Department News

2019 Faculty Recognition and Honors

Dr. Li-Yuan Yu-Lee

Dr. Li-Yuan Yu-Lee, professor, Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, was awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Dr. Anne Utech

Dr. Anne Utech, assistant professor, General Internal Medicine - VAMC, has been appointed to the position of National Director, Nutrition and Food Services, Veterans Health Administration.

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor and chief, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was awarded a three-year, $1,151,093 grant from the Department of Defense.

Dr. Nadia Ismail

Dr. Nadia Ismail, associate professor, General Internal Medicine - Ben Taub, has been elected to the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine Council of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine.

Department of Medicine

The Department of Medicine, Internal Medicine program, has risen from #40 to #27 (out of 115) in the 2018 Blue Ridge ranking. The Blue Ridge ranking uses active NIH funding to rank departments of medicine in the nation. This change was fueled by close to a $12 million increase in NIH direct funding (total approx. $45 million) over last year. 

Dr. Grace Lo

Dr. Grace Lo, assistant professor, Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, was awarded a two-year, $418,500 R21 grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Dr. Rolando Rumbaut

Dr. Rolando Rumbaut, professor, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, was awarded a two-year, $720,846 R01 grant from the NIH/National Eye Institute.

Dr. Sandeep Agarwal

Dr. Sandeep Agarwal, association professor, Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, was awarded a five-year, $500,000 grant from the Krist Foundation. Funds from this donation will help start a biobank that will store and make available blood, synovial fluid and other biopsy samples from patients with autoimmune diseases, and support additional discovery-based research in the labs, to help identify new therapeutic targets in RA-ILD.

Dr. Salim Virani

Dr. Salim Virani, associate professor, Cardiology, has been appointed to the American College of Cardiology National Cardiovascular Disease Registry Scientific Quality and Oversight Subcommittee.

Dr. Mary Estes

Dr. Mary Estes, professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was one of 148 renowned academic inventors named Fellow by the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Estes holds nine patents in the field of gastrointestinal infections, all of which have been licensed.

Dr. Glenn Levine

Dr. Glenn Levine, professor, Cardiology received the American College of Cardiology 2019 Gifted Educator Award.

2018 Faculty Recognition and Honors

Dr. Mayar Al Mohajer

Dr. Mayar Al Mohajer, associate professor of medicine, has been elected a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America, one of only 105 distinguished physicians and scientists selected this year for their professional excellence and significant service.

Dr. Antony Rodriguez and Dr. David B. Corry

Dr. Antony Rodriguez, assistant professor of medicine, and Dr. David B. Corry, professor and Fulbright Endowed Chair in Pathology, were awarded a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Lung Injury, Repair, and Remodeling study section to determine the role of the let-7 microRNA family in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Dr. Biykem Bozkurt

Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, professor of medicine - cardiology, was appointed president-elect of the Heart Failure Society of America. She will serve as president-elect in 2018-2019 and president in 2019-2020.

Dr. Tina Shah

Dr. Tina Shah, assistant professor of medicine – cardiology, was designated as a Fellow of the American Society of Echocardiography, which recognizes her commitment to the field of cardiovascular ultrasound.

Dr. Christie Ballantyne

Dr. Christie Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of the sections of cardiology and cardiovascular research, was named to the Board of Directors of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology for the 2018-2021 term.

Dr. Anthony Rodriguez

Dr. Anthony Rodriguez, assistant professor of medicine - immunology, allergy and rheumatology, was awarded a grant by the Gillson Longenbaugh Foundation for his research on the "Role of let-7 microRNA in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."

Dr. Kevin Erickson

Dr. Kevin Erickson, assistant professor of medicine - nephrology, has been awarded the Southeast Texas Young Investigator Research Grant from the National Kidney Foundation for the second time. The grant will continue his study on whether receiving nephrology care prior to developing end-stage renal disease helps patients remain employed after kidney failure.

Dr. Salma Kaochar

Dr. Salma Kaochar, assistant professor of medicine – hematology/oncology, received a three-year $225,000 Prostate Cancer Foundation Young investigator Award for her research on prostate cancer in African Americans. She also recently accepted a 2018 Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award from the American Association of Cancer Researchers.

Dr. Laura Petersen

Dr. Laura Petersen, professor of medicine – health services research and associate chief of staff for research at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, earned the Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research for her work to understand the factors that affect the health of veterans and the quality of their care.

Dr. Alan Garber

Dr. Alan Garber, professor of medicine - endocrinology and biochemistry & molecular biology, was awarded the Master of the American College of Endocrinology Award by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists at its annual meeting in Boston.

Dr. Rajani Katta

Dr. Rajani Katta, clinical assistant professor of medicine - immunology, allergy and rheumatology, has published a new book, Glow: The Dermatologist's Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet. The book emphasizes the importance of eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Dr. Ricardo Nuila

Dr. Ricardo Nuila, assistant professor of medicine and in the Center or Medical Ethics and Health Policy, received a MacDowell Fellowship to continue his journalistic work on health disparities in Texas this summer. The program is one of the most competitive artistic residencies in the country. Based in New Hampshire, it provides room and board for up to two months for visual artists, filmmakers, and journalists.

Dr. Lee Lu

Dr. Lee Lu, associate professor of medicine and colleague in the Society of General Internal Medicine, produced Leading an Academic Medical Practice, a comprehensive guide to managing a medical clinic with learners. SGIM has endorsed the book, which is published by Springer.

Dr. John Vierling

Dr. John Vierling, professor of medicine – gastroenterology and hepatology, was elected to fellowship in the American Gastroenterological Association in recognition of his contributions to the field. He also recently was invited to present the 24th Annual Leon Schiff Lecture at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

Dr. Horacio Adrogue

Dr. Horacio Adrogue, professor of medicine – nephrology, presented at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine Workshop for the Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium.

Dr. Anoop Agrawal

Dr. Anoop Agrawal, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics and director of the internal residency and pediatrics residency program, was elected a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Fellowship recognizes a physician's excellence and contributions to medicine and to the community.

Dr. Tina Shah

Dr. Tina Shah, assistant professor of medicine – cardiology, was selected to join the American College of Cardiology Leadership Academy. This prestigious two-year leadership development program is designed to provide a broad understanding of leadership styles and skills.

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor and section chief, gastroenterology and hepatology, is co-PI on a 3-year, $2,985,000 grant from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Dr. Lavannya Pandit

Dr. Lavannya Pandit, assistant professor of medicine - pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, has been appointed to serve on the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force for the position of physician specializing in critical care.

Dr. Laura Petersen

Dr. Laura Petersen, professor - health services research, has received funding for renewal of the IQuESt program - a 5-year, $4 million grant from the Veterans Administration. Upon review, the VA gave the program a rating of 132, which translates to an ‘excellent’ score.