A research training program's strengths depend on the strengths and experience of mentors. The Oregon BIRCWH program is fortunate to have a wealth of experienced mentors who provide the specialized training required for BIRCWH scholars. Below is a list of OHSU participating faculty members for the Oregon BIRCWH program along with a figure demonstrating mentors' research across the lifespan.

Updated Mentor Figure

Nabil Alkayed, MD, PhD

Department of Anethesiology & Perioperative Medicine
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology

Dr. Alkayed is Director of APOM Cerebrovascular Research Division and of Core Molecular Laboratories & Training, and Associate Director of the OHSU Research Center for Gender-Based Medicine (RCGBM). Dr. Alkayed's research interests include gender differences in cerebrovascular physiology and ischemia; stroke; sex steroids effects in brain and cerebral vessels; eicosanoid signaling in astrocytes and endothelium; and peroxisomal biogenesis.

Learn more about Dr. Alkayed

Photo of Grover Bagby, MD

Grover Bagby, MD

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology & Medical Oncology

The Bagby laboratory intensively investigates the hematopoietic functions of the Fanconi anemia protein family. He mentored Tanja Pejovic, a BIRCWH Scholar who studies whether alterations in FANCD2 expression plays a role in ovarian carcinogenesis in women. The results of the project carried out by Drs. Pejovic and Bagby are in press (Cancer Research, 2006) and indicate that tissue specific genetic instability in ovarian epithelial cells and FANCD2 gene suppression in those cells may be biomarkers of inherited ovarian and breast cancer risk. Dr. Bagby currently works with veterans at the Portland VA (part of the OHSU campus).

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Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN

School of Nursing
Vice President for Nursing Affairs
Oregon Health & Science University

As the Dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Bakewell-Sachs plays a major role in the transformation of Oregon nursing education as state and federal health care reforms take place. Prior to her administrative career, she specialized in the care of preterm infants and published several books and medical journal articles on the topic.

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Tom Becker, MD, PhD

Thomas Becker M.D., Ph.D.

Professor and Chair
Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Dr. Becker is an internist with a long history of gynecologic cancer research among minority women. He has published extensively on HPV infections and their relation to cervical neoplasia in Hispanic and American Indian women in New Mexico, as well as among Alaska Native women in Anchorage. He has been involved in cancer control training and cancer control research among American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Polynesians through two NIH grants (R01 CA64451 and R25 CA83646). Through those grants, he mentors numerous Native researchers around the country. He also is program director for a large American Indian-based project, Northwest Tribal Health Research Center, also under NIH funding (GM-00-007). Along with Dr. Cynthia Morris, he co-directs the Human Investigations Program (K30 HL4516). Dr. Becker is well positioned to assist the BIRCWH trainees in mentoring for minority research projects, and can facilitate bridging activities with the Human Investigations Program and the MPH program.

Learn more about Dr. Becker

Cynthia Bethea, PhD

Cynthia Bethea, PhD

Senior Scientist
Oregon National Primate Research Center

Dr. Bethea conducts research in the Oregon National Primate Research Center Department of Behavioral Neuroscience and Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Bethea's research interests focus on the interactions of estrogen, progesterone, and stress on the cell biology of serotonin neurons and their relation to hormone therapy and hypothalamic amenorrhea.

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Patty Carney, PhD

Patricia Carney, PhD

Family Medicine
Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Dr. Carney's research interests include breast cancer, cancer screening, mammography, and evaluation of medical and family medicine residency curriculum.  She serves as the Associate Director of Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Studies in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and was recently named Associate Editor of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Learn more about Dr. Carney

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Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD, MPP, MPH

Professor and Chair
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Associate Dean
Women's Health Research and Policy, School of Medicine

As an obstetrician, perinatal epidemiologist, and health economist, Dr. Caughey is interested in how common obstetric interventions affect maternal and neonatal outcomes. Specifically, he has expertise and a wide range of experience regarding the conduct of outcomes research, clinical trials, and both cost and cost-effectiveness analyses.

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Lowell Davis, MD

Department Obstetrics & Gynecology

In the fetus that is anemic, the heart adapts by increasing stroke volume 50%, heart weight by 30%, and capillary dimensions by 20%. These changes result in the expansion of arterial resistance vessels as manifested by an increase in coronary conductance. The Davis group is currently investigating the programming of the adult coronary circulation during fetal development by studying structural changes that occur in the arteriolar tree to determine if branching patterns are altered, thus allowing for increased coronary conductance.

Learn more about Dr. Davis

Karen Eden, PhD

Karen Eden, PhD, MS

Associate Professor
Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology

Dr. Eden earned a Masters degree in Biomechanics, Physiology, and Anatomy at University of Iowa. She later attended Portland State University, where she earned an M.S. in Engineering Management and a Ph.D. in Systems Science/Engineering Management. The focus of her research was decision science (understanding how people make decisions). Karen has worked as a Research and Development Professional at the Nike Sport Research Laboratory in Beaverton, Oregon, and also as a Senior Research Analyst for Providence Health System in Portland, Oregon.Dr. Eden's main research interests center around patient and clinician decision-making. She has built decision analyses, written evidence reports on diagnostic accuracy and patient preferences, and overseen several graduate student decision analysis projects.

Learn more about Dr. Eden

Image of Joe Gray, PhD

Joe Gray, PhD

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Gray is a Gordon Moore Endowed Chair, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Director of the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine, and Associate Director for Translational Research, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The Gray laboratory explores mechanisms by which genomic, transcriptional and proteomic abnormalities occur in selected cancers, elucidates how these abnormalities contribute to cancer pathophysiologies and assesses the ways in which these abnormalities influence responses to gene targeted therapies.

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Jon Hennebold, PhD

Associate Scientist
Oregon National Primate Research Center
Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences

Dr. Hennebold researches the molecular and cellular processes necessary for ovulation and luteal function; ovarian causes of infertility, and the control of fertility. One particular area of interest for Dr. Hennebold's research team includes the characterization of the molecular and cellular events necessary for the development, function, and regression of the corpus luteum. Another area of interest for Dr. Hennebold involves identifying and characterizing the molecular events that are necessary for follicle rupture and detachment of the oocyte from the inner cell layer of the follicle.

Learn more about Dr. Hennebold

Image of Bill Hersh, MD

William Hersh, MD

Professor and Chair
Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology
Internal Medicine
Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine

Dr. Hersh's research focuses on information retrieval, health information technology, and the quantity and characteristics of the workforce needed to implement health information technology in clinical settings.

Learn more about Dr. Hersh

Image of David Jacoby, MD

David Jacoby, MD

Pulmonary and Critical Care
MD/PhD Training Program

Dr. Jacoby is Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and the the director of an NHLBI T32 training grant entitled Multidisciplinary Research Training in Pulmonary Medicine, which has 2 pre-doctoral and 4 post-doctoral trainees. During the past 10 years, he has mentored 18 trainees, 10 post-doctoral and 8 pre-doctoral, many of whom remain in academics or industry. Dr. Jacoby's research focuses on virus induced asthma attacks, using a combination of cell culture, animal models, and human tissue studies. He has shown these infection change the function of airway nerves, and also directly affect airway smooth muscle function via toll like receptor 7.

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Image of Dr. Sanjiv Kaul

Sanjiv Kaul, MD

Professor and Chief
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine (Radiology)

Dr. Kaul has pioneered the field of microbubble echocardiology, a powerfully effective screening test for the early detection of coronary heart disease. His research interests are coronary pathophysiology and physiology, advanced echo, and nuclear cardiology.

Learn more about Dr. Kaul

Martin Kelly, PhD

Martin Kelly, PhD

Department of Pharmacology and Physiology

The Kelly laboratory is interested in the electrophysiology of hypothalamic neurons (e.g., opioid, dopamine and GnRH) that control homeostasis and behavior. Opiates and opioid peptides inhibit both sexual behavior and gonadotropin secretion from the anterior pituitary of the male and female. A particular group of endogenous opioid neurons, hypothalamic ?-endorphin neurons, are both neurosecretory and neuromodulatory in nature.  The Kelly lab has established that the ?-opioid receptor is an autoreceptor on ?-endorphin neurons and inhibits their activity via activation of inwardly rectifying K+ channels.

Learn more about Dr. Kelly

Image of Jonathan Lindner, MD

Jonathan Lindner, MD

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine 

Dr. Lindner's research focuses on microvascular physiology and molecular imaging with ultrasound. Dr. Lindner leads a laboratory group that studies molecular imaging of inflammation, ischemia, and angiogenesis with site targeted ultrasound contrast agents; drug and gene delivery with ultrasound; and microvascular physiology at the capillary level. His clinical research interests include microvascular no-reflow in acute MI, diabetic microvascular disease, and novel methods for evaluating peripheral vascular disease.

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Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD

Associate Scientist
Oregon National Primate Research Center, Division of Reproductive Sciences
Oregon Stem Cell Center
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Molecular & Medical Genetics

Dr. Mitalipov is the co-Director of the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) Laboratory. His ground-breaking research in stem cells focuses on genetic and epigenetic factors contributing to the developmental potential of gametes and early embryos.

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Image of Dr. Cynthia (Cindy) Morris

Cynthia Morris, PhD, MPH

Professor and Vice Chair
Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology
Professor of Medicine
Public Health & Preventive Medicine

Dr. Morris has a research focus in maternal and child health, including pre-eclampsia and congenital cardiac malformations. Dr. Morris established the Oregon Registry of Congenital Heart Defects, a population-based cohort study of Oregonians with surgery for common heart defects, followed prospectively for outcomes. She has a strong interest in the use of patient registries and practice-based networks for translation of research to the community. She is the research director for the Oregon Rural Practice Research Network and was awarded the 2004 Mentor Award from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon. Dr. Morris serves as a principal investigator and co-director on two K12 career development awards, and is experienced at both mentoring and with matching scholars to the appropriate mentors.

Learn more about Dr. Morris

Image of Lillian Nail, RN, PhD

Lillian Nail, RN, PhD

Professor and Senior Scientist
School of Nursing

Dr. Nail is a Rawlinson Distinguished Professor and Senior Scientist in the School of Nursing. Her research focuses coping with cancer, including cancer symptom management, and cancer survivorship with a focus on women experiencing cancer.

Learn more about Dr. Nail


Eric Orwoll, MD

Professor of Medicine
Director, Oregon Clinical & Translational Research institute
Associate Dean, Clinical Research

Dr. Orwoll is an internationally recognized expert in the area of age-related musculoskeletal change, particularly bone biology and metabolic bone disease. Dr. Orwoll specializes in the evaluation and care of patients with osteoporosis, other forms of metabolic bone disorders, and abnormalities of calcium metabolism. He has been the Director of the Bone and Mineral Clinic, and of the Bone Density Lab. He divides his time between his clinical activities, managing his own active research projects, and directing the clinical/translational research programs at OHSU. Dr. Orwoll has mentored two BIRCWH Scholars, Dr. Carrie Nielson and Dr. Christine Lee.

Learn more about Dr. Orwoll

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William Rooney, PhD

Senior Scientist
Advanced Imaging Research Center

Research in Dr. Rooney's group is focused on the development and application of quantitative magnetic resonance techniques to characterize tissue structure and function. A major thrust of Dr. Rooney's work aims to phenotype brain blood vessels using dynamic MRI acquisitions combined with pharmaco- kinetic modeling.  We apply these techniques to learn how brain blood vessels change in disease processes such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers, and brain tumors.

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Jackilen Shannon, PhD, RD, MPH

Associate Professor
Department of Population Health & Preventive Medicine

Dr. Jackilen Shannon is a nutritional epidemiologist with a strong track record of investigation in the role of diet and nutrition in carcinogenesis. She joined Oregon Health and Science University in 2000. She completed a doctoral degree program in Nutrition with a minor in Epidemiology at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an NIH-NCI post-doctoral training fellowship in cancer epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The primary focus of Dr. Shannon's work has been to unveil the nutritional factors that promote the development and progression of human prostate cancer.

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M. Susan Smith, PhD

Senior Scientist
Oregon National Primate Research Center
Department Physiology and Pharmacology

Dr. Smith studies hypothalamic neurons that control food intake and energy balance. The primary hypothesis being examined in both rodent and nonhuman primate models is that exposure to a calorically rich or calorically deprived diet during the critical period of development of feeding circuitry can permanently alter the body weight phenotype during adulthood. Another focus of the research in the Smith laboratory is to understand how the regulation of food intake/energy balance and reproduction are highly integrated. For example, in times of prolonged negative energy balance, menstrual cyclicity stops.

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Richard Stouffer, PhD

Senior Scientist and Head, Oregon National Primate Research Center
Professor, Dept of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Professor, Dept of Physiology & Pharmacology

Dr. Stouffer's lab is interested in the factors controlling cyclic ovarian function in primates. Studies examine the cascade of events following the midcycle gonadotropin surge that result in ovulation of the mature follicle and development of the corpus luteum from the ruptured follicle. Experiments are also elucidating the role of local factors, including angiogenic factors and progesterone itself, in the maintenance and timely regression of the corpus luteum in the nonfertile cycle, and during luteal "rescue" in early pregnancy.  

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Kent Thornburg, PhD

Professor and Associate Chief for Research, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, The Heart Research Center
Interim Director, The Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness

Dr. Thornburg holds the M. Lowell Edwards Chair in the Department of Medicine and has additional appointments in the Departments of Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Physiology & Pharmacology. He leads a team of scientists who are studying how mechanical forces alter gene expression in the developing embryo heart. His models are designed to study the roles of shear and wall stresses as signals to developing cardiac structures. His laboratory team also studies fetal heart development and the roles of growth factors and signaling molecules in programming the immature heart and coronary arteries for lifelong vulnerability for disease.

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Mary Zelinski, PhD

Associate Scientist
Division of Reproductive Sciences

Dr. Zelinski's research interests include fertility preservation and contraception. The ultimate goal of her work is to develop safe and effective methods for protecting female ovaries that contain follicles and their enclosed oocytes (eggs) from side-effect damage caused by anti-cancer therapies. With collaborators in Boston, she is testing agents administered directly to the ovary to see if they can protect follicles and oocytes from X-irradiation, and also whether normal offspring can be born after ovarian protection prior to ovarian X-irradiation in the mothers. She has also contributed to the development of a low dose treatment of a specific progesterone receptor modulator in female rhesus monkeys that permits normal ovarian and menstrual cycles, prevents pregnancy, and is reversible.

Learn more about Dr. Zelinski