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Leadership

Supported by a five-year, $25 million grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas is part of a nationwide network of medical research institutions working to speed the research process from scientific discovery to patient care. Frontiers supports the spectrum of translational research, from animal health studies to community-based and population health outcomes research. Frontiers recognizes that diverse teams are essential to improve health, and of utmost importance are the partnerships and collaborations with communities, families, and individuals.


Mario Castro HeadshotMario Castro, MD, MPH
Director, Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas
Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research
Director, Rainbow Clinical Trials Science Unit
University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Castro is the PI and Director of Frontiers. In this role, he leads, manages, and shapes the strategic direction of the clinical and translational research enterprise throughout the Kansas City region and across the state. His Frontiers responsibilities also include serving as liaison to national committees and collaborating with leaders from all Frontiers institutions. Dr. Castro joined the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2019 after 25 years at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he oversaw the asthma and airway translational research unit, which conducted 30 clinical trials at a time. He is currently the Scientific Director of the Rainbow Clinical and Translational Science Unit, the Chief of the Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division of the Department of Internal Medicine, and is Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center. As a leading clinician in his specialty, Castro has held leadership positions in several national organizations, is a frequent invited lecturer nationwide, and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He has also received many honors, including two awards from the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri and the CHEST Foundation's Humanitarian Recognition Award.


Steve Leeder headshotJ. Steven Leeder, PharmD, PhD
Co-PI, Frontiers 3.0
Marion Merrell Dow Endowed Chair in Pediatric Precision Therapeutics, Children's Mercy Kansas City
Associate Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics
Deputy Director, Children's Mercy Research Institute
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Research Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine

Dr. Leeder is the co-PI and co-Director of Frontiers 3.0 and shares responsibility for the vision and direction of Frontiers with Dr. Castro, spanning early lifespan through adulthood, having served as co-Director of the TL1 program for Frontiers 2.0. Dr. Leeder's research focuses on characterization of the relative contributions of ontogeny, genetic variation, and disease to observed variability in drug disposition and response in children. Over the years, these research activities have coalesced into the GOLDILOKs initiative: Genomic- and Ontogeny-Linked Dose Individualization and cLinical Optimization for Kids funded as one of four Specialized Centers for Research in Pediatric and Developmental Pharmacology supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Leeder has been recognized for his contributions to pediatric clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenetics with awards from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and the Pediatric Pharmacy Association.


Ruth Sosnoff HeadshotRuth Sosnoff, PhD, MBA
Executive Director, Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas

Dr. Sosnoff is the executive director of Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Kansas Medical Center. In this role, Dr. Sosnoff is responsible for the planning, management, and coordination of all CTSI operations. For example, she provides administrative and fiscal oversight, support of programs, and direction for the processes and communications of Frontiers. Before joining Frontiers in 2021, Dr. Sosnoff was the chief of staff and associate director for administration of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, where she served as NCSA's principal administrative and budget officer as well as primary advisor to the director. She also oversaw all operations of the Center's administrative directorate that comprises offices such as human resources, business, facilities, marketing & communications, business information technology, project management, and administrative support. Prior to her work with NCSA, Dr. Sosnoff assessed long-term needs and resources to provide guidance in strategic program development and operations as assistant and, later, associate director at the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI) at the University of Illinois. She began her Illinois career in 2009 with managing NIH multi-site research in the College of Applied Health Sciences and previously worked for the New York State Education Department to ensure compliance and fiscal integrity of state and federal programs based on USDA regulations in NYC schools. Ruth holds a PhD in Science Education from Syracuse University and an MBA from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois.


Brooks headshotWilliam M. Brooks, PhD

Associate Director, Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas
Director, Hoglund Brain Imaging Center
Professor, Department of Neurology
University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Brooks is the Director of the Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2002 where he holds the position of Professor in the Department of Neurology. He is a leader in the field of magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders with a focus on traumatic brain injury, neuropsychiatric syndromes associated with systemic lupus erythematosus, post-traumatic stress disorder, and stroke. His current projects include research into outcomes as measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy in traumatic brain injury in children and in adults and many grants to look at functional brain imaging and the neurochemistry of the aging brain.


Steve Leeder headshotKimber Richter, PhD, MPH, NCTTP
Associate Director, Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Kansas
Professor, Population Health
University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Richter is Professor of Population Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Director of UKanQuit, the tobacco treatment service of the University of Kansas Hospital. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and her Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas Department of Human Development and Family Life, now known as the Department of Applied Behavior Sciences. Her research interests include the clinical treatment of tobacco dependence, policy and advocacy related to the treatment of tobacco and other substance use disorders, and implementation of evidence-based practices. She has served as President of the Kansas Public Health Association, President of the Association of Medical Education and Research on Substance Abuse (AMERSA), National Scientific Advisory Board member for Optum Quitline, and a Scientific Advisory Committee for National Jewish Health to develop a dedicated quitline program for people with mental illnesses. Her professional service includes being a member of editorial boards and serving on several NIH and other grant review panels. She actively mentors junior faculty, post-docs, and students to conduct and publish high-quality public health research.


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Last modified: Nov 29, 2021
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