• Laisel Martinez, PharmD, MS

    2023 KidneyCure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Research Scholar Grant
    Laisel Martinez, PharmD, MS

    Laisel Martinez, PharmD, MS

    2023 KidneyCure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Research Scholar Grant

    Institution: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

    Project Title: The Contribution of Catheter-derived Inflammation to Arteriovenous Fistula Failure

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    This project is a search for new anti-inflammatory therapies to improve the success of newly created vascular accesses and prolong the use of existing ones. 

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    My inspiration comes from the thousands of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients struggling to have a functional vascular access to extend their lives, in part because prior catheter infections predisposed them to vascular inflammation. 

    What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

    Reducing vascular access failure is a top priority for ESKD patients. My hope is that this research will lead to the design of effective preventive therapies for AVF maturation failure, to improve health outcomes and the quality of life of dialysis patients.

    What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?

    At the end of the grant period, I hope to have a strong foundation of knowledge and be prepared to establish my own translational research program at the interface between inflammation and vascular diseases. In five to ten years from now, I hope some of my findings can lead to novel therapies that advance patient care.

    What has surprised you most about your career?

    Research can lead to as many triumphs as disappointing rejections. Those that always praise you without any criticism are not really helping your career. 

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?

    We need to support diversity of ideas. Progress comes from a good balance between disruptive research and incremental science.

    In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through KidneyCure.

    This funding mechanism is an invaluable opportunity for early investigators to develop an independent idea and establish a strong foundation of data that can serve as premise for future NIH funding and further development of this and other projects. 

    What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

    Do not feel intimidated. Get inspired and work hard in good proposals based on your own ideas. 

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I was born in Cuba and came to the United States at the age of 17.

    In my free time I like to…

    Read (historical fiction), do puzzles, go to the beach, and spend time with my kids.