Nearly three years ago, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine launched the Alliance Research Initiative to promote collaboration and mentorship through interdisciplinary research teams. With members spanning across UK departments and colleges, these teams were established to address Kentucky’s most urgent health needs.

The UK College of Medicine Office of Research celebrates the tremendous accomplishments of its inaugural Alliances and is excited to announce the awardees in the next phase of the initiative.

The second round of the Alliance Research Initiative, “Alliance 2.0,” officially launched on Jan. 1. The Alliance program now includes 16 research teams. Six Alliance teams from the previous round successfully competed for additional funding through one of three award mechanisms, six Alliance teams are still completing their previously granted Alliance award, and four brand new Alliance teams were funded.

Alliance 2.0 will promote innovative research in new areas of study while building upon the successes of existing collaborations.

In addition, the Office of Research would like to congratulate research teams whose outstanding work during the first round of the Alliance Research Initiative led to the funding of new classes of awards. The Osteoarthritis Alliance of Kentucky (OAK) and Translations of Research Interventions in Practice, Populations, and Policy Leadership (TRIPPPLe) received the Alliance Organizational Award, which provides funding for critical activities such as workshops and seminar series to continue the strong interactions begun during the first phase of their Alliances. Mary Sheppard, MD, a member of the recently completed UK-AARC Alliance, received the Alliance Mentoring Award, which provides resources and continued mentoring.

“We are thrilled with the progress made through the Alliance Research Initiative,” said Rebecca Dutch, PhD, vice dean for research. “As we welcome new teams, we are grateful for the multiple grants, projects, networking, and learning opportunities that have been made possible by the inaugural Alliances.”

The four new Alliances are listed below, along with the names and affiliations of principal investigators:

  • Alliance of Biomedical Educators (ABE)
    • Luke Bradley, PhD, Neuroscience
    • Beth Garvy, PhD, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics; Office of Biomedical Education
  • Center of Advanced Translational Stroke Science (CATSS)
    • Justin Fraser, MD, FAANS, FAHA, Neurological Surgery
    • Keith Pennypacker, PhD, Neurology
    • Ann Stowe, PhD, FAHA, Neurology
  •  mHealth Application Modernization and Mobilization Alliance (MAMMA)
    • Mikhail Koffarnus, PhD, Family and Community Medicine
    • Carolyn Lauckner, PhD, Behavioral Science
  • UK-Maternal and Pediatric Research Alliance (MaPRA)
    • John A. Bauer, PhD, Pediatrics
    • Thomas E. Curry, PhD, Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Peter J. Giannone, MD, Pediatrics
    • Ilhem Messaoudi Powers, PhD, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
    • John M. O’Brien, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Approval of Alliance 2.0 teams was decided through careful deliberation by the Alliance Leadership Team, which is comprised of basic scientists and clinicians across UK College of Medicine departments and centers. As in prior years, Alliances will be evaluated for progress at six-month intervals.

The Alliance Research Initiative was established to capitalize on the UK College of Medicine’s strong research growth, which included a two-fold increase of National Institutes of Health funding from 2017 to 2020. The initiative promotes transdisciplinary research to find solutions for Kentucky’s greatest health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, obesity and diabetes, substance use disorder, and other emerging areas of science.

The four new Alliances (ABE, CATSS, MAMMA, and MaPRA) are seeking motivated UK clinicians and researchers to join them in innovative research projects. Those interested in participating or learning more about the Alliance Research Initiative can visit: