Suma Jacob, MD, PhD receives major grant for clinical research
Suma Jacob, MD, PhD, is a wonderful example of IJR's translational training in action.
Having received an MD degree and a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Chicago, she subsequently pursued psychiatry residency training at UCLA. Following residency, Dr. Jacob sought to bridge her "disparate" clinical and research worlds by finding an integrated Child Psychiatry fellowship experience that would prepare her for a career as a clinical researcher.
Working closely with IJR faculty, Bennett Leventhal, MD, Mike Naylor, MD, Kathleen Kelley, MD, and Edwin Cook, Jr., MD, Dr. Jacob crafted an integrated clinical research child psychiatry fellowship that combined intensive clinical training in child psychiatry with mentored research experience. Fortunately for Dr. Jacob, the ideal mentorship team was right in her own backyard: Dr. Cook, a child psychiatrist and clinical researcher who directs IJR's Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience and conducts leading edge work on the molecular genetics and pathophysiology of autism, and Sue Carter, PhD, a renowned basic scientist and co-director of the Department' of Psychiatry-Brain:Body Center, who conducts research on neurohormonal systems and their impact on social behavior and brain development in voles.
Dr. Jacob was also fortunate to receive research training support during her IJR fellowship from a T32 designed to provide training in the neuroscience of mental health (Mark Rasenick, PhD, PI) as well as a CCTS clinical scholars fellowship to support her transition to independence. In addition to her outstanding cross-disciplinary mentorship, Dr. Jacob credits IJR's mock grant review process (see Box) with teaching her fundamental grantsmanship skills necessary for crafting a successful translational application.
The resultant application received an outstanding score and was funded on the first round. Dr. Jacob's K23 is embedded in an NIH-funded Autism Center of Excellence at IJR (one of only 6 in the country), directed by Dr. Cook, which affords a unique opportunity for this budding clinical scientist to participate in ongoing discourse between neuroscientists and clinical investigators engaged in translational studies in autism.