ICTS News Success Stories

Saint Louis University investigators awarded NIH K23 grants; Utilize ICTS resources to prepare for submission

ICTS members and Saint Louis University assistant professors, Jennifer Bello Kottenstette, MD and Sarah Gebauer, MD, were both recently awarded K23 grants from two separate institutes with the National Institutes of Health.  As a mentored career development award, the K23 provides early-stage investigators with additional opportunities to develop their independent research careers. The K23 is specific to clinician-scientists with a commitment to patient-oriented research.

Since the K23 is typically an early-career award, many first-time applicants have limited experience on how to apply for an NIH grant. Both Bello Kottenstette and Gebauer prepared for their K23 submissions by utilizing different resources provided by the ICTS.

Jennifer Bello Kottenstette, MD

Bello Kottenstette utilized the ICTS Research Development Program’s NIH Mock Study Section, a practice simulation of an actual NIH study section, to refine her K23 award resubmission.

Jennifer Bello Kottenstette, MD, is an assitant professor in the departmetn of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Photo by Sarah Conroy, Saint Louis University.

In the spring of 2020, Bello Kottenstette was reviewing her proposal after already submitting it to the NIH. “I was hoping the Mock Study Section could help me with my resubmission,” recalls Bello Kottenstette. “I was accepted to participate and then COVID hit. The Mock Study Section still happened, in a virtual format, and I received very detailed, specific critiques that were addressable. Overall it was a truly positive experience.”

Bello Kottenstette subsequently resubmitted and received her notice of award in March 2022 from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for her project to study the effectiveness of a motivational interviewing intervention to address substance use prior to pregnancy.

Read more about Bello Kottenstette’s K23 award here.

Sarah Gebauer, MD

Gebauer applied for funding through the ICTS’ Just-In-Time (JIT) Core Usage Funding Program to supplement her K23 application with additional pilot data investigating neighborhood socioeconomic status and knee osteoarthritis severity.

Sarah Gebauer, MD, is an assistant professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Photo by Sarah Conroy, Saint Louis University.

“We fused electronic medical record data we compiled with JIT funding with geospatial data regarding patient neighborhood, such as median income and median home value,” recaps Gebauer. “Our ultimate hope is that this analysis will help develop pragmatic exercise prescriptions for knee osteoarthritis patients tailored to each patient’s neighborhood, allowing physicians to make informed recommendations for treatment.”

The data collection was compiled through the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) core that provides specialized technical and management assistance to investigators using large electronic health records and medical claims data to study real-world outcomes of clinical care. The core is part of the AHEAD Institute at Saint Louis University.

Read more about Gebauer’s K23 award here.