Fager and Gutierrez receive VA Career Development Awards

Two faculty in the Department of Medicine have received Career Development Awards from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ammon Fager, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (Hematology), received a five-year award for his project “Understanding and Enhancing the Therapeutic Efficacy of Factor VIIa for Emergency Hemostasis,” which will look at the potential of a novel variant of Factor Vlla to enhance the treatment of both the hemorrhagic and inflammatory complications of intracranial bleeding.

Intracranial bleeding is a well-known feature of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which has become a signature wound of military operations and training over the last 20 years. An improved understanding of how platelets and blood coagulation proteins interact to stop bleeding is critical to improving patient outcomes and reducing health care costs for patients with intracranial bleeding due to stroke or severe TBI. 

“This award comes at a critical juncture in my career as I seek opportunities to develop important skills and experience that will allow me to become an independent investigator,” said Dr. Fager. “I am grateful for this award, which will allow me to build the foundation for this career while exploring avenues of research that directly impact the health and well-being of patients.”

Tony Gutierrez, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine (Cardiology), received a five-year award for his project “Telehealth to Improve Functional Status and Quality of Life in Veterans with PAD,” which aims to find out if a telehealth-based exercise program can improve physical function, health-related quality of life, and reduce coronary artery disease risk among veterans with peripheral artery disease.

“The VA CDA-2 will help me achieve my long-term academic goal of becoming an independent investigator dedicated to improve the functional status, quality of life, and cardiovascular risk profile of patients with peripheral artery disease,” said Dr. Gutierrez.

According to Matt Crowley, MD, the DOM Research Development Council (RDC) Chair for Clinical Research, “the VA Career Development Award program is a fantastic K-equivalent program that has helped launch the careers of numerous DOM investigators, myself included. Anyone interested in learning more about how the RDC can support junior DOM investigators in pursuing VA and other Career Development Awards should email me or Saini Pillai.”