Dr. Marisa Spann & Dr. Jacquelyn Taylor Named Co-Directors of TL1 Program

September 10, 2021

The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research is excited to announce the appointment of Drs. Marisa Spann and Jacquelyn Taylor as Co-Directors and Co-Principal Investigators for the Irving Institute’s CTSA TL1 program effective August 1, 2021.

Drs. Spann and Taylor join the Training and Nurturing Scholars for Research that is Multidisciplinary (TRANSFORM) resource, led by Daichi Shimbo, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Research Career Development. The TL1 program, previously led by Dr. Henry Ginsberg for many years, offers a two-year program of research and didactic training for predoctoral students and post-doctoral fellows.

Photo of Marisa Spann

Marisa Spann, PhD, MPH, Herbert Irving Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center is the director of the early neuroimaging, neuroimmune, and neuropsychology lab (early N3) at CUIMC. Her research focuses on identifying early immune, brain, and neuropsychological antecedents of childhood psychiatric risk to reduce the time to intervention for young children. Her laboratory has made significant contributions in understanding associations between several types of prenatal exposures including maternal infection, autoimmune disease, BMI, and socioeconomic stress with offspring psychiatric risk, and the role of infant brain function and structure in mediating this risk. She is contact PI of a NIMH R01 (MH117983) to study the intergenerational transmission of regulatory control deficits (cognitive, brain, and behavioral) from mothers to their infants, preschool or school age children. Dr. Spann was recently awarded a Wellcome Leap grant to combine several large open-source datasets to create predictive models of language and executive functions in childhood. Dr. Spann’s experience and commitment to translational clinical research as well as her commitment to leadership in the area of mentoring positioned her to be selected as the course director of the Irving Institute’s Patient Oriented Research colloquium in 2019. As a former Irving Institute KL2 and current Irving Scholar, Dr. Spann co-leads and co-founded two highly successful peer mentoring groups: one for women investigators in the KL2 program and second for TRANSFORM alumni who meet to discuss scientific writing goals, promotion, navigating internal politics, resources, work-life balance, interdisciplinary team science, pursing funding, dissemination, among other things. At the national level, in her role as an ACNP URM Task Force member, Dr. Spann is co-leading the development of a Near-Peer Mentoring programming which will launch this winter. Recently, Dr. Spann was also awarded a NIMH Midcareer Investigator Award (K24) in Patient-Oriented Research to provide research training to young investigators in the area of perinatal-developmental neuroscience. In addition to her research, she is actively involved in service related to equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts at the university and national levels. She is Assistant Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia and co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.  Dr. Spann also co-founded and is the Founding President of the Fetal, Infant, Toddler Neuroimaging Group (FIT’NG), an interdisciplinary academic society facilitating advances in data quality and image processing tools for scientific discoveries related to the young brain. Taken together, Dr. Spann has an extensive history of innovation in mentoring, leadership, and science that will be an asset to the CTSA’s TL1 program.

Jaquelyn Taylor

Jacquelyn Y. Taylor, PhD, RN, Helen F. Petit Professor of Nursing at the Columbia University School of Nursing (CUSON), is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Research on People of Color (CRPC). Dr. Taylor has been a trailblazer in cardiovascular genomics research among minority populations, and diversity and inclusion efforts, having been the first black woman to earn tenure at CUSON, New York University School of Nursing, and the Yale School of Nursing. Dr. Taylor has been recognized for her contributions to the advancement of biomedical sciences, health care, and public health, having been elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. Dr. Taylor is committed to mentoring students and faculty as she received the Columbia University Irving Medical Center 2021 Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. Taylor has been PI of many studies including, but not limited to, an R01 from National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)- The Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure (InterGEN), a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award from President Obama in 2017, a P20 from NINR on Precision Health in Diverse Populations in 2018, and an MPI on an R25 on Research Opportunities in Cardiovascular Diseases for Minority Undergrad and Grad Students Across the Health Sciences (RECV) in 2020. In addition to leading these grants, Dr. Taylor founded the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Yale School of Nursing and served as its inaugural Associate Dean of Diversity, and then went on to become the inaugural Endowed Chair of Health Equity and to develop and direct the Meyers Biological Laboratory at NYU before joining Columbia University. Dr. Taylor has extensive history in mentoring and advising students, post-docs, junior faculty and peer mentorship both within her affiliated academic institutions and nationally. With over twenty years of clinical research and care experience, Dr. Taylor will help usher the CTSA TL1- now in its 4th award cycle since 2006- into a new era of empowering the next generation of diverse trainees to make new discoveries in precision medicine and translational science and to implement them into clinical practice and patient benefit.

Drs. Spann and Taylor have worked closely with Dr. Shimbo and the TRANSFORM leadership to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain the quality and standards of the TL1 program for doctoral students and postdoctoral research fellows. The TL1 Training Programs are intended to provide trainees with additional research training to prepare for a research career that can contribute in some meaningful way to understanding risk of disease, improving diagnosis and prevention, and tailoring treatment based on an individual’s variation in genes, environment, and/or lifestyle. The new TL1 leaders are enthusiastic about the future of the program and the hundreds of trainees now counted among its alumni.

Henry Ginsberg, MD, Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, is stepping down as PI of the TL1 award. As the former Director of the Irving Institute and PI CTSA Program hub, Dr. Ginsberg’s knowledge, experience and confidence will continue to be a source of guidance for the new TL1 leadership as he remains actively involved in the transition. Dr. Ginsberg will continue to serve as a mentor to the TL1 trainees utilizing over 40 years of dedicated mentorship experience. Krzysztof Kiryluk, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, served as Co-Director of the TL1 program and will also move on from his Co-Directorship from the TL1 program. Dr. Kiryluk is a Co-Director of the Irving Institute’s Precision Medicine Resource and will continue to be involved in all precision medicine related programs.