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Application packets must be received by 5:00pm on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

The Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center is committed to advancing the diversity among the scientific workforce in Louisiana and the research and career development of all people. Despite tremendous advancements in scientific research; information, education, and research opportunities are not equally available to all. To ensure LA CaTS is providing equal access to training opportunities, we are excited to announce the launch of the LA CaTS 2024 Underrepresented Minority Roadmap Scholar (UMRS) award.

One UMRS will be chosen each year. Applicants should hold an MD, DO, PhD, DDS, or PharmD. Please refer to any NIH K award guidelines for eligibility criteria. Applicants may be current members of the faculty or candidates for appointment to the faculty (prior to  July 1, 2024) at any LA CaTS Institution, including Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health-New Orleans, Tulane University, Children’s Hospital, LSU A&M, Xavier University, LSU Health-Shreveport, or Ochsner. An UMRS will represent at least one underrepresented minority classification as designated by the NIH.  Click here for details:

The program supports 75% of the Scholar's salary and fringe up to an annual maximum designated amount (direct cost only for salary and fringe benefits). The program also funds travel to present at the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) meeting (maximum of $2,500/year) and at another scientific research conference of the Scholar’s specialty, up to a maximum of $1,500/year. In addition, the Scholar’s mentor will receive a one-time allocation of $10,000 (direct cost only) to support the UMRS’s research and career development. The program also covers costs of tuition for courses in the Master of Science in Clinical Research curriculum.

Support is provided for 2 years, by the end of which we anticipate that the scholar will have competed successfully for an NIH Career Transition (K) award or its equivalent, providing continued protected mentored career development for a total of at least 5 years and providing protected time for advancement to an R01 or equivalent award.

The selection process will be competitive and composed of two rounds. First, our Professional Development Internal Advisory Board (IAB) will evaluate and prioritize the candidates. The IAB is composed of COBRE Directors, Center Directors, and Department Chairs. Those candidates who are selected to continue to the second round will be invited to interview with the Directors of the Professional Development Core. Scholar awardees will be notified by approximately April 26, 2024.

Each application must include the following:

  1. Cover page with title of research project, and name, title and institution of
  2. NIH Biosketch with personal statement of the applicant
  3. NIH Biosketch(s) of ALL proposed mentors
  4. Abstract of intended translational research (30 line limit)
  5. Proposed performance site(s) for the research project
  6. Name(s) and role(s) of the mentor(s) that will guide the nominees’ research training
  7. Research proposal follows the format of any K NIH Application: Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation and Research Approach (Note, our limit is 3 pages, excluding references)
  8. Career Development Plan: Present a systematic plan that: (a) shows a logical progression from the candidate’s prior research and training experiences to the training and research experiences proposed for the mentored phase of the award and subsequently to independent investigator status and (b) justifies the need for further mentored career development to become an independent research investigator (1 page limit)
  9. Support letters: In addition to letters from the applicant’s Mentor(s), we require letters from the applicant’s Dean, Department Chair, and Section Chief pledging support for the career development and protection of 75% time for the 2 years of this award and for up to an additional 3 years if the Scholar is awarded support for further
  10. Mentorship Agreement: Completed and signed by applicant and each Individual document for each mentor.
  11. Roadmap Scholar Applicant Demographics: Click on link to complete online

All documents should be compiled (in above order) into a single PDF file.
The format of the application should conform to NIH SF424 guidelines, as closely as possible.

File Name

Save the file and use file name “nominee last name_ nominee first name_ nominee institution_roadmap” (ex: Doe_John_MyUniversity_Roadmap). Be sure to only use standard characters in file names: A through Z, a through z, 0 through 9, and underscore (_). Do not use any special characters (example: “&”, “-“, “*”, “%”, “/”, and “#”) or spacing in the file name, and for word separation use underscore (example: “My_Attached_File.pdf”) in naming the attachments.

Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 11 points or larger. (A Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies).

Paper Size and Page Margins
Use standard paper size (8 ½" x 11).

Use at least half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. No information should appear in the margins, including the PI’s name and page numbers.

Page Formatting
Since a number of reviewers will be reviewing applications as an electronic document and not a paper version, applicants are strongly encouraged to use only a standard, single-column format for the text. Avoid using a two- column format since it can cause difficulties when reviewing the document electronically.

Application packets should be sent via email to Applications need not be routed through the institutional research office.

Important Dates:

  • Informational Webinar - "LA CaTS Underrepresented Minority Roadmap Scholar Application FAQs": Thursday, November 30, 2023 at noon (Zoom meeting link)
  • Applications Deadline: 5:00pm on Thursday, February 1, 2024 (submit via email to
  • Nominees and Mentors Notified by: Friday, April 26, 2024 (approximately)
  • Salary support begins: July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2026
  • Classes begin for Scholars: Monday, July 1, 2024





Research Interest

Current status


Jacob T. Mey, PhD, RD



Pennington Biomedical Research Ctr


Nutrition and Asthma

Awarded in July 2023 the NIH K01 grant for $709,000 for 5 years to assess the biological mechanism defining the diet-asthma relationship.

Crystal Y. Zheng, MD


Tulane University

Infectious Disease

Co-Investigator for West African Emerging Infectious Disease Research Center (WAEIDRC) 1U01AI151812-01 from Aug 1, 2020 – April 30, 2022, and Co-investigator for Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) Early Career Investigator Mentored Research Award from Mar 1, 2022 – Mar 1, 2023.


Christine Bojanowski, MD




Tulane University


Chronic infections and Cystic Fibrosis

Promoted to Co-Director of Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center in 2020. Awarded elite, $130K Gilead Research Scholar Program in Cystic Fibrosis in 2021. Selected as a Scholar for the Tulane University School of Medicine Scientist Pipeline Program.


Amanda Staiano, PhD



Pennington Biomedical Research Ctr

Childhood Obesity and Health Behavior

Awarded $4.5M subaward for 5-yr PCORI grant, A Pragmatic Family-Centered Approach to Childhood Obesity Treatment.


Maissaa Janbain, MD



Tulane University

Hemophilia and Anti- fibrinolytic Therapy

Secured $200,000 in extramural grant funding as a PI. Selected as a Scholar for the Tulane University School of Medicine Scientist Pipeline Program.


Courtney Peterson, PhD



Pennington Biomedical Research Ctr


Dietary strategies to mitigate or reverse chronic disease

Promoted to Associate Professor in Dept of Nutrition Sciences at UAB. NCATS featured scientist in August 2018. In 2021, awarded $4.2M grant for 5-yr NCI grant.


Learn more about past and current scholars and their projects.