Department News

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. The national society of healthcare providers and researchers is dedicated to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the dissemination of evidence-based information to clinicians and patients.

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. She also was recognized for inspiring and training a new generation of investigators and enhancing the visibility of VA research through her work.

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. The award honors AACE fellows who are distinguished endocrinologists, role models for trainees and contributors to the science of the field.

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 on March 7. An expert in electrolyte and acid-base balance, especially on dysnatremias, he discussed the minerals' interaction in the kidney, blood vessels and brain.

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. The 2018 fellows will be inducted at the ACP's annual internal medicine meeting in April.

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. The curriculum is developed with the needs of early career members in mind and provides an awareness of concepts and techniques relevant to leading effectively within one's institution and within the ACC.

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal

Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor and section chief of medicine - gastroenterology and hepatology, is co-PI on the first large-scale quality improvement project targeting patients with advanced and chronic liver diseases. It will pilot test a collaborative chronic care network, including necessary technology infrastructure.
Source: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
Project: Cirrhosis Quality Collaborative
Amount: $995,000
Period: 3 years

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. This is a voluntary 6-year appointment with the Texas Department of State Health Services on a statewide multidisciplinary panel compiled to study maternal morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Biykem Bozkurt

Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, professor of medicine - cardiology, provided lectures at two events in July. At the American College of Cardiology-InterAmerican Congress on Heart Failure Inaugural Scientific Sessions on July 13 in Panama City, her presentations were titled “What to Target in Treatment of Acute Decompensated Heart Failure” and “Cardiorenal Syndrome.” At the Heart in Diabetes Annual Scientific Sessions on July 15 in Philadelphia, her presentation was titled “Epidemiology and Causes of Heart Failure in Diabetes.”

Dr. Laura Petersen

Dr. Laura Petersen, professor of medicine - health services research, has received funding for renewal of the IQuESt program. Upon review, the VA gave the program a rating of 132, which translates to an ‘excellent’ score.
Source: VA
Project: Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness & Safety (IQuESt)
Amount: $4 million
Period: 5 years