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UO’s Knight Campus-PeaceHealth partnership in Eugene announces projects, fellows

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EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and PeaceHealth announced today the first research projects and three of four post-doctoral fellows selected to take part in a first-of-its-kind joint effort between the organizations.

The Center for Translational Biomedical Research, a partnership between PeaceHealth and the UO’s Knight Campus, aims to forge biomedical research collaborations that produce increased research grant funding, journal publications and translation of new medical technologies. 

Postdoctoral fellowships for candidates from underrepresented communities in science and engineering mark the center’s first effort. Fellows will work with UO faculty members and PeaceHealth providers on mentored independent research with a clinical emphasis in the PeaceHealth medical domains.

The fellowships offer support tailored to the development of postdoctoral scientists and engineers from underrepresented communities, as defined by the National Science Foundation.

“The partnership between the Knight Campus and PeaceHealth demonstrates our deep commitment to improving diversity and inclusion in science and engineering by providing critical support and mentorship to talented individuals,” said Robert Guldberg, vice president and Robert and Leona DeArmond Executive Director of the Knight Campus. “It’s amazing to see the partnership come together to benefit science and patients in so many different ways.”

While scientific themes will evolve over time, the focus will remain on training individuals whose interests are grounded in the interface of clinical and applied science. 

“This extraordinary partnership represents our shared vision of not only promoting diversity and inclusion within our community but also enhancing the quality of life of our community members through the development of advanced treatments,” said Todd Salnas, chief executive of PeaceHealth’s Oregon network.

A panel of UO and PeaceHealth representatives selected the projects to receive initial support. They tackle 3D printing of surgical implants, impacts of microbiota on neurodevelopment, rehabilitation strategies for osteoarthritis and prevention of COVID-19 in Latinx communities. 

While recruiting for the biomedical engineering fellowship continues, three candidates have already been selected for post-doctoral fellowships.

David James, who completed his doctorate at the University of Miami, will investigate how the microbiota impact visual system development with Professor Karen Guillemin, of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Department of Biology, and Professor Judith Eisen, of the Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Biology.

Lina Maria Mancipe Castro completed her doctorate at Georgia Tech where she studied tissue-binding nano-composite microgels as an intra-articular drug delivery system for osteoarthritis treatment. Now, as part of her fellowship, she will work in the Guldberg Lab on improving effectiveness of stem cells in osteoarthritis therapy.

Veronica Michelle Oro is completing her doctorate at Arizona State University where she is using twin data to examine shared genetic and environmental liabilities underlying chronic pain and mental health in middle childhood across diverse cultural contexts. As part of this fellowship, she will work closely with Knight Campus Faculty Fellows and UO professors Leslie Leve, of the Prevention Science Institute and College of Education, and Bill Cresko, of the Institute of Evolution and Ecology and Department of Biology, to examine and improve COVID-19 prevention in Latinx communities.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at

About the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon: The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is an ambitious initiative to fast-track scientific discoveries into innovations that improve the quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation, and the world. The campus creates the intellectual infrastructure to establish Oregon as a center for both research and development, making Oregon a place where companies can start-up, grow, and stay.

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