How Funders Can Work with Universities to Support Early Career Scientists [HRA Members Meeting, Chicago, Fall 2023]

Tuesday October 17, 10:10am-11:20am CT

Being an early career researcher poses numerous challenges. These individuals require substantial support to nurture their innovative ideas and progress to the next phase of their professional journey. Both nonprofit funders and universities have a vested interest in supporting their scientists to develop their innovative ideas and move to the next stage of their career. In this session, speakers discussed examples of ways in which funders and universities can work together to support early career scientists.

Megan Allen, PhD
Scientific Director | Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

Amanda Moualeu, MPH
Senior Research & Grants Administration | American Heart Association
Amanda Moualeu joined the American Heart Association(AHA) in 2016 from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children as a Strategic Research Program Manager. In that position, she managed various AHA research initiatives including the SURE program (Supporting Undergraduate Research Experiences), alongside other collaborative work done between the AHA and other organizations seeking to fund similar research. She is currently a Senior Research & Grants Administrator managing the research team’s role in the initiative, “Debiasing of Clinical Care Algorithms (DECCA),” funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs & Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas and her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy and Leadership from Loma Linda University.

Patrick Brandt, PhD
Director of Career Development and Outreach | Office of Graduate Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Patrick Brandt, Ph.D. is the Director of Career Development and Outreach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patrick leads Career Development initiatives for biomedical Ph.D. students, including the ImPACT internship program, career advising, and alumni career placement tracking. Patrick also coordinates the Translational Medicine Training program for students interested in clinically relevant research. As Outreach director, Patrick oversees NC DNA Day and other efforts aimed at connecting scientists to the public. Patrick has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester (he is a native Upstate New Yorker) and did postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Kim Lezak, PhD
Managing Director of Biomedical Research Grantmaking | Health Resources in Action
Kimberly Lezak is a Managing Director of Biomedical Research Grantmaking at HRIA. Dr. Lezak joined The Medical Foundation as a Scientific Officer in 2018 and works as part of a team devoted to biomedical research grant program management and grant making. She received a B.A. from Lehigh University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Vermont. As a Kaneb Fellow and awardee of the Jonathan Edward Brooking Mental Health Research Fellowship, Dr. Lezak completed postdoctoral training at McLean Hospital where she conducted basic research focusing on the neurobiological underpinnings of stress-related psychiatric illnesses including PTSD, anxiety, and addiction related disorders. Her 10 years of research experience have resulted in publication of multiple papers and presentations at local and national conferences.