2014 Scholars

Janne Boone-Heinonen, PhD, MPH

Image of Dr. Boone-Heinonen

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine 

Primary Mentor: Stephen Fortmann, MD

Mentors: Kent Thornburg, PhD; Jackilen Shannon, PhD; Dawn Peters, PhD

Dr. Boone-Heinonen is an epidemiologist with an overarching interest in social, environmental, and biological factors drivers of obesity in diverse populations. In ongoing research, she investigates modifiable environmental and behavioral determinants of diet, physical activity, and obesity using complex analytic methods.  She is currently developing expertise in biological drivers of obesity that arise in early life, with the goal of developing future research on the extent to which maternal effects on offspring health can be mitigated by healthy diet and physical activity. 

Project Title: Life course impacts on obesity: mitigating maternal effects on offspring health 

Jing Xu, PhD

Image of Dr. Xu

Assistant Scientist
Oregon National Primate Research Center

Primary Mentor: Richard Stouffer, PhD

Mentors: Mary Zelinski, PhD; Betsy Ferguson, PhD; Tanja Pejovic, MD 

Dr. Xu is interested in studying the mechanisms and regulation of ovarian folliculogenesis, as well as endocrine/paracrine pathways that influence follicular development and oocyte maturation in primates. While performing basic research, translational efforts will be made on human in vitro follicle maturation that may offer a means to enhance fertility options for women, including female cancer patients. Dr. Xu's long-term goal is to build an independent program in biomedical research which can be translated to clinical use to improve or control fertility, and hence women's health.

Project Title: Anti-Müllerian Hormone in Primate Folliculogenesis and Fertility Preservation

Laura Newell, MD

Laura Newell

Assistant Professor
Knight Cancer Institute
Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology

Primary Mentor: Grover Bagby, MD

Mentors: Leonardo Pereira, MD, MCR; Jeffrey Tyner, PhD; Irina Burd, MD, PhD

Dr. Newell is a hematologist and hematopoietic stem cell transplant physician interested in responses of the innate immune system and inflammatory cytokine signaling pathways. She is currently investigating the role of the innate immune system in driving pathologic inflammatory responses to viral infections during pregnancy that may contribute to excessive fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality. Her goal is to pursue clinical investigation of novel, targeted therapies specifically for women with viral infections and post-viral inflammatory complications during pregnancy.

Project Title: PIGF enhances viral-induced innate immune inflammatory responses in human mononuclear phagocytes; a potential mechanism for virus related morbidity and mortality in pregnancy.

2013 Scholars

Ganesh Cherala, PhD

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Assistant Professor
OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy

Primary Mentor: Kent Thornburg, PhD

Mentors: Mitchell Turker, PhD, JD; Alison Edelman, MD, MPH; George Giraud, MD, PhD

One of the keys to develop successful personalized medicine lies with better understanding of various sources of inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetics. Dr. Cherala has been undertaking multidisciplinary research to understand the contribution of intrauterine growth restriction towards inter-individual variability of drug response. The current grant application is a continuation of those efforts, which integrates intrauterine growth restriction and adulthood obesity, and their combined effect on failure of oral contraception.  

Project Title: Prenatal growth programs oral contraceptive metabolism and effectiveness.