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2021 Women’s Health and Sex- and Gender-Based Medicine Pilot Awards Announced



UCLA CTSI News Archive


The Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center Executive Advisory Board/UCLA CTSI Pilot Awards have announced five projects will be funded this year. Since 2012, UCLA CTSI has collaborated with the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center and its Executive Advisory Donor Board, providing over $1 million to 50 investigators from UCLA and CTSI partner institutions through this program. 

Awards this year will support the work of senior and junior facultyas well as trainees who are just establishing their research interestsand will fund translational and basic science research. Awarded trainees receive Young Investigator Awards which funds the research of a PhD candidate or postdoctoral student with the support of a principal mentor.

Projects aim to understand the effect of female chromosomes and estrogen on diabetes and heart disease, develop the use of artificial intelligence to improve “Pap” smear testing for cervical cancer, investigate the basis for life-threatening hypertension that develops because of pregnancy, and explore new approaches to treatment resistance in ovarian cancer. 

2021 awardees include:

  • Gaoyan Li, PhD candidate, and Xia Yang, PhD, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, "Dissecting the effects of sex chromosomes versus gonads on cellular gene expression and metabolic diseases" (Young Investigator Award)

  • Yael Raz Yana, MD, PhD, postdoctoral scholarand Sandra Orsulic, PhD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Artificial intelligence assistance to improve classification and management of cervical cytology" (Young Investigator Award)

  • Kelsey Jarrett, PhD, postdoctoral scholarand Thomas Vallim, PhD, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine (Cardiology) and Biological Chemistry, "Sex differences in bile acid composition and atherosclerosis" (Young Investigator Award) 

  • Allison Sharrow, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Lily Wu, MD, PhD, Professor, Departments of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Urology, and Pediatrics, "Mechanism of tumor associated macrophage expansion in ovarian cancer" (Young Investigator Award)

  • Amanda Collier, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, Lydia Lee, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Maternal Fetal Medicine), and Kathrin Plath, PhD, Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry, "Establishing a model for human placental defects in preeclampsia" (Pilot Award)