OHSU

Alumni

Shernan Holtan, MD

Appointed 1/2013-12/2013
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation
University of Minnesota


Primary Mentor:  Grover Bagby, MD
Mentors:  Richard Maziarz, MD; Leonardo Pereira, MD, MCR; Svetomir Markovic, MD, PhD

Research Interests: Identifying key factors in the longitudinal maternal immune response to pregnancy and applying the effects of angiogenic hormones to be involved maternal immune responses to the hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) setting. Dr. Holtan completed longitudinal analyses of the maternal immune response to pregnancy in two Mayo Clinic cohorts - the second cohort she enrolled herself as a fellow prior to her time as a BIRCWH scholar. Through these analyses, she identified the maternal immune response to pregnancy as at least a biphasic phenomenon, with the onset of pregnancy associated with tolerance induction, and later pregnancy associated with immune reconstitution/inflammation. In studying direct effects of angiogenic hormones on immune cells, she co-discovered a synergistic inflammatory relationship of placental growth factor with certain pathogen-associated molecular patterns, during her time as a BIRCWH scholar.

Project Title: Regulation of tolerance in pregnancy and graft-versus-host disease

Learn more about Shernan

Christine Lee, MD, MS

Appointed 4/2011-3/2013
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Oregon Health & Science University


Primary Mentor:  Eric Orwoll, MD
Mentors:  Marcia Stefanick, PhD

Research Interests:  Causes and consequences of body composition changes with aging and her current focus is the role of insulin resistance in the development of sarcopenia. Dr. Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition and a Co-Investigator with the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). Her work with the MrOS Study has focused on investigating the relationships between insulin resistance and changes in lean mass and physical performance in older men. Currently, she is extending her studies to cohorts that include older women. Dr. Lee was awarded an over $1 million Veterans Administration career development award in March 2013.

Project Title:  Metabolism and Muscle in Older Men and Women
This project determined if the association between insulin resistance and muscle loss differs between older men and olden women and whether insulin-sensitizer use may prevent sarcopenia.

Learn more about Christine

Christopher Lee, PhD, RN

Image of Dr. Christopher Lee

Appointed 7/2010-4/2012
Associate Professor
School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University

Primary Mentor:  Anne Rosenfeld, PhD
Mentors:  Antony Kim, MD

Dr. Lee's career goals are to gain independence as an investigator through rigorous inter-professional research and structured mentoring, develop an inter-professional team of research scientists to accelerate the rate of research and scholarship, and develop evidence-based interventional strategies to identify at-risk patients and improve health outcomes in persons with chronic cardiovascular disease in general and women in particular. Dr. Lee was awarded an over $1.5 million R01 from the National Institute of Nursing Research in April, 2012.

Project Title: Gender differences in Multi-Dimensional Symptoms Experienced by Adults with Heart Failure

Learn more about Christopher

Carrie Nielson, PhD, MPH

Image of Dr. Carrie Nielson

Appointed 7/2010-4/2012            
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University

Primary Mentor:  Eric Orwoll, MD
Mentors:  Robert Klein, MD; William Lambert, PhD; Bruce Weir, PhD; Joseph Zmuda, PhD

Research Interest: Dr. Nielson's main interests are in the patterns of change in musculoskeletal phenotypes over the course of normal aging and the genetic determinants of these changes. Dr. Nielson is an epidemiologist with a strong background in quantitative methods and experience with osteoporosis epidemiology and genetic association studies. Since arriving at OHSU, she has become an investigator in Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS), a longitudinal cohort study of men ages 65 and older in the U.S. Her recent work with Drs. Eric Orwoll and Robert Klein has focused on understanding how discoveries of genetic associations with BMD in mouse models can be translated to fill gaps in knowledge of the genetic regulation of bone phenotypes in human populations. In April 2012, Dr. Nielson was awarded a 5-year K01 award from the National Institute of Athritis and Muskuloskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Project Title: Rare Genetic Variants in the Alkaline Phosphatase Gene and Osteoporosis

Learn more about Carrie

Rebecca Block, PhD, MSW

Image of Dr. Rebecca Block

Appointed 1/2010-7/2012
Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University


Primary Mentor:
  Lillian Nail, RN, PhD
Mentors:  Patty Carney, PhD; Brandon Hayes-Latin, MD; Karen Eden, PhD; David Lee, MD

Research Interest: Social and mental health and development in adolescents and young adults with cancer. Dr. Block is a psychosocial researcher working in adolescent and young adult oncology. She is one of a few clinical social workers in oncology with a traditional research doctorate and one of the only oncology social work researchers addressing the needs of adolescents and young adults (AYA) women with cancer.  Dr. Block is the co-chair of the Standards of Care Task Force of the LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance, co-chair and mental health director for the Camp Starlight Planning Commission, and a member of the Board of Directors for Oncology Youth Connection. Dr. Block remains at OHSU as a successfully funded researcher.

Project Title: Fertility Decisional among Adolescent and Young Adult Women with Cancer

Learn more about Rebecca

Terry Morgan, MD, PhD

Morgan_120

Appointed 07/2009-06/2011
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Oregon Health & Science University

Primary Mentor:
  Kent Thornburg, PhD
Mentors:  Chris Corless, MD, PhD; Robert Waterland, PhD

During his BIRCWH appointment, Dr. Morgan received a joint appointment in the Department of OB/GYN. Dr. Morgan's long term goal is to be a leader determining the significance of placental pathology and the role of relative uteroplacental insufficiency in pregnancy complications affecting the mother and baby. Despite not having had protected time for research when he came to OHSU, Dr. Morgan found several small projects and industry funding to keep his lab going. The BIRCWH Advisory Committee saw his promise and became highly invested in helping him to devote significant time towards his true scientific passion. Believing that the most effective way of preventing many significant adult onset diseases (e.g., obesity, hypertension, diabetes, prostate cancer) may be a healthy pregnancy, Dr. Morgan focused his BIRCWH research on studying 1) Elevated Angiotensinogen Expression and Fetal Programming in Mice, 2) applying new microbubble imaging to a fetal growth restriction mouse model with exciting results that suggest blood flow to the placenta is faster than controls, and 3) maternal blood pressure studies that showed that transgenic mothers do in fact develop mild pregnancy-induced hypertension; however, placental imaging studies and histologic examination of the uteroplacental interface suggest the reason for faster placental blood flow in this model is more likely due to differences in uterine spiral artery remodeling than affects of maternal blood pressure. Dr. Morgan was awarded an R21 from the NICHD to study placental insufficiency of a transgenic mouse model in preeclampsi and IUGR.

Learn more about Terry

Sonnet Jonker, PhD

Image of Dr. Sonnet Jonker

Appointed 1/2009-4/2012
Research Assistant Professor
School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University

Primary Mentor:  George Giraud, MD, PhD
Mentors:  Kent Thornburg, PhD; Lowell Davis, MD; Jeffrey Segar, MD

Research Interest: Cardiovascular adaptations in health and disease in the fetus and mother, and long-term outcomes. Dr. Jonker is developing a productive independent research career focusing on maternal-fetal physiology. Dr. Jonker is going about this by pursuing interdisciplinary collaborations, allowing her to focus on exciting and relevant scientific hypotheses rather than on methodology-driven research. Dr. Jonker was awarded an approximately $1.5 million, 5-year R01 from the NICHD to study mechanisms of myocardial and coronary growth sychrony.

Project Title: Transfusion During Pregnancy: Fetal Cardiovascular Recovery Following Chronic Anemia


Beth Darnall, PhD

Image of Dr. Beth Darnall

Appointed 01/2008-06/2010
Clinical Associate Professor
Stanford University Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Primary Mentor:
  Patricia Hurn, PhD
Mentors:  Tonya Palermo, PhD; Heather Zwickey, PhD; David Zava, PhD

As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Darnall studied pain catastrophizing as a cause for systemic inflammation in women with chronic pain. She seeks to clarify a physiological, mechanistic link between catastrophizing and immunity that may explain a portion of gender dimorphism for pain. During her tenure with the BIRCWH, she received a $78,000 private grant from ZRT industry. Her work with mirror therapy, which she also conducted as a BIRCWH scholar, has received significant media attention and is the subject of two additional private grants, one entitled "Home- based self-delivered mirror therapy for phantom pain" and the other, "Mirror therapy outreach workshops for medical providers in Vietnam." This work has resulted in several innovative personalized therapies for women and men suffering from phantom pain. She received a humanitarian award from OHSU for her work entitled "Behavioral pain management for underinsured family medicine patients." Since graduating from the BIRCWH, she has been appointed to several national leadership positions such as Chair of the Pain Society of Oregon, is a member of the Ethics Committee and Scientific Planning Committees for the American Pain Society and is on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Ethics in Pain Care.

Learn more about Beth

Wendy Wu, PhD

Appointed 01/2008-06/2010
Assistant Professor in the OHSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Primary Mentor: 
James Maylie, PhD
Mentors:  John Adelman, PhD

Dr. Wu has a PhD in Neuroscience from Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at OHSU prior to joining the Oregon BIRCWH program. As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Wu studied how sex hormones affect cellular processes in the brain and behavior. Her specific focus during the BIRCWH was investigating how premature and uncompensated loss of ovarian hormones following surgical menopause compromises cognitive function and increases a woman's risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia. With oophorectomy being performed on more than 400,000 women in the United States annually, her research is timely and important. She received a private grant during her tenure as a BIRCWH scholar to focus on the surgical menopausal model. She credits the BIRCWH program for stimulating her interest in women's health research and she continues to use interdisciplinary techniques since graduating from the BIRCWH, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, and animal behavior to define the pathophysiology at the cellular level underlying surgical menopause-associated neurological disorders.

Learn more about Wendy

Howard Song, MD, PhD

Appointed 7/2005-7/2008
Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Oregon Health & Science University Department of Surgery


Primary Mentor:
  Patricia Hurn, PhD
Mentors:  Steven Hanson, PhD; Kent Thornburg, PhD

As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Song studied the effects of hormones and gender upon arterial stent restenosis. His current research interests include outcomes of patients undergoing adult cardiac surgery, genetically triggered thoracic aortic aneurysms, recombiant factor replacement following cardiopulmonary bypass to decrease postoperative bleeding, and bioengineering or prosthetic materials and blood pumps to improve biocompatibility. Since his appointment with the BIRCWH, Dr. Song has authored 22 articles in diverse journals including Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Heart Surgery Forum, Circulation, and JAMA. He has also authored 2 book chapters, presented 29 abstracts, and made 13 oral presentations at national meetings all since being appointed a BIRCWH scholar. He has served as Co-I and PI for 5 grants (3 through the NHLBI entitled "Genetically triggered thoracic aneurysms and cardiovascular conditions - Data Coordinating Center", "Interagency registry of mechanically assisted circulatory support", and "Vascular tissue engineering: Rational design using modeling").

Learn more about Howard

Damani Bryant, PhD, MA

Damani-Bryant
Appointed 04/2005-07/2008
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Oregon Health & Science University

Primary Mentor: 
Dan Dorsa, PhD
Mentors:  Oline Ronnekleiv, PhD; Martin Kelly, PhD

As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Bryant studied the role of estrogen receptor splice variants ERa 36 and ERa 46 in neuroprotection following cardiac arrest and resuscitation in a murine model. He remains interested in understanding the impact of sexual differentiation on estrogen neuroprotection. He is currently collaborating with fellow BIRCWH graduate Dr. Wendy Wu and several physician scientists to investigate whether estrogen receptor ligands may be protective against the development of Alzheimer's disease. He is PI of National Science Foundation Grant entitled "Effect of sexual differentiation on cortical signaling response to estradiol" and he recently submitted a proposal to a local foundation (Collins Medical Trust) to conduct a pilot study regarding estrogen and Alzheimer's disease. Since his appointment with the BIRCWH, Dr. Bryant has authored 6 articles in diverse journals including Neuroscience, Endocrinology, and Minerva Endocrinologica. Dr. Bryant credits the BIRCWH for shaping his research interest in the impact of sexual differentiation on the brain and signaling responses to estrogen.

Learn more about Damani

Paco Herson, PhD

PacoHerson
Appointed 7/2004-7/2006
Associate Chair for Neuroscience in the Department of Anesthesiology
Director of the Neuronal Injury Program
University of Colorado, Denver


Primary Mentor:  James Maylie, PhD

Mentors:  John Adelman, PhD; Patricia Hurn, PhD


As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Herson developed a novel in vitro model to investigate sex differences in sensitivity to ischemia-reperfusion of cerebellar Purkinje cells. He hypothesized that one important mechanism of neuroprotection is via progesterone's enhancement of inhibitory GABAA receptor activity, counteracting the high levels of excitatory input to neurons during and immediately following ischemia.

Dr. Herson's laboratory currently uses a variety of techniques, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, virus mediated gene knockdown and whole animal focal (middle cerebral artery occlusion; MCAO) and global (Cardiac arrest and CPR; CA/CPR) cerebral ischemia models. He has established himself as one of the few investigators who routinely performs patch-clamp electrophysiology on neurons after exposure to ischemia, both in vitro and in vivo.

Learn more about Paco

Philippe Thuillier, PhD

Thuiller
Appointed 7/2004-7/2006
Assistant Professor in Public Health & Preventive Medicine and Scientist in the Center for Research in Occupational and Environmental Health Toxicology (CROET)
Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute

Primary Mentor: 
Grover Bagby, MD
Mentors:  Thomas Becker, MD, PhD

Dr. Thuillier was recruited as an external candidate to OHSU. As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Thuillier began studying dietary conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a dietary fatty acid and its preventive effects on breast and ovarian cancer cell lines by influencing the expression of BRCA 1, thereby reducing cross-link and oxidative stress-induced DNA damage.

He has successfully received funding on 10 grants including as PI or co-PI on two R01s entitled "Skin cancer prevention by dietary fatty acids" and "Inhibition of prostate cancer by sulforophane" and two R21s entitled "A mouse model for dietary effects on epigenetic silencing" and "EGCG and w-3 fatty acids impact on fatty acid synthase activity in the prostate" as well as several private and biotech grants including "Effect of fish oil supplementation on women recently diagnosed with DCIS." He also contributes as study section reviewer for the NIH Chemoprevention study section and for the Congressional Directed Medical Research Programs. Since his appointment with the BIRCWH, Dr. Thuillier has authored 7 articles in journals including PLOS ONE, Journal of Nutrition, Cancer Research, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, and Molecular Carcinogenesis. Deeply committed to the BIRCWH, Dr. Thuillier has been a member of the BIRCWH Internal Advisory Committee since graduating from the program and largely helped to organize the BIRCWH program Grant Workshop Schedule.

Learn more about Philippe

Tanja Pejovic, MD, PhD

Appointed 8/2003-7/2007
Associate Professor, Division Director of Gynecological Oncology
Director of the Ovarian Cancer Translational Program
Knight Cancer Institute


Primary Mentor:  Grover Bagby, MD

Dr. Pejovic was recruited as an external candidate to the BIRCWH program and appointed as a BIRCWH scholar. Dr. Pejovic studied the role of DNA repair proteins in ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer predisposition. Her research suggests that low expression of FANCD2 protein and mRNA is associated with a risk of ovarian cancer, independent of BRCA mutation status. She holds a patent related to her work entitled "Test for ovarian cancer by detecting abnormality in FANCD2 pathway." She has also created a tissue bank of ovarian cancer samples from patients who underwent oophorectomy for benign, high-risk, or malignant ovarian diseases.

Learn more about Tanja

Karen Eden, PhD

KarenEden

Appointed 07/2003-07/2006
Associate Professor and Director of Pre- and Post-doctoral training programs in the OHSU Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Primary Mentor:  Jeanne-Marie Guise, MD, MPH
Mentors:
  Mark Helfand, MD, MPH, MS; Dundar Kocaoglu, PhD


As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Eden applied computer techniques to design decision aids that help patients educate themselves to make informed decisions and to quantify the relative importance of various factors in the decision process. She has effectively used the model of Vaginal Birth after Cesarean, and was awarded an R03 to test which formats were optimal for women to understand the rare risks and received a supplement to study whether there were differences in the Hispanic population. She has presented to the 2010 NIH consensus conference on VBAC, and all of her research studies after the BIRCWH are conducted in multidisciplinary research teams.

Dr. Eden presented an evidence-based decision aid that she and her mentor, Dr. Guise, had developed for women with a prior cesarean to help them weigh risks and benefits of either a repeat cesarean or a VBAC during the Women's Health Across the Lifespan seminar series. Dr. Nancy Glass, another BIRCWH fellow at the time, approached her after the meeting and asked if she was interested in developing a similar aid for abused women to help them plan for safety. Drs. Eden and Glass then applied for and received seed funding from an OHSU foundation begin the work, and are currently co-PIs, on an R01 to conduct an RCT to deploy the decision aid over the Internet in four states (Oregon, Missouri, Arizona, and Maryland). She has been PI, co-PI or significant co-Investigator for eleven research projects, including: NIH, AHRQ, CDC, VA, private and international grant-funded projects.

Since her appointment with the BIRCWH, Dr. Eden has authored 17 articles in diverse journals, including: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Decision Making, International Urogynecology Journal, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Cochrane Library. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Dutch Cancer Society, the US Department of State, and the National Institute for Health Research in England, and she currently serves as co-chair for Women in Academic Medicine at OHSU. She has appropriately received recognition and awards for her work, and was selected to be one of two women leaders in the health services (one MD and one PhD) whose stories were featured in Portland State University's contribution to the 2008 National Library of Medicine exhibit entitled: "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians" and was recently named the Omega Rho Alumni of the Year by Portland State Engineering and Technology Management.

Learn more about Karen


Nancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN

glass-nancy

Appointed 7/2003-11/2005
Associate Professor and Associate Director
Global Health at Johns Hopkins University

Primary Mentor: 
Lowell Davis, MD
Mentors:
  Linda McCauley, PhD, RN; Mary Ann Curry, DNSc, RN


As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Glass applied an interdisciplinary approach to developing community-partnered intervention models targeting employed immigrant and U.S.-born Latina women survivors of intimate partner violence. Importantly, Dr. Karen Eden (BIRCWH scholar at OHSU from 2003 to 2006) and Dr. Glass integrated their areas of research in decision science and gender-based violence during their times as BIRCWH scholars. They subsequently received NIMH funding as co-Principal Investigators to develop and test the effectiveness of the first Internet-based safety decision aid for survivors of intimate partner violence.

Learn more about Nancy


Erin LeBlanc, MD, MPH

Leblanc

Appointed 7/2003-7/2004
Investigator
Kaiser Center for Health Research

Primary Mentor:  Jeri Janowsky, PhD
Mentors:
  Eric Orwoll, MD; Lowell Davis, MD; Jacob Raber, PhD; Lynn Loriaux, MD, PhD


As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. LeBlanc designed and implemented a randomized controlled trial of estrogen's effects on cognition and menopausal symptoms in early menopausal women. This study provided preliminary data and direction for a K23 award entitled "The role of estradiol in menopause" and the results of this study were published in Menopause in 2007. Her current work investigates the relationship between menopausal phenotypes, estrogen levels, estrogen receptor genotypes and variances in estrogen metabolism involving cytochrome P450 genes. Dr. LeBlanc's expertise has been recognized on a national level; she was a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Women's Health Care Physicians Task Force that published a consensus on Cognition and Dimentia (Hormone therapy. Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Oct; 104(4 Suppl:25S-40S).

Learn more about Erin