Current ICRE Spotlight

Maisa Feghali, MD, earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees with distinction from American University of Beirut. After obtaining her MD in 2007, she spent one year as a research assistant at Georgetown University to gain more exposure to research. In 2008, Dr. Feghali entered into an obstetrics and gynecology residency at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, completing her training as chief resident in 2012. Under the mentorship of Drs. Jason Umans and Menachem Miodovnik, she performed secondary data analyses on maternal and neonatal outcomes in pregnancies complicated by diabetes. Discovering the variation in diabetes disease spectrum and the absence of adaptation in treatment strategies, she enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Development Summer Institute to gain more training in obstetric and fetal pharmacology and clinical research; she subsequently gained additional training in pharmacokinetic modeling through National Institutes of Health workshops.

In 2012, Dr. Feghali was awarded a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC working in high-risk obstetrics. Under the guidance of principal investigator Dr. Steve Caritis and Dr. Raman Venkataramanan, her work focused on glyburide pharmacodynamics, glucose metabolism across pregnancy, patterns of glycemia in gestational diabetes mellitus, and maternal and fetal outcomes in pregnancies with diabetes. As a current student in the ICRE's Certificate in Clinical Research Program, Dr. Feghali says the program has given her more independence as a researcher and experience in statistical methods and clinical trial design.

Dr. Feghali graduated from the ICRE’s Research Acceleration and Moving Productivity Forward to a K Award (RAMP to K) Program in May 2015. She is grateful the program helped her learn career development award expectations and exposed her to experts and the various types of support available to junior faculty within the university. As a result of her hard work in the program, she was recognized at the ICRE commencement ceremony with the Outstanding Grant Proposal Award for her grant entitled "Metabolic profiles and individualized treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus." The grant aims to identify different pathophysiologic profiles of gestational diabetes and transforming treatment with the use of individualized therapy. Dr. Feghali will continue this work as a scholar in the ICRE Clinical Research Scholars Program (CRSP) where she plans to increase her expertise in pharmacology and establish evidence that will allow her to move toward larger trials for individualized treatment of diabetes in pregnancy.

Dr. Feghali completed her fellowship in June 2015 and is now an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also a junior fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as a member of several other professional organizations, including the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology Therapeutics. Dr. Feghali hopes that her future training will provide her with mentoring and experience in advanced pharmacologic modeling and the design and implementation of clinical intervention trials as she continues to move toward her goals of becoming an independent clinical investigator and leader in diabetes therapeutics in pregnancy.

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