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iTHRIV Backs Promising Researchers to Improve Patient Care

The integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV) has selected its eighth cohort for the iTHRIV Scholars Program. Four outstanding early career researchers from the University of Virginia will participate in this two-year structured research training and mentorship program. 


  • Virginia Gallagher, PhD, with the Division of Memory and Aging Care in UVA’s Department of Neurology, will research “Characterization of Millennial caregivers of persons with cognitive decline: Identifying intervention targets using a mixed-methods approach” and be mentored by Carol Manning, PhD.
  • Christine Nelson, PhD, with the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine, will research “Degree and timing of T cell co-stimulation determine protective immunity to M. tuberculosis infection” and be mentored by Imre Noth, MD.
  • Alexander Podboy, MD, with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine, will research “Deciphering the immunologic landscape of gastroparesis-associated pylorospasm: Insights from single-cell RNA sequencing and gastric per-oral endoscopic myotomy” and be mentored by Emily McGowan, MD, PhD.
  • Russell Witt, MD, MAS, with the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery, will research “Exploring the role of adipokine signaling in melanoma: Deciphering the obesity paradox” and be mentored by Craig Slingluff Jr., MD, and Allan Tsung, MD.

The iTHRIV Scholars Program, launched in 2017, is a cohort-based, mentored career development award for dedicated early career clinical and translational researchers. The program emphasizes training in clinical translational research, data science, team science and proposal development in a strong mentoring environment with support from peers and seasoned scientists and clinicians.

“All of these newly appointed Scholars have a vision for truly impactful research that will significantly improve the lives of patients. The activities of the iTHRIV Scholars Program will help these faculty realize these visions and establish a foundation for sustained research careers in clinical translational science,” said Jason Papin, PhD, Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UVA and Director of the iTHRIV Scholars Program.

“Each new cohort of Scholars provides an opportunity for the entire iTHRIV partnership to engage in new and different ways to work toward our ultimate goal of making significant health-related discoveries,” said Leanna Blevins, PhD, Associate Vice President for Virginia Tech Health Sciences Education Academic Affairs and the Mentoring Development Lead for the iTHRIV Scholars Program. 

The 2024-26 iTHRIV Scholars are generously supported with funding provided by the UVA School of Medicine Office of the Dean, Departments of Medicine and Neurology, the UVA Brain Institute, the UVA Cancer Center and the UVA Vice President for Research. They will begin their appointments in July and join the 2023-2025 iTHRIV Scholars Program cohort

iTHRIV and the iTHRIV Scholars Program receive additional support from the UVA School of Medicine and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, through award numbers UL1TR003015/KL2TR003016. For more information, visit