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PhD Student Profiles

PhD Group

Please click on the name of each student to learn more about them.

Kelsey Bernard

Kelsey Bernard

Co-Advisor:  Torsten Falk, PhD and Lalitha Madhavan, MD, PhD

Research Interests:  Parkinson's Disease, Neuroprotective therapeutics, Molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease

Personal Interests:  Reading, Watching historical dramas, Hiking, Creating glass mosaics

Email:  keberna@email.arizona.edu 

Awards: Translational Research in AD and related Dementias (TRADD) (1T32AG061897-01 ) (2020-2022)

Publications: In Progress

Jade Blackwell (Teaching Committee)

Jade Blackwell

Advisor: Paulo Pires, Ph.D.

 

Research Interests: Blood Flow, Alzheimer's Disease, Neurovascular Physiology


Personal Interests: Run on craft beer and coffee! Trader Joe's junkie and an Orange-theorist, if you know, you know.

 

Email: jadeblackwell@email.arizona.edu

 

Publications:

Stoner, L., Stone, K., Zieff, G., Blackwell, J., Diana, J., Credeur, D. P., Paterson, C., Fryer, S. (2020). Endothelium function dependence of acute changes in pulse wave velocity and flow-mediated slowing. Vascular Medicine.

 

Burnet K., Blackwell J., Kelsch E., Hanson E., Fryer S., Creduer D., Stone, K., Stoner, L. (In Review) Cerebrovascular Function Response to Prolonged Sitting Combined With a High Glycemic Index Meal: A Double-Blind, Randomized Cross-Over Trial. Psychophysiology.

Stephanie Bruggink (Executive Committee)

Advisor:  Benjamin Renquist, PhD

Research Interests:  Metabolic diseases and nutrition.

Personal Interests:  My dog, swimming, running, biking, hiking, craft beer and delicious food.

Email:  bruggink@email.arizona.edu

Awards: Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) (2021-2022)

Publications: 

Kentch, K.*, S.M. Bruggink*, and B.J. Renquist. 2020. Development of software and a sensitive head out plethysmography system for analysis of breathing dynamics in mice. In Preparation. Journal of Applied Physiology.

 

Garrett Crosby

Garrett Crosby

Advisor:  Jil Tardiff, PhD

Reseach Interests: Cardiac thin filament structure and how point mutations in thin filament proteins lead to complex symptomatic cardiomyopathy.

Personal Interests: Swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and B horror movies.

Email: crosbyg@email.arizona.edu

Publications: In progress.

Sara Djurich

Sara Djurich

Advisor: Tim Secomb, PhD

Research Interests: anything brain related

Personal Interests: reading, writing, biking and music

Email: sarad2@email.arizona.edu

Uloma Elvis-Offiah

Uloma Beauty Elvis-Offiah

Advisor: first year rotations

Research Interest: Reproductive Physiology, Sex-specific differences in endocrine, renal and cardiovascular diseases, Angiotensin-induced pre- and post- menopausal hypertension, estrogen signaling and sex-specific therapeutics.

Personal Interest: Leadership forums and meetings, Conventions, Writing devotionals, camping, and singing

Email: ulomaelvisoffiah@email.arizona.edu

Publications:

Enitome E. Bafor, Faith Ukpebor, Uloma Elvis-Offiah, Adaeze Uchendu, Osemelomen Omoruyi, and Glory Uyi Omogiade. Justicia flava Leaves Exert Mild Estrogenic Activity in Mouse Models of Uterotrophic and Reproductive Cycle Investigations. J Med Food 00 (0) 2019, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2019.0155

Elvis-Offiah UB, Bafor EE, Sanusi OB, Uchendu AP, Omoregie OO, Onyiriuka CE, Uba NC, Ebiuwa DE, Omoruyi O, Tafamel EG, Kadiri PB (2019). Reproductive activity and function of Vocanga africana leaves on non-pregnant female mice. African Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Development. Vol. 11 No.1; pp; 016-034.

Elvis-Offiah Uloma B., Bafor Enitome E., Eze Gerald I., Osamwonyi Igbinumwen, Christina Viegelmann, RuAngelie Edrada-Ebel (2016). In vivo Investigation of Female Reproductive Functions and Parameters in Non-Pregnant Mice Models and Mass Spectrometric Analysis of the Methanol Leaf Extract of Emilia Coccinea (Sims) G Dons.  Physiol Rep, 4 (23), e13047, doi: 10.14814/phy2.13047

Elvis-Offiah B. Uloma, Vincent I. Iyawe, Enitome E. Bafor (2016). In vitro response of isolated non-pregnant mouse uterus to the methanol extract of Emilia coccinea (Sims) G. Dons leaf. Journal of Pharmacy and Biomedical Resources, 13: 134-147. DOI: 10.4314/jpb.v13i2.9

Bafor EE, Elvis-Offiah UB. Africa calls for her women in science: Review of the status of Nigerian women in science. GWIS IOTA NU. 2013, volume: 2(4), page 6-7

Madeline Gauthier (Activities Committee)

Advisor: Christopher Banek, PhD

 

Research Interests: Blood pressure regulation, autonomic nervous system

 

Personal Interests: Reading, running, container gardening, sewing, spending time with family

 

Email: mgauthier1@email.arizona.edu

 

Awards: NIH T32 Training Grant: Interdisciplinary Training in Cardiovascular Research (2021-2022)

 

Publications: in progress

Christina Hoyer-Kimura (Program Committee)

Christina Hoyer-Kimura

Advisor:  John Konhilas, PhD

Research Interests:  Cell transporters, comnencil bacteria, cardio, immuno, neuro, exercise, stem cell...I love many subjects

Personal Interests:  dance, dogs

Email: choyerkimura@email.arizona.edu

Wanjiru Kamau-Devers

Wanjiru Kamau-Devers

Advisor: Ralph Fregosi, PhD

Email: wkamaudevers@email.arizona.edu

Awards: Medical Award of Excellence (2019-2020), Bunt-Jeffrey Medical Scholarship (2020-2021)

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Advisor: Dr. Michael Grandner

Research interests: Novel therapeutics used to improve sleep, sleep & diet, women’s health

Personal interests: Exploring the desert and making cups of tea

Email: katkennedy@email.arizona.edu

Publications:

Kennedy, K., Bastien, C. H., Ruby, P. M., Killgore, W., Wills, C., & Grandner, M. A. (2021). Nightmare content during the COVID-19 pandemic: Influence of COVID-related stress and sleep disruption in the United States. Journal of sleep research, e13439. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13439

Kennedy, K., Onyeonwu, C., Nowakowski, S., Hale, L., Branas, C. C., Killgore, W., Wills, C., & Grandner, M. A. (2021). Menstrual regularity and bleeding is associated with sleep duration, sleep quality and fatigue in a community sample. Journal of sleep research, e13434. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13434

Tubbs, A. S., Kennedy, K., Alfonso-Miller, P., Wills, C., & Grandner, M. A. (2021). A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Polyphenol Botanical Blend on Sleep and Daytime Functioning. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3044. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063044

 

 

Matthew Klass

Matthew Klass

Advisor:  Jil Tardiff, MD, Ph.D.

Research Interests:  I love the general fields of electrophysiology, neurophysiology, and cardiovascular physiology. Ultimately, I'd like my research to focus on improvements to health and wellness especially concerning type II diabetes and obesity.

Personal Interests:  Cooking & eating, swimming, freelance tattoo design, exercise and great conversation!

Email:  mklass92@email.arizona.edu

Awards:  University Fellows Award (2016-2017), NIH T32 Training Grant: Interdisciplinary Training in Cardiovascular Research (2017-2018), Achievement Reward for College Scientists (ARCS) (2021-2022)

Publications: 

Deranek, A. E., Klass, M. M., & Tardiff, J. C. (2019). Moving beyond simple answers to complex disorders in sarcomeric cardiomyopathies: the role of integrated systems. Pflugers Arch. doi:10.1007/s00424-019-02269-0

 

Timothy Maley

Tim Maley

Advisor:  Erika Eggers, Ph.D.

Research Interests:  The role of retinal inhibition in Light adaptation. 

Personal Interests:  Cycling, Skiing, Hiking, Representing Physiological Sciences GIDP in intramural sports

Email:  maleytim@email.arizona.edu

Publications: In progress

Vito Marino

Vito Marino

Advisor: John Konhilas, Ph.D.

Research Interests: The role of the gut microbiome in physiological health and disease, particularly during the menopausal transition and menopause.

Personal Interests: Dogs, coloring, hiking, CrossFit, and reading Stephen King books.

email: vitomarino@email.arizona.edu

Josie Mazzone

Josie Mazzone

Advisor: First year rotations

Research Interests: Blood pressure regulation, sex-differences in cardiovascular disease, exercise

Personal Interests: My animals, puzzles, soccer, writing, & chocolate

Email: jmazzone@email.arizona.edu

Maša Miščević

Maša Miščević

Advisor: first year rotations

Research Interests: gut-brain axis, gut microbiome, effects of exercise and nutrition on overall well-being

Personal Interests: ballroom dancing, hiking (nature and urban), visiting local coffees shops and bookstores, learning about art and art history 

Email: mmiscevic@email.arizona.edu

Wil Pederson

 

Advisor: Julie Ledford, PhD

 

Research Interests: Asthma, Inflammation, Menopause

 

Personal Interests: Traveling, Hiking, Exploring local restaurants and breweries.

 

Email: wpederson@email.arizona.edu

 

Awards: Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging (IIDA) Predoctoral Training Grant (1T32AG058503-01A1) (2021-2022)

 

Publications:

William P. Pederson, Laurie Ellerman, Estevan Sandoval, Francesca Polverino, Heddwen Brooks, Julie G. Ledford (2021) “Development of a New Mouse Model to Study Menopause-Associated Asthma that Aligns with the Human Condition” (Pending Submission)

Natalie Iannuzo, Michael Insel, Craig Marshall, William P. Pederson, Kenneth J. Addison, Francesca Polverino, Stefano Guerra, Julie G. Ledford (2021) “CC16 deficiency in the context of early life Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection results in augmented airway responses in adult mice.” (Pending Submission)

William P. Pederson, Jaime M. Cyphert-Daly, Robert M. Tighe, Loretta G. Que, Julie G. Ledford (2021). “Genetic Variation in Surfactant Protein-A2 Alters Responses to Ozone.” PLoS One. 16(2). PMID: 33617569

Zhai J, Insel M, Addison KJ, Stern DA, Pederson W.P., Dy A, Rojas-Quintero J, Owen CA, Sherrill DL, Morgan W, Wright AL, Halonen M, Martinez FD, Kraft M, Guerra S, Ledford JG (2019). “Club Cell Secretory Protein Deficiency Leads to Altered Lung Function.”  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Vol. 199, No. 3. PMID: 30543455

Njira Lugogo, Dave Francisco, Kenneth J. Addison, Akarsh Manne, William P. Pederson, Jennifer Ingram, Benjamin T. Suratt, James J. Lee, Mary E. Sunday, Monica Kraft, Julie G. Ledford (2018). “Obese Asthmatics have Decreased Surfactant Protein-A Levels: Mechanisms and Implications.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Vol. 141, Issue 3. PMID: 28624607 

 

 
 
 

Emily Peters

Emily Peters

Advisor: first year rotations

Research Interests: Cerebrovascular physiology, Alzheimer's disease, Aging, Neurodegenerative diseases, Nutrition

Personal Interests: Early-morning walks with my dog, cooking delicious food, and tending to my many houseplants.

Email: emilypeters@email.arizona.edu

Publications: 

Peters, E. C., Gee, M. T., Pawlowski, L. N., Kath, A. M., Polk, F. D., Vance, C. J., Sacoman, J. L., & Pires, P. W. (2021). Amyloid-β disrupts unitary calcium entry through endothelial NMDA receptors in mouse cerebral arteries. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1177/0271678X211039592

Lenee Shrestha

Lenee Shrestha

Advisor: Dr. Qin Chen

 

Research Interests:  Cardiac protection and extracellular mitochondria 

 

Personal Interests: Cats, love cooking and hiking

 

Email: lshrestha@email.arizona.edu

Beatriz Smith

Beatriz Smith

Advisor:  Ashley Snider, PhD

 

Research Interests: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Sphingolipid Metabolism, ER Stress Pathways

 

Personal Interests: budgeting-cooking-family-music-reading-sleeping-heels

 

Email:  bsmith7@email.arizona.edu

 

Awards: The University of Arizona/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Indigenous Graduate Partnership (UA/SIGP) (2019-current)

 

Publications: in progress

Kyle Smith

Advisor: Richard J. Simpson, PhD

Research Interests: nutrition, exercise, and immunology

Personal Interests: golf, volleyball, hiking

Email: kaskylesmith@email.arizona.edu

Awards: NASA Space Physiology Research Grant - American College of Sports Medicine (2020), Foundation Doctoral Research Grant - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2020)

Publications:

Baur, D. A., Willingham, B. D., Smith, K. A., Kisiolek, J. N., Morrissey, M. C., Saracino, P. G., . . . Ormsbee, M. J. (2018). Adipose Lipolysis Unchanged by Preexercise Carbohydrate Regardless of Glycemic Index. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 50(4), 827-836. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001498

Kunz, H. E., Agha, N. H., Hussain, M., LaVoy, E. C., Smith, K. A., Mylabathula, P., . . . Simpson, R. J. (2020). The Effects of β-Adrenergic Receptor Blockade on the Exercise-induced Mobilization and Ex Vivo Expansion of Virus-specific T-cells: Implications for Cellular Therapy and the Anti-viral Immune Effects of Exercise. Cell Stress Chaperones. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12192-020-01136-7

Molina, M. S., Hoffman, E. A., Stokes, J., Kummet, N., Smith, K. A., Baker, F., . . . Katsanis, E. (2021). Regulatory Dendritic Cells Induced by Bendamustine Are Associated With Enhanced Flt3 Expression and Alloreactive T-Cell Death. Front Immunol, 12, 699128. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.699128

Simpson, R. J., Boßlau, T. K., Weyh, C., Niemiro, G. M., Batatinha, H., Smith, K. A., & Krüger, K. (2021). Exercise and adrenergic regulation of immunity. Brain Behav Immun. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2021.07.010

Smith, K. A., Kisiolek, J. N., Willingham, B. D., Morrissey, M. C., Leyh, S. M., Saracino, P. G., . . . Ormsbee, M. J. (2020). Ultra-endurance triathlon performance and markers of whole-body and gut-specific inflammation. Eur J Appl Physiol, 120(2), 349-357. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-019-04279-3

Smith, K. A., Pugh, J. N., Duca, F. A., Close, G. L., & Ormsbee, M. J. (2021). Gastrointestinal pathophysiology during endurance exercise: endocrine, microbiome, and nutritional influences. Eur J Appl Physiol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04737-x

Ben Stansfield

Ben Stansfield

Advisor: Dr Jared Churko, PhD 

 

Research Interests: Cardiovascular Physiology, hiPSC disease modeling, Proteomics, Molecular and Cellular Physiology

 

Personal Interests: Rugby, Cricket, Fitness, Dogs and the "occasional" alcoholic beverage 

 

Email: bstansfield@email.arizona.edu

Publications:

Iwankski J, Kazmouz SG, Li S, Stansfield B, Salem TT, Perez-Miller S, Perez-Miller S, Kazui T, Jena L, Uhrlaub JL, Lick S, Nikolich-Zugich J, Konhilas JP, Gregorio CC, Khanna M, Campos SK, Churko JM. Antihypertensive drug treatment and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in human PSC-derived cardiomyocytes and primary endothelial cells. Stem Cell Reports (2021). 

BN Morris, N Chester, R McGreggor-Cheers, G Kleinnibbelink, C Johnson, J Harrison, BN Stansfield, A Henney, K George, D Warburton, J McKinney, N Sculthorpe, R Cooper, T Fairbairn, D Oxborough. The impact of image and performance enhancing drugs on bi-ventricular structure and function in strength-trained athletes and the association to fat-free mass. Preventative Cardiology (2021).

Hesketh SJ, Stansfield BN, Stead C,  Burniston JG. The application of Proteomics in Muscle Exercise Physiology. Expert Review of Proteomics (2021).

Stansfield BN, Brown AD, Stewart CE and Burniston JG. Dynamic proteome profiling of mole synthesis rates of proteins during C2C12 myoblast differentiation. Proteomics (2020)

Jabart E, Molho J, Sin K, Stansfield B, Kazmouz S. Ventro D, Gardner K, WU JC, Churko JM. Single-Cell Protein Expression of hiPSC-derived Cardiomyocytes using Single-Cell Westerns. Cellular and Molecular Cardiology (2020).

Megan Sylvester (MD/PhD)

Meagan Sylvester

Advisor:  Heddwen Brooks, PhD

Research Interests:  Sex differences in cardiovascular disease, Post-menopausal hypertension, Women’s health and sex-specific therapeutics.

Personal Interests:  Clinical Medicine (Women’s health), mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, backpacking, camping.

Email: ahernm@email.arizona.edu

Awards:  MD-PhD Jeffrey-Bunt Scholarship (2017-2019), Medical Award of Excellence (2015-2017), Awards: NIH T32 Training Grant: Interdisciplinary Training in Cardiovascular Research (2018-2020)

Publications:

Pollow DP, Uhlorn JA, Sylvester MA, Romero-Aleshire MJ, Uhrlaub J, Lindsey M, Nikolich-Zugich J and Brooks HL. Menopause and FOXP3+ Treg cell depletion eliminate female protection against T cell-mediated Angiotensin II hypertension. AJP Heart.  Under review. 

Ahern MA, Black CP, Seedorf GJ, Baker CD, Shepherd DP. Hyperoxia impairs pro-angiogenic RNA production in preterm endothelial colony-forming cells. AIMS Biophysics 2017; 4(2): 284-297.

Goodell DJ, Ahern MA, Baynard J, Wall VL, Bland ST. A novel escapable social interaction test reveals that social behavior and mPFC activation during an escapable social encounter are altered by post-weaning social isolation and are dependent on the aggressiveness of the stimulus rat. Behav Brain Res 2017; 317:1-15.

Ahern MA, Goodell DJ, Adams J, Bland ST.  Brain regional differences in social encounter-induced Fos expression in male and female rats after post-weaning social isolation. Brain Research 2016; 1630:120-133.

Catherine Vasquez

Catherine Vasquez

Advisor: Jil C Tardiff 

Research Interests: Research interests include how point mutations in sarcomeric proteins result in complex symptomatic cardiomyopathy and the role of chemotherapeutic agents in cardiotoxicity.

Personal Interests: Hiking and listening to true crime podcasts. 

Email: cvasquez95@email.arizona.edu

Awards:  University Fellows Award (2021-2022)

Publications: In progress

Hallie Wachsmuth (Recruitment Committee Representative)

Hallie Wachsmuth

Advisor: Frank Duca, PhD

 

Research Interests: Metabolic Diseases, Exercise, Diet

 

Personal Interests: Food, Exercise, Dogs

 

Email: wachsmuth@email.arizona.edu

Savanna Weninger (Recruitment Committee Representative)

Savanna Weninger

Advisor: Frank Duca, Ph.D. 


Research Interests: the role of the gut microbiome in energy and glucose homeostasis


Personal Interests: dogs, spinning, the outdoors, and local brews


Email: savannaweninger@email.arizona.edu

 

Publications: coming soon

Fiona Wong

Fiona Wong

Advisor: Brett Colson, PhD


Research Interests: Cardiovascular research, drug discovery, translational medicine 


Personal Interests: To travel often and to eat well!

 

Email: fionalanwong@email.arizona.edu 

 

Awards: NIH T32 Training Grant: Interdisciplinary Training in Cardiovascular Research (2021-2022), Sarver Heart Center Investigator Award (Donors: Billington and Doris Griswold) (2020-2021)

 


Publications:

Ma, W., M. Henze, R. L. Anderson, H. M. Gong, F. L. Wong, C. L. Del Rio and T. C. Irving (2021). "The Super-Relaxed State and Length Dependent Activation in Porcine Myocardium." Circ Res.

Anderson, R. L., D. V. Trivedi, S. S. Sarkar, M. Henze, W. Ma, H. Gong, C. S. Rogers, J. M. Gorham, F. L. Wong, M. M. Morck, J. G. Seidman, K. M. Ruppel, T. C. Irving, R. Cooke, E. M. Green and J. A. Spudich (2018). "Deciphering the super relaxed state of human beta-cardiac myosin and the mode of action of mavacamten from myosin molecules to muscle fibers." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115(35): E8143-E8152.