Leadership

The Delta Clinical and Translational Science Consortium is structured as a shared responsibility model with leadership and governance equally distributed with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Tulane University Translational Science Institute. The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Mississippi Clinical Research Institute is a collaborating institution.

We are committed to interinstitutional interdisciplinary team science, and our strong commitment is reflected in our leadership structure. The Consortium is co-directed by Karen Johnson, MD, MPH, and Michelle Martin, PhD of University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Jiang He, MD, PhD, Director of the Tulane University Translational Science Institute. Gailen D. Marshall, MD, PhD, serves as the Executive Medical Director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Mississippi Clinical Research Institute, a collaborating institution.

Our Principal Investigators form a team with extensive and diverse translational research expertise, spanning from basic science to population science. This emphasis is reflected in every aspect of our interinstitutional translational research, workforce development, and education programs. Though distinctive, the three institutions complement one another to form a large, comprehensive entity covering three states in the South that can identify common problems, develop unique approaches to investigation and implement results throughout the Consortium populations. Such an organization can definitely contribute to the genomic, environmental and psychosocial components of a comprehensive precision medicine-based approach to health, particularly rural health, and the mitigation of health disparities within the Delta region and to the farthest reaches of our nation and world.

Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH

Karen Johnson, MD, MPH, is an Endowed Professor of Women’s Health and Preventive Medicine and co-Director of the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UTHSC. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine and also holds a Master’s of Public Health degree. For the past 28 years, her work has centered on large-scale interventional and observational studies of adults in the areas of women’s health, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, also risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and aging, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking cessation, and health disparities. She is currently the PI of the NHLBI-funded Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) in Memphis and Vice Chair of the National SPRINT Steering Committee. She is also the PI of the Look AHEAD weight loss study funded by NIDDK. She is an investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative and was the PI of the Memphis site during the clinical trial phase. She has been course director for the Randomized Clinical Trials Course in the Masters of Epidemiology degree program and actively mentors young investigators in clinical research methods and the ethical conduct of research. Dr. Johnson’s expertise in leading significant, large-scale, multisite clinical trials (many of which were cooperative agreements) and her role as Co-Director of the TN-CTSI a statewide institute housed at UTHSC, provide an excellent foundation for the expertise and experience needed to manage and lead the Consortium.

Michelle Martin, PhD

Michelle Martin, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine; Founding Director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research; and co-Director of the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UTHSC. As a psychologist, Dr. Martin brings to the Consortium a career focused on addressing disparities (racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and rural) across different chronic diseases in partnership with communities and multidisciplinary academic colleagues. She has led and co-led large-scale federally-funded projects with goals and structures similar to the DCTSC. These roles include her leadership as one of the Multiple PIs of a three institution NIMHD-funded U54 consortium (U54MD008602) that focused on reducing chronic disease through health policy research, and her Co-PI role on a multistate NIMHD-funded U24 grant, a consortium that brought together 5 cancer centers across the country to increase the recruitment of minorities to cancer trials. Dr. Martin will assume a critical role on a newly-funded P01 (1P01CA22997) for which University of Alabama at Birmingham is the lead institution. On the P01 application, Dr. Martin will Co-Direct the Recruitment and Retention Core. In this role, she will be responsible for recruiting older, rural, and minority cancer survivors from four states. In addition, Dr. Martin will serve as an investigator on two of the program projects and one of the P01 cores. Her overall program of research, in addition to Dr. Martin’s role as Co-Director of the TN-CTSI and previous cooperative agreements with NIH, provides a strong foundation to manage and lead the DCTSC.

Michelle Martin, PhD

Michelle Martin, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine; Founding Director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research; and co-Director of the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UTHSC. As a psychologist, Dr. Martin brings to the Consortium a career focused on addressing disparities (racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and rural) across different chronic diseases in partnership with communities and multidisciplinary academic colleagues. She has led and co-led large-scale federally-funded projects with goals and structures similar to the DCTSC. These roles include her leadership as one of the Multiple PIs of a three institution NIMHD-funded U54 consortium (U54MD008602) that focused on reducing chronic disease through health policy research, and her Co-PI role on a multistate NIMHD-funded U24 grant, a consortium that brought together 5 cancer centers across the country to increase the recruitment of minorities to cancer trials. Dr. Martin will assume a critical role on a newly-funded P01 (1P01CA22997) for which University of Alabama at Birmingham is the lead institution. On the P01 application, Dr. Martin will Co-Direct the Recruitment and Retention Core. In this role, she will be responsible for recruiting older, rural, and minority cancer survivors from four states. In addition, Dr. Martin will serve as an investigator on two of the program projects and one of the P01 cores. Her overall program of research, in addition to Dr. Martin’s role as Co-Director of the TN-CTSI and previous cooperative agreements with NIH, provides a strong foundation to manage and lead the DCTSC.

Jiang He, MD PhD

Jiang He, MD, PhD is the Chair and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Professor of Clinical Medicine and Human Genetics at the Tulane University School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Tulane University Translational Science Institute. Dr. He is a nationally and internationally well-known expert in the clinical, translational, and epidemiological research of cardiovascular and kidney diseases. He has conducted novel studies in obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has been the principal investigator and co-investigator for more than 40 major research awards from the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association worth more than 160 million US dollars. Dr. He has authored over 500 scientific articles and has published in first class biomedical journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of The American Medical Association, Lancet, and Nature Genetics. He has received many awards from local, national, and international academic institutions and professional societies

Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PHD

Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PHD is the R. Faser Triplett Sr. MD Chair of Allergy and Immunology, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Pathology and Population Health Sciences, Director of the Division of Allergy, Asthma  and Clinical Immunology and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at the UMMC School of Medicine and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Clinical Research and Trials Center. Dr. Marshall has over 44 years of research experience in studying immune regulation and the effects of psychological stress on the immune system in conditions such as asthma, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Marshall has been the principal investigator and co-investigator for numerous major research awards and clinical trials and has authored over 250 scientific articles, reviews and book chapters. Dr. Marshall is also an avid mentor with over 35 years experience mentoring junior faculty, medical students, graduate and undergraduate students and basic science and clinical postdoctoral fellows. He has received many awards from local, national and international academic institutions and professional societies.

Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PHD

Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PHD is the R. Faser Triplett Sr. MD Chair of Allergy and Immunology, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Pathology and Population Health Sciences, Director of the Division of Allergy, Asthma  and Clinical Immunology and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at the UMMC School of Medicine and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Clinical Research and Trials Center. Dr. Marshall has over 44 years of research experience in studying immune regulation and the effects of psychological stress on the immune system in conditions such as asthma, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Marshall has been the principal investigator and co-investigator for numerous major research awards and clinical trials and has authored over 250 scientific articles, reviews and book chapters. Dr. Marshall is also an avid mentor with over 35 years experience mentoring junior faculty, medical students, graduate and undergraduate students and basic science and clinical postdoctoral fellows. He has received many awards from local, national and international academic institutions and professional societies.