Program Administration

Chris Baylis Ph.D. is program director (PD) with Peter Sayeski PhD, serving as Associate PD of the “Multidisciplinary Training Program in Hypertension”. As PD, Dr. Baylis supervises the overall performance of the training program and is available for daily consultation with students and mentors, as required. She organizes the annual retreat for the participating T32’s where each trainee gives a formal presentation of their research progress. This is held in coordination with the annual visit by Dr. Kathryn Sandberg (Chair, external advisory committee) which is attended by all mentors and trainees as well as members of the Recruitment and Review (R&R), internal and external advisory committees. She also organizes the alternating 6 monthly progress report meetings attended by trainees, mentors and the R&R committee. She records recommendations from the individual mentor/trainee meetings and collects and analyses the recommendations of the R&R and advisory committees and informs trainees and mentors. As director of the Hypertension Center she organizes the monthly seminars attended by all trainees and mentors. She has primary responsibility for management of recruitment of future trainees as follows: local and national advertising of available positions; working with the R&R committee to evaluate candidates; short listing those applicants deemed appropriate for interview and making the ultimate decision on who is accepted into the program, in consultation with the R&R committee. The Associate PD, Dr. Sayeski, serves as vice-chair of the R&R committee and advises and assist the PD on all aspects of trainee recruitment and retention. He has a very strong mentoring record and is an active participant and supporter of all Hypertension Center activities. Drs. Baylis and Sayeski have ongoing research collaborations and have laboratories and offices in the same area of the Medical Sciences building. They meet twice a month (or more frequently as required) to discuss activities and issues related to the training program. Fulfilling all UF Institutional requirements for hiring trainees and assuring compliance with NIH guidelines is by Leona Gautier, the administrator for the Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics. All fiscal matters relating to this T32 are handled by Jocelyn Fukai, the chief accountant for the Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics.

Program Director:

Chris Baylis, PhD, is Professor of Physiology and Functional Genomics, and Medicine (Nephrology), the J. Robert and Mary Cade Chair of Physiology and the Director of the University of Florida Hypertension Center. Dr. Baylis moved to University of Florida July 2004 from West Virginia University (WVU) where she was Professor of Physiology. While at WVU she served as member and chair of the Physiology Department Graduate Studies Committee, member and chair on the Advisory Committee for Minority High School Student Apprentice Program, Faculty on Endocrine Postdoctoral Training Program, Pharmacology Ph.D. training program, Nephrology Fellowship Program and Pediatrics Fellowship Program. While at WVU she taught in graduate, dental and medical student courses and also in the Nephrology Fellowship Program. In addition she was a member of the M.D., Ph.D. student committee and the Graduate Student Recruiting Committee. In her current role as Professor of Physiology and Functional Genomics and Medicine and Director of the University of Florida Hypertension Center she is a mentor on several other training programs. She also teaches graduate, dental and medical students as well as Nephrology fellows, serves as course coordinator of two advanced courses that she has developed: “Advanced Renal Physiology” and “Advances in Hypertension Research” for graduate students and fellows, as well as course coordinator of the renal sections Graduate Physiology. In addition she participates in the first year IDP program (Course GMS 6008) and the graduate level cardiovascular advanced course. She has received teaching awards from UF every year since 2007. She has mentored 2 Masters and 13 Ph.D. and 15 postdoctoral fellows. Most of her trainees have gone on to successful academic careers.

She is an internationally recognized researcher in renal and hypertension research and is a past recipient of the Louis K. Dahl and Harriet Dustan awards for hypertension research, by the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure; the Gottschalk award from the Renal section of the American Physiological Society; the Brenner Lectureship of the American Society of Nephrology; the first Koranyi Sandor award from the Hungarian Society of Nephrology and research excellence awards from both West Virginia University (Benedum award) and UF (Research Foundation Professorship award). She has had continuous NIH support since 1982 and previously reviewed for the NIH study Section CVB (1990-1994), PBKD NIH Study Section (2003 -2007), the VA Merit Review Board (Nephrology), serving as Chair during 2002-2003 and is now a member of the NIH College of CSR reviewers and regularly reviews applications for special emphasis panels, SBIRs and K08 fellowship awards. She also served as member of the Research Policy and Allocation Committee, AHA-WV Affiliate and Vice Chair, 1995-1996 and as Member, Research Peer Review Committee for Ohio-WV affiliate of AHA, 1996-1997. In addition she has been ad hoc reviewer for other NIH study sections, the March of Dimes, the Medical Research Council of Australia, the Welcome trust (UK), the Israel Science Foundation, the AAAS for National Science Agency of Saudi Arabia and the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. She is a reviewer for numerous journals and serves on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Physiology, Water and Electrolyte Section, Hypertension, Gender medicine and Frontiers in Physiology. She has previously acted as Associate Editor for AJP Renal (1996-2001), Section Editor for Current Opinions in Nephrology and Hypertension (1996-1999) and occasional Guest Editor for the American Journal of Kidney Disease, JASN and Am J Physiol, Regul.

Associate Program Director:

Peter Sayeski, Ph.D. is Professor of Physiology and Functional Genomics and Associate Chair of the Department. He was recruited to the University of Florida in 2000 as a tenure accruing Assistant Professor. Since then, he has established and maintained an active research enterprise that has been funded by the NIH and the American Heart Association. During this time, he has also established an active role in trainee mentorship. Specifically, he has mentored nine Ph.D. graduate students and two Post Doctoral Fellows. His graduate students have gone on to conduct postdoctoral studies at a number of institutions including Emory University, the NIH, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, UCSD, Vanderbilt University, the University of Iowa, and NYU. He has also served on 35 other Ph.D. dissertation advisory committees. He is active in graduate recruiting and has served on the graduate admissions committee for four years (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008). Since 2004, he has continually served on the Graduate Program Advisory Board. He teaches graduate, medical, dental, and physician assistants in a number of diverse topics including Essentials of Graduate Research and Professional Development (GMS6003), Graduate Physiology and Functional Genomics (GMS6008), Advanced Signal Transduction (GMS6051), Advanced Vascular Biology (GMS6410), Journal Club in Physiology and Functional Genomics (GMS6491), Structure and Function of Body Systems (DEN5120C), Medical Physiology (GMS6406), and Physiology for Physician Assistants (PAS 5025). Since 2008, he has been the Program Director for the University Scholars Program for the College of Medicine. This program supports the research of 33 undergraduates per year in host College of Medicine laboratories. He is an Editorial Board member of Regulatory Peptides and has served as an Ad Hoc reviewer for a number of journals including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, EMBO Journal, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Hypertension, AJP-Cell Physiology, AJP-Renal Physiology, American Journal of Pathology, Journal of Cellular Physiology, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, and Current Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Sayeski also served on study section for the American Heart Association in several capacities including as an Ad Hoc member (2001-2004), Co-Chair (2006-2007), and Chair (2007-2009). More recently, he has served as an Ad Hoc reviewer for the NIH on several study section panels including Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology (2009 and 2011), the Special Emphasis Panel for the NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards (2011), and the P50 Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology (2012). In addition, he has reviewed grants for the Special Research Program of the Austrian Science Fund (2011). Within the past several years, he and Dr. Baylis have established an active research collaboration as measured by joint publications, abstract submissions, and grant applications.

Advisory Boards:

The internal advisory board advises the PD on the general direction, goals and operation of the Training Program. The Board also makes recommendations to the Recruitment and Review (R&R) Committee on training projects, mechanisms of advertising and recruitment, minority recruitment and retention, and training curriculum. The members of the Internal Advisory Board meet twice a year and receives biannual progress reports from the PD. The members are: ex-officio member Paul Gulig Ph.D. (Director of the College of Medicine, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program (IDP) in Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, who will advise on all aspects of graduate education. Julie Johnson Pharm. D. Professor of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research, previously chair of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research until 2011 and is now Dean of the College of Pharmacy. She is an internationally recognized expert in clinical pharmacogenomics and Director of the UF&Shands Personalized Medicine Program. Charles Wood Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Physiology and Functional Genomics, PI of the R25 “Short-Term Training in Biomedical Research for Under-Represented Minorities. Dr Wood is internationally recognized for his research on fetal cardiovascular development. Both Drs Wood and Johnson have extensive mentoring experience.

The external Advisory Board is chaired by Kathryn Sandberg Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Physiology at Georgetown University, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and the founding director of the Center for the study of Sex Differences in health, aging and disease. She is also the Director of the PhD Program in Physiology and a new PhD track in Translational Biomedical Sciences within the other medical center PhD programs. Dr. Sandberg’s research has centered on the biology of sex differences in essential hypertension and associated vascular and kidney disease. She has been a member of numerous study sections and has been continuously funded by NIH since 1997. Among other honors, Dr. Sandberg was the recipient of the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research Harriet Dustan Award in 2010 and in 2012, the American Physiological Society Ernest Starling Award. Dr. Sandberg is a long term colleague of both Drs. Baylis and Sayeski with whom she shares research interests in the renin angiotensin system and sexual dimorphism of blood pressure control. She visited us as a guest of the Hypertension Center in December 2009 and participated in our annual T32 retreat in which all trainees presented their research. She also visited UF in April 2012 and March 2014, when she gave the Hypertension Center Seminar and acted as External Advisor on this T32, by participating in the annual retreat. She runs an active research organization and has trained many students and fellows. Dr. Sandberg will visit UF and meet with the in house members of the external advisory board (Drs. Fantone and Rivkees), the trainees, R&R committee and Internal Advisory Board annually. UF members of the external advisory committee are Dr. Rivkees and Dr. Fantone. Dr. Rivkees is a pediatric endocrinologist with an outstanding translational research program (currently PI on 3 R01’s), who was Director of the Yale Child Health Research Center K12 program and PI of the Yale Pediatrics Basic Science Training Program T32 award. He moved to UF to become chair of Pediatrics in 2012 and he is already providing advice on this resubmission. Dr. Fantone is Professor of Pathology who moved to UF in 2010 from the University of Michigan where he served as Associate Dean for Medical Education for 12 years. He has been a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners since 2005. He was recruited to UF as Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs and he has final responsibility for all aspects of medical education and provides considerable advice and support to this T32. The external advisory board will evaluate the training program each year and will make recommendations to the Director, associate program director and the Recruitment and Review Committee. They will also ensure external evaluation and compliance with NIH program administration and documentation procedures.

Recruitment and Review (R&R) Committee:

The R&R committee is responsible for trainee recruitment, selection and review of each trainee’s progress, review of trainee satisfaction and morale, and assisting the Program Directors with any conflicts that arise between mentors and trainees. The R&R is convened and chaired by the Program Director Dr. Baylis and screens all applications, establishes rules for selection and makes final admission decisions. The committee also reviews the performance of each trainee. Each trainee submits a written progress report to the R&R committee and has a one-on one meeting with the committee once a year (at the 6 month point). Members of the R&R committee also attend the annual T32 retreat when the program trainees present their research progress. Thus, the R&R committee members are kept fully apprised of all trainee’s progress. In addition, the R&R committee reviews the annual report by each active mentor in which they give their comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the trainee’s performance over the past 12 months. Going forward, we will also now require that each active mentor meets annually with the R&R committee to discuss these comments. Recommendations are then made by the committee for future support at the end of each trainee’s annual appointment period.

The members of the R&R Committee represent a range of disciplines: Peter Sayeski Ph.D. (Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics) is a basic and translational scientist working in cell signaling pathways involved in cardiovascular disease and cancer. David Gilland Ph.D (Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering), is a basic scientist working on translational studies of coronary artery disease. Mark Segal M.D., Ph.D. (Department of Medicine/ Nephrology, College of Medicine) is a clinician scientist working on basic, clinical and translational projects related to several aspects of vascular dysfunction in kidney disease. Nihal Tumer Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, COM) is a basic scientist involved in basic and translational research on cardiovascular disease in aging and metabolic syndrome.