Newly Appointed CATS Scholars & Upcoming Chicago K-Scholar Symposium &

Lauren Walsh
Post date: 
December 8, 2017


Meet the 2017 CATS and CATS Affiliate Scholars


Alessandra Eustaquio, PhD, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Alessandra Eustaquio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. Prior to joining UIC, Dr. Eustaquio was a Principal Scientist at Pfizer Research and Development for four years. At Pfizer, she was part of the Natural Products group and Oncology Medicinal Chemistry. Her research involved studying the biosynthesis of bacterial metabolites that could serve as payloads in antibody drug conjugates for cancer treatment.

Research in Dr. Eustaquio's laboratory aims to contribute to the field of natural product drug discovery and development. Natural products play a crucial role in human health. About half of the medicines we use today have their origin in bacteria, plants, fungi, and other organisms. The main challenges that may prevent development of a natural product lead into a drug are limited access from natural sources and difficulties in altering their chemical structure, which is usually necessary to improve pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. Her research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago aims to contribute to a) addressing the supply problem and b) generating structural diversity not found in nature but desirable for pharmaceutical applications by using biosynthetic engineering and synthetic biology approaches. She is also interested in unravelling biosynthetic pathways to biomedically relevant natural products and in genome mining for natural product discovery.

David A. Reed, PhD, College of Dentistry

Dr. David Reed is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Biology. His laboratory studies how the interaction of cells with the extracellular matrix mediates health and disease in articular cartilage. Degenerative conditions in cartilage such as osteoarthritis are known to be associated with high levels of mechanical and metabolic stress. Using approaches from biomechanical engineering and molecular biology, his work evaluates how cell-matrix interactions respond to mechanical and metabolic stress and promote the progression of cartilage degeneration.

Dr. Reed’s research under the KL2 CATS Award will focus on the transmembrane proteoglycan NG2 as a critical regulator of cartilage degeneration in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Surgical and transgenic preclinical animal models are used to identify new biomarkers of cell-matrix dysfunction. These preclinical data are then compared with synovial fluid biomarkers identified from patients with degenerative TMJ disorders. Long term, he hopes to leverage his results to develop new disease modifying therapeutics that target cell-matrix dysfunction and solve clinical problems associated with defining precise methods for the classification, prevention, and treatment of TMJ disorders.

Gregory Calip, PharmD, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Gregory Calip is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy and Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research. He is an alumnus of the UIC College of Pharmacy where he completed his PharmD before pursuing his MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at New York University and PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. He completed additional training in cancer epidemiology and prevention as postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Dr. Calip’s primary research interests are related to the influences of commonly used medications and comorbidity on cancer risk and outcomes among cancer survivors.

Currently, Dr. Calip's research is evaluating strategies to minimize the risk of cancer treatment-related cardiotoxicity in patients with multiple myeloma. His study seeks to examine the comparative safety of multiple myeloma treatments with respect to treatment-related venous thromboembolism and determine differences in long-term risk by racial groups in the United States. This exploratory approach to ultimately develop and evaluate prevention of venous thromboembolism complications in multiple myeloma is in line with the objectives of the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, while also seeking to reduce the unequal burden of these cardiotoxic complications among racial minority populations pursuant to the goals of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.

1st Annual Chicago CTSA K-Scholar Career Development Symposium 2018


Do you or a colleague have a K award? The Chicago CTSAs invite all local K awardees to attend this free career development and networking event. Scholars will benefit from a collegial environment of peers who face similar challenges in their health research endeavors.

Career Development Activities will include: 

  • Grantsmanship - Northwestern University’s Dr. Rick McGee will discuss transitioning to an independent R award.
  • Managing a Research Team - Four established faculty members will share their experiences in a panel discussion on research management.
  • Networking Luncheon - Meet and share information with K-Scholars from the greater Chicago area. Bring your business cards!

February 13, 2018, 8:30am-1:00pm

University of Illinois at Chicago
College of Nursing, 3rd Floor Event Center
845 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612

Online Registration At:
Registration Deadline: February 6, 2018