Joseph Kindler, an assistant professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received a Georgia Clinical and Translational Sciences Alliance KL2 award.
The goal of the Georgia CTSA KL2-Mentored Clinical and Translational Research Scholars program is to support and enhance career development for junior faculty from a wide variety of disciplines at Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Institute of Technology and UGA.
The Georgia CTSA KL2 Core is committed to assisting junior faculty at Georgia CTSA partner institutions to become independent, established and ethical clinical and/or translational research investigators.
“From a research and career development standpoint, representing UGA as its KL2 scholar is a tremendous honor,” Kindler said. “It’s an opportunity for me to continue learning and expanding my collaborative reach and technical expertise in different areas by working with esteemed researchers in a variety of disciplines. It is my hope that the KL2 award will catalyze additional opportunities for scientific discovery in my laboratory, while providing students and trainees with dynamic, hands-on learning experiences.”
Kindler’s research focuses on identifying diet and disease-related threats to lifelong bone health, including diabetes and cystic fibrosis, and particularly the role of gut-derived hormones in bone metabolism. Kindler received his doctorate from FACS in 2017.
He directs the FACS Nutrition and Skeletal Health Lab, which uses state-of-the-art bone imaging methodologies for clinical and translational research studies.
Kindler’s KL2 research project is called “Evaluating the Gut-Bone Axis in Cystic Fibrosis.” The project will analyze the interplay between nutrition, diabetes and bone disease in adults with cystic fibrosis, a complex genetic condition that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. About 30,000 people in the United States and roughly 70,000 people worldwide have cystic fibrosis, Kindler said.
Dr. Kindler was the recipient of the OI Fall 2021 Resubmission Grant in support of this research Defining the “Gut-Bone Axis” in Youth: A Pilot and Feasibility Study. “I am grateful to the Obesity Initiative for providing funding through their ‘Grant Resubmission’ program,” Kindler said. “The Obesity Initiative-funded project allowed my team to gain important foundational knowledge that guided development of the KL2 research in people with cystic fibrosis.”
The project is a multi-institutional collaboration involving resources and expertise from multiple Georgia CTSA institutions, including UGA and Emory, as well as the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Beyond the lungs, cystic fibrosis impacts many other systems in the body, including the skeletal system,” Kindler said. “People with cystic fibrosis tend to break their bones and develop osteoporosis at a more accelerated rate and they also develop a unique form of diabetes. In cystic fibrosis, diabetes and bone disease are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This project focuses on a unique mechanism, a biological reason, why diabetes and nutritional issues may be involved in the bone health deficits that are evident in cystic fibrosis.”
Georgia CTSA KL2 Scholars receive salary support to enable them to spend at least 75 percent of their professional time on clinical and/or translational research and scientific training, as well as a technical budget of $25,000 per year for research-related expenses. Support in the program will be provided for up to two years depending on performance.
Kindler will be mentored by Brad Phillips, a professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy and director of the Biomedical and Translational Sciences Institute, the Clinical and Translational Research Unit and UGA principal investigator of the Georgia CTSA.
“It is an honor to be part of Joe’s mentorship team and innovative research,” Phillips said. “He will certainly excel as a KL2 Scholar and will be on a clear path to develop a nationally recognized and funded research program.”
Kindler also will receive mentorship from Andrea Kelly of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Jamie Cooper, Director of UGA’s Obesity Initiative and FACS professor; and Tanicia Daley Jean Pierre of Emory University.
“I am honored to represent UGA as its Georgia CTSA KL2 scholar,” Kindler said. “The environment and support afforded by the Georgia CTSA, UGA and my mentorship team, buoyed by Brad Phillips, is truly exceptional. It’s a very unique partnership we have in place here.”
This article was adapted from a UGA FACS News Story.