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Meet the KL2 Clinical Scholars

Cherise R. Chin Fatt, Ph.D.

Cherise R. Chin Fatt, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care (CDRC). She obtained a Ph.D. in cognition and neuroscience (2017) from the University of Texas at Dallas and did her postdoctoral work with Dr. Madukhar Trivedi, M.D. She is now a functional neuroimaging researcher with substantial expertise in advanced statistics. She has applied computational approaches to generate new insights into precision medicine approaches for currently available antidepressant treatments and to identify new targets for mechanistically-targeted drug discovery for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Chin Fatt will apply novel computational approaches to existing clinical and neuroimaging data to characterize the immune cell mechanisms underlying suicidal thoughts. Successful completion of her KL2 program will help identify immune factors that may be potential targets for drug discovery (and subsequent R level grants) and enable her transition as a federally funded independent investigator. Drs. Madhukar Trivedi, David Farrar, and Elizabeth Ballard are her KL2 research mentors.

Srinivas Chivukula, M.D., Ph.D.

Srinivas Chivukula, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He earned his M.D. at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed a residency in neurological surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also gained advanced training through a fellowship in functional and epilepsy neurosurgery. He obtained a Ph.D. in biology and cognitive neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, where his graduate advisor was Professor Richard Andersen.

His current research interests lie in the brain basis of human cognition, especially as it relates to the planning and production of human behavior (movement and speech), and in leveraging its natural neural mechanisms in strategies to restore function, such as brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). He is interested in how our brains represent our prior knowledge and experience in a manner that it can generalize across seemingly endless behavioral contexts, how it can dynamically combine with available sensory information from an ever-changing environment, and shape our motor output by identifying behavioral goals, formulating action plans, and ensuring their successful production. This work involves intraoperative neural recordings in awake and behaving human patient volunteers undergoing neurosurgical procedures combined with advanced computational analysis and modeling techniques. His KL2 mentor is Dr. Nader Pouratian, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.

Kimberly Goodspeed, M.D., MSCS

Kimberly Goodspeed, M.D., MSCS, is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology, and Psychiatry, and a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is a child neurologist and neurodevelopmental specialist who cares for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. She has particular expertise in rare genetic developmental disorders in children, including Angelman syndrome, Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, SLC6A1-related disorders, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, and Rett syndrome.

Dr. Goodspeed earned her medical degree at the UT Health Science Center at Houston and completed residencies in pediatrics and neurodevelopmental disabilities at UT Southwestern. Board certified in pediatrics, neurology, and neurodevelopmental disabilities, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2018. Her research seeks to better understand rare genetic developmental disorders in children and the genetic causes of developmental delays in children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. She partners with basic scientists to help develop novel treatments, such as gene therapy, for these conditions.

Samuel McDonald, M.D., MS

Samuel McDonald, M.D., MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and an Assistant Chief Medical Information Officer at UT Southwestern. He was previously a research mathematician for the United States Department of Defense until transitioning to a career in medicine, completing his education and training at UT Southwestern. He received a master’s degree at UT Houston's School for Biomedical Informatics with research interests in clinical decision support and machine learning/predictive modeling. His research focuses on the development and utilization of clinical decision support tools to provide real-time, actionable intelligence to patients and clinicians to improve the quality of care delivered. His KL2 research mentors are Drs. Mark Courtney, Christoph Lehmann, and Eric Peterson.

Eric B. Ortigoza, M.D.

Eric B. Ortigoza, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He earned his medical degree and Master of Science in Clinical Research from the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, followed by fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the University of Florida. The goal of his research is to better understand the relationship between the intestinal microbiome and gastrointestinal motility in preterm infants at risk of feeding intolerance. His KL2 research mentors are Drs. Lina Chalak, Andrew Y. Koh, and Julie Mirpuri.

Yuanyuan Faith Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Yuanyuan Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She received her M.D./Ph.D. degree at UT Southwestern, where she worked in the lab of Drs. Brown and Goldstein (Nobel Laureates, 1985). She subsequently pursued an internship and radiation oncology residency program at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and UT Southwestern, respectively. She is currently a clinical instructor in thoracic oncology and a post-doc fellow in Dr. Ralph Deberardinis’ lab. Her current research focuses on metabolic regulation of radiation response in lung cancer with a goal to develop metabolic radiosensitizers to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy. She received the 2015 Ida M Green Award, Radiation Oncology Early Career Developmental Award in 2020, ASCO Young Investigator Award and Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award in 2021. Her KL2 scientific mentors are Drs. Ralph DeBerardinis and Kenneth Westover.

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