CTSA Program Support Helps Talented Investigators Re-Establish Their Careers

Anandi Krishnan, Ph.D., Stanford University pathology instructor, at her lab bench.

Anandi Krishnan, Ph.D., is a blood/thrombosis researcher returning to science following an NCATS (2016-18) re-entry award. Krishnan’s current work is in identifying platelet transcriptomic signatures in myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Investigators who take a break from research for personal reasons — such as to care for a family member — can have a difficult time returning to academia. To address this challenge and cultivate the best minds to tackle problems in translational science, NCATS funds career re-entry supplements through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program.

One recipient is Anandi Krishnan, Ph.D., who was completing a successful postdoctoral fellowship before needing time off to care for her newborn child in 2011. One year later, Krishnan was ready to return to work, but despite having a stellar publication record, she was unable to obtain a faculty researcher position. Instead, she accepted an administrative position within Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research, a CTSA Program hub. Still, she missed being a hands-on researcher.

When Krishnan learned of NCATS’ career re-entry awards, she collaborated with faculty at Spectrum to successfully apply for a supplement to study myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of rare blood cancers. These diseases carry changes in blood cells’ genetic code that may contribute to complications such as blood clotting. Thanks to the funding, Krishnan is now examining platelets of MPN patients to identify genetic signatures, and she is compiling data to provide a better understanding of the diseases. Her work could ultimately help clinicians detect these diseases earlier and tailor treatments.

And how does it feel to be actively engaged in research again?

“Spectacular!” Krishnan said. “I am thankful for the support provided through the CTSA Program, and for my outstanding mentors, our dedicated research support staff, collaborators and, above all, patients who offer their samples. It really does take a village to do research.”  


Posted April 2017