While a scholar in SC CTSI’s KL2 program, William J. Mack, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of The Neurointerventional Program at USC, investigated how doctors could manipulate the body’s natural inflammation response to treat stroke and other blood flow disorders of the brain.

He used a mouse model to study a portion of the inflammation response called the C5 complement component. His research team found that by inhibiting the C5 receptors — and thus reducing inflammation — they could reduce the neurological damage after a stroke.

Mack credits SC CTSI’s KL2 program with helping him speed his development into an independent clinical researcher. “The program put me in a position to advance my research career much more quickly. Structured teaching like the KL2 program creates a formal pathway for more experienced researchers to guide newer researchers,” he said.

Mack’s work, supported through the SC CTSI, has led to multiple subsequent grants that are enabling him to further continue to investigate mechanisms of stroke. Currently, his R01 application is pending council review. 

“The mentors in the SC CTSI and the KL2 program taught me how to think like a researcher,” he added. “This training affected the shape of my research in fundamental ways - they improved my skills in things like hypothesis generation, research design, and my formal knowledge of statistics and analysis of findings.”

Without a program like the one offered by the SC CTSI that supports the mentors and organizes the coursework and seminars, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best coaching and training for your research goals.

William J. Mack, MD – Associate professor of neurological surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC; director, The Neurointerventional Program at USC

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.