DE-CTR ACCEL Leadership Team

PrincipaI Investigator and Program Director


Stuart Binder-Macleod, PT, PhD, FAPTA is the Principal Investigator and Program Director of the DE-CTR ACCEL Program, as well as the Lead for KCA 2.0. Dr. Binder-Macleod is the Associate Deputy-Provost for Clinical and Translational Research and the Edward L. Ratledge Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware. He is also the immediate past chair of the University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy Department. Dr. Binder-Macleod received a BS in Physical Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo, M.M.Sc. in Physical Therapy from Emory University, and PhD in Physiology from the Medical College of Virginia. He was the 2010 recipient of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Research’s John H.P. Maley Award for Outstanding Contributions to Leadership in Research and is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA. Dr. Binder-Macleod has enjoyed over 20 years of continuous NIH research funding and has served as chair and member of numerous NIH review panels. He is also the Program Director and Principal Investigator for an NIH funded T32 training program that is designed to train physical therapists to become scientists and leaders in rehabilitation-related research and the Program Director for an NIH-funded inter-institutional K12 training program for new investigators to acquire the research skills necessary to become independent investigators in rehabilitation approaches.

Program Coordinator


Thomas S. Buchanan, PhD is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware and Program Coordinator of the DE-CTR ACCEL Program. He is also the Principal Investigator for KCA 3.1. He received a BS from University of California, San Diego in Applied Mechanics & Engineering Sciences (Bioengineering) and a PhD in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics from Northwestern University. After doing a post-doc at MIT in Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Dr. Buchanan was given a faculty appointment at Northwestern in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and had a lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. From there he moved to the University of Delaware's Department of Mechanical Engineering and became Director of the Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research. He also served as Academic Director of UD's interdisciplinary Biomechanics & Movement Science graduate program. Buchanan served as Chairman of UD's Department of Mechanical Engineering and as Deputy Dean of the College of Engineering before being appointed the inaugural Director of the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute. Outside of UD, he has served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and as President of the American Society of Biomechanics. Buchanan holds the rank of Fellow in theAmerican College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the American Society of Biomechanics(ASB). Dr. Buchanan has been principal investigator of NIH research grants for over 25 years.

Executive Committee

University of Delaware: Stuart Binder-Macleod, PhD and Thomas S. Buchanan, PhD



Mary M. Lee, MD, FAAP is Professor of Pediatrics at Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine, Jefferson University, Enterprise VP, Nemours Health Care, and Physician-in-Chief at Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children. Dr. Lee came from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she was the Stoddard Professor and Chair of Pediatrics and served as the pediatric lead for the UMass CTSA. Dr. Lee received her MD from the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and completed her Pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is immediate past president of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, outgoing past president of the American Society of Andrology, and has been a member of the American Board of Pediatrics SubBoard in Pediatric Endocrinology. She served on the Scientific Advisory council for NIEHS and on several NIH study sections. Dr. Lee’s research in developmental reproductive endocrinology, type I diabetes mellitus, and childhood environmental health has been funded by NIH, the Hood Foundation, and the March of Dimes.


Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC):


Steven A. Kautz, PhD received his doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Davis, CA in 1992. He also received a Masters degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. He worked for 10 years as a research scientist at the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center in Palo Alto, CA. He then moved to the University of Florida in 2002, where he was first an Associate Professor, then a Full Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. In Gainesville, Dr. Katz also had a joint appointment at the VA Brain Rehabilitation Research Center. Currently he is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences and Research and a Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He also holds an appointment at the Charleston VA Medical Center. Dr. Kautz is a well-published expert in applying biomechanical and neurophysiological principles to understand the coordination of locomotion in persons with post-stroke hemiparesis. He has had NIH and/or VA funding for stroke rehabilitation research for the past 12 years and has been PI or Co-PI of 16 different awards totaling >$18 million. In addition, he has served as a mentor for more than $4 million dollars of awards to junior faculty. His research combines theoretical and experimental studies of the control of locomotion, functional biomechanics, and clinical neurorehabilitation with the goal of improving walking in persons with neurological disorders. Current ongoing research continues to build on this foundation and is expected to develop fundamental concepts related to walking performance, its measurement and its rehabilitation in the hemiparetic population.

Christiana Care Health System:


Mia Papas, PhD Dr. Papas’ current research projects focus on understanding the determinants of obesity among vulnerable populations. She is actively engaged in research focused on the role of maternal dietary factors and food insecurity in Hispanic families, understanding obesity among adolescents with disabilities, and health risks associated with away from home food use. Dr. Papas has extensive experience in supporting multiple research projects representing various disciplines. After receiving her PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow for the Division of Growth and Nutrition in the Pediatrics Department of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Through this experience she supported multiple projects during various phases including the development and implementation of these research projects as well as the analysis. She has designed and analyzed data for randomized controlled trials and observational studies conducted within the Division. She also developed her own research investigating the impact of the built environment and fast food intake on obesity among adolescents residing in low-income rural and urban communities. This work has resulted in authorship of over 20 peer reviewed articles ranging from examinations of the built environment on adolescent overweight, investigations of growth rates among children who experienced early growth deficiency, dietary factors of inner-city adolescent mothers, fiber and colorectal cancer, and the influence of pain on adherence to mammography screening guidelines. Her expertise includes experimental and observational study designs, the assessment of validity and reliability of screening tools, sample size and statistical power, the analysis of longitudinal data, hierarchical linear modeling, the use of GIS in understanding the effect of place on health and health behaviors, factor analysis, survival analysis, and multivariate logistic and linear regression.

Co-Directors, Communication


Michael Peterson, PhD, EdD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition at the University of Delaware. He received graduate degrees in Health Promotion and Behavioral Medicine from the University of Kentucky. His work experiences include developing and managing worksite health promotion programs, implementing state and community level health programs, and creating state and national level social marketing and health communication interventions. He created and founded the graduate Health Promotion program and the Health Coaching program at the University of Delaware. As a graduate faculty member at the Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health, he also teaches and mentors students in social marketing and health communications. Dr. Peterson was a health expert with Lluminari Inc (a health and media firm), and on the Social Marketing and Health Communications advisory board for the Nemours Health and Prevention Services organization. Over the past 14 years he has directed of the State of Delaware’s physical activity social marketing campaign “Get Up And Do Something”. Dr. Peterson has been primary investigator on many state and federally funded grant projects that promote health in communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and has created highly acclaimed cutting-edge population-based psychometric tools (BMI-SMT and STORM Index) for assessing health-related behavioral, psychosocial, and ecological measures. His research focuses on implementing and assessing health promotion programs at the community level, developing innovative psychometric assessment techniques, and developing social marketing/media interventions. Most recently he has worked with national organizations (e.g. Help Me Grow National Center, Hartford, CT), and the National Foundation for Fitness Sport and Nutrition (Washington DC) in developing marketing and communication efforts.


Erin Crowgey, PhD is Associate Director of Bioinformatics at Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children whose primary expertise is in molecular biology and bioinformatics. She works on multiple projects with the goal of implementing a learning healthcare system which will enhance precision medicine efforts. From the outset, her doctoral dissertation focused on building clinical and translational tools for rare childhood diseases. She has expertise in developing custom computational pipelines to analyze genomic data, including metagenomics and pan-omics integration. With her clinical collaborators across the country, she is working on establishing comprehensive computational pipelines that will enable the use of ‘omics’ data in clinical research projects, with the ultimate goal of applying these methods in real-time at the bedside. She is the Chair for the Genomics and Translational Bioinformatics working group for the American Medical Informatics Association, and has an affiliated faculty position at the University of Delaware.


Key Component Activities (KCAs)

KCA 3.1

Pilot Project Program: Thomas S. Buchanan, PhD

KCA 3.2

Professional Development Core


Robert E. Akins, Jr., PhD, FAACPDM, FAHA is a Principal Scientist, Director of the Center for Pediatric Clinical Research and Development, and Head of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Research at Nemours. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Delaware. Dr. Akins received both his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first American honored as a fellow of the Japan Foundation on Aging and Health, and he is an inaugural Fellow of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia. He is recipient of a Delaware INBRE Summit Award, was named “Neuroscientist of the Year” in 2013 by the DE Society for Neuroscience to honor his efforts to expand neuroscience research and education, and was recently named Researcher of the Year for 2014 at Nemours. Dr. Akins has served on multiple editorial boards, scientific advisory committees, and NIH and VA review panels. Since 2009, he has worked extensively to integrate basic and translational research into the clinical environment at Nemours and has established cross-campus, multi-disciplinary Mentoring and Advisory programs to support clinical and translational scientists. His research focuses on the development of regenerative therapies for pediatric diseases, especially congenital and acquired diseases of muscularized tissues, and his work has been generously supported by the Swank Foundation, the Nemours Foundation, NASA’s Biotechnology and Cell Science Program, and the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI, NICHD, and NIGMS).

KCA 3.3

Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core:


Claudine Jurkovitz, M.D., MPH has been the director of operations of the Christiana Care Center for Outcomes Research (CCOR) since it was created in December 2005. As such, she supervises the day-to day management of the center, prepares budgets for grant submissions—including NIH, foundation- and industry-funded grants—leads the data-acquisition and management team and works closely with the CCOR director and CCOR director of biostatistics to establish CCOR’s research priorities. As a nephrologist epidemiologist, Dr. Jurkovitz also actively develops her own research interests. These are mostly in the field of chronic kidney disease, focusing on preventing progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and preventing cardiovascular events in CKD patients, and more recently in the field of health services research, focusing on the interaction between primary care physicians and nephrologists.

As a nephrologist epidemiologist, Dr. Jurkovitz also actively develops her own research interests. These are mostly in the field of chronic kidney disease, focusing on preventing progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and preventing cardiovascular events in CKD patients, and more recently in the field of health services research, focusing on the interaction between primary care physicians and nephrologists.

Prior to working at Christiana Care, Dr. Jurkovitz was assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, with a dual appointment in nephrology and cardiology. While pursuing her research interest in the prevention of progression of kidney disease, she also became an active member of the Institutional Review Board and was later nominated vice chair of the Emory University Institutional Review Board.

Dr. Jurkovitz is deeply committed to public health and to the prevention of the progression of CKD, as evidenced by her 2004 appointment to the Steering Committee for the Kidney Early Evaluation Prevention Program (KEEP)—a nationwide screening program for kidney disease conducted by the National Kidney Foundation. She also served as chair of the Prevention Committee of the National Kidney Foundation Medical Advisory Board of Georgia in 2005.

KCA 4.2

Community Engagement and Outreach

bittner fagan

Heather Bittner Fagan, MD, MPH, FAAFP is a practicing family physician and researcher. Dr. Fagan is an Associate Professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, the Associate Vice Chair for Research in Family & Community Medicine at Christiana Care Health System, and is the lead of the Delaware ACCEL CTR Community Engagement and Outreach component. Dr. Fagan has made regional and national contributions to research on cancer screening and shared decision making in primary care and underserved populations.  She has also made regional and national contributions on methods of community engagement, specifically engaging physicians and their primary care practices and building community-academic teams. Dr. Fagan received the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Career Development Award, which recognizes and develops national leaders in cancer control and prevention, and has received research funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Fagan serves on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Christiana Care and the University of Delaware. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of professional organizations including the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, North American Primary Care Research Group, the Medical Society of Delaware, a board member of the Delaware Academy of Family Physicians and an invited member of the Delaware Health Care Consortium’s Early Detection and Prevention Committee.

KCA 5.0

Tracking and Evaluation Core


Sue Giancola, Ph.D. is Associate Director of the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy (CRESP) at the University of Delaware. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Policy Research, Evaluation, and Measurement program. Dr. Giancola has over 20 years of experience as an evaluator in both academia and private business. Her career has largely been focused on research and evaluation of programs to improve human services, as well as developing evaluation methods that can be embedded within programs. Dr. Giancola’s current work focuses on developing methodological processes to embed evaluation into programs, such that program development can be driven by reliable and valid information and impact findings can be properly interpreted. In July 2018, she was appointed as lead evaluator of the DE-CTR ACCEL Program.