Sinifunanya Nwaobi

Sinifunanya Nwaobi, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the UCLA department of neurology, has been awarded a NINDS Faculty Development Award to Promote Diversity in Neuroscience Research (K01) for her project "Adenosine Modulation of the Bi-Directional Relationship between Sleep and Migraine." 

Dr. Nwaobi's K01 research study will look at the specific mechanisms by which sleep modulates migraine pathophysiology. "I want to advance our understanding of the relationship between sleep and migraine and identify molecular mediators of this dynamic interaction," she said. "I look forward to using different disease models of conditions that are co-morbid with migraine to gain insights into the underlying pathophysiology that modulates migraine susceptibility."

According to the NIH, the prestigious Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is intended to provide "support and protected time for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence." The Faculty Development Award to Promote Diversity in Neuroscience Research, in particular, aims to support junior faculty in neuroscience research who come from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research. 

Dr. Nwaobi credits her time in the CTSI KL2 program as being instrumental in preparing her to submit a successful K01 application. The CTSI KL2 program provided critical funding to support my salary as well as funding for my research experiments. These early experiments yielded important data that I was able to include in my successful individual K grant."

As part of the 2021 KL2 cohort, Dr. Nwaobi entered the program as a clinical instructor before joining UCLA faculty as an assistant professor. She most recently completed a Headache and Facial Pain fellowship in the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program in 2023. 

Dr. Nwaobi also thanks Denise Gellene, MBA, CTSI director of science communication for her guidance during the application process. "The CTSI provided resources to elevate my grants writing skills and proposal submissions which I believe was essential to my success in securing subsequent funding," she noted. "The grant writing consultations with Denise were extremely helpful. Her services were highlighted during the K Scholar Society meeting. And I really appreciated the one-on-one consultations," says Dr. Nwaobi.

Image source: UCLA Health