Buddy Up: Dr. Thuy Koll and Dr. Tanya Wildes

This Fall, the CARG Buddy Up series features Dr. Thuy Koll and Dr. Tanya Wildes. Dr. Koll, mentee, is a geriatrician and an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the Internal Medicine Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care. Dr. Wildes, her mentor, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She is also a Faculty Member of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology.

Dr. Koll’s connection to CARG began in 2015, when Dr. Arti Hurria visited University of Nebraska Medical Center to give an educational grand rounds presentation. At the time, Dr. Koll was a fellow in the Internal Medicine Division there and became buddies with Dr. Tanya Wildes in the following year. It was a natural fit, as both researchers are deeply interested in finding better treatment options for older adults with blood-related cancers.

Since their pairing in 2016, their relationship has been close. “She has advised me on every aspect of career development and research including work-life contentment,” Dr. Koll says. The relationship has has also had reciprocal benefits for Dr. Wildes.

“Dr. Koll has taught me a great deal about mentoring up, skills I wish I had had during the mentored phase of my career and which I’ve suggested other mentees emulate,” Dr. Wildes notes. “She prepares for our time together by sending me an agenda and anything she’d like my thoughts on well in advance. This approach really optimizes our time together, giving me time to think through my responses and ensures that we cover issues she needs feedback on.”

With this dynamic, the pair have already accomplished great things together. Under Dr. Wildes’s guidance, Dr. Koll carried out and published research on cognitive function in older adults with hematologic malignancies through her 2019 GEMSSTAR award, which provides support for early career physician-scientists in aging- or geriatric-focused research.

Dr. Wildes has continued to serve as an advisor on Dr. Koll’s upcoming application for the Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, which seeks to “train aspiring clinician-scientists to become independent researchers, focus[ing] on patient-oriented research.”

For Dr. Koll, her time at CARG and mentorship under Dr. Wildes has brought connection to a supportive community of researchers. “I am so grateful for the generosity of so many CARG members,” Dr. Koll says, “starting with the warm welcome from Dr. Hurria.”


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