MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) has named Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, Ph.D., to its Research Scholar Program. The mission of the Research Scholar Program is to further develop outstanding early career research investigators in the clinical and/or translational sciences.

Dr. Brefczynski-Lewis is a research assistant professor in the West Virginia University Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and she also works with the Center for Advanced Imaging and the Center for Neuroscience. She is the principal investigator of the WVU team in the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research though Advanced Innovative Neurotechnologies), a national endeavor that began in 2013.

As a WVCTSI research scholar, 50 percent of her time for two years will be protected for research. Her appointment began July 1.

Marc Haut, Ph.D., A.B.P.P, chair of WVU’s Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, will serve as Brefczynski-Lewis’s primary mentor during her time as a research scholar. Dr. Haut will lead her mentoring team, which was custom designed to provide sustained, focused support. The mentor team will guide her efforts in generating peer-reviewed publications in addition to submission of applications for mentor-sponsored awards and eventually independent federal grant awards.

Brefczynski-Lewis and her team have recently been recognized for the development of a portable PET (positron emission tomography) scanner, which she hopes to use to focus on mental health conditions. During her time as a research scholar, she will further explore uses and applications of the mobile PET scanner in mental health care settings.

"Dr. Brefczynski-Lewis is an innovative thinker who is developing fascinating research that is already having an impact in neuroscience early in her career,” said Sally Hodder, M.D., WVCTSI director. “We are delighted to be able to support her as she takes her research to the next level as a research scholar."

Brefczynski-Lewis joins a list of four other WVCTSI research scholars and one research fellow named since the program’s inception.



  • Jennifer Mallow, Ph.D., FNP-BC, assistant professor, WVU School of Nursing

WVCTSI Background

In August 2012, the WVCTSI was awarded a $19.6 million IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences titled “West Virginia IDeA CTR” [Institutional Development Award for Clinical and Translational Research, 1U54RR033567-02; Hodder (Principal Investigator)] to support WVCTSI’s mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.

This grant was matched by a $33.5 million commitment from several West Virginia entities to create a total funding of $53.1 million to recruit clinician scientists and provide infrastructure support in the areas of biostatistics, bioinformatics, community engagement and outreach, clinical research education and mentoring, ethical and regulatory knowledge support, and pilot grants (to grow clinical and translational research in the state).


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Stephanie Ballard Conrad, West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute  304.581.1843

Link to story on WVUToday