Francesca Stillitano, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a third year KL2 scholar. Her work focuses on using human induced pluripotent stem cells to model cardiac diseases and to develop human cell-based screening assays to evaluate cardiac toxicity and to detect subject specific drug response variability.

Dr. Stillitano decided to apply for the KL2 visiting scholar program as an important opportunity to deliver a national presentation and to meet with scientific experts from another CTSA institutions, thus enabling her to expand her professional network and create new connections. She requested to be placed at Stanford University, and selected Dr Joseph C. Wu as her mentor. Dr Wu is Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and a pioneer in the research of human induced pluripotent stem cells for disease modelling, drug discovery, and personalized medicine. She has had the opportunity to gain critical advice from Dr. Wu.

Along with attending a weekly KL2 Scholars program at Stanford, which is a closed forum covering an array of cross-cutting methodological topics with published examples of implementation, Dr. Stillitano also has the opportunity to present her KL2 work-in-progress (virtual grand rounds) on April 16, 2021, her Grand Rounds talk will focus on the modeling of genetic and acquired cardiac diseases by using patient-specific hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.

Dr. Stillitano’s presentation will be advertised nationally through the CLIC (Center for Leading Innovation & Collaboration) and made available to all KL2 Scholars and other interested faculty.

This experience will benefit Dr. Stillitano’s professional career as it allows meeting with scientific experts engaged in similar or complementary research and will enable her to expand her network with the goal that these connections will persist beyond the visit and that this program will foster exchange of ideas and collaborations among CTSA hubs.