2016 Scholars

Lisa Karstens, PhD

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Assistant Professor
Departments of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology

Primary mentor: Shannon McWeeney, PhD

Mentors: Thomas Gregory, MD; Damien Fair, PhD; Jim Rosenbaum, MD; Jonathan Braun, MD

Dr. Lisa Karstens has a unique background in bioinformatics, chemistry, and computational biology and is dually appointed in the departments of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Karstens' project involves investigating gender differences in the role of the urinary microbiome and disease, with specific regards to Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB) and its underlying pathophysiology. Dr. Karstens' long-term goals focus on understanding the heterogeneity of OAB and how bacteria and the brain may contribute to OAB.

Project title: The urinary microbiome in health and disease

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2015 scholars

Katie Schenning, MD, MPH


Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (APOM)

Primary mentor: Joseph Quinn, MD

Mentors: Nabil Alkayed, MD, PhD; Ansgar Brambrink, MD, PhD; Jacob Raber, PhD; Miriam Treggiari, MD, PhD

Dr. Katie Schenning is an anesthesiologist who plans to investigate the interaction between general anesthesia and surgery, sex, genetic variables, and dementia in the aged. Dr. Schenning's goal is to develop a translational research program by using her clinical knowledge to optimize preclinical models to best address sex differences in posteroperative outcomes, and to use these laboratory studies to inform clinical investigations.

Project title: Influence of sex and genetics on postoperative cognitive and functional decline

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Ellen Tilden, PhD, CNM

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Assistant Professor
School of Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery

Primary mentor: Christopher Lee, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

Mentors: Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD; Jonathan Snowden, PhD; Nancy Lowe, PhD, CNM, FAAN, FACNM; David Yanez, PhD

Dr. Ellen Tilden is a practicing Nurse-Midwife studying the effect of prenatal care modality on labor and perinatal outcomes. Dr. Tilden's core BIRCWH research aims to improve understanding of the optimal prenatal care approach for healthy women, provide insight to how women's perceptions and feelings may change during pregnancy, and show how these changes may importantly relate to perinatal and early postpartum outcomes of interest.

Project title: Impact of prenatal care modality on women's preparation for labor and perinatal outcomes

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Laura Villasana, PhD

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Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (APOM)

Primary mentor: Nabil Alkayed, MD, PhD

Mentors: Eric Schnell, MD, PhD; Julie Saugstad, PhD, Holly Hinson, MD

Dr. Laura Villasana is a neuroscientist investigating gender differences in neural recovery following Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Villasana's BIRCWH project aims to determine whether an accelerated loss of stem cells in females and subsequent reductions in neurogenesis contributes to the development of cognitive impairments long after brain injury and to determine whether these impairments can be prevented or mitigated.

Project title: The role of sex on long-term changes in hippocampal neurogenesis after traumatic brain injury

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