iTHRIV Announces 2022-2024 Scholars Cohort

May 11, 2022 by

iTHRIVE Scholars 2022

Top: Christine Ibilibor, MD, MSc; Jia-Ray Yu, PhD; Shannon Armbruster, MD, MPH; Patricia Rodriguez Lozano, MD
Bottom: Rell Parker, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; Rose Nevill, PhD; Irène Mathieu, MD; Andrew Barros, MD, MSc

The integrated Translational Research Institute of Virginia, or iTHRIV, has announced its sixth class of iTHRIV Scholars. The eight selected researchers from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic will participate in a structured research training and mentorship program.

The iTHRIV Scholars program, launched in 2017, is a cohort-based, mentored career development award for dedicated early career clinical and translational researchers. The intensive two-year program emphasizes data science training and interdisciplinary research collaboration.

iTHRIV Scholars dedicate roughly 75% of their time to their research project and the training program. The Scholars Program brings together innovative training in clinical translational research, data science, as well as research project development and management, all in a strong mentoring environment with support from peers and seasoned scientists and clinicians.

“The iTHRIV Scholars program continues to recruit exceptional early-career faculty. Alums of the Scholars program are already leading cutting-edge clinical and translational research programs with national and international recognition and this new cohort of faculty scholars have proposed research programs that will also lead to significant advances in health,” states Jason Papin, a professor of biomedical engineering in UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and School of Medicine, and one of the iTHRIV Scholars program’s principal investigators. “The iTHRIV Scholars program will hopefully be a powerful catalyst to help them realize these research visions.”

The scholars also participate in an annual public symposium where they present their findings and learn more about the work of their peers.

2022-24 iTHRIV Scholars Cohort

  • Carilion Clinic’s Shannon Armbruster, MD, MPH will study group-based exercise intervention for endometrial cancer survivors. Her mentors will be Samantha Harden, PhD and Jamie Zoellner, PhD, RD.
  • The University of Virginia’s Andrew Barros, MD, MSc will study ways to combat sepsis through machine learning. His mentor will be Randall Moorman, MD.
  • Christine Ibilibor, MD, MSc of the University of Virginia will be mentored by Tracey Krupski, MD. Ibilibor will examine the effects of pre-habilitation and mindfulness for patients undergoing radical cystectomy.
  • Irène Mathieu, MD of the University of Virginia will examine community based approaches to improve pediatric mental health. Her mentor will be James Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA.
  • Rose Nevill, PhD of the University of Virginia will be assessing the evidence-base for mindfulness interventions for treating behavioral health in adults with autism and intellectual disabilities. Her mentor will be Micah Mazurek, PhD.
  • The Virginia Tech Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Rell Parker, DVM, PhD, DACVIM will be mentored by Andrea Berkte, PhD. Parker will investigate how nerve damage effects nicotine receptors.
  • Patricia Rodriguez Lozano, MD of the University of Virginia will explore a novel therapy to treat microvascular disease in women. Her mentor will be Christopher Kramer, MD.
  • Virginia Tech’s Jia-Ray Yu, PhD of the university’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute will study Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). His mentor will be Catherine Bollard MD, MBChB.

“This is an exciting year for the Scholars program: we are thrilled to welcome our first scholar from Carilion and in addition, we will welcome a scholar and mentor team from Fralin Biomedical Research Institute based at the Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus in Washington, DC,” explains Leanna Blevins, assistant vice president for Virginia Tech Health Sciences Education and Student Affairs and the site director for the iTHRIV Scholars Program at Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic. “This cohort of scholars illustrates the diversity of the work that is being done by outstanding researchers at each of the iTHRIV partner sites.”

The 2022 iTHRIV Scholars Program cohort will begin in July. Building on the successful model of last year’s virtual cohort, this year will incorporate elements of distance learning, but will seek opportunities to phase in in-person collaboration.

Funded in part by a Clinical and Translational Science Award, iTHRIV combines the expertise of biomedical researchers and data scientists to facilitate team science and accelerate innovation to improve health across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Partner sites include Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Carilion Clinic and Inova Health System.

iTHRIV is partially supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, through award number UL1TR003015/KL2TR003016. For information, visit

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Filed Under: Honors & Awards, Research