Enkhmaa Byambaa, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.S.
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Mentors: Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., Sidika Karakas, M.D., Alice Tarantal, Ph.D., Satya Dandekar, Ph.D.

Research Interest: Cardiovascular disease, risk factors, genetics, lipids and lipoproteins

Research Goals: To identify biomarkers that can be used to improve the risk assessment of cardiovascular disease in various ethnic/racial and health-risk populations.

Current Research Project: In the general population, an elevated level of lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), is an independent causal risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lp(a) levels are under strong genetic regulation through the apolipoprotein(a) gene. HIV-infected individuals are at a significantly elevated CVD risk compared to the general population. The goal of my current research is to investigate the longitudinal effects of HIV infection and/or highly active antiretroviral therapy on Lp(a) levels among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Further, we are testing whether or not elevated Lp(a) levels are associated with CVD risk by specifically modelling the risk for atherosclerosis development while taking the unique genetic aspects of Lp(a) into account. These studies will advance our understanding of the role of Lp(a) in HIV-related elevated CVD risk and help develop personalized preventive and therapeutic approaches to improve cardiovascular health of HIV-infected women.

Abhijit Chaudhari, Ph.D.
Assistant Adjunct Profesor, Department of Radiology
Mentors: Ramsey Badawi, Ph.D., Nancy Lane, M.D.

Research Interest: Musculoskeletal Disease in Women, Sex-differences in the context of Arthritic Disease, Osteoarthritis, Medical Imaging Biomarkers

Research Goals: To characterize the relationship between sex-specific morphometric differences in the tissues of the thumb basilar joint and osteoarthritis of that joint.
Current Research Project: Thumb basilar joint osteoarthritis disproportionately affects women, and results in pain and loss of function. We hypothesize that the sexes will exhibit morphometric differences in the anatomical structures of the thumb basilar joint. Knowledge of these differences will assist in understanding thumb basilar osteoarthritis pathogenesis for each sex and inform strategies for its clinical management. We employ magnetic resonance imaging to characterize tissue morphometric variation for each sex and investigate the association of this variation with known risk factors of osteoarthritis.

Laura M. Tully, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Mentors: Amanda Guyer, Ph.D., Ana-Maria Iosif, Ph.D., Cameron Carter, M.D.

Research Interest: Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, neural mechanisms of emotion processing and cognitive control of emotion, mechanisms underlying sex-differences in clinical presentation of psychotic disorders, fMRI

Research Goals: To identify sex differences in the frontal-limbic network during cognitive control of emotion, and their relationship to symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia.

Current Research Project: Higher rates of psychotic symptoms coupled with higher rates of comorbid mood and anxiety symptoms in females with schizophrenia indicate a link between emotion processing and psychotic symptoms. However, the mechanisms that contribute to this link between psychosis and emotional responding in females are unknown. One potential mechanism underlying these sex differences is the self-regulation of emotional experience and its influence on behavior, referred to as cognitive control of emotion. Sex differences in behavioral and neural correlates of emotion processing in healthy individuals are well documented, but whether these differences are due to differences in reactivity to emotion or regulation of emotional responses remains unclear. Additionally, whilst it is known that impairments of cognitive control of emotion are characteristic of schizophrenia and arise from abnormalities in the frontal-limbic cognitive control network, sex differences in these abnormalities have yet to be examined and no data exist regarding how these impairments contribute to sex differences in clinical presentation. Current project aims are: (1) Identify sex differences in the frontal-limbic network during cognitive control of emotion in healthy individuals; (2) Identify sex differences in the frontal-limbic network supporting cognitive control of emotion in recent-onset schizophrenia; and (3) Conduct secondary exploratory analyses of (a) diagnosis by gender interactions during cognitive control of emotion and (b) relationships between frontal-limbic network activation during cognitive control of emotion and symptom severity in recent-onset schizophrenia. Results will advance understanding of the biological and behavioral mechanisms underlying sex differences in symptoms of schizophrenia.

Carolina Apesoa-Varano, Ph.D.
Late-life depression among women: Socio-cultural factors shaping illness experience and help-seeking behaviors among Latina, Caucasian, and African-American older women

Lesley Butler, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
Inflammation, inflammatory mediators and mammographic density during the menopausal transition

Diana Cassady, Dr.P.H.
Nutrition and obesity: working women, food choices, and overweight

Blaine Christiansen, Ph.D.
Investigation of gender-based differences in post-traumatic osteoarthritis development following anterior cruciate ligament injury

Donna DeFreitas, M.D.
Young women and HIV prevention

Lorena Garcia, M.P.H., Dr.P.H.
Obesity, Diabetes and Health Related Complications among Mexican-American Women

Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D.
Health consequences of adolescent intimate partner violence

Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.
Mucosal immunology / HIV-1 Pathogenesis in Women

Rebecca Schmidt, Ph.D., M.S.
Predictors and consequences of maternal nutrient and DNA methylation status during pregnancy in high risk women

Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.
Psychology and neuroimaging of autism in girls

Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., RD
Effects of sugar consumption and chronic life stress on risk factors for metabolic disease in women

Barton Wise, M.D., M.Sc., FACP
Effect modification by gender on pain and function as predictors of total knee replacement in osteoarthritis

Wei Yao, M.D.
Wingless signaling and its relationship with pathogenesis of osteoporosis