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Naomi Tjaden

Naomi Tjaden portrait
2017 Graduate

Professional Background

Resident: Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas June 2017 - Present.

I am originally from Mansfield, Texas and finished high school in 2005 in Denton Texas, from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. Knowing I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up, I left for Boston, Massachusetts to be a pre-med student at Boston University. In my first two years of undergrad, I worked in Dr. Michael Sorenson's lab, where I studied malaria in parasitic birds. I spent my junior year studying abroad, in the Turks, Caicos, and in New Zealand.  I continued my research in the Sorenson Lab, and completed my senior thesis in this lab, and obtained my degree in Biology with an emphasis on Quantitative Analysis of Biological Systems (basically a Bio+Math+Stats focus) in 2009.

Having such a great experience in a basic science lab made me realize that I wanted research to be a part of my "grown-up plans." I applied for MD/Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a physician-scientist in an academic setting. I had met my future husband in Boston in an MCAT prep class, and together we decided to come to Kansas City to pursue our medical degrees. In 2011, I joined the Trainor Lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, where I studied the metabolism of Vitamin A to retinoid acid, and how this impacts the developing enteric nervous system in allelic mouse knockout models, and the implications this may have on Hirschsprung Disease. During my PhD, I was awarded an F30 MD/PhD Ruth L Kirschstein NRSA award for my research project. I earned my Ph.D. with honors from the Department of Anatomy and Physiology in 2015.

I plan to continue my work in developmental biology, specifically working on the enteric nervous system and motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. I have been matched into the Baylor College of Medicine Pediatrician Scientist Training and Development Program (PSTDP) at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. This program allows me to have 11 months of protected research time during my first 3 years of pediatric residency (2017-2020), and another 2 years of dedicated research during my fellowship in Gastroenterology (2020-2023). I am incredibly happy to have been matched to such an amazing program and to be living back in Texas. In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, cooking, renovating houses, gardening and spending time with my vascular surgeon husband and snuggling with our two fat dogs and our evil cat. 

Mentor:  Paul Trainor, Ph.D., Stowers Institute for Medical Research - University of Kansas Medical Center Anatomy and Cell Biology.

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
M.D.-Ph.D. Physician Scientist Program
Mail Stop 3062
1123 Delp Pavilion

3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, Kansas 66103