, Georgia CTSA/UGA; Elizabeth O. Ofili, MD, MPH, Georgia CTSA/Morehouse School of Medicine; W. Robert Taylor, MD, PhD, Georgia CTSA/Emory; Jennifer Croker, PhD, UAB CCTS; Vasiliki (Vas) Michopoulos, PhD, MSCR, Georgia CTSA/Emory; Henry M. Blumberg, MD, Georgia CTSA/Emory

Over 350 researchers and translational scientists across the Southeast presented and discussed the best new health-related preclinical, clinical, implementation, and population-based research at the 2024 Southeast Regional Clinical and Translational Science Conference. During the keynote presentation by Christine S. Lee, PharmD, PhD, Acting Associate Commissioner for Minority Health, FDA, she shared key initiatives to promote and protect the health of diverse populations through research and communication that addresses health disparities.

Attendees collaborated from academic institutions including Auburn, Augusta University, Emory, Florida State, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, LSU, Medical University of South Carolina, Mercer, Morehouse School of Medicine, Tuskegee, UAB, UF, UGA, and University of Miami; and organizations such as the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, North Georgia Health Systems, FDA, and NCATS.

researchers at a conference

Special Interest Session Panel – Representativeness in Clinical Trials: Priscilla Pemu, MD MS, MSM; Tracy N. Anderson, PhD, UGA; Francisco J. Leyva, MD, PhD, ScM, NCATS; Neal Dickert, MD, PhD, Emory; Patricia Yates-Rand, Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative Program

Throughout the three-day conference, researchers and scientists engaged with each other during Featured Talks, Poster Viewing, Trainee Career Development Panel, and Sessions on Health Equity, Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health & Nutrition, Cancer, Drug Development and Discovery, Health Services Research, and Mental Health. Additional Special Interest Sessions included Scientific Communications, Representativeness in Clinical Trials, and Innovation & Commercialization.

In a post-conference survey, attendees remarked the most valuable aspects of the conference were networking with the Southeast research community, discussing new partnerships, and learning about important work being done throughout the region, new discoveries, and advancements in translational science.

Participants also provided positive feedback on the array of topics, atmosphere/energy/community setting, being able to disseminate research, content that can reach a broader audience, demonstration of the research impact of the CTSAs, discovering different ‘lessons learned’ from different implementation approaches, diversity in research and presenters, engagement of the participants, enlightening trainee session, exposure to interesting science, good mix of trainees and senior researchers, great keynote speaker, informative presentations, quality of research presented and quality of the workshops, range of technology applications discussed, research methods, and the interdisciplinary nature of the event.

During the special Networking Banquet and Awards Ceremony, Georgia CTSA recognized team science and presented abstract awards from 147 poster presentations and 32 oral abstract presentations.

Team Science Awards

researchers receiving award

2024 Presidents’ Award of Distinction for Team Science: Candace Fleischer, PhD, Emory/Georgia Tech and Andrei Fedorov, PhD, Georgia Tech

2024 Presidents’ Award of Distinction for Team Science - “Brain Thermometry Advances for Better Health: From Physicists to Physicians to Patients”

  • Candace Fleischer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, and Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University
  • Andrei Fedorov, PhD, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Professor and Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Chair, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Regents' Entrepreneur, Georgia Institute of Technology
researcher holding award

2024 Georgia CTSA Team Science Award of Distinction for Early-Stage Research Teams: Lisa Flowers, MD, MPH, Emory and Canhua Xiao, PhD, RN, Emory

2024 Georgia CTSA Team Science Award of Distinction for Early-Stage Research Teams - “HPV Cancer Control and Prevention Scientific Consortium”

  • Lisa Flowers, MD, MPH, FACOG, Professor, Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Director of Colposcopy Services, Grady Cancer Center
  • Canhua Xiao, PhD, RN, FAAN, Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University

DEI Awards in Team Science

researcher receiving award

2024 Staff Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical/Translational Science Award: Tracy Anderson, MPH, UGA

2024 Staff Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical/Translational Science Award

  • Tracy Anderson, MPH, Director of the Center for Family Research at University of Georgia
researcher receiving award

2024 Faculty Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical/Translational Science Award: Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, PhD, UGA

2024 Faculty Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Clinical/Translational Science Award to

  • Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, PhD, Associate Professor College of Public Health (CPH), UGA and Director of Inclusive Excellence for CPH

Abstract Awards

Poster Presentation Winners

  • Basic Research
    • Harry Henry-Ojo, University of Georgia, “Therapeutic Implications of SMOX Deletion in Multiple Sclerosis”
  • Public Health
    • Esha Babu, Emory University, “Daily Emotions in Bereavement: Characterizing the Full Range of Experience and the Role of Precipitating Situations”
  • Clinical
    • Maria Schachter, Emory University, “Host and Fungal Factors Both Contribute to Cryptococcosis-Associated Hyperammonemia (Cryptammonia)”
  • Dissemination & Implementation
    • Santiago Arconada Alvarez, Emory University, “Fabla - Audio Diaries: A New Tool for Modernizing Participant Adherence and Data Collection Methods in Daily Diary Research”
  • Pre-Clinical
    • Mareena Pitts, Morehouse School of Medicine, “Regression of Endometriosis Burden and Associated Pain By Novel STING Inhibitors”
    • Sreelakshmi Nandakumar Menon, Mercer University, “Revealing the Potential of a Novel Compound in Inhibiting the Endothelin System”

Outstanding Oral Presentation (tie)

  • Simran Prakash, BA, University of Miami, “The Benefit of Accessible Exercise on Health Outcomes for the Disability Community”
  • Rebecca H. Stone, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, FCCP, University of Georgia, “Emergency Contraception Access in Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Pharmacies: An In-Store Analysis of Stocking Practices in Georgia”