Skip to main content
class com.aha.ucm.component.cis.TagListPageData=[,docNativeURL=null,docName=UCM_466056,docStatus=RELEASED,dOutDate=null,docSSFileName=UCM_466056_Meet-our-Fellows.jsp,docTitle=Meet our Fellows,xWebsites=professional,dDocAuthor=t-aviva.linksman,xNextReviewDate=12/01/2016 7:55 PM,xTier1=35,xFeaturedItem=No,xElectronicRegistration=No,UserLocale=null,xSubCategory=,dpEvent=null,xComments=Meet the AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center (A-TRAC) fellows.,NoHttpHeaders=null,UserTimeZone=null,xRegionDefinition=GENERIC_RD_COL_1,xVideoRenditions=,xSnippetItem=,xNotes=autoconverted |,UserDateFormat=null,encodeDocUrl=null,isDocProfileDone=null,xKeywords=A-TRAC, Tobacco, Research, and, Addiction, Center, NIH, Funding, Fellowship, Opportunities, Fellowship Opportunities,xTier2=239,refreshSubMonikers=null,xEditorStepReassignedUsers=null,xLinkTextToDisplay=,dDocAccount=WCM/SOP/RSCH,xEndDateTime=null,xClbraAliasList=null,ClientEncoding=null,xCpdIsLocked=0,xUsageRightsDate=null,xModifyDate=01/17/2018 5:04 PM,xTier3=,xEventDate=null,dSubscriptionType=null,xCopyright=No,xPackagedConversions=,dSubscriptionAlias=null,xStorageRule=,dpName=null,xDepartment=Science Operations,dStatus=RELEASED,dPublishType=,xCopyrightDetails=,xSubType=64,isDocProfileUsed=null,xWebsiteObjectType=Data File,xWebFlag=,xSeeAlsoLinks=,xClbraUserList=null,xPartitionId=,xCpdIsTemplateEnabled=0,xLinkWebAddress=,xDontShowInListsForWebsites=,xStartDateTime=null,dInDate=01/17/2018 5:03 PM,xWebsiteSection=professional:1422,dDocName=UCM_466056,dpAction=null,dRevLabel=33,dSecurityGroup=AHAMAH-Public,xCategory=,refreshMonikers=null,xDamConversionType=,dDocFormats=null,xAssociatedImage=,dDocType=SingleColumn,xBusinessOwner=Business Owner,xUploadDate=null,xDiscussionCount=0,xMainFlowEntryCriteria=True,xItemInformation=,xUsageRights=,xDiscussionType=N/A,xRecipeTaxonomy=,dSubscriptionID=null,dOriginalName=UCM_466056.xml,xProfileTrigger=SingleColumn,dLocation=,dRevisionID=22,dPublishState=,dReleaseState=Y,xTrashDeleter=null,dMessage=,dWebExtension=xml,dExtension=xml,dProcessingState=Y,xTrashDeleteName=null,dIsCheckedOut=0,xForceFolderSecurity=null,dRevClassID=466056,dIsPrimary=1,dFileSize=45019,dIndexerState=,dFlag1=,xviaAddNewContentService=,dIsWebFormat=0,xCollectionID=null,dRevRank=0,xReadOnly=null,dCheckoutUser=,dFormat=Application/xml,dWorkflowState=,dDocID=1811463,dRendition2=,dRendition1=,xInhibitUpdate=null,dReleaseDate=01/17/2018 5:05 PM,xTrashDeleteLoc=null,dCreateDate=01/17/2018 5:04 PM,xHidden=null,labelTier1=ResearchPrograms,labelTier2=A-TRAC,labelTier3=,labelTier4=,mobileNavURL=DEFAULT2_VALUE_FROM_getDataForAdvanceSearch,xContactPhoneNumber=,xContactEmailAddress=,xContactName=,xATGRolesDisciplines=,xPublishDate=null,xRobotParameter=,xCommunities=,xMembershipLevel=,rsCalories=null,rsSodium=null,rsRecipeTaxonomy=null,rsServings=null,rsTotalTime=null,rsTotalFat=null,rsTotalCarbs=null,rsFeaturedImage=null,xDisplayComments=

Meet Our Fellows

Current A-TRAC Fellows

Kaitlyn Berry, MPH
Kaitlyn Berry, MPH
Boston University
Project Title: E-cigarette initiation & tobacco cigarette cessation/reduction in adults: Results from the PATH survey
 
Kaitlyn Berry is a Research Fellow at Boston University School of Public Health, where she earned her MPH degree in 2017. Her prior research involved working with large population databases, including the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES, n=26,806), which is modeled after the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Her current work involves examining the role of flavors in electronic cigarette perceptions, use behaviors, and cardiovascular toxicity, a project which relies on combined insights from clinical, social media, and population data. She utilizes results from the PATH survey to examine e-cigarette initiation and tobacco cigarette cessation/reduction in adults.
Alex Carll, PhD, MSPH
Alex Carll, PhD, MSPH
University of Louisville
Project Title: Cardiovascular Toxicity of Tobacco Products, including ENDS, to Reveal the Relative Contributions of Constituents in Tobacco’s Cardiovascular Health Effects

Dr. Alex Carll is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville. He earned is PhD and MSPH at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, before going on to complete a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Over the past twelve years, he has investigated the adverse cardiovascular effects of inhaled environmental agents in animals to add biological plausibility to epidemiologic research and inform public health policy. His research has focused especially on how autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction mediates the adverse cardiovascular effects of pollutant inhalation, including decreased baroreflex sensitivity, diminished cardiac mechanical performance, impaired ventricular conduction and repolarization, and increased arrhythmia. He has also investigated the influence of irritant and sympathetic receptor activation over cell signal transduction toward cardiac remodeling and heart failure. More recently, he has segued into epidemiological research, examining associations between exposure to volatile organic compounds (including carbonyls in tobacco smoke) and electrophysiological and mechanical dysfunction in the heart.

Omar El Shahawy, MBBCh, MBBCh, PhD, MPH
Omar El Shahawy, MBBCh, MBBCh, PhD, MPH
New York University
Project Title: Impact of Hookah-specific Beliefs and Perceptions on Patterns of Hookah Use in Vulnerable Populations

Dr. Omar El Shahawy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Section of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use at the Department of Population Health in New York University School of Medicine. He attained his MBBCh degree at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt before going on to earn his MPH at the Vrije University & the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His doctoral work was completed at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been involved with the Global Youth Tobacco Survey co-coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Humphrey Fellowship in Substance Abuse Education, Treatment, and Prevention by the United States Department of State and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His current research involves the impact of Hookah-specific beliefs and perceptions on patterns of hookah use in vulnerable populations.
 

Rana Jaber, PhD, MPH
Rana Jaber, PhD, MPH
Florida International University
Project Title: Evaluating the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes Among Adults from Miami Heart study
 
Dr. Rana Jaber is a Research Associate at Florida International University, where she earned her PhD in Epidemiology. She also holds an MPH from Jordan University of Science and Technology and a nursing degree from the University of Jordan. Rana Jaber obtained her PhD in epidemiology from Florida International University. She has substantial experience in tobacco control research in developing countries. She is the founder of the dichotomous grouped-time survival analysis, and the first to use this approach to analyze repeated measures with interval censored binary outcome using SAS. Her work has demonstrated that waterpipe smoking can provide a gateway to initiate cigarette smoking among adolescents. She has also shown how social determinants of waterpipe and cigarette smoking progression delineate gender differences in smoking among youth in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Recently, she has extended her efforts in tobacco research to investigate the discontinuation of smoking, nicotine dependence, and nicotine withdrawal symptoms among adolescents. Currently, she is examining the cardiovascular biomarkers associated with electronic cigarettes use, thus continuing her work on nicotine dependence.
Bekir Kaplan, MD
Bekir Kaplan, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Waterpipe Tobacco Smoke: Characterization of Toxicants and Biomarkers in a Multi-country Study
 
Dr. Bekir Kaplan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Science. He holds an MD from the University of Cukurova, in Adana, Turkey. He has experience working for the Turkish Ministry of Health, where he conducted several national surveys regarding tobacco control. He was also responsible for a national, cross-sectional study assessing compliance levels to Turkey’s 2009 smoke-free legislation, a project which resulted in directly affecting regulations in Turkish hospitals. In October 2015, he was elected as a grantee by the Turkish Government to commence postdoctoral research work in the United States.
Hassan Mirbolouk, MD
Hassan Mirbolouk, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Smoking and Subclinical Atheroscelorosis

Dr. Hassan Mirbolouk is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in preventative cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. He earned his MD and completed his internship in medical practice at Shahid Beheshti Medical University in Tehran, Iran, and went on to complete a postdoctoral research fellowship in preventive cardiology at Tehran’s Research Institute of Endocrine Sciences (RIES). Currently, his research involves the effects of nontraditional tobacco products and the burden of coronary artery calcification in smokers and the association with cardiovascular vs. non-cardiovascular mortality, including in key patient subgroups.

 
Olusola Orimoloye, MBBS, MSPH
Olusola Orimoloye, MBBS, MSPH
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Association Between E-cigarette Use and Serum and Urine Biomarkers of Subclinical Cardiovascular Injury

Dr. Olusola Orimoloye is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he earned his MPH in Public Health in 2017. He also holds an MBBS from the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria. He completed his medical practice internship at Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. He has experience working in the blood pressure standardization workgroup of a clinical research group at the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Diseases. The group aimed to assess ways to reduce inequities in successful hypertension treatment. He also evaluated factors associated with home blood pressure monitoring using epidemiological and biostatistical skills, including regression modeling in a risk factor type analysis. His current research interests include exploring associations between e-cigarette use and serum and urine biomarkers of cardiovascular injury, as well as assessing trends in the prevalence of e-cigarette use among adults in the United States and describing sociodemographic associations of e-cigarette use using nationally-representative data.

 
Andrew Stokes, PhD
Andrew Stokes, PhD
Boston University
Project Title: Electronic Cigarette Prevalence and Patterns of Use in Adults with a History of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States

Dr. Andrew Stokes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and affiliate of the Center for Global Health & Development at the Boston University School of Public Health. He received his PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania. His work is focused on investigating the causes and consequences of global non-communicable disease and developing novel approaches to combating chronic diseases at the population level through interventions that target aspects of the social and physical environment. His ongoing projects include work in South Africa, where he is involved in the development of a national health database for chronic disease research and methodological research to improve estimation of the disease burden associated with obesity, and research on electronic cigarette prevalence and patterns of use in connection with cardiovascular disease.
 

S. M. Iftekhar Uddin, MBBS, MSPH
S. M. Iftekhar Uddin, MBBS, MSPH
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Chronic Effects of Electronic Cigarette Use on Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health in Young Adults
 
Dr. S. M. Iftekhar Uddin is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. He earned his MBBS from the Bangladesh Medical College at the University of Dkaha and completed his medical internship at the Bangladesh Medical College Hospital. His subsequent MSPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided him with intensive training in epidemiology, including cardiovascular epidemiology, biostatistics, and data analysis, as well as research ethics, project management, data management, and disease control programs and policies. His current research involves examining long-term effects of e-cigarette use on endothelial function, autonomic function, and pulmonary function.

A-TRAC Affiliated Fellows

Sina Kianoush, MD, MPH
Sina Kianoush, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University
Project: Evaluating the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes in Humans

 

Sina Kianoush is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. His research interest lies in the study of traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle modification regarding preventive cardiology. His current working projects include potential health effects of electronic and combustible cigarettes, mobile health technology (e.g. mActive-SMOKE), and biomarkers of subclinical cardiovascular injury. He has earned his MPH degree from Yale School of Public Health in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology, where his research focus was on obesity prevention and novel anticoagulants.

Stacey Konkle, MPH, CPH
Stacey Konkle, MPH, CPH
University of Louisville
Project: Analysis of Urinary Tobacco Smoke Metabolites and Cardiovascular Harm Indices
 
Stacey Konkle is a doctoral student researcher at the University of Louisville Institute of Molecular Cardiology. Her research interests lie in the study of environmental air pollutant exposures as a link to increased cardiovascular risk. Her current working projects focus on investigating the association of urinary volatile organic compound metabolites with measures of increased cardiovascular risk, among large complex survey study population, such as NHANES. She has earned her MPH degree from the University of Louisville School of Public Health in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology, where her research focus was on identifying and remediating healthcare acquired infection outbreaks.
 
Marina Malovichko, PhD
University of Louisville
Project: Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Toxicity of Tobacco Products

 

Marina Malovichko obtained her graduate degree at the Department of Chemistry, University of Louisville, where she studied the activation and regulation of thrombin.  As a postdoctoral fellow, at the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, University of Louisville, she is studying the cardiovascular effects of tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes, oral tobacco and mainstream cigarette smoke.  She is examining the early, sensitive and robust biomarkers of the cardiovascular toxicity and biomarkers of exposure.

Wendy White, PhD
Wendy White, PhD, MPH
Jackson Heart Study
Project: Renal Decline in Menthol vs Non Menthol Cigarette Smokers

 

Wendy White currently serves as Deputy Director of the Jackson Heart Study Undergraduate Training and Education Center at Tougaloo College.  She became interested in health disparities and smoking while completing her PHD in Environmental Science at Jackson State University.  Her research interests include smoking, menthol cigarette use and health effects, and lung function.

Past A-TRAC Fellows

Angela Aherrera, MPH
Angela Aherrera, MPH
Johns Hopkins University
Project: Metal Exposure in E-cigarette Users in Baltimore, MD
 
Angela Aherrera’s graduate work from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) involved evaluating factors that influence support and enforcement behavior towards the Turkey smoke-free legislation. As a JHSPH research associate and pre-doctoral student conducting environmental epidemiologic research, she is currently investigating and analyzing the level of metal concentrations among electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users compared to non-users as well as cigarette smokers. In the past, she conducted studies investigating the effects of secondhand smoke exposure on respiratory outcomes in infants and children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Such studies, which included evaluating the effects of e-cigarette vapor on postnatal lung development and neurocognitive behavior, have prompted her to further investigate the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes on cardiovascular health.
Adejare Atanda, BDS, MPH Candidate
Adejare Atanda, BDS, MPH Candidate
Johns Hopkins University

Adejare Atanda holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from University of Ibadan in Nigeria and will soon complete his MPH at Johns Hopkins. His present work evaluates the efficacy of an LGBT directed quit smoking intervention at Chase Brexton’s Health Services addiction treatment center. Additionally, he is using 2011/2012 NHANES data to examine the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in LGBT populations as compared to the general US population and how these translate into an increased cardiovascular disease risk. He hopes to pursue a PhD in Epidemiology with a focus on tobacco use and non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases) in hidden & underserved populations.
Mahmoud Al Rifai, MD, MPH
Mahmoud Al Rifai, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Mahmoud Al Rifai completed his medical education at the American University of Beirut. He received a Master’s of Public Health Degree with a focus in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was inducted into the Delta Omega Alpha Chapter Society. He is currently the AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center (ATRAC) fellow at Johns Hopkins and hopes to pursue a career in preventive cardiology with strong research interests in the effects of novel forms of tobacco exposure on CVD, subclinical atherosclerosis, and CVD risk assessment.
Jessica Fetterman, PhD
Jessica Fetterman, PhD
Boston University
Project Title: Mitochondrial Biomarkers for Assessing Tobacco and Tobacco-related Product Induced Cardiovascular Injury

Jessica Fetterman’s graduate work at the University of Alabama in Birmingham investigated the role of mitochondrial genetics and function in cardiovascular disease susceptibility and progression. As a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University Medical School, she applies her basic science training in cardiovascular and mitochondrial physiology to translational clinical research. In past, she has conducted studies investigating the role of impaired autophagy and altered mitochondrial turnover in vascular dysfunction in diabetic patients, which has provided the basis for one of her current research projects applying her knowledge about the life cycle of mitochondria to an additional cardiovascular risk factor, cigarette smoking.

Rachel Keith, PhD, NP
Rachel Keith, PhD, NP
University of Louisville
Project Title: CITU Study

Rachel Keith started her career as a classically trained bench researcher in physiology and biophysics investigating proteins associated with protection from deleterious effects of cardiovascular and metabolic dysregulation. Upon completion of her studies and a postdoctoral position, she pursued a degree as a nurse practitioner in order to facilitate a career focused on translational research. This led her to a junior faculty position that will allow her to look at environmental and lifestyle factors associated with both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. She is especially interested in how modifications to exposures (i.e. air pollution, smoke, and particulate matter) or lifestyle changes (i.e. diet, exercise and smoking) can prevent either the complications or development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Hoda Magid, MHS
Hoda Magid, MHS
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Alternate Tobacco Product Use in Patients Admitted with Myocardial Infarction

Hoda Magid is an MHS candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studying Epidemiology. Her research interests lie at the intersection between Environmental Epidemiology and Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology. Among other projects, she is currently a research assistant with JHU’s Institute for Global Tobacco Control working on two tobacco control projects in Russia, Turkey, and Egypt. She is excited to be working on Project 2 as an A-TRAC fellow.
Matthew Marshall, MS
Matthew Marshall, MS
New York University
Project: Cardiovascular Effects of Conventional and Electronic Hookah Charcoals

Matthew Marshall is a pre-doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. He earned his Master’s degree from NYU School of Medicine in May 2016, and for his M.S. thesis, Matthew investigated the mechanisms for how World Trade Center dust worsened injury with time in First Responders. Currently, Matthew seeks to identify the molecular and functional changes that cause cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a result of hookah smoke. This investigation is important from a cardiovascular standpoint, because hookah smoke has been associated with an increased risk of CVD; however, no studies have been performed to investigate the mechanisms by which hookah smoke causes CVD.

Lindsay Reynolds, PhD
Lindsay Reynolds, PhD
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Project Title: Investigation of Epigenomic and Transcriptomic Mechanisms Potentially Mediating the Cardiovascular Consequences of Smoking

Lindsay Reynolds is a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Yongmei Liu at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where she utilizes functional genomic data sets, including genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) to investigate the molecular features of cardiovascular disease, and related risk factors: aging, smoking, and obesity. She earned her PhD at the University of California, San Francisco in 2012.  Dr. Reynolds’ research goals are to identify early biomarkers of smoking-associated disease to improve disease risk prediction, and to identify potential targets for early disease intervention strategies. This could be useful for evaluation and comparison of the disease risks associated with the use of different tobacco products.
 

Martin Tibuakuu, MD, MPH
Martin Tibuakuu, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University
Project Title: Smoking, CRP and Subclinical Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

Martin Tibuakuu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and a fellow at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. His research interests focus on environmental exposures such as air pollution and tobacco exposure on cardiovascular health. His current working projects include the identification of sensitive biomarkers of subclinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease secondary to tobacco exposure. He holds an MD degree from the University of Algiers and an MPH degree in Epidemiologic and Statistical Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Iris Zeller, MD, PhD
Iris Zeller, MD, PhD
University of Louisville
Project Title: Endothelial Toxicity of Tobacco Constituents

Iris Zeller studied Medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, where she also obtained her PhD in cardiovascular toxicology. She then moved to the U.S. to study the effects of cigarette smoking on the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, during a postdoctoral position at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. Currently, she is studying animal models of tobacco regulatory science at the University of Louisville in the lab of Dr. Sanjay Srivastava as an A-TRAC trainee.