Career Enhancement Core

The Mayo Clinic SCORE on Sex Differences takes a three-tiered approach to career development:

  • Pilot grants. The first tier consists of providing pilot grants aimed at expanding the pool of investigators committed to exploring sex differences in health and disease. These pilot grants allow investigation of new ideas, the addition of male or female research participants to ongoing projects that have not included both sexes, and the examination of sex differences in secondary data analyses. These grants are established through collaborations with other Mayo Clinic research centers, including:

    • Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research
    • Center for Individualized Medicine
    • Women's Health Research Center

    Their aim is to advance new research directions in sex differences research.

  • Ongoing support. The second tier consists of providing investigators with support for ongoing projects as they transition into independent research programs.
  • Career building. The third tier includes mentoring early-career investigators into leadership positions by sponsoring workshops, leadership coaching and opportunities for leadership of activities within the SCORE.

Career Enhancement Grants

Recent Career Enhancement Grant recipients and projects include:


  • Joshua (Josh) M. Bock, Ph.D. — "Sex Differences in Immuno-inflammation With Sleep Apnea"


  • Colleen M. Bartman, Ph.D., and Sergio E. Chiarella, M.D. — "Estrogen and the Circadian Clock in Women With Asthma"
  • Naima Covassin, Ph.D. — "Assessment of Sleep Disruption in Women With Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy"
  • Emma Fortune Ngufor, Ph.D. — "Understanding Sex-Specific Effects of Abrupt Endocrine Disruption on Physical Activity, and Bone and Muscle Health"


  • Sarah E. Baker, Ph.D. — "Sex Steroids and Autonomic Regulation of Vascular Tone"
  • Marissa J. Schafer, Ph.D. — "Cellular Senescence in the Female and Male Brain as a Driver of Age-Dependent Cognitive Decline"
  • Burcu Zeydan, M.D. — "Understanding Sex Differences in Multiple Sclerosis"

Research Stimulus Awards

Individualized medicine

The Mayo Clinic SCORE on Sex Differences, in collaboration with the Center for Individualized Medicine, supports pilot projects aimed at identifying sex differences in pharmacogenomics responses to drug therapies.

The most recent recipient of a pilot grant supporting sex differences research in individualized medicine is Andy Abril, M.D., and Megan M. Sullivan, M.D., for a project titled "Genetic Evaluation of Hand Erosive Osteoarthritis."

Past recipients:

  • Molly B. Kraus, M.D., and Junwen Wang, Ph.D. — "Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Multi-Omics Approaches To Understand Genetics of Sex Differences in Low Back Pain"
  • Guilherme (Gui) S. Lopes, Ph.D. — "Sex Differences in Adverse Outcomes Related to Opioid Medications and Their Associations With Phenotypes of Candidate Genes"

Health equity and community engagement

The Mayo Clinic SCORE on Sex Differences, in collaboration with the Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research, supports pilot projects that work collaboratively with communities to develop and execute innovative solutions to address stakeholders' most pressing health issues.

The most recent recipient of a pilot grant supporting community-engaged sex differences research to address health disparities is Ian R. Lanza, Ph.D., for a project titled "Age-By-Sex Interactions in the Sarcopenia of Aging."

Core directors