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Participants in Clinical Scientist Training Program

2014 Entering Class

Julie Boiko

Program Mentor: Paul Szabolcs, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapies, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Background: Julie R. Boiko graduated from Stanford University in 2010 with an MS and BS in Biology and a minor in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture. As an undergraduate, she worked in Stanford's Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation under the mentorship of Dr. David Miklos, where she developed an antibody allotype recognition assay to ascribe post-bone marrow transplant (BMT) serologic immunity to donor vs. recipient and correlated this immunity trend to pre-BMT high-dose radiation and chemotherapy conditioning vs. reduced-intensity conditioning. Since coming to Pitt, Julie has furthered her interest in BMT in the domains of pediatric transplant research and clinical practice. Her current translational research studies the role of regulatory T cells in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a devastating and potentially fatal consequence of BMT in which donor-derived cells attack the recipient's body.

Project Title: Regulatory T Cells and Tolerance after Allogeneic Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Publications:

  • Boiko JR, Borghesi L. Hematopoiesis sculpted by pathogens: Toll-like receptors and inflammatory mediators directly activate stem cells. Cytokine. 2012 Jan;57(1):1-8.

Abstracts:

  • Liu A, Boiko J, Gordon R, Marsh A. Women in Science and Medicine Association: An overview of student implemented professional development programming at the University of Pittsburgh. (Poster at American Physician Scientists Association 2014 Annual Meeting – Chicago, IL)
  • Boiko J, Yilmaz S, Grunwaldt L, Srinivasan A, Crowley J, Correa D, Gunawardena S. Periprocedural Anticoagulation for Pediatric Patients Undergoing Sclerotherapy for High-Risk Vascular Malformations: An Institutional Experience. (Poster at International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies 2014 International Forum – Melbourne, Australia)
  • Boiko JR, Gordon RA, Marsh AJ. Developing Women's Leadership Potential among Future Physician-Scientists: Collaboration and Growth at the University of Pittsburgh. (Poster at Association of American Medical Colleges 2013 Annual Meeting – Philadelphia, PA)
  • Sahaf B, Arai S, Chen G, Heydari K, Boiko J, Miklos D. A phase-II clinical trial of rituximab therapy after allogeneic HCT: Decreased alloreactive B-cell responses and chronic GVHD incidence. Clinical Immunology. 2009. 131(S1): S87. (Poster at Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies 2009 Annual Meeting – San Francisco, CA)
  • Boiko JR, Sahaf B, Mueller AMS, Chen GL, Tyan D, Miklos DB. IgG allotypes reveal thatantimicrobial humoral immunity persists after reduced-intensity hematopoietic cell transplantation. ASH Annual Meeting Abstracts. 2008. 112: 349. (Oral presentation at American Society of Hematology 2008 Annual Meeting – San Francisco, CA – Recipient of ASH Merit Award for highest-scoring abstract submitted by an undergraduate student)
  • Sahaf B, Boiko JR, Chen G, Heydari K, Arai S, Miklos D. Rituximab infusion two months after HCT decreases alloreactive B cell responses while recipient plasma cells persist. ASH Annual Meeting Abstracts. 2008. 112: 2234. (Poster at American Society of Hematology 2008 Annual Meeting – San Francisco, CA)
  • Sahaf B, Chen G, Boiko J, Heydari K, Arai S, Miklos D. Rituximab infusion after allogeneic HCT prevents donor B cell reconstitution and alloimmunity one year post transplant. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 2008 Feb. 14(2). 391. (Poster at American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2008 Annual Meeting – San Diego, CA)
  • Boiko JR, Sahaf B, Miklos DB. Allotype reagents distinguish donor and recipient antibodies after hematopoietic transplantation. ASH Annual Meeting Abstracts. 2006. 108: 2906. (Poster at American Society of Hematology 2006 Annual Meeting – Orlando, FL)

Funding:

  • 2014 American Society of Hematology HONORS Award

Phillip Choi

Program Mentor: David O. Okonkwo, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Clinical Director of the Brain Trauma Research Center, Executive Vice Chairman of Clinical Operations, Director of the Neurotrauma Program, and Director of the Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Program

Background: Phillip Choi graduated from Rice University in 2011 with a BS in Chemistry. Throughout college, Phillip worked in several organic chemistry labs synthesizing nanocars and nuclear batteries. Early in his medical school career, Phillip conducted public policy research investigating the FDA drug approval process. His current research interests include traumatic brain injury, endoscopic skull base surgery, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Project Title: Apoptotic Pathway Gene Expression and Variation in Traumatic Brain Injury

Douglas Holt


Matthew Kesinger

Program Mentor: Jason Sperry, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Surgery and Critical Care; Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Background: Matthew graduated with a degree in philosophy. He began his research career in 2008 in the Levene Biophysics at the University of Texas, Dallas. He turned his attention to clinical research in 2011. His work focuses on trauma systems in a variety of countries with differing resources. His current work focuses on probabilistic linkage as a way of connecting traumatic injury patient data across divisions of trauma care in the United States—from emergency medical services at the scene to initial resuscitation to rehabilitation and follow-up many years after injury.

Project Title: Traumatic Brain Injury: Long-term Incorporation of Systems Data (TBI-LINCS)

Publications:

  • Kesinger MR, Nagy LR, Sequeira DJ, Charry JD, Puyana JC, Rubiano AM. A standardized trauma care protocol decreased in-hospital mortality of patients with severe traumatic brain injury at a teaching hospital in a middle-income country. Injury. 2014 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24861416
  • Kesinger MR, Puyana JC, Rubiano AM. Improving trauma care in low- and middle-income countries by implementing a standardized trauma protocol. World J Surg. 2014 Aug;38(8):1869-74.
  • Kesinger MR, Millard PS. Voluntary male medical circumcision. S Afr Med J. 2012 Feb 23;102(3 Pt 1): 123-4
  • Shoura MJ, Vetcher AA, Giovan SM, Bardai F, Bharadwaj A, Kesinger MR, Levene SD. Measurements of DNA-loop formation via Cre-mediated recombination. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Aug;40(15):7452-64.

Alexander Khalaf

Program Mentor: Howard Aizenstein MD PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Bioengineering, and Clinical and Translational Science

Background: Alexander graduated from Hendrix College in 2010 with a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During college he worked with his mentor Dr. Andrea Duina to investigate the transcription factor Spt16 and its effect on nucleosomal rearrangement. After graduation, Alexander was hired as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Daniel Link, a hematologist at Washington University School of Medicine. In his time with the lab, Alexander explored the involvement of N-cadherin in mesenchymal homing and osteolineage differentiation. In 2011 Alexander entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Alongside his coursework he completed a project with Dr. Shobhit Madan at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where he used MRI to examine myocardial strain in post-repair Tetralogy of Fallot patients. In his third year of medical school he began work with Dr. Howard Aizenstein to explore the role of fMRI in the prediction of treatment response in late life depression.

Project Title: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Markers Predictive of Treatment Response in Late Life Depression During Emotional Regulation Task

Publications:

  • H. J. Aizenstein, A. Khalaf, S. E. Walker, and C. Andreescu, 'Magnetic Resonance Imaging Predictors of Treatment Response in Late-Life Depression'. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 27 (2014), 24-32.
  • A. Khalaf, and M. T. Heller, 'Extra-Skeletal Osteosarcoma Presenting as a Peri-Ampullary Mass'. Gastrointest Cancer. 45 (2014), 103-5.1.
  • A. Khalaf, D. Tani, S. Tadros, and S. Madan, 'Right- and Left-Ventricular Strain Evaluation in Repaired Pediatric Tetralogy of Fallot Patients Using Magnetic Resonance Tagging'. Pediatr Cardiol. 34 (2013), 1206-11.

Funding:

  • NIMH R25 Medical Student Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh 2014-2015
  • Dean’s Summer Research Program, University of Pittsburgh 2012

Jeehong Kim

Program Mentor: Cuneyt M Alper, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology; Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship Program

Background: Peter Kim graduated from University of Oregon in 2010 with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Biology. As an undergraduate, he studied a suspected tumor suppressor gene (Mnt) using Mouse model organism under the guidance of Dr. Hui Zong PhD, Institute of Molecular Biology. Following his first year of medical school, he participated in the Deans Summer Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he participated in n-vitro Characterization of a Radiation Mitigator small molecule under the guidance of Dr.Joel S Greeneberger MD. Currently, he has broad research interests in Otolaryngology including Pediatric Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Cancer.

Project Title: The effect of medical treatment of co-morbidities in improving Eustachian Tube Function in patients with Eustachian Tube dysfunction

Publications:

  • Epperly MW, Chaillet JR, Kalash R, Shaffer B, Goff J, Franicola D, Zhang X, Dixon T, Houghton F, Wang, H, Berhane H, Romero C, Kim JH, Greenberger JS, Conditional radioresistance of Tet-inducible manganese superoxide dismutase bone marrow stromal cell lines. Radiat Res. 2013 Aug;180(2):189- 204. doi: 10.1667/RR3177.1.
  • Kalash R, Berhane H, Houghton F, Chaillet R, Zhang X, Cao S, Kim JH, Epperly M, Sprachman,M, Wipf P, Greenberger JS, Small Molecule Radiation Mitigators JP4-039 and MMS-350 alter Irradiation induction of mRNA for redox-sensitive promoters and inflammatory cytokines in conditional Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MnSOD) tet/tet Mouse Bone Marrow Stromal cell lines. Amedican College of Radiation Oncology. 2012.

Funding:

  • NIH T-35 Training Grant in Hematology (2012)
  • Dean's Summer Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (2012)

Olubusola Oluwole

Program Mentor: Enrico Novelli, M.D., M.S. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the university of Pittsburgh School of medicine, Director of the Adult Sickle Cell Anemia Program and Associate Director of Hemophilia Center of Western PA

Background: Busola Oluwole graduate from University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) with a B.S. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology. At UCSC, She was accepted into the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program where she was able to conduct basic science research on the development of Retinoblastoma under the guidance of Dr. Seth Rubin. In 2012, she was a recipient of Dean’s summer Research Program award where she had the opportunity to work in Nigeria assessing the possible role of several biologic factors on the development of cognitive impairment in children with sickle cell disease under the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Novelli.

Project Title: Association of elevated pulse pressure in childhood with increased the risk of cognitive impairment in adulthood.

Publications:

  • Olubusola Oluwole, Robert Noll, PhD, Julie Makani, MD, PhD, and Enrico M Novelli, MD, MS. Cognitive Function Of Nigerian Children With Sickle Cell Disease. November 15, 2013; Blood: 122 (21).

Xiaoran Zhang

Program Mentors: Nduka Amankulor, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Associate Director, Adult Neurosurgical Oncology and Michael T. Lotze, MD, Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering, Vice Chair of Research within the Department of Surgery

Background: Zel (Xiaoran) Zhang graduated from University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2009 with a B.S and a M.S in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. While at UCLA, Zel was a Departmental Scholar who did his Master’s thesis at the laboratory of Dr. Robert Modlin, MD. His Master’s thesis was titled “Role of Vitamin D in Toll-induced Antimicrobial Responses.” After graduation Zel studied the utility of immunosuppressive mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of spinal cord injury under the guidance of Dr. Rick Delamarter, MD at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Prior to coming to medical school, Zel studied immune suppression in chronic wound under the direction of Dr. Mario Fabri, MD, at University Hospital Cologne.

Project Title: Epigenetic Dysregulation in Mutant IDH1 Glioma Cells Also Alters Immune Recognition

Publications:

  • Grandhi R, Zhang X, Jadhav AP, Horowitz MB, Ducruet AF, Jankowitz BT, Jovin TG. Femoral Arteriotomy Closure using the Mynx Vascular Closure Device: A Profile of Device Efficacy and Complications. Interventional Cardiology. (Accepted).
  • Adams C, Cohen D, Schreiber J, Valpey R, Benoit K, Puyana S, Zhang X, Douaihy A. Letter to the Editor. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2013 Oct 28.
  • Zhang X, Hunzelmann N, Tantcheva-Poor I. Recurrent Sterile Pustules and Papuples in a 7-month-old Infant. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30(5):621.
  • Zhang X, Schlaak M, Fabri M, Mausch C, Kurschat P. Successful Treatment of a Panniculitis-Like Primary Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma of the α/β Type of Bexarotene. Case Rep Dermatol. 2012;4:56-60.
  • Daly K, Liu S, Agrawal V, Brown B, Huber A, Johnson SA, Reing JE, Sicari B, Wolf MT, Zhang X, Badylak SF. The Host Response to Endotoxin Contaminated Dermal Matrix. Tissue Eng Part A. 2012 Mar15.
  • Walker VP, Zhang X, Rastegar I, Liu PT, Hollis BW, Adams JS, Modlin RL. Cord blood vitamin D status impacts innate immune responses. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jun;96(6):1835-43. PMC3100757.
  • Montoya D, Cruz D, Teles RM, Lee DJ, Ochoa MT, Krutzik SR, Chun R, Schenk M, Zhang X, Ferguson BG, Burdick, AE, Sarno EN, Rea TH, Hewison M, Adams JS, Cheng G, Modlin RL. Divergence of macrophage phagocytic and antimicrobial programs in leprosy. Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Oct 22;6(4):343-53. PMC2764558.
  • Liu PT, Schenk M, Walker VP, Dempsey PW, Kanchanapoomi M, Wheelwright M, Vazirnia A, Zhang X, Steinmeyer A, Zugel U, Hollis BW, Cheng G, Modlin RL. Convergence of IL-1beta and VDR activation pathways in human TLR2/1-induced antimicrobial responses. PLoS One. 2009 Jun 5;4(6):e5810. PMC2686169.

Yin Zhao

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2013 Entering Class

Cynthia Grady

Program Mentor: Sonya Borrero, MD MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science Center for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Background: Cynthia D. Grady graduated from Winston-Salem State University in 2010 with a BS in Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she participated in the following research endeavors: Summer Research Opportunity Program (Summer 2007) at Duke University under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Seed, MD PhD, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; Minority Health International Research Training Program (Summer '08) at the Cape Coast University in Ghana under Dr. Francis Tayman, PhD, Department of Organic Chemistry; Diversity Summer Internship Program (Summer '09) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health under Dr. Gypsyamber D'Souza, PhD, Department of Epidemiology. Following her first year of medical school, she participated in the Deans Summer Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (2011), conducting research pertaining to unintended pregnancy and sterilization regret under the guidance of her current research mentor, Dr. Sonya Borrero, MD MS.

Project Titles: Identifying and defining the typologies of pregnancy intention among low-income African American and White women in Pittsburgh

Publications:

  • Grady C, Schwarz EB, Emeremni A, Moore C, Akers A, Yabes J, Akers A, Zite N, Borrero S. Does a history of unintended pregnancy lessen the likelihood of desire for sterilization reversal? Journal of Women’s Health 2013 Jun;22(6):501-6.
  • D’Souza G, Matson P, Grady C, Nahvi S, Merenstein D, Weber K, Greenblatt R, Burian P, Wilson TE. Medicinal and recreational marijuana use among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Cohort (WIHS), 1994-2010. JAIDS 2012 Sep 22.

Eduardo Nuñez

Program Mentors: Amber Barnato MD MPH MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Clinical and Translational Science; and Charles Reynolds III MD UPMC Endowed Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry, and Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, and Clinical and Translational Science


Background: Eduardo Nuñez graduated from the University of Florida in 2008 with a BS in Microbiology. As an undergraduate, he conducted clinical research analyzing the immune reconstitution of patients’ cells after bone marrow transplants with or without thymoglobulin. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant at the Miami Institute of Human Genomics before entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2010. The summer of 2011 he worked as a clinical research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center looking for evidence of salt-losing nephropathy among oncology patients treated with cisplatin. His current research interests include geriatric care and global health.

Project Title: Recently bereaved surrogates’ stories about their participation in decisions to limit life-sustaining treatment for a loved one in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Sebastian Shterental

Program Mentor: Marc A. Simon, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Section, UPMC McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine


Background: Sebastian graduated from Williams College in 2008 with a double BA in Mathematics and Philosophy. He pursued myeloid leukemia research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Broad Institute in Boston for two years before matriculating at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2010. He is currently studying pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in a variety of disease settings including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and scleroderma. His research focuses on novel hemodynamic and histological techniques to improve our understanding of PAH pathophysiology and employs human lung tissue samples as well as murine models.

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2010 Entering Class

Alexandra Dreyzin

Program Mentor: Ira Fox, MD, Director of the Center for Innovative Regenerative Therapies and Professor of Surgery and Pediatric Transplantation.


Background: Alexandra Dreyzin graduated from Brown University in 2009 with an ScB in chemistry and literary arts. Throughout college, she completed research in several different labs, ranging from organic synthesis to solid state chemistry. For her senior thesis project, she worked on the synthesis and electrochemistry of organometallic catalysts. After graduating, she spent a year working as a research assistant in a vascular tissue engineering lab at Children's Hospital Boston.

Project: Her first project in Pittsburgh was a qualitative study of parents’ perspectives on clinical trial participation, focusing on a hepatocyte transplantation trial, which was starting at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She also plans to take a more lab-oriented approach to pediatric liver disease, working on an induced-pluripotency stem cell model of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC).

Publications:

  • Lin RZ, Dreyzin A, Aamodt K, Li D, Jaminet SC, Dudley AC, Melero-Martin JM. "Induction of erythropoiesis using human vascular networks genetically engineered for controlled erythropoietin release." Blood. 2011; 118 (20): 5420-8.
  • Lin RZ, Dreyzin A, Aamodt K, Dudley AC, Melero-Martin JM. "Functional endothelial progenitor cells from cryopreserved umbilical cord blood." Cell Transplant. 2010; 20 (4): 515-22.

Funding:

  • Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) - Short-Term Access to Research Training Program (START UP), University of Pittsburgh, Summer 2011

Regina Triplett

Program Mentor: Miya Asato, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Beatriz Luna, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology.


Background: Regina Triplett received a BS in biology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her first exposure to research came in 2008 through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Neuroscience. Under this program, she was mentored by Drs. Gonzalo Torres and Amy Wagner and studied the behavioral effects of the dopamine transporter protein on rats. During the summer of 2009, Regina was awarded the Charles Salisbury International Internship to investigate potential treatments for hemispatial neglect in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study directed by Drs. Patrik Vuilleumier and Arnaud Saj at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Regina conducted her senior honors thesis research at the University of Rochester under the supervision of Dr. Krystel Huxlin. In this research, she examined the electroencephalographic responses of cortically blind stroke patients before and after their visual rehabilitation. She continued this work in the summer of 2010 through an undergraduate research fellowship at the University of Rochester's Center for Visual Science.

Project Title:

  • A Multi-Modal Investigation of Executive Function in Children and Adolescents with Epilepsy: Preliminary Findings.
  • Establishing a Computerized Tool for the Clinical Evaluation of Cognitive Function in Children with New-Onset Epilepsy.

Funding:

  • NIMH R25 Medical Student Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh 2013-2014.
  • Swaiman Medical Scholarship Program, Child Neurology Foundation, Summer 2011.

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2008 Entering Class

Aaron Baum

Program Mentor: Jennifer Steel, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Excellence in Behavioral Medicine; and Kathleen DeWalt, PhD, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Background: Aaron Baum graduated from the University of Chicago in 2003 with a BS in mathematics. He worked for several years in finance as an equities trader while researching the normative sleep habits of pediatric neurologic patients with Dr. Michael Kohrman, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Chicago.

Project Titles:

  • Posttraumatic growth in refugees from sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Rates of malnutrition among microcredit clients' children in the central plateau of Haiti.

Program Accomplishments:

  • During 2009–2010, Aaron lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he managed and researched projects for the health department of Fonkoze, which is the largest microfinance bank in the country and serves over 50,000 rural female loan clients and 200,000 depositors. The objective of Aaron's work was to foster a cost-effective increase in health care access and utilization in isolated and impoverished communities through the integration of health interventions and education into the microfinance infrastructure already in place. His research evaluated an innovative pilot program that involved Fonkoze and Partners in Health, was designed to detect and treat malnutrition in children from 6 to 59 months of age, and used a community-based therapeutic care model integrated into Fonkoze's microfinance community infrastructure.

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Graduates of the Clinical Scientist Training Program
2014 Graduates

Jayshiv Badlani

Program Mentors: James Irrgang, PhD, PT, Director of Clinical Research in Orthopaedic Surgery; and Christopher Harner, MD, Medical Director of UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.

Background: Jayshiv Badlani graduated from Northwestern University in 2009 with a BA in economics and a certificate from the Kellogg School of Management in Financial Economics. During his undergraduate education, Jayshiv undertook research at the University of Pittsburgh Stem Cell Research Center with Dr. Johnny Huard. His research included projects investigating the impact of vascularity and neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the healing of injured skeletal muscle. He also spent a summer working with Dr. Robert Parker for the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative on a project that involved developing ideal chemotherapy schedules.

Project Title:

  • Effects of meniscus injury on the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012–2013.
  • T32 Research Training Grant in Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Pittsburgh, 2012-2013.

Kyle Jackson

Program Mentors: Robert Kormos, MD, Professor of Surgery, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Director of the Artificial Heart Program, Co-Director of Heart Transplantation at UPMC, and Medical Director of Vital Engineering; Mary Amanda Dew, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Clinical and Translational Science


Background: Kyle Jackson received a BS in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009. While there, he spent several years in the laboratory elucidating the molecular pathway of gender determination in the red-eared slider turtle. Since entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he has been involved in research projects within cardiac and transplant surgery.

Project Title: Right ventricular dysfunction following ventricular assist device implantation

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012–2013.

Ian Joel

Program Mentor: Charles F. Reynolds, MD, UPMC Endowed Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, and Clinical and Translational Science.

Background: Ian Joel graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2008 with a BS in psychobiology. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. Peter Bachman, conducting research aimed at better understanding the effects of psychosocial stress on the auditory gating endophenotype and working memory in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. During his time at UCLA and afterward, Ian volunteered extensively as a suicide-crisis counselor and training leader at the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Los Angeles. After graduating from UCLA, he also worked as an emergency medical technician at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where he was a member of the team that transported critically ill patients by helicopter and ambulance.

Simiao Li

Program Mentor: Judy C. Chang, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Division of Gynecologic Specialties; and Rachel P. Berger, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Child Protection Team, Child Advocacy Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Associate Director in Child Abuse, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research.

Background: Simiao Li graduated from Pomona College in 2008 with a BA in molecular biology. As an undergraduate, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Clarissa M. Cheney researching the localization of novel Drosophila melanogaster vesicle transport proteins. Simiao also spent a semester abroad in China, where she interned at Beijing United Family Hospital and conducted ethnographic research on women in Beijing. Before entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2009, she taught as an Elite Instructor with Kaplan Test Preparation and Admissions and served as a patient advocate for the Community Crisis Center of Elgin, Illinois.

Project Titles:

  • Women Arrested for Intimate Partner Violence
  • Retinal Hemorrhages in Low-Risk Children Evaluated for Child Physical Abuse.

Publications:

  • Li S, Mitchell EB, Fromkin J, Berger RP. Retinal Hemorrhages in Low-Risk Children Evaluated for Physical Abuse. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2011; 165(10):913-917.

Program Accomplishments:

  • First place, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Student Research Training Program Summer Poster Session 2010
  • Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Biomedical Science Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Summer Research Program 2010

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 2012–2013.
  • NIMH R25 Medical Student Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh 2012-2013.
  • Student Research Training Program Scholarship, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC 2010.

Constantino Michaelidis

Program Mentor: Kenneth Smith, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine.


Background: Constantinos Michaelidis graduated from Swarthmore College in 2005 with a BA in biology and a BA in history. As an undergraduate, he conducted research on mechanisms of sexual selection and correlates of mating success in Photinus greeni fireflies. After graduation, he worked as a high school biology teacher and health care consultant before entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2009. Here, he has focused on developing Markov models to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of community-based vaccination programs to ameliorate racial disparities in influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates.

Research Interests:

  • Cost-effectiveness of vaccination programs
  • Cost-effectiveness of strategies to reduce uneccessary antibiotic use
  • Societal costs of antibiotic resistance

Publications:

  • Michaelidis CI, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, Smith KJ. Cost-effectiveness of a program to eliminate disparities in pneumococcal vaccination rates in elderly minority populations: an exploratory analysis. Value in Health. 2013;16(2):311-317.
  • Michaelidis CI, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, Smith KJ. Estimating the cost-effectiveness of a national program to eliminate disparities in influenza vaccination rates among elderly minority groups. Vaccine 2011; 29(19): 3525-3530

Program Accomplishments:

  • Dean's Summer Research Program Arthur Mirsky prize, 2010

Funding:

  • Medical Student Training Award, American Federation for Aging Research, 2010
  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012–2013.
  • T32 Research Training Grant in Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Pittsburgh, 2012-2013.

Jacqueline Moreau

Program Mentor: Laura K. Ferris, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; R. Scott Watson, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Background: Jacqueline Moreau graduated from Boston University in 2006 with a BA in public health. During college, she conducted thesis research on the impact of being Latino on the US healthcare experience. In addition, she created and contributed to educational curricula for several national organizations. For nearly a year after graduating, Jacqueline worked as a research and content development assistant for the Science Education Division of the journal Nature. She subsequently spent nearly two years as the manager of a quality improvement research project in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. During medical school, Jacqueline has done health services and epidemiology research on a range of topics. Her goal is to be a clinician scientist who specializes in dermatology.

Research Interests:

  • Dermatoepidemiology
  • Melanoma prevention

Publications - Manuscripts:

  • Wolf JA, Moreau JF, Akilov O, Patton T, English JC, Ho J, Ferris LK. Diagnostic inaccuracy of smartphone applications for melanoma detection. JAMA Dermatology. 2013;149(4):422-426. PMID: 23325302
  • Moreau JF, Ferris LK. Should there be an app for that? Controversies of diagnosing melanoma with your smartphone. Expert Review of Dermatology. 2013; 8(3):221-223: http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/edm.13.22
  • Moreau JF, Watson RS, Hartman ME, Linde-Zwirbe WT, Ferris LK. The epidemiology of ophthalmologic disease associated with erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis among hospitalized children in the United States. Pediatric Dermatology. Online first May 16, 2013. PMID: 23679157
  • Moreau JF, Fink EL, Hartman ME, Angus DC, Bell MJ, Linde-Zwirble W, Watson RS. Hospitalizations of children with neurological disorders in the United States. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. Online first July 9, 2013. PMID: 23842588
  • Moreau JF, Weissfeld JL, Ferris LK. Characteristics and survival of patients with invasive amelanotic melanoma in the USA. Melanoma Research. Online first July 23, 2013. PMID: 23883947
  • Brewer AC, Endly CD, Henley J, Mahsa A, Sampson BP, Moreau JF, Dellavalle RP. Mobile Applications in Dermatology. JAMA Dermatology. 2013;149(11):1300-1304. PMID: 24067948
  • Collins MK,* Moreau JF,* Opel D, Prevost N, Hastings M, Schwarz E, Ferris LK. Contraceptive non-compliance in women of childbearing potential during isotretinoin therapy. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Online first October 23, 2013. PMID: 24157382 *co-first authors
  • Moreau JF, Ozolek JA, Lin PL, Green TD, Scholz S, Cassidy EA, Venkat VL, Buchert AR. Chronic granulomatous disease presenting as aseptic ascites and fever of unknown origin in a 2 year-old child. Case Reports in Immunology. Volume 2013 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/927897
  • Moreau JF, Conroy MC, Winger DG, Ferris LK. Predictors of advanced and lethal melanoma in young white adults in the United States. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013. Accepted.
  • Cheng MY,* Moreau JF,* McGuire ST, Ho J, Ferris LK. Association between prior dermatologic examination and melanoma depth. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013. Accepted. *co-first authors.
  • Moreau JF, Gehris RP, English JC. Phytophotodermatitis. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2013. Accepted.
  • Moreau JF, Weinstock, MA, Geller, AC, Winger DG, Ferris LK. Nodular melanoma depth: Association with preventive services use, physician access, and socioeconomic status. Melanoma Research. Accepted.

Publications - Abstracts:

  • Moreau J, Fink EL, Hartman ME, Angus DC, Bell MJ, Linde-Zwirble W, Watson RS. ICU use and mortality are higher among children with acute CNS disorders than children with other acute disorders. Critical Care Medicine 2010; 38(19S): A6. DOI: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000390903.16849.8c
  • Moreau JF, Fink EL, Hartman ME, Angus DC, Bell MJ, Linde-Zwirble W, Watson RS. Children with Acute CNS Disorders Use More Hospital Resources than do Children with Other Acute Disorders. Clinical and Translational Science 2011;4(2):133. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2011.00269.x
  • Moreau JF, Fink EL, Hartman ME, Angus DC, Bell MJ, Linde-Zwirble W, Watson RS. ICU Use and Mortality are Higher among Children with Acute CNS Disorders than Children with Other Acute Disorders. Clinical and Translational Science 2011;4(2):132. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2011.00269.x
  • Moreau J, Watson R, Hartman M, Linde-Zwirble W, Ferris L. US children with erythematous conditions are more frequently critically ill and consume more health care resources than children hospitalized for other reasons. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013;68(4):AB96. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.12.399.
  • Wolf J, Moreau J, Akilov O, Patton T, English J, Ho J et al. Diagnostic accuracy of smartphone application in evaluating pigmented skin lesions. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013;68(4):AB151. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.12.628
  • Cheng M, Moreau J, McGuire S , Ferris L. The effect of full body skin examinations on the prognosis of melanoma. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013;68(4):AB155. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.12.641
  • Moreau JF, Winger DG, Ferris KL. Environmental and behavioral risk factors for melanoma among young women in the United States. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2013;133(S1): S89. DOI: 10.1038/jid.2013.98

Program Accomplishments:

  • Oral presentation at the Research in Cutaneous Surgery Minisymposium, International Investigative Dermatology Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 2013.
  • Oral presentation at Society of Critical Care Medicine Annual Congress, San Diego, CA, January 2011.
  • Poster presentations at 1 international, 2 national, and 3 local meetings

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012–2013.
  • T35 START-UP Research Training Grant, University of Pittsburgh, 2009

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2013 Graduates

Ryan Li

Program Mentors: James Irrgang, PhD, PT, Director of Clinical Research in Orthopaedic Surgery.


Background: Ryan Li graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2008 with a BA in chemistry and a BSE in biomedical engineering. During his undergraduate education, he researched chemical morphogen gradient effects on human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) chemotaxis and differentiation with Dr. Harihara Baskaran. Ryan also completed research internships under Dr. Adam Hsieh at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Dr. Robert Mauck at the University of Pennsylvania. Both internships involved MSC chondrogenesis.

Project Title:

  • Predictors of knee osteoarthritis after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Publications:

  • Erickson IE, Huang AH, Chung C, Li RT, Burdick JA, Mauck RL. Differential maturation and structure-function relationships in mesenchymal stem cell- and chondrocyte-seeded hydrogels. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2009;15(5):1041-52.
  • Erickson IE, Huang AH, Chung C, Li RT, Burdick JA, Mauck RL. Biomaterial-dependent mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis in 3D hydrogel culture. Tissue Engineering. In press.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2011–2012.

Ben Sprague

Program Mentors: Flordeliza Villanueva, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging, and Director of the Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics.


Background: Ben Sprague graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2006 and 2008 with a BS and MS in biomedical engineering. During this time, he worked with Dr. Naomi Chesler, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Dr. Ronald Magness, professor of obstetrics and gynecology. For his master's thesis, Ben measured hemodynamics and mechanical properties of vascular tissues within various ovine models of pregnancy. The goal was to improve our understanding of factors that cause maternal cardiovascular maladaptations, such as preeclampsia.

Project Title:

  • The use of contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging to identify human carotid vasa vasorum in vivo and the correlation of results with acute coronary events.

Publications:

  • Sprague BJ, Phernetton TM, Magness RR, Chesler NC. The effects of the ovarian cycle and pregnancy on uterine vascular impedance and uterine artery mechanics. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. 2009;144(Suppl 1):S170-8.
  • Zhu Y, Sprague BJ, Phernetton TM, Magness RR, Chesler NC. Transmission line models to simulate the impedance of the uterine vasculature during the ovarian cycle and pregnancy. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. 2009;144(Suppl 1):S184-91.
  • Sprague B, Chesler NC, Magness RR. Shear stress regulates nitric oxide production in uterine and placental artery endothelial cells: experimental studies and hemodynamic models of shear stresses on endothelial cells. International Journal of Developmental Biology. 2010;54(2-3):331-9.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2011–2012.

Lisa Tseng

Program Mentors: Anne Newman, MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Director of the Center for Aging and Population Health, Department of Epidemiology.

Background: Lisa Tseng graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2008 with a BA in molecular and cell biology (MCB) and psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked under Dr. Paola S. Timiras to complete an MCB thesis on growth factor–induced neurogenesis in neuroglial cells. Lisa also worked with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute under Dr. Robert T. Knight to complete a psychology thesis about the effects of aging and stroke on visual working memory networks.

Project Title:

  • Evaluating the relationship between weight change and physical function during the menopausal transition.

Publications:

  • Tseng, L. The Association of Menopausal Status with Physical Function: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Menopause - The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. 2012; 19 (11). In press.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2011–2012

Niketa Williams

Program Mentors: Sharon Hillier, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Reproductive Sciences, Molecular Genetics, and Biochemistry, Director of Reproductive Infectious Diseases Research at Magee-Womens Hospital, and Director of Magee-Womens Hospital Center of Excellence in Women's Health; and Aletha Akers, MD, MPH, Assistant Investigator, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Magee-Womens Research Institute.

Background: Niketa Williams graduated from Brown University in 2005 with an ScB in human biology and an AB in Africana studies. After graduation, under the direction of Dr. Mark Lurie, she conducted a qualitative study to assess barriers to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing and treatment services among HIV-positive patients in rural South Africa.

Project Title:

  • Evaluating the legacy of microbicide trial participation among women in Lusaka, Zambia.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Manuscript in preparation: Williams N, Akers A, Johnston E, Reid C, Hillier S. Experiences with decision making for microbicide clinical trial enrollment among women in Lusaka, Zambia.
  • Manuscript in preparation: Williams N, Akers A, Johnston E, Reid C, Hillier S. Legacy of microbicide clinical trial participation among women in Lusaka, Zambia.
  • Manuscript in preparation: Moshabela M, Pronyk P, Williams N, Schneider H, Couper I, Lurie M. HIV/AIDS patient interactions with the health system in the era of antiretroviral therapy in rural South Africa: holistic health needs.
  • Presentations at 2 national and 5 international meetings.

Funding:

  • Student Global Travel Grant, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, 2008.
  • International Studies Fund, University of Pittsburgh Center for International Studies, 2008.
  • Department of Women's Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2008.
  • Medical Scholars Program, Arnold P. Gold Foundation, 2008.
  • Medical Scholars Program, Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2008.
  • Student Assembly Award and Travel Grant, American Public Health Association, 2009.
  • Diversity Supplement Award, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and National Institutes of Health, 2009–2010.

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2012 Graduates

Tanner Bartholow

Program Mentors: Anil Parwani, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Pathology Informatics; and Michael Becich, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Pathology, Information Sciences, and Telecommunications.


Background: Tanner Bartholow graduated from Juniata College in 2007 with a BS in biology. During his undergraduate education, he worked with Dr. Jeff Demarest in research focusing on the electrophysiologic and morphologic properties associated with gastric secretory processes in Necturus maculosus. He also completed a research internship in the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Stahl and studied complement.

Project Title:

  • Analysis of potential immunohistochemical markers for assessing prognosis in patients with prostate cancer metastasis.

Publications:

  • Bartholow TL, Chandran UR, Becich MJ, Parwani AV. Immunohistochemical profiles of claudin-3 in primary and metastatic prostatic adenocarcinoma. Diagnostic Pathology. 2011;6:12 (doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-12).
  • Bartholow TL, Chandran UR, Becich MJ, Parwani AV. Immunohistochemical staining of radixin and moesin in prostatic adenocarcinoma. BMC Clinical Pathology. 2011;11:1 (doi:10.1156/1472-6890-11-1).
  • Bartholow TL, Becich MJ, Chandran UR, Parwani AV. Immunohistochemical analysis of ezrin-radixin-moesin-binding phosphoprotein 50 in prostatic adenocarcinoma. BMC Urology. 2011 Jun 14;11:12.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentations at 2 national meetings.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010–2011.
  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2010–2011.

Tiffany Behringer

Program Mentor: Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences.


Background: Tiffany Behringer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 with a BA and MS in anthropology. While at Penn, Tiffany performed qualitative research under the auspices of Dr. Fran Barg. Her undergraduate thesis investigated Chinese immigrant women's perceptions of the one-child policy and their reproductive decision making. For her master's thesis, Tiffany used participant observation and semistructured interviewing to better understand the psychosocial experience of female factor infertility and doctor-patient communication about in vitro fertilization treatment. After college, she spent 2 years working with Dr. Kevin Volpp on a study examining the impact of the 2003 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) work hour policy on mortality in the VA and Medicare population.

Project Title:

  • Understanding contraceptive decision making in women who seek to avoid pregnancy.

Publications:

  • Behringer T, Rollman BL, Herbeck-Belnap, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Schwarz EB. Impact of physician counseling and perception of teratogenic risks: A survey of 96 nonpregnant women with anxiety. Prim Care Companion CNS Disorders. 2011; 13(2): e1-e5).
  • Behringer T and Schwarz EB. Pregnancy, Unintended. Chapter in The 5-Minute Consult Clinical Companion to Women's Health, second edition. Eds. Kelly A. McGarry and Iris L. Tong. In Press.
  • Behringer T, Reeves M, Rossiter B, Chen BA, Schwarz EB. Duration of use of a levonorgestrel IUD amongst adolescent and nulliparous women. Contraception. In Press.
  • Volpp KG, Rosen AK, Rosenbaum PR, Romano PS, Even-Shoshan O, Canamucio A, Bellini L, Behringer T, Silber JH. Mortality among patients in VA hospitals in the first 2 years following ACGME resident duty hour reform. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298(9):984-92.
  • Volpp KG, Rosen AK, Rosenbaum PR, Romano PS, Even-Shoshan O, Wang Y, Bellini L, Behringer T, Silber JH. Mortality among hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries in the first 2 years following ACGME resident duty hour reform. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298(9):975-83.
  • Behringer T, Rollman BL, Herbeck-Belnap B, Houck P, Mazumdar S, Schwarz EB. Physician counseling and perception of teratogenic risks among women with anxiety. Primary Care Companion of the Journal for Clinical Psychiatry. In press.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentations at 2 national meetings.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010–2011.
  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2010–2011.

Naomi Pitskel

Program Mentors: Kevin Pelphrey, PhD, Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; and Nancy Minshew, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Background: Naomi Pitskel graduated from Brandeis University in 2005 with a BS in neuroscience. While attending Brandeis, she worked for 3 years with Dr. Ann Skoczenski at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she studied visual development and dyslexia and where she also conducted a senior research project on visual processing in adults with autism. After college, she worked for 2 years with Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone at Harvard Medical School, investigating cortical plasticity in the visual cortex of human subjects undergoing long-term visual deprivation.

Project Title:

  • Neural substrates of atypical gaze fixation in autism.

Publications:

  • Pitskel NB, Bolling DZ, Hudac CM, Lantz DS, Minshew NJ, Vander Wyk BC, & Pelphrey KA. Brain mechanisms for processing direct and averted gaze in individuals with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2011 Epub ahead of print.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Manuscript submitted for publication: Bolling D Z, Pitskel N B, Deen B, Crowley M J, McPartland J C, Vander Wyk B C, Wu J, Mayes L C, & Pelphrey K A. Enhanced neural responses to rule violation in children with autism: a comparison to social exclusion. Under review.
  • Manuscript in preparation: Pitskel N B, Bolling D Z, Kaiser M D, Crowley M J, & Pelphrey K A. The neural bases of emotion dysregulation in children with autism.
  • Presentations at 3 international meetings.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, Yale School of Medicine, 2009–2010.

Sarah Ramer

Program Mentors: Mark Unruh, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine; and Anne Germain, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry.


Background: Sarah Ramer graduated from Harvard College in 2003 with an AB in folklore and mythology, specializing in Chinese studies. Although she originally did not plan on a career in medicine, her first job out of college, as a clinical research coordinator in the Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, convinced her that she wanted to become a doctor. She then took her premedical courses at Harvard Extension School while also working as an interviewer on a National Institutes of Health–funded study of massage for symptom relief in patients with metastatic cancer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Sarah subsequently ran several premarketing trials of new compounds for diabetic nephropathy under Dr. Mark Williams at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Project Title:

  • Psychosocial impact of witnessed critical events in the hemodialysis center.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Manuscript submitted for publication: Ramer S, Germain A, Dohar S, Unruh M. Event-related distress in kidney disease patients.
  • Presentation at 1 national meeting.

Publications

  • Ramer S, Germain A, Dohar S, Unruh M. Event-related distress in kidney disease patients. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 May 30. [Epub ahead of print] – PubMED Citation
  • Jhamb M, Pike F, Ramer S, Argyropoulos C, Steel J, Dew MA, Weisbord SD, Weissfeld L, Unruh M. Impact of fatigue on outcomes in the hemodialysis (HEMO) study. Am J Nephrol. 2011;33(6):515-23. Epub 2011 May 9.
  • Ramer S, Germain A, Dohar S, Unruh M. Event-related distress in kidney disease patients. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 2011 May 30. (Epub ahead of print.)
  • Jhamb M, Pike F, Ramer S , Argyropoulos C, Steel J, Dew MA, Weisbord SD, Weissfeld L, Unruh M. Impact of fatigue on outcomes in the hemodialysis (HEMO) study. American Journal of Nephrology. 2011 May 9;33(6):515-523. (Epub ahead of print.)

Funding:

  • T32 Grant MH016804, National Institutes of Health, 2008.
  • T32 Grant MH19986, National Institutes of Health, 2010–2011.
  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010–2011.

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2011 Graduates

J'mir Cousar

Program Mentors: Robert Clark, MD, Associate Director of Pediatric Neuroscience and Molecular Biology; and Yvette Conley, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Development.

Background: J'mir L. Cousar graduated from the University of Rochester in the spring of 2006 with a BS in neuroscience. While at Rochester, J'mir dedicated himself to a diverse array of research projects, including the study of cyclooxygenase inhibition in mice prior to traumatic brain injury, the study of the expression of heme oxygenase 1 in pediatric trauma patients, and the study of diabetic quality care research among family practice physicians.

Project Title:

  • Mitochondrial uncoupling protein-4 polymorphisms are associated with depth of coma after traumatic brain injury.

Publications:

  • Cousar JL, Lai Y, Marco CD, Bayir H, Adelson PD, Janesko-Feldman KL, Kochanek PM, Clark RS. Heme oxygenase 1 in cerebrospinal fluid from infants and children after severe traumatic brain injury. Developmental Neuroscience. 2006;28(4-5):342-7.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Travel Bursary Award, Brain and Brain PET Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 2009.
  • Presentations at 1 local meeting and 2 national meetings.

Current Position: Emergency Medicine Resident, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lara Cox

Program Mentors: David A. Brent, MD, MS Hyg, Professor of Psychiatry; and Lisa A. Pan, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry.


Background: Lara Cox graduated in 2006 from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. She received a BA with high honors in neuroscience and with distinction in psychology. Throughout her 4 years at Kenyon, she conducted a variety of research projects in cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience, including independent research on the effects of methylphenidate on social behavior and ultrasonic vocalizations in rats.

Project Title:

  • Self-injurious behavior in the offspring of mood-disordered parents.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Manuscript submitted for publication: Cox LJ, Stanley B, Melhem NM, Oquendo M, Birmaher B, Burke A, Kolko DJ, Zelazny JM, Mann JJ, Brent DA. Familial and individual predictors of nonsuicidal self-injury in the offspring of mood-disordered parents.

Funding:

  • Multidisciplinary Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education and Clinical and Translational Science Institute, 2009–2010.
  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2009–2010.

Elizabeth Genovese

Program Mentors: Mary Amanda Dew, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Clinical and Translational Science; and Robert Kormos, MD, Director of the Artificial Heart Program, Co-Director of Heart Transplantation at UPMC, and Medical Director of Vital Engineering.

Background: Elizabeth Genovese received a BS from the University of Notre Dame in 2006, with a major in preprofessional studies and a minor in gender studies. While attending Notre Dame, she worked for 2 years under Dr. JoEllen Welsh, researching the use of natural and synthetic vitamin D as a treatment for breast cancer.

Project Title:

  • Predictors of acute adverse events in the early months after ventricular assist device implantation.

Publications:

  • Genovese EA, Dew MA, Simon MA, Teuteberg JJ, Kay J, Siegenthaler MP, Bhama JK, Bermudez C, Lockard KL, Winowich S, Kormos RL. Cumulative incidence and pattern of adverse events in the first 60 days after ventricular assist device implantation [abstract]. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2008;27(2 Suppl 1):S159.
  • Kay J, Teuteberg JJ, Simon MA, Siegenthaler MP, Genovese EA, Bermudez C, Bhama JK, Dew MA, Lockard KL, Winowich S, Kormos RL. Ventricular assist device (VAD) adverse events (AEs) affect not only VAD survival but subsequent survival after cardiac transplantation (CTX) [abstract]. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2008;27(2 Suppl 1):S169.
  • Genovese EA, Dew MA, Teuteberg JJ, Simon MA, Kay J, Siegenthaler MP, Bhama JK, Bermudez CA, Lockard KL, Winowich S, Kormos RL. Incidence and patterns of adverse event onset during the first 60 days after ventricular assist device implantation. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2009;88(4):1162-70.
  • Kormos RL, Teuteberg JJ, Siegenthaler MP, Marc SA, Kay JJ, Genovese E, Bermudez C, Toyoda Y, Lockard KL, Winowich S. Pre-VAD implant risk factors influence the onset of adverse events (AEs) while on a VAD [abstract]. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2009;28(2 Suppl 1):S153-4.
  • Rayappa S, Teuteberg JJ, Siegenthaler MP, Kay J, Genovese E, Simon M, Dew MA, Bhama JJ, Lockard KL, Kormos RL. Pre-implant risk for VADs and VAD AEs influences the onset of adverse events (AEs) following cardiac transplantation (CTX) and ultimate survival [abstract]. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2009;28(2 Suppl 1):S165.
  • Bhama JK, Rayappa S, Zaldonis D, Adusumilli PS, Bansal A, Genovese EA, Teuteberg JJ, Toyoda Y, Siegenthaler MP, Bermudez CA, McCurry KR, Kormos RL. Impact of abdominal complications on outcome after mechanical circulatory support. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2010;89(2):522-8; discussion 528-9.
  • Genovese EA, Dew MA, Teuteberg JJ, Simon MA, Bhama JK, Bermudez CA, Lockard KL, Winowich S, Kormos RL. Early adverse events as predictors of 1-year mortality during mechanical circulatory support. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2010;29(9):981-8.
  • Horai T, Ku NC, Genovese EA, Bermudez CA, Bahma JK, Teuteberg JJ, Winowich S, Weimer A, O'Shea GC, Toyoda Y, McNamara DM, Kormos RL. Major neurological events after ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation are device-specific but are also related to pre-implant factors [abstract]. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2010;29(2 Suppl 1):S174.
  • Kormos RL, Bonde P, Bermudez CA, Lockard KL, Genovese EA, Teuteberg JJ, Bhama JK, Simon MA, Yoshiya T, Tetsuya H, McNamara DM. The ventricular assist device (VAD) driveline: what is the price of living with this technology [abstract]? Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2010;29(2 Suppl 1):S89.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Travel Award, Gordon Research Conference on Assisted Circulation, Big Sky, Montana, 2007.
  • Merit Award for Excellence in Biomedical Science Research, University of Pittsburgh, 2007.
  • Travel Award, Annual Meeting of the Society for Vascular Surgery, Denver, Colorado, 2009.
  • Presentations at 1 local meeting and 1 national meeting.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2009–2010.
  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2009–2010.

Current Position: Vascular Surgery Resident, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Erin Ohmann

Program Mentor: Steven A. Webber, MBChB, MRCP, Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Cardiology, Co-Director of the Heart Center, and Medical Director of Pediatric Heart and Heart-Lung Transplantation, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Background: Erin Ohmann graduated from Cornell University in 2004 with a BS in food science. She worked for 2 years as a research assistant and coordinator of genetic studies of dystonia and Parkinson's disease with Drs. Susan Bressman and Rachel Saunders-Pullman and with Deborah Raymond, MS, at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York.

Project Title:

  • Genetic contribution to graft and patient outcomes following pediatric cardiac transplantation.

Publications:

  • Ohmann EL, Brooks MM, Webber SA, Girnita DM, Ferrell RE, Burckart GJ, Chinnock R, Canter C, Addonizio L, Bernstein D, Kirklin JK, Naftel DC, Zeevi A. Association of genetic polymorphisms and risk of late posttransplantation infection in pediatric heart recipients. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2010;29(12):1342-51.
  • Ohmann EL, Burckart GJ, Brooks MM, Chen Y, Pravica V, Girnita DM, Zeevi A, Webber SA. Genetic polymorphisms influence mycophenolate mofetil-related adverse events in pediatric heart transplant patients. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 2010;29(5):509-16.
  • Ohmann EL, Burckart GJ, Chen Y, Pravica V, Brooks MM, Zeevi A, Webber SA. Inosine 5'-monophosphate dehydrogenase 1 haplotypes and association with mycophenolate mofetil gastrointestinal intolerance in pediatric heart transplant patients. Pediatric Transplantation. 2010;14(7):891-5.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Arthur Mirsky Student Research Award, Summer Research Program Symposium, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2007.
  • Presentations at 2 local, 5 national, and 2 international meetings.

Funding:

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2009–2010.
  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2009–2010.

Current Position: General Surgery Pre-lim Intern, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City, New York.

Rebecca Pomerantz

Program Mentors: Larisa Geskin, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology; and Louis Falo, Jr., MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Dermatology.

Background: Rebecca (Reva) Pomerantz graduated from Harvard College in 2006 with an AB in linguistics. In high school and college, she worked on multiple research projects at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, studying head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with Dr. Jennifer Grandis and studying the treatment of depression during pregnancy with Dr. Katherine Wisner. In college, Rebecca did her senior thesis work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied the speech production of cochlear implant users.

Project Title:

  • Acitretin for treatment of erlotinib-induced skin rash.
  • Novel approach to genomic profiling in Sezary syndrome.

Publications:

  • Chirinos RE, Pomerantz RG, Jukic DM, Geskin LJ. Systemic antineoplastic and/or immune modulating drugs induce high CD30 expression in skin lesions [abstract]. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2007;127(Suppl 1):S14.
  • Pomerantz RG, Chirinos RE, Falo LD Jr, Geskin LJ. Acitretin for treatment of EGFR inhibitor–induced cutaneous toxic effects. Archives of Dermatology. 2008;144(7):949-50.
  • Mirvish ED, Pomerantz RG, Falo LD, Geskin LJ. Dendritic cell vaccines in cancer: obstacles to overcome. In: Shurin MR, Salter RD, eds. Dendritic Cells in Cancer. New York, NY: Springer; 2009:309-30.
  • Pomerantz RG, Mirvish ED, Erdos G, Donnenberg AD, Falo LD Jr, Geskin LJ. Novel approach to genomic profiling in Sezary syndrome [abstract]. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2009;129(Suppl 1):S29.
  • Pomerantz RG, Patton TJ Jr, Donnenberg AD, Mirvish ED, Falo LD Jr, Geskin LJ. Disease stage–related changes in T cell receptor–VB profile in cutaneous T cell lymphoma [abstract]. Journal of Immunology. 2009;182(Suppl 1):88.10.
  • Pomerantz RG, Campbell LS, Jukic DM, Geskin LJ. Posttransplant cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: case reports and review of the association of calcineurin inhibitor use with posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease risk. Archives of Dermatology. 2010;146(5):513-6.
  • Pomerantz RG, Mirvish ED, Erdos G, Falo LD Jr, Geskin LJ. Novel approach to gene expression profiling in Sezary syndrome. British Journal of Dermatology. 2010;163(5):1090-4.
  • Pomerantz RG, Mirvish ED, Geskin LJ. Cutaneous reactions to epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2010;9(10):1229-34.
  • Mirvish ED, Pomerantz RG, Geskin LJ. Infectious agents in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In press.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Brian V. Jegasothy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cutaneous Oncology Research, 2009.
  • Presentations at 5 national meetings and 1 international meeting.

Funding:

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship, 2008–2009.
  • American Medical Association Seed Grant, 2008–2009.
  • Medical Student Fellowship, American Dermatological Association, 2009.

Current Position: Transitional Year Intern, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2010 Graduates

Neilly Ann Buckalew, MD, MS, MSEL, ND

Program Mentor: Debra Weiner, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Geriatric Fellowship Program.

Background: Neilly Ann Buckalew graduated from Dartmouth College in 1991 with a BA in anthropology and environmental studies and with certification in elementary education. She also holds a master's degree in environmental law and attended Vermont Law School as the first Native American Environmental Law Fellow and as an Institute for the Study of World Politics Fellow. For over 7 years, Neilly was a consultant on environmental health issues and toxic waste cleanup for Native American tribal governments throughout the country and received the Charles Lindbergh Certificate of Merit for her work and the 2000 Notable Women Award for outstanding leadership in the United States. Before entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2005, she practiced as a licensed naturopathic physician for 4 years.

Project Title:

  • The relationships among chronic pain, brain structure, and brain function in older adults.

Publications:

  • Buckalew N, Haut MW, Morrow L, Weiner D. Chronic pain is associated with brain volume loss in older adults: preliminary evidence. Pain Medicine. 2008;9(2):240-8.
  • Buckalew N, Haut MW, Morrow L, Perera S, Weiner D. Brain morphology differences in older adults with disabling chronic low back pain [abstract]. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2009;57(Suppl 1):S58.
  • Buckalew N, Haut MW, Aizenstein H, Morrow L, Perera S, Kuwabara H, Weiner DK. Differences in brain structure and function in older adults with self-reported disabling and nondisabling chronic low back pain. Pain Medicine. 2010;11(8):1183-97.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Induction into the Charles Watson Humanism Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Division, 2008.
  • David C. Martin Award for Academic Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, 2009.
  • Induction into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, 2009.
  • Senior Award for Outstanding Scholarly Project, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010.
  • Presentations at 2 local meetings, 1 national meeting, and 1 international meeting.

Funding:

  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, National Institute on Aging, 2008–2009.

Current Position: Resident, Transitional Year Program, UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Alison Goldberg Rubin, MD, MS

Program Mentors: Melanie Gold, DO, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; and Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences.

Background: Alison Goldberg Rubin graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001 with a BA in English literature and psychology. She worked as a research associate with Drs. Charles Irwin, Elizabeth Ozer, and Mary-Ann Shafer for 3 years at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, where she focused on screening and counseling for risky behaviors and Chlamydia screening among adolescents. She entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2005 after completing a postbaccalaureate premedical program at Scripps College.

Project Titles:

  • Use of emergency contraception in U.S. teens: methods of access and perceived barriers.
  • The relationship between depressive symptoms and risk-taking behavior in female adolescents.

Publications:

  • Goldberg AD, Chiappetta L, Gold MA. The relationship between depressive symptoms and risk-taking behavior in female adolescents [abstract]. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2007;20(2):S131.
  • Rubin AG, Gold MA, Primack BA. Associations between depressive symptoms and sexual risk behavior in a diverse sample of female adolescents. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2009;22(5):306-12.
  • Manuscript submitted for publication: Rubin AG, Gold MA, Kim Y, Schwarz EB. Teen use of emergency contraception: methods of access and perceived barriers.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Sally E. Perlman Award for Best Poster, North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Atlanta, Georgia, 2007.
  • Oral Presenter for University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine at the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship Meeting, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2009.
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarly Project, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010.
  • Presentations at 1 local and 3 national meetings.

Funding:

  • T32 Predoctoral Research Funding, Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2006.
  • Dean's Summer Research Project Funding, Office of the Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2006.
  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, 2008–2009.

Current Position: Pediatrics Resident, Jefferson Medical College and DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware.

Emily Spangler, MD, MS

Program Mentor: Kim Sutton-Tyrell, DrPH, Professor and Vice Chair for Academics, Department of Epidemiology.


Background: Emily Spangler received a BS in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 and then entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Project Title:

  • High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of carotid plaques.

Publications:

  • Spangler E, Watson N, Venkitachalam L, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Newman A, Brach J, Mackey RH, Boudreau R, Simonsick E, Najjar S, Windham BG, Bauer D, Rodondi N, Johnson K; for the Health ABC Study. Ankle arm index and walking endurance in community-dwelling older adults [abstract]. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2009;57(Suppl 1):S173.
  • Spangler EL, Watson NL, Venkitachalam L, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Simonsick EM, Najjar SS, Brach JS, Mackey RH, Bauer DC, Rodondi N, Johnson KC, Newman AB; for the Health ABC Study. Arterial stiffness and walking endurance in community-dwelling older adults [abstract]. Circulation. 2009;119(10):e318.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Medical Student Award for presentation of "Adventitial Cystic Disease of the Popliteal Artery: Angioplasty Resulting in Thrombosis," Meeting of the Eastern Vascular Society, Washington, DC, 2007.
  • David C. Martin Award, Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society, Western Division, 2009.
  • Presentations at 2 national meetings.

Funding:

  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, National Institute on Aging, 2008–2009.

Current Position: Vascular Surgery Resident, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth, New Hampshire.

2009 Graduates

Maria De La Luz Nieto, MD, Certificate in Clinical Research

Program Mentor: Steven Albert, PhD, MSPH, Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.


Background: Maria De La Luz Nieto graduated from Wesleyan University in 2000 with a BA in neuroscience and behavior. She spent 2 years as a clinical research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, working with Dr. Woodrow Weiss and investigating the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension. She then spent over a year as a clinical research associate at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where she worked with Dr. Robert Gish, coordinating phase II, III, and IV studies in patients with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV co-infection.

Project Title:

  • Cognitive status and physical function in older African Americans.

Publications:

  • Nieto ML, Albert SM, Morrow LA, Saxton J. Cognitive status and physical function in older African Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2008;56(11):2014-9.

Program Accomplishments:

  • David C. Martin Award, Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society, Western Division, 2008.
  • "Sponsor a Student" Program Award, American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging, 2008.
  • Presentations at 1 local meeting and 1 national meeting.

Current Position: Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Deborah Kowalchuk, MD, MS

Program Mentor: James Irrgang, PhD, PT, Director of Clinical Research in Orthopaedic Surgery.


Background: Deborah Kowalchuk graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003 with a BA in biology. She spent a year as a clinical research assistant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she worked with Dr. David R. Jobes to determine the adverse events related to coagulation during cardiac catheterization and with Dr. John G. Augoustides to determine the adverse events after lung transplants.

Project Titles:

  • Prediction of patient-reported outcome after single-bundle anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
  • The cost-effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation and management of meniscal tears: a decision analysis.

Publications:

  • Kowalchuk DA, Harner CD, Fu FH, Irrgang JJ. Prediction of patient-reported outcome after single-bundle anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Arthroscopy. 2009;25(5):457-63.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentation at 1 national meeting.

Current Position: Orthopedic Surgery Resident, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Meredith Parrott, MD, Certificate in Clinical Research

Program Mentors: James M. Roberts, MD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Reproductive Sciences, and Epidemiology and Senior Scientist and Founding Director of Magee-Womens Research Institute; and Lisa M. Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology.

Background: Meredith Parrott graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2004 with a BS in nutritional sciences. For 3 years during college, she worked with Dr. Nancy I. Williams and studied the effects of diet and exercise on reproduction and metabolism in college-aged women.

Project Title:

  • The effects of reduced amino acid availability on placental amino acid uptake and leptin induction in normal, preeclamptic, and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) pregnancies.
  • Maternal cereal consumption and adequacy of micronutrient intake in the periconceptional period.

Publications:

  • Parrott MS, von Versen-Höynck F, Ness RB, Markovic N, Roberts JM. System A amino acid transporter activity in term placenta is substrate specific and inversely related to amino acid concentration. Reproductive Sciences. 2007;14(7):687-93.
  • Parrott MS, Bodnar LM, Simhan HN, Harger G, Markovic N, Roberts JM. Maternal cereal consumption and adequacy of micronutrient intake in the periconceptional period. Public Health Nutrition. 2009;12(8):1276-83.
  • Bodnar LM, Catov JM, Zmuda JM, Cooper ME, Parrott MS, Roberts JM, Marazita ML, Simhan HN. Maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with small-for-gestational-age births in white women. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140(5):999-1006.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010.
  • Presentations at 2 local and 2 national meetings.

Current Position: Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh.

Laura Raducha-Grace (Thompson), MD, MS

Program Mentor: C. Kent Kwoh, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief and Director of Clinical Research, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology.

Background: Laura Raducha-Grace graduated from Wesleyan University in 2003 with a BA in molecular biology and biochemistry. She then worked for a year as a cancer research training award student in Dr. Mike Kuehl's laboratory at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was involved in a project characterizing the role of p18 in multiple myeloma cell lines.

Project Title:

  • The knee pain map.

Publications:

  • Thompson LR, Boudreau R, Hannon MJ, Newman AB, Chu CR, Jansen M, Nevitt MC, Kwoh CK; Osteoarthritis Initiative Investigators. The knee pain map: reliability of a method to identify knee pain location and pattern. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2009;61(6):725-31.
  • Thompson LR, Boudreau R, Newman AB, Hannon MJ, Chu CR, Nevitt MC, Kwoh CK; OAI Investigators. The association of osteoarthritis risk factors with localized, regional and diffuse knee pain. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010;18(10):1244-9.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentations at 3 national meetings and 1 international meeting.

Funding:

  • T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, National Institute on Aging, 2007–2008.

Current Position: Emergency Medicine Resident, UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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2008 Graduates

H. Patrick Driscoll, MD, MS

Program Mentor: Charles F. Reynolds, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neuroscience.


Background: H. Patrick Driscoll graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2000 with a BA in philosophy. After he completed a premedicine program at Goucher College, he worked for 2 years as a Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow with Dr. Robert M. Brosh in the Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging, where he studied the biochemical characterization of key DNA helicase proteins associated with aging and genomic stability.

Project Title:

  • Late-onset major depression: clinical and treatment response variability.

Publications:

  • Driscoll HC, Basinski J, Mulsant BH, Butters MA, Dew MA, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Miller MD, Pollock BG, Stack JA, Schlernitzauer MA, Reynolds CF 3rd. Late-onset major depression: clinical and treatment-response variability. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2005;20(7):661-7.
  • Driscoll HC, Karp JF, Dew MA, Reynolds CF 3rd. Getting better, getting well: understanding and managing partial and non-response to pharmacological treatment of non-psychotic major depression in old age. Drugs and Aging. 2007;24(10):801-14.
  • Driscoll HC, Serody L, Patrick S, Maurer J, Bensasi S, Houck PR, Mazumdar S, Nofzinger EA, Bell B, Nebes RD, Miller MD, Reynolds CF 3rd. Sleeping well, aging well: a descriptive and cross-sectional study of sleep in "successful agers" 75 and older. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2008;16(1):74-82.
  • Lenze EJ, Sheffrin M, Driscoll HC, Mulsant BH, Pollock BG, Dew MA, Lotrich F, Devlin B, Bies R, Reynolds CF 3rd. Incomplete response in late-life depression: getting to remission. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2008;10(4):419-30.
  • Sheffrin M, Driscoll HC, Lenze EJ, Mulsant BH, Pollock BG, Miller MD, Butters MA, Dew MA, Reynolds CF 3rd. Pilot study of augmentation with aripiprazole for incomplete response in late-life depression: getting to remission. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2009;70(2):208-13.

Current Position: Psychiatry Resident, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh.

Alvin Jones, MD, MS

Program Mentors: C. Kent Kwoh, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief and Director of Clinical Research, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology; and Said Ibrahim, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine.

Background: Alvin Jones graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 with a BS in biological sciences. After working as a summer intern with the Center for Minority Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, he entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Project Title:

  • Doctor-patient communication and referral for total joint replacement: the Health ABC Study.

Publications:

  • Jones A, Kwoh CK, Kelley ME, Ibrahim SA. Racial disparity in knee arthroplasty utilization in the Veterans Health Administration. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2005;53(6):979-81.
  • Emejuaiwe N, Jones AC, Ibrahim SA, Kwoh CK. Disparities in joint replacement utilization: a quality of care issue. Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. 2007;25(6 Suppl 47):44-9.
  • Jones AC, Kwoh CK, Groeneveld PW, Mor M, Geng M, Ibrahim SA. Investigating racial differences in coping with chronic osteoarthritis pain. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology. 2008;23(4):339-47.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentations at 2 local meetings and 1 national meeting.

Current Position: Orthopedic Surgery Resident, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Nima Naghshineh, MD, MS

Program Mentors: J. Peter Rubin, MD, Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Kathleen McTigue, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology; and Anita Courcoulas, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Section of Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery.

Background: Nima Naghshineh graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2003 with a BS in biomedical engineering and psychology. During college, he conducted research in cardioelectrophysiology and tissue repair and in thoracic oncology outcomes research.

Project Title:

  • Surgical resection in patients who are 40 years of age or younger and have primary lung cancer: experience in a North American institution.

Publications:

  • Coon D, Gusenoff JA, Kannan N, El Khoudary SR, Naghshineh N, Rubin JP. Body mass and surgical complications in the postbariatric reconstructive patient: analysis of 511 cases. Annals of Surgery. 2009;249(3):397-401.
  • Naghshineh N, Coon D, McTigue K, Courcoulas AP, Fernstrom M, Rubin JP. Nutritional assessment of bariatric surgery patients presenting for plastic surgery: a prospective analysis. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2010;126(2):602-10.
  • Naghshineh N, Ota KS, Tang L, O'Toole J, Rubin JP. A double-blind controlled trial of polyglytone 6211 versus poliglecaprone 25 for use in body contouring. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 2010;65(2):124-8.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentations at 3 national meetings.

Current Position: Plastic Surgery Resident, UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kristen Scopaz, MD, MS

Program Mentor: Kelley Fitzgerald, PT, PhD, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy.


Background: Kristen Scopaz graduated from Dartmouth College in 2000 with a BA in biology modified with engineering. She worked for 2 years as a clinical research assistant with Dr. Frank Haluska at Massachusetts General Hospital in the field of melanoma research and treatment.

Project Title:

  • Quadriceps activation failure: possible implications in knee osteoarthritis rehabilitation.

Publications:

  • Scopaz KA, Piva SR, Gil AB, Woollard JD, Oddis CV, Fitzgerald GK. Effect of baseline quadriceps activation on changes in quadriceps strength after exercise therapy in subjects with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2009;61(7):951-7.
  • Scopaz KA, Piva SR, Wisniewski S, Fitzgerald GK. Relationships of fear, anxiety, and depression with physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2009;90(11):1866-73.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Presentation at 1 national meeting.

Current Position: Family Medicine Resident, UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Arun Sharma, MD, MS

Program Mentor: David Whitcomb, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.


Background: Arun Sharma graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2003 with a BA in biology and the history of science. While in college, he worked as Dr. Ann Hubbard's research assistant and studied molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of tight junctions and cellular polarity.

Project Title:

  • Visfatin, obesity, and severe acute pancreatitis.

Publications:

  • Papachristou GI, Clermont G, Sharma A, Yadav D, Whitcomb DC. Risk and markers of severe acute pancreatitis. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2007;36(2):277-96.
  • Sharma A, Muddana V, Lamb J, Greer J, Papachristou GI, Whitcomb DC. Low serum adiponectin levels are associated with systemic organ failure in acute pancreatitis. Pancreas. 2009;38(8):907-12.

Program Accomplishments:

  • Department of Medicine Research Day Poster Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2007.
  • Presentations at 2 local and 4 national meetings.

Funding:

  • Predoctoral Training Grant, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 2006–2007.

Current Position: Otolaryngology Resident, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Ann Silk Willman, MD, MS

Program Mentor: Olivera Finn, PhD, Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Immunology.


Background: Ann Silk graduated from Swarthmore College in 2001 with a BA in biology. She worked for 2 years as a clinical research coordinator for ovarian cancer clinical trials conducted by Dr. Ursula Matulonis and Dr. Susana Campos at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Project Title:

  • Cancer vaccines: a promising cancer therapy against all odds.

Publications:

  • Silk AW, Finn OJ. Cancer vaccines: a promising cancer therapy against all odds. Future Oncology. 2007;3(3):299-306.
  • Silk AW, Schoen RE, Potter DM, Finn OJ. Humoral immune response to abnormal MUC1 in subjects with colorectal adenoma and cancer. Molecular Immunology. 2009;47(1):52-6.

Current Position: Internal Medicine Resident, UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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