Launched in 2013, the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program has quickly grown into a vibrant and active program for fellows and alumni. The program works to empower promising senior graduate students, postdocs and fellows from underrepresented minority groups to establish independent research careers through leadership skills training.
Beyond participating in the FLARE Workshop, Internship, and Mentorship activities, FLARE fellows are invited to attend ENDO, the Society’s Annual Meeting & Expo, where they engage in additional leadership opportunities and further connections at specific events designed for alumni of the program. FLARE is now entering its 6th year, and we have 85 FLARE alumni throughout the United States.
Alexandra Acevedo-Rodriguez grew up in New Mexico and received her undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. She went on to participate in the SMART prep post-baccalaureate program at Baylor College of Medicine. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine where she is working in the lab of Shailaja Mani, PhD. Alex’s research focuses on researching the role of gonadal steroid hormones on stress signaling and anxiety.
Diana Alba, MD, grew up in Colombia. She received her medical degree from New York Medical College in 2010. She completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital before going to The University of California San Francisco for fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She joined Dr. Suneil Koliwad lab in July 2014, where she has spearheaded the development of the Inflammation, Diabetes, Ethnicity and Obesity (IDEO) cohort, a well-characterized group of adults across three distinct ethnic groups (Hispanic, Chinese, and Caucasian) living within the San Francisco Bay Area and representing an exceptionally wide range of body mass index (BMI) values. She has a particular interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying obesity, and has focused her attention on better understanding how these mechanisms can be used to derive precise, personalized, and ethnically specific biomarkers, preventative strategies, and therapeutic approaches for clinical use.
Maigen Bethea is a rising fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental biology Graduate program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Chad Hunter focuses on understanding how transcription factors and transcriptional coregulators control decisions governing pancreatic beta-cell development and postnatal cell function. These topics are critical for developing future cell-based diabetes therapies. Originally from Dillon, South Carolina, Maigen went to Francis Marion University and obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Biology in 2012. She spent two years participating in the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at Wake Forest University before attending UAB.
Justin Echouffo Tcheungui, PhD is currently a Clinical Fellow in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He earned a doctorate degree in epidemiology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Dr. Tcheungui also conducts population-based research. His interests include the following inter-related areas:
The epidemiology of diabetes, including identifying risk factors for the disease (biological, environmental, and genetic determinants), approaches to primary and secondary prevention, and evaluating clinical outcomes (especially cardiovascular outcomes) among people with diabetes;
The epidemiology of obesity identifying risk factors for the disease (biological, environmental, and genetic determinants), relation to outcomes, and approaches to prevention;
Population-based assessment of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis including identifying determinants/correlates (biological, environmental and genetic) of cortisol and the renin-angiotensin and aldosterone system; and relations of these hormones with outcomes (including subclinical cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular events).
Betty Fesseha, MD, MPH finished her medical school training at University of Texas Medical Branch and then her internal medicine training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center before starting Endocrinology Clinical and Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She had also previously received an MPH from the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health with an emphasis on Epidemiology and Global Health. She is currently in her second year of fellowship and conducting clinical research, specifically health services/outcomes research in diabetes, with one of her projects including determining the association of glycemic control and wound outcomes in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Inga Harbuz-Miller, MD was born in the small country of Moldova, on the Eastern European side. She completed medical education in Romania at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” in Bucharest. After an unexpected turn of events while traveling decided to continue her medical training in the United States. She started residency in Morristown, New Jersey where she further cultivated her love for Endocrinology. Currently, she is completing her Clinical Endocrinology Fellowship at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.
Her interests are thyroid and adrenal cancer. She is planning to continue her career in academic medicine where she can pass on the knowledge to residents and fellows, but also will remain a true Endocrine Society activist and paying it forward by being involved in committee and contributing to the world of science. She would like to continue her work with FLARE and help shape the new generations of scientist.
Angelina Hernandez-Carretero. PhD
Angelina Hernandez-Carretero, PhD earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine; a M.S. in Biology from California State University, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. in Cellular and Integrative Physiology from Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of California, San Diego, where her studies are focused on obesity and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance of the muscle is a key contributor to the etiology of type 2 diabetes, but further investigation is needed to understand the molecular players involved in obesity-induced insulin resistance. Hernandez-Carretero has utilized a dietary switch mouse model to perform transcriptomics of the skeletal muscle and compared these findings with RNA-seq of human obese-diabetic muscle. This multispecies approach identified three key genes that tracked with the insulin-resistant state in both mouse and human muscle, including Cysteine and Glycine-Rich Protein 3 (Csrp3).Csrp3 expression is decreased in obese insulin-resistant muscle, resulting in impaired glucose homeostasis. Her research suggests that Csrp3 plays an important role in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in muscle. Hernandez-Carretero’s research aims to identify novel targets to treat insulin resistance. She is currently funded through the San Diego IRACDA Fellowship and also receives training in pedagogy as a postdoctoral fellow.
Allison LaRoche, MD, MPH attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergraduate and her master of public health and Duke University for medical school. She spent a year working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on obesity prevention programs. For pediatric residency, she trained at University of Washington followed by a chief resident year. Allison will be entering her second year of pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the University of Washington. Her research interests focus on youth with type 2 diabetes; specifically, on transition from pediatric to adult care and intensification of type 2 diabetes therapies. She presented a case report and attended the Type 1 Diabetes Care and Management Fellows Seminar at ENDO 2017. Allison also attended and presented her work at the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) Research School for Physicians in April 2017 in Cremona, Italy.
Jean Marie Mwiza. After surviving the chaos of her war-stricken country and the African Great Lakes region at large, she lifted herself up and made an active decision to persevere. After more than three years of moving from place to place, she discovered a refugee camp in Zambia. Within the past two decades she has learned English, earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Zambia and Master of Science degrees at North Carolina A&T State University, and is now enrolled into a doctoral program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. During her master's program at North Carolina A&T State University, she learned skills that allowed her to publish a peer reviewed paper, present at a number of national and international conferences, and earn admission to PHD program at four leading research universities in the United States. In her current position as a PhD student at UNC Chapel Hill, she is pursuing projects aimed at combatting cardiovascular diseases, particularly looking at the role that muscle ring finger protein 1 (MuRF1) plays in cardiomyopathies. It is her goal to continue using her experiences to empower students and colleagues in achieving new heights.
Melissa Rodriguez, MD, PhD
Melissa Rodriguez is a translational scientist with experience in cancer biology and drug discovery. She is currently a 4th year postdoctoral fellow at McGovern Medical School-UT Health and an integral part of an academia-industry collaboration designing and implementing pharmacology optimization for preclinical development of novel therapeutics. She is a business-oriented PhD with professional interests in helping to bridge the gap between basic science and industry. Her career goals include transitioning into an industry position and helping create innovative therapies for cancers with unmet clinical needs.
Keisha Smith is currently a doctoral candidate, in the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. Her thesis work, in the lab of Dr. Tultul Nayyar focus on the role of ovarian hormones in the pathophysiology of depression. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Keisha went to the University of Memphis receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Minor in African and African American Studies in 2007. Prior to attending Meharry Medical College, Keisha was a senior research assistant at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Chinenye Usoh, MD is an endocrinology fellow at the University of Rochester in New York. She received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Afterwards, she went on to complete an internal medicine residency at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Currently, she is completing her final year of a clinical and research fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. Dr. Usoh’s research has focused on the cardiovascular effects of diabetes, particularly morbidity and mortality in heart failure patients with left ventricular assist devices. This work was funded through a T-32 grant from the NIH. She is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology.
Desireé Williford PhD
Desireé Williford is a graduate student in the Clinical Child Psychology Ph.D. program at West Virginia University and a current Predoctoral Fellow on a Ruth. L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Training Grant (T32). Desireé’s research interests are in pediatric psychology, with an emphasis on family-based interventions, adherence to medical regimens, provider-patient-parent communication, health literacy, and other psychosocial factors as they relate to children who have a chronic illnesses and injuries. She has also recently become interested in research exploring implementation and dissemination of evidence-based interventions and the public policy implications of pediatric research. With these interests in mind, Desireé has recently become interested in applying her work to youth with type 1 diabetes and their families. She will soon begin conducting collaborative, interdisciplinary research as well as providing direct clinical services within an endocrinology clinic at a local children’s hospital. Desireé has also been involved with the field of endocrinology on a more personal level, largely participating in a plethora of advocacy events and activities through JDRF and the American Diabetes Association since 2009. She is also a current member of the Endocrine Society and a recent alumnus of the FLARE program.
Aurelia Wood, MD is a second-year clinical fellow in Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes at Washington University in St. Louis. She received a BS in Biology from Xavier University in Louisiana (XULA) and her MD from Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, OH. She then completed pediatric residency at the University of Louisville, where she was also selected to serve as chief resident. Her current research is focused on validation of a novel dextrose-sulfonylurea challenge as a screening test for monogenic forms of diabetes, which she presented via poster at the 2017 ENDO Conference as a Presidential Presentation Poster Competition Award nominee. She serves as a mentor and advisor to high school students interested in medicine and has a strong interest in addressing and improving health-care literacy for those from under-served and under-represented backgrounds, specifically those with poorly controlled diabetes. To this end, she has developed a multi-dimensional community based quality improvement intervention for adolescent girls with suboptimal diabetes control, aimed at providing support and improving diabetes-related skills and management. She truly values her experience and mentorship within the FLARE program, and as such is pursuing the mentorship track in her capacity as a FLARE fellow, hoping to support and advocate for others from under-represented backgrounds in their pursuit of careers in academic medicine.
Victoria Balise obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry at New Mexico State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri. She is working with Dr. Susan Nagel looking at adverse health effects of mice exposed to chemicals found in hydraulic fracturing fluids. This includes fetal programming, reproduction, metabolism, and behavior. She has been a member of the Endocrine Society since 2014, and became a FLARE alumni in 2016.
Whitney Edwards is currently a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Lori Raetzman at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. Her two main research focuses are uncovering the molecular signaling pathways that govern cell fate choice in the developing pituitary and elucidating the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on pituitary development. Whitney is currently an NIH Predoctoral fellow in Endocrine, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology. She is an active member of the Endocrine Society and serves on the Society’s Trainee and Career Development Core committee.
Jorge Espinoza-Derout, PhD completed a Master of Science degree in Clinical Biochemistry at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Concepcion, Chile. Later, he performed his Ph.D. dissertation at the Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. There, he studied the molecular effects of hypertrophic stimuli on the transcriptional machinery and cardiac hypertrophy. As a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, he studied the molecular mechanisms of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and developed novel cell-based assays for high-throughput screening. He used these assays to screen large collections of small molecules to identify potential SMA therapeutic compounds. Currently, as a postdoctoral fellow at Charles Drew University, he studies the effects of drug abuse on the endocrine and metabolic system; specifically, the additive effects of nicotine and high-fat diet (HFD) on hepatic steatosis and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Farhad Mohammed Hasan, MD, MPH is currently an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia and a board-certified endocrinologist. He originally came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship (first cohort from Iraq) and earned an MPH degree from Harvard University in 2006. He then finished internal medicine training at Rochester General Hospital (an affiliate of the University of Rochester in Upstate NY) in 2010, and an endocrinology fellowship at the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine in 2016. His research focuses on the preclinical cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy persons with Type 1 Diabetes. He was awarded an NIH Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (F32) award in 2016 to pursue his clinical research in Dr. Eugene Barrett’s lab at the University of Virginia. His clinical interests include type 1 diabetes, thyroid, and pituitary diseases.
Sina Jasim, MD, MPH has completed her post-doctoral fellowship in MD Anderson cancer center working on cancer genetics syndromes. She completed her internal medicine residency training at Saint Louis University – School of Medicine and currently in her last year of fellowship at Mayo clinic – Rochester, MN. She developed an interest in endocrine neoplasia and advanced thyroid cancer and she worked on few projects during fellowship on the use of kinase inhibitors in thyroid cancer and advanced/metastatic paraganglioma. She also has an interest in Evidence based medicine and participated in few meta-analyses with the Evidence-Based Medicine department at Mayo Clinic. She served as the FIT – BOD (Fellow in Training representative on the board of directors at AACE) and served on multiple committees including fellow in training, young physicians, patients’ education and continuing medical education committees.
She is an active member of the Endocrine Society, ATA and AACE. She presented at multiple society meetings over the last 3 years.
Zaid Mohsen is currently studying Clinical Research as a MICHR Scholar in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He has a B.S. in Neuroscience and Evolutionary Biology and an M.S. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Zaid became a FLARE fellow as a graduate student working in the lab of Dr. Carol Elias. His thesis was on the generation, validation, and characterization of a new mouse model that expresses Cre-recombinase driven by the Prokr2 promoter, using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. PROKR2 has been implicated in the neuroendocrine control of GnRH neurons post-migration and other physiological systems. Zaid is currently working with Dr. Alison Berent-Spillson in the Department of Psychiatry to examine the role of the endogenous mu-opioid system in mediating the relationship between metabolic dysfunction and depressive symptoms in reproductive aged women. He will be attending Wayne State School of Medicine in 2017 and aspires to become a reproductive endocrinologist with a research focus on neuroendocrinology.
Henry H. Ruiz earned his Doctorate (PhD) degree from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) studying the intricate association between heightened sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity, inflammation and related behavioral perturbations. In 2014, Dr. Ruiz joined Christoph Buettner’s laboratory at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he was the recipient of an RO1 minority supplement award. Dr. Ruiz identified impaired insulin signaling in the central nervous system, specifically in the hypothalamus, as a link between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and obesity/diabetes as well as elevated levels of circulating branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as a potential early clinical marker for impaired hypothalamic insulin action in AD patients. Dr. Ruiz also led the development and validation of a genetic mouse model of peripheral catecholamine depletion. This model was indispensable in demonstrating that alternatively activated macrophages are likely not a major driver of adipose tissue adaptive thermogenesis, a report for this was recently published in Nature Medicine.
Dr. Ruiz is currently the recipient of a NYU Medical Center’s T32 training grant working with Dr. Ann Marie Schmidt to whether the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) in the central nervous system is a major driver of the metabolic impairments seen in obesity and/or diabetes. During his post graduate career, Dr. Ruiz has been an active member of the society for Neuroscience (SFN), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the New York Academy of Science (NYAS) and the Endocrine Society where he is a FLARE alumnus and current member of the trainee and career development core committee.
Hugo Villanueva, PhD was born and raised in El Paso, TX and attended the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology. After working in a DNA core facility at UTEP for approximately three years, he decided to advance his education by pursuing a Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, TX. Hugo worked in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Lewis where he investigated Hedgehog pathway and G-protein signaling mechanisms regulating mammary epithelial cell paracrine proliferation. Hugo is currently a second-year postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Dean Edwards where his research centers around nuclear hormone receptor-mediated signaling mechanisms in the progression of early breast cancer. Dr. Villanueva has presented his work at the SACNAS and ENDO meetings as an invited speaker. He has also participated in scholar programs including the Endocrine Society’s FLARE program and the International Center for Professional Development’s Scientist and Mentoring Diversity Program.
Stanley Andrisse, PhD is an early career biomedical research scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology studying type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysfunction. Dr. Andrisse completed his Ph.D. at Saint Louis University and his MBA and Bachelor’s degree at Lindenwood University, where he also played three years of Division II collegiate football.<
Dr. Andrisse’s service commitments include: President of the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association, Co-Chair of the Diversity Postdoctoral Alliance, active member on several national committees aimed at community outreach and leadership development, and mentor and community activist through Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Baltimore Young Professionals.
Dr. Andrisse was raised in Ferguson, MO. He encountered many of the disparities and injustices that have been brought to light about Ferguson. In his path, he made some poor decisions, encountered many road blocks, but with resilience has made it to where he is now.
Micheal Burton, PhD
Dr. Burton is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Neuroscience Program at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research focus is how the immune system modulates peripheral sensory neurons to regulate pain and energy homeostasis. Michael received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Immunophysiology and Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his dissertation work uncovered IL-6 signaling mechanisms during neuroinflammation and aging. He then moved to Dallas, TX to begin his postdoctoral fellowship work in the Department of Hypothalamic Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center with Joel Elmquist. There Michael gained skills in molecular genetics, neuroendocrinology, and neuroanatomy; in a study focused on how peripheral ganglia recognized dietary components. He then moved to Ted Price’s laboratory on the UT-Dallas campus to focus on how immune cells influence the transition to chronic pain. It was the fusion of these 2 experiences that formed the basis of a recently awarded K22 Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award. He transitioned to a tenure-track position in the summer of 2017. He believes in order to traverse the gap between basic research and clinical application to the patient, we must realize and appreciate pre-clinical research. He is excited at the notion to play a role in this process, and help humankind through his research in pain development, obesity, and metabolic disorders that we deal with every day. He also enjoys the opportunity to listen to great music, cook a great meal, and watch/play football and basketball. His long-term goal is to develop a leading research program and dedicate his career to studying neural control function, as well as mentor future undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees.
Ricardo Correa, MD, Es. D, FACP, CMQ, ABDA, is an assistant professor of medicine for Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University in the department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He is the research co-coordinator for the endocrine department. Also he is editor of Dynamed and outreach unit director of Endotext.org and Thyroid manager.
He completed his Medical School and Education Master at University of Panama. He completed a research fellowship in Epidemiology and Tropical disease at ICGES in Panama city. He completed his internal medicine residency at Jackson Memorial hospital-University of Miami program and during his residency he was instructor of Medicine for the UM. In 2012, he was honored with the AOA from the UM. He completed his clinical and research fellowship in endocrinology with special focus in neuroendocrinology and National Institute of Health
He was trained in EBM at McMaster University in Canada and in Editorial process and OJS by LATINDEX. He is co-director of the Panamanian Cochrane Center and EBM advocate.
Dr. Correa has been involved in organized medicine since medical school. He has been president of the Latin American Medical Student Association (FELSOCEM), scientific committee chair and vice speaker for the AMA RFS, chair of the CoA for the ACP FC, Board of Trustee of the Maryland Medical Society, National Secretary of the CoA for the NHMA, Regional Vice President of the CIR, Medical Education Officer of JDN-WMA. He has been involved with local, regional and national organization in the area of medical education, leadership and physician wellbeing, ACGME at different level including the duty hour task force, NBME as part of the board, NBPAS and other organization.
At the Endocrine Society, Dr. Correa has occupied different position from been the fellow-in-training board of director member to member and advisor of multiple committees throughout the years. Dr. Correa was a FLARE participant in 2014 and since that time he has been involved in promoting FLARE program to others.
Dr. Correa has been involved in multiple academic, scientific and educational activities including article Consultant, Interpretation of the Medical Literature Project, NBME, International Committee member of the Committee on publications ethics (COPE), World Association of Medical Editors, He is member of the editorial board of multiple journals and has been peer reviewer for many articles. Also he is consultant for Latinamerican science center including Bolivia and Panama national science department.
He is board certified in Medical Quality. He is the author of the book title “Case report: basics and publication”.
Joshua J. Joseph, MD trained at Boston University School of Medicine, NIH, Yale University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital prior to joining the faculty at The Ohio State University as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2017. His research focus is understanding classical and novel risk factors for the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in diverse populations. The classical risk factors include physical activity, dietary intake, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, adiposity and sleep. The novel risk factors include adrenal hormones and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, specifically aldosterone and cortisol, and their role in the development of diabetes and obesity using data from longitudinal observational cohorts including the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the Jackson Heart Study. The hypotheses generated using epidemiological approaches is used to design and execute detailed metabolic clinical studies to uncover explanatory mechanisms as potential targets for prevention of diabetes and obesity. He is an active member of the Endocrine Society Clinical Affairs Core Committee and previously served on the Research Affairs Core Committee.
Milay Luis Lam, MD is an endocrinology Fellow at SUNY downstate in Brooklyn NY she will be graduating June 2017, she will be joining Downstate as faculty for the next year. She received her MD degree from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru in 2007. Afterwards she moved to Mississippi for a research Fellowship in endocrinology at Celso and Elise Gomez-Sanchez’ lab where she worked in a grant to evaluate KCNJ5 mutation in adrenal adenomas, as well as Mineralocorticoid receptor expression in the brain; she worked there for 3 years. She then moved to NY where she completed her Internal Medicine Residence at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Luis's major interest is in clinical management of obesity, therefore she joined the Obesity Society in 2013 and their early career investigator committee in November 2014, and she is also member of the clinical Management committee since 2015. Her future goals are doing clinical research work in obesity. Other interests include speed walking, participating with the Mississippi Track Club in many races, winning multiple 5ks, completing one half marathon and 2 full marathons.
After obtaining her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Giania Usera completed her internal medicine residency at Bridgeport Hospital in CT, an affiliate of Yale School of Medicine. She then went on to do an Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) with a focus on vitamin D and bone metabolism at the Bone Mineral Research Center at Winthrop University Hospital in NY. Once completed, she began her Adult Endocrinology Fellowship at North Shore University Hospital-Long Island Jewish Hospital through the Northwell Health System & Hofstra University. Throughout her training, she continued to focus her research in areas of bone and mineral metabolism, specifically in calcium disorders and giant cell tumors of the jaw, resulting in multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals. After graduating fellowship and becoming double board-certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, she joined the faculty at Northwell Health Hofstra School of Medicine for the Division of Endocrinology.
Licy L. Yanes Cardozo, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine/Endocrinology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She received her Medical Degree at the National University of Asuncion (Paraguay) and performed the residency in Internal Medicine at the same institution. Later on, she performed postdoctoral studies studying the mechanisms by which androgens regulate blood pressure under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Reckelhoff at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After she rose to the academic rank of Assistant Professor in Physiology, she joined the department of Medicine, where she completed the residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology. Currently, she is a physician-scientist engaged in basic research as well as having an active clinical practice. Her research focus on the elucidation of the role and mechanism by which androgen excess mediates cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in women including polycystic ovary syndrome, anabolic steroids abuse and transgender subjects.
She has published over 40 original manuscripts and book chapters. She has been funded by the American Heart Association, Endocrine Fellows Foundation and National Institutes of Health.
Michael Burton, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Neuroscience Program at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research focus is how the immune system modulates peripheral sensory neurons to regulate pain and energy homeostasis. Michael received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Immunophysiology and Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where his dissertation work uncovered IL-6 signaling mechanisms during neuroinflammation and aging. He then moved to Dallas, TX to begin his postdoctoral fellowship work in the Department of Hypothalamic Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center with Joel Elmquist. There Michael gained skills in molecular genetics, neuroendocrinology, and neuroanatomy; in a study focused on how peripheral ganglia recognized dietary components. He then moved to Ted Price’s laboratory on the UT-Dallas campus to focus on how immune cells influence the transition to chronic pain. It was the fusion of these 2 experiences that formed the basis of a recently awarded K22 Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award. He transitioned to a tenure-track position in the summer of 2017. He believes in order to traverse the gap between basic research and clinical application to the patient, we must realize and appreciate pre-clinical research. He is excited at the notion to play a role in this process, and help humankind through his research in pain development, obesity, and metabolic disorders that we deal with every day. He also enjoys the opportunity to listen to great music, cook a great meal, and watch/play football and basketball. His long-term goal is to develop a leading research program and dedicate his career to studying neural control function, as well as mentor future undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees.
Dr. Hector L. Franco PhD, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico and completed his B.S. degree in molecular biology at Florida Institute of Technology while also being a member of the college soccer team. After completing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Lee Kraus at UT Southwestern Medical Center where he received the ACS Postdoctoral Fellowship for his work on non-coding RNAs in breast cancer. During his time as a postdoctoral fellow, Hector attended the FLARE workshop and completed his FLARE internship as a member of the Research Affairs Core Committee of the Endocrine Society in 2015. Hector has recently received a K99/R00 Career Transition Award from the National Cancer Institute and has now started his own lab at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Dr. Franco’s research is aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms that control the initiation and progression of cancer by focusing on the epigenetic and transcriptional programs that regulate these processes. He is particularly interested in studying the formation and function of transcriptional enhancers and the non-coding RNAs that are produced at enhancers known as enhancer RNAs. Hector addresses these research goals by combining molecular and cellular techniques with novel genomic and computational approaches.
Rodolfo Galindo, MD graduated from the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Havana, Cuba. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an Endocrinology fellowship at North Shore University Hospital, in New York. After fellowship, he joined the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY. In this position, he was appointed “Director of the Inpatient Diabetes Service” and Medical Chair of the Diabetes Taskforce for the Mount Sinai West Campuses.
He joined the faculty of the Division of Endocrinology of Emory University in 2017, to work with his FLARE mentor Dr. Guillermo Umpierrez, who is an internationally-recognized researcher for his contributions in the area of inpatient diabetes management. His research focused on management of diabetes in the hospital and post-transplantation diabetes (PTDM/NODAT). He is the recipient of numerous awards, from the Endocrine Society, “FLARE: Future Leaders in Advancing Research in Endocrinology”, the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Fellows Foundation and the prestigious “Leo M. Davidoff Award” for outstanding teaching of Einstein’s medical students.
Carolina Jorgez got her PhD in Developmental Biology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). She continued her training at BCM as postdoctoral fellow and later as NIDDK-K12 fellow. She joined the BCM faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor tenure track. Her research focused on the genetic mechanisms of idiopathic male infertility and congenital genitourinary birth defects. Particularly the role of mitochondria function in development of the genitourinary tract. She is co-author of over 28 papers. She is an ambassador for diversity at BCM and also the chair for diversity for the American Society of Andrology.
Alina Peraza Montelbano, Phd received her Ph.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where she also completed her post-doctoral training. She is currently an instructor in the department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSWMC) where her primary research focus is to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms necessary for maintaining myometrial quiescence during pregnancy and those involved in initiating labor at term. As a member of the Endocrine Society, Alina participated in the Society’s Minority Access Program (MAP) as a Ph.D. candidate and later served as a mentor. As a Flare intern, she served on the society’s Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee. As a junior faculty member, Alina now utilizes the EndoCareers programs to help advance her career.
Dr. Glenn C. Rowe is a currently an Assistant Professor in Medicine in the Cardiovascular Division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The research interest of Dr. Rowe’s laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular pathways that influence mitochondrial metabolism in response to diet and exercise, in order to improve mitochondrial function and reduce the deleterious effects of the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, the lab studies the PGC-1 family of transcriptional coactivators and the molecular pathways they regulate in both skeletal and cardiac muscle to maintain normal mitochondrial function (including biogenesis, oxidative capacity and dynamics) and normal metabolic function.
Michelle Trevino, PhD attended Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia to complete both a MS and PhD in Biomedical Science. Her doctoral research evaluated the physiological role for lipid droplet proteins in the regulation of lipid metabolism in pancreatic beta cells and hepatocytes. Her work was well received culminating into four publications (two first author) and invited platform talks at the NIH-NIDDK Mid-Atlantic Diabetes Meeting and at the FASEB-Lipid Droplets Meeting. Her skills were expanded as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Orlando, Florida. There she engaged in a human translational research project involving the highly collaborative efforts of basic science, clinical and industry leaders to identify novel therapeutics for skeletal muscle atrophy and recovery. Michelle is currently a Medical Science Liaison for Amarin Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on the commercialization and development of therapeutics to improve cardiovascular health. Her primary career interest is in the study of metabolic disorders, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Irene O. Aninye, PhD is a Senior Program Associate in Research Competitiveness Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her training began as a Meyerhoff Scholar at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. After earning her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she continued her training in biochemistry and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Aninye’s research focused on describing the regulatory pathways of steroid hormone receptors in sexual development, reproductive function, and metabolism. She has spent over a decade engaging the scientific community through academic service, outreach, and teaching. At the Endocrine Society, she has served on the Trainee and Career Development Core Committee, chaired the Early Career Programs for the Annual Meeting, and is currently appointed to the Scientific and Educational Programs Core Committee. Dr. Aninye maintains a faculty appointment in Biology at Loyola University Maryland and continues to instruct courses at the NIH.
Diana Cittelly, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Pathology Department at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She received a BS in Biology and a MS in biochemistry from the National University of Colombia, and a PhD in Cell Biology from The University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX). Her research focuses on the hormonal regulation of the brain microenvironment during metastatic progression, particularly how brain and ovarian estrogen modulate neuroinflammation, extravasation of cancer cells and outgrowth into large metastases. Following her attendance to the FLARE workshop, Dr. Cittelly was elected Fellow for the Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology (2014-2015).
A native of Puerto Rico, Mario G. Oyola, PhD received a BS degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus in 2007. After being introduced to what he calls “the most mesmerizing three pounds ever made,” the brain, Dr. Oyola became fascinated with the field of neuroscience. His research endeavors began after classes and during summers at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Campus, where he studied the role of anabolic steroids in the modulation of emotional memory during puberty. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, Dr. Oyola participated in a post-baccalaureate (PREP-SMART) program at Baylor College of Medicine before entering the graduate program in Neuroscience in 2009. Dr. Oyola is now a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Handa at Colorado State University (CSU). His research has broadened to studying the molecular basis and neuronal pathways involved in the neuroendocrine regulation of the stress circuitry using advanced genetic and neuronal tracing techniques, as well as super-resolution imaging and 3D analysis. With more than 15 distinguished awards, seven publications and over a dozen students under his mentorship, Dr. Oyola has proven himself as a dedicated leader among his peers. As an undergraduate student, Dr. Oyola served as president of the student council and science associations, during which time he revamped students’ interactions in critical decision-making entitlements. Dr. Oyola serves as director of multiple community organizations, primarily aimed at developing the youth, and is currently the president and co-founder of the CSU Postdoctoral Association. He is eager to apply his years of mentorship experience to basic sciences pedagogy at Colorado State University. With several excellent mentors influencing his development as a scientist, Dr. Oyola looks forward to dedicating himself to the underrepresented minority mission, all the while teaching and tracing the path for diversification in science.
Isabel R. Schlaepfer, PhD graduated from the Universidad de Navarra in Spain with a degree in Biochemistry. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder in 2008. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology. Dr. Schlaepfer’ s lab investigates how prostate cancer cells use lipids for growth and survival with focus on the role of CPT1A in prostate cancer growth. CPT1A functions as a gatekeeper, mediating the entry of lipid into the mitochondria for oxidation and growth. Dr. Schlaepfer is using clinically safe drugs from the cardiovascular/obesity field to target lipid oxidation and elucidate metabolic weaknesses that can be exploited in the clinic for more effective imaging and therapeutic combinations. Dr Schlaepfer is a member of the Endocrine Society and AACR. She is also a FLARE alumni and a Steering Committee Member of the Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP-R3), supported by NCI.
Lindsey Trevino, PhD is currently an Instructor at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in the Center for Precision Environmental Health. She obtained her Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology from Cornell University, where she unveiled a role for estrogen receptor (ER) signaling during the progression of ovarian cancer in the hen. During postdoctoral training at BCM, she investigated the regulation of progesterone receptor activity by cell signaling pathways in breast cancer cells. As a postdoctoral associate at Texas A&M Health Science Center, Dr. Trevino initiated her current line of research focused on understanding the molecular basis of how early life exposure to endocrine disruptors (EDCs) reprograms the epigenome to promote the development of metabolic diseases such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes in adulthood. She is a Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) Fellow, a Keystone Symposia Fellow and a National Institutes of Health Future Research Leader (NIH FRL). Dr. Trevino is a past member of the Endocrine Society’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and is a current member of the Society’s Research Affairs Core Committee. Throughout her career, she has benefited greatly from mentoring programs for underrepresented scientists and believes that mentoring is key for the recruitment and retention of a diverse biomedical workforce.