Congratulations 2023 CAIRIBU Interactions Core Collaboration Award Recipients!

 LaTasha Crawford, VMD, PhD, DACVP, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the School of Veterinary Medicine. The Crawford lab examines cell-specific mechanisms underlying pain, allodynia, and peripheral neuropathies using a range of cutting-edge neuroscience techniques and comparative histopathology. Dr. Crawford was awarded one of three CAIRIBU Collaboration Awards for her proposal, “An ex vivo platform for the study of sensory neuroplasticity as a link between bladder disease and referred pain”. Dr. Crawford’s PhD is in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to work on developing genetic tools to enable investigation of the role of touch neurons in pain-related pathology.

Catherine Brownstein, PhD, MPH, MEM is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, manager of the Molecular Genomics Core Facility at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Scientific Director for the Orphan Disease Research Gene Discovery Core. Dr. Brownstein was awarded a CAIRIBU Collaboration Award for her proposal, “Inclusion of minorities in studies of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome”. Dr. Brownstein completed her PhD in Genetics at Yale University. The focus of her dissertation was the genetic basis of X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets without mutations in PHEX and FGF23, and the role of Klotho in phosphate regulation.

Alejandro Roldán-Alzate, PhD, MS is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he directs the UW Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Laboratory which focuses its research on fluid dynamics analysis of physiological and pathological flows using a combination of medical imaging, additive manufacturing and computational fluid dynamics. Dr. Roldán-Alzate was awarded a CAIRIBU Collaboration Award for his proposal, “A multidisciplinary, non-invasive assessment of the bladder response to filling”. Dr. Roldán-Alzate completed his PhD in Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics and Computational Fluid Dynamics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

K12 Scholar at University of Michigan Urological Epidemiology (KUroEpi) Institutional Research Career Development Program featured on Good Morning America

Current K12 Scholar at University of Michigan, Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, MD, MS, was featured on Good Morning America for his dedication to “disabusing disability”. Okanlami was awarded $1 million dollars from Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, clinical training and programmatic support in the U.S. and Canada.

PHOTO: "Good Morning America" surprised Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, the Director of Disability Services & Adaptive Sports at the University of Michigan.

CAIRIBU Has Strong Presence at SBUR 2022

Unfortunately, due to severe weather, the 2022 SBUR meeting was transitioned to virtual and was re-scheduled for THURSDAY, 11/10/2022 through SUNDAY, 11/13/2022. Several CAIRIBU-affiliated investigators and trainees – past and present – participated. Here’s a list:

Travel Award Recipients: Teresa Liu, PhD;* Hannah Miles; and Han Zhang, MS – all from the UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center [*Liu was also a prior K12 Scholar in the UW-Madison KURe Program)

Thursday presenters: Maggie Stangis, MS (UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center)

Friday presenters: Zhou Wang, PhD (PI of prior O’Brien Center, University of Pittsburgh); Petra Popovics, PhD (prior UW-Madison KURe Program K12 Scholar, now at Eastern Virginia Medical School); Doug Strand, PhD (UTSW, project leader in the UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center); Jonathan Pollack, MD, PhD (Stanford University U54 O’Brien Center); and Han Zhang, MS (UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center)

Saturday presenters: Hannah Miles (UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center) and David DeGraff, PhD (prior Opportunity Pool Award recipient, Columbia University U54 O’Brien Center)

Poster presentations:

  • UW-Madison U54 O’Brien Center – Han Zhang, MS; Hannah Miles; Alexis Adrian; Teresa Liu, PhD (current O’Brien Opportunity Pool Award recipient and prior UW-Madison K12 Scholar); Kegan Skalitzky; Maggie Stangis, MS; Alejandro Roldan-Alzate, PhD (prior O’Brien Center Opportunity Award recipient); Laura Hackner; and Jordan Vellky, PhD (prior graduate student)
  • Michigan Interdisciplinary (P20) Center for Urology Research and Education (2022-2024) – Sara Roccabianca, PhD (Michigan State University, project leader for P20 Center); Sabrina Mota, PhD; and Pragya Saxena
  • Columbia University U54 O’Brien Center  – Jonathan Barasch, MD, PhD
  • UW-Madison KURe Program – Wade Bushman, MD, PhD
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem for Research-Purdue University P20 Exploratory Center (2018-2020) – Renee Vickman, PhD; Meaghan Broman, DVM, PhD
  • CAIRIBU U24 Interactions Core – Jennifer Allmaras, MP


CAIRIBU investigators Indira Mysorekar, PhD and Nicole DeNisco, PhD, and their postdocs Arnold Salazar, PhD and Michael Neugent, PhD, collaborated on this review on the Gut-Bladder axis and its implication for recurrent urinary tract infections. DeNisco and Neugent participated in the CAIRIBU urinary microbiota research interest group in 2021. Talk about building connections!


CAIRIBU Collaboration

Nicholas Steers, PhD, Opportunity Pool awardee from the Columbia University O’Brien Center and Indira Mysorekar, PhD, PI of a prior CAIRIBU P20 Exploratory Center at Washington University (now at Baylor College of Medicine) published a comprehensive review on bladder macrophages in Mucosal Immunology.

Timing is everything: impact of development, ageing and circadian rhythm on macrophage functions in urinary tract infections

Check this out! Article features collaborative research from Duke University K12 Alums

Female urinary tract lactobaccili can kill pathogenic bacteria, UAH research shows

K12 alums, Nazema Siddiqui, MD, MHS and Tatyana Sysoeva, PhD have continued their collaboration on research developed while at Duke University, now representing two different academic institutions following Sysoeva’s move to the University of Alabama at Huntsville.


CAIRIBU Interactions Core Collaboration Awards

Congratulations 2022 Recipients:

 Betsy Salazar, PhD is a Research Scientist in the laboratory of former University of Pittsburgh O’Brien Center Opportunity Pool awardee Rose Khavari, MD (Houston Methodist). Dr. Salazar was awarded one of two CAIRIBU Collaboration Awards for her proposal, “Characterization of spinal neural networks involved in the control of the lower urinary tract: a novel spinal fMRI feasibility trial.” Dr. Salazar’s PhD is in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Houston. She then completed a postdoc to work on therapeutic strategies promoting remyelination and motor recovery in patients with spinal cord injuries. She recently joined the Khavari lab to begin focusing on the brain-bladder connection.

Nazema Siddiqui, MD, MHSc is a urogynecologist and Associate Professor at Duke University and a former K12 KURe Scholar in the CAIRIBU KURe Program at Duke University. Dr. Siddiqui was awarded a CAIRIBU Collaboration Award for her proposal, Development of humanized mouse models for studies of the urogenital microbiome.” Dr. Siddiqui completed an Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at Cleveland Clinic and then a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at Duke University.



The Duke KURe Multidisciplinary Benign Urology Research Symposium 2022 attracted over 140 scientists from 47 academic institutions, from the USA, Canada, Australia, and Germany spanning a broad range of scientific subspecialties. This virtual meeting showcased not only the superb research by our Duke trainees but provided an opportunity for trainees across the US and internationally to highlight their research. Over 40 abstracts were submitted, and the best trainee submissions were selected for oral platform presentations by the KURe advisory committee. The symposium offered 2 keynote speakers, 6 oral platform presentations by our awardees and KURe scholars, and 2 multidisciplinary panel discussions. During 6 concurrent scientific sessions trainee presentations were judged to win basic, translational, and clinical research awards. Additionally, there was opportunity on Friday for trainees to meet in small groups with experts for networking and advice.

“Another fantastic program with great topics!!”

“Very professional presentations.  Very prepared for questions. So inspiring to see such dedicated young scientists”



CAIRIBU at SUFU Winter Meeting 2022

Multiple CAIRIBU investigators and trainees participated in the SUFU 2022 Winter Meeting in San Diego (and also virtually due to the meeting’s hybrid model). From Tuesday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 26, notable speakers were: Indira Mysorekar, PhD (Baylor College of Medicine), PI of a prior CAIRIBU P20 Exploratory Center at Washington University; Jim Hokanson PhD (Medical College of Wisconsin & Marquette University), prior K12 Scholar in the Duke University KURe Program; and Rose Khavari, MD (Houston Methodist), prior Opportunity Pool Awardee (University Pittsburgh U54 O’Brien Center). CAIRIBU trainees were presenters or co-authors for abstracts presented in various sessions: Sarah Maxwell (graduate student, University of Tennessee P20 Exploratory Center), Giulia Lane, MD (K12 Scholar, University of Michigan KUroEpi Program), and Ross Everett, MD (prior urology fellow affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin P20 Exploratory Center). CAIRIBU PIs Kathryn Flynn, PhD (Medical College of Wisconsin P20 Exploratory Center) and Cindy Amundsen, MD (Duke University KURe Program) were co-authors on abstracts. Nazema Siddiqui, MD, MHS (Duke Health), prior K12 Scholar (Duke University KURe Program), was a presenter, co-author, and senior author on posters presented in both basic science and clinical science sessions. The full SUFU program book is HERE.

Congratulations, Dr. Juntao Ke

For the year 2021-2022, the AUA New York Section E. Darracott Vaughan, Jr., MD Award was given to Juntao Ke, MD, PhD. He received this award for a one-year study on the genetic landscape of congenital obstructive uropathy at Columbia University Medical Center under the mentorship of Simone Sanna-Cherchi, MD and Cathy Mendelsohn, PhD. Dr. Sanna-Cherchi was the PI of a prior CAIRIBU P20 Exploratory Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Benign Urology at Columbia University. Dr. Mendelsohn is a PI of the Columbia University George M. O’Brien (U54) Urology Center.

Article by Duke P20 FORWARD PI featured in Physics of Fluids

Congratulations to Pei Zhong, PhD, PI at CAIRIBU P20 FORWARD Center at Duke University on authoring “A new cavitation damage mechanism in treating kidney stones using laser lithotripsy” which was selected as a featured article in Physics of Fluids.

I hope this work will encourage and promote more interdisciplinary, rigorous, and in-depth research regarding the mechanism of stone damage in laser lithotripsy beyond the conventional theory of photothermal ablation.” – Pei Zhong, PhD, Duke University


Congratulations, Dr. Aruna Sarma, one of the PIs of a new U2C/TL1 Award at University of Michigan

Aruna Sarma, PhD, MHA (Co-PI, University of Michigan KUroEpi program) and her collaborators Subramaniam Pennathur, MD and James Engel, PhD, recently received a U2C/TL1 grant from the NIDDK to establish The University of Michigan Kidney, Urology, and Hematology Research Training Network (UM KUHR). This program will provide opportunities for pre and postdoctoral fellows to pursue training in diverse aspects of benign kidney, urology, and hematology research. Mentors fall into major interest groups across the spectrum of KUH research: 1) basic mechanisms and model organism systems, 2) systems biology, bioinformatics, and translational discovery, 3) clinical and epidemiology studies, and 4) health services and implementation science studies.

U2C/TL1 trainees will be welcomed into the CAIRIBU community. The CAIRIBU Interactions Core is working closely with NIDDK Program Officers and Dr. Sarma to identify strategies for engaging with and providing networking opportunities for U2C/TL1 trainees.

CAIRIBU Welcomes Two New Centers!

Investigators John Lieske, MD and Kevin Koo, MD, MPH will be joining the CAIRIBU community after receiving a 3-year award from the NIDDK to establish a FORWARD P20 Urology Center at Mayo Clinic to study inflammatory mechanisms that lead to kidney stone formation. A second FORWARD P20 Urology Center was awarded to, Pei Zhong, PhD, MSc at Duke University. This Center for Urological Laser Technologies (CULT) is aimed at improving mechanistic understanding and treatment efficiency of laser lithotripsy.

From the NIDDK, “The overall goal of the Fostering Research With Additional Resources and Development (FORWARD) Urology Centers program is to foster and expand the benign urologic research community. FORWARD Urology Centers will support a Research Project designed and conducted by a collaborative, multidisciplinary team comprising junior investigators and/or researchers new to the field of benign urologic research.” For more information about this RFA, go HERE.