2017-2018 MD/PhD Program Committee


Our goal as the University System of Georgia MD/PhD program is to build a diverse, enthusiastic team of leaders who are driven to see success within the program, institutions, and the University System as a whole.

Below are brief biographies and contact information for each admissions committee member. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.

 

Richard Cameron

Richard S. Cameron, PhD 

Professor of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine

Co-director, Medical Scholars Program, Medical College of Georgia

Co-director, M.D., PhD. Program, University System of Georgia

Office: CA-4009  Phone: 706-721-8740  Email: rcameron@augusta.edu

Dr. Richard S. Cameron received his Ph.D. in cell biology from the Section of Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine in 1985, with graduate and post-doctoral studies (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 1984-1986) focused on the identification of secretory granule membrane protein function related to the secretory process. After completing a research fellowship investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal-glial cell interaction during neuronal cell migration in the Department of Neurobiology at Yale Medical School, he joined the Medical College of Georgia faculty in 1993 with the founding of The Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics. Research studies at the Medical College of Georgia, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Georgia Cancer Coalition, include investigation of caveolin signaling complexes in developing brain as well as identification and functional characterization of the vertebrate specific class XVI myosin - MYO16, which may play a role in regulation of cell cycle and cell proliferation. Dr. Cameron has mentored multiple MD-PhD and PhD students and actively participates in the teaching of undergraduate, graduate and medical students.

 

Larry Layman

Lawrence C. Layman, MD

Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, and Physiology

Chief, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Section of Reproductive Endocrinology, Infertility, & Genetics

Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Endocrinology

Co-director, M.D., Ph.D. Program, University System of Georgia

 Office: CA-2006  Phone: 706-721-3832  Email: lalayman@augusta.edu

Dr. Lawrence C. Layman graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, completed residency in Ob/Gyn at the University of Louisville and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrine and Genetics at the Medical College of Georgia. He is board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology; Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility; Clinical Genetics; and Clinical Molecular Genetics. He serves on the Reproductive Endocrine Division of the American Board of Ob/Gyn. Dr. Layman actively sees patients and investigates genetic aspects of puberty and reproduction and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1997. Research contributions include the identification of human mutations in patients with pubertal disorders and infertility including the GNRHR, FSHB, CHD7, WDR11, and ESR1 genes and their associated phenotypes. He is also actively involved in student training at both undergraduate and graduate levels and he serves on the Reproductive Endocrine Division of the American Board of Ob/Gyn.

 

Nevin Lambert Nevin A. Lambert, PhD

Regents’ Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Special Advisor, M.D., Ph.D. Program, University Systems of Georgia

Office: CB-3522   Phone: 706-721-6336   Email: nelambert@augusta.edu

Dr. Nevin Lambert received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology with a focus in synaptic electrophysiology from Kent State University in 1991. He completed postdoctoral training at Duke University, and joined the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia in 1996, where he is currently Regents’ Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He has mentored multiple undergraduate and M.D., Ph.D. and Ph.D. graduate students in his laboratory. He has served on the M.D., Ph.D. Admissions Committee since 2000, and as Director or Co-Director of the Program from 2010-2015. His research focuses on G protein-coupled receptor signaling complexes and regulation of G protein signaling in CNS neurons and other cells, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

 

Darren Browning

 Darren D. Browning, PhD

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Member, Augusta University Cancer Center

Director, Biochemistry and Cancer Biology Graduate Program

Office: CN-1164    Phone: 706-721-9526    Email: dbrowning@augusta.edu

Dr. Darren Browning earned his Ph.D in Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Toronto in Canada in 1995 and carried out post-doctoral training in the Department of Immunology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. He joined the research faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999, moving to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia in 2001. Dr. Browning’s laboratory, funded by the Arthritis Foundation, Georgia Cancer Coalition, American Cancer Society, and currently the NIH, has a long-standing focus on cyclic-GMP signaling with current studies exploring the therapeutic effects of activating cGMP signaling in the colon mucosa; in particular, that phosphodiesterase inhibitors increase cGMP levels in the colon mucosa, and that this is chemopreventative for colon cancer, and is therapeutic for ulcerative colitis and constipation. Dr. Browning interacts regularly with clinical faculty in the Digestive Health Center at Augusta University, and with pharmaceutical companies to further the long-term goal of understanding the signaling mechanisms and translational potential to benefit human patients. He is actively engaged in education and teaches biochemistry to 1st year Medical students.

 

Dr Askiel BrunoAskiel Bruno, MD

Professor of Neurology

Office: BI-3076   Phone: 706-721-5988  Email: abruno@augusta.edu

Dr. Bruno graduated with a Master's of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of California in Los Angeles. He received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and completed an Adult Neurology Residency program at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital and UCLA. He did a Stroke Fellowship at the University of Iowa. Dr. Bruno provides clinical service primarily for in-patients with acute stroke. His research is focused on clinical stroke, including acute interventions and preventions. His latest National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funding is for leading a clinical efficacy trial of hyperglycemia management during acute ischemic stroke.

 

Adviye Ergul

Adviye Ergul, MD, PhD, FAHA

Professor of Physiology

Director, Physiology Graduate Program

Office:CA-2094   Phone: 706-721-9103    Email: aergul@augusta.edu

Dr. Adviye Ergul earned her M.D. from The University of Istanbul Cerrahpasa Medical School in Istanbul, Turkey in 1987. After her residency in Clinical Biochemistry at Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, in 1995. She joined the Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy (Augusta campus) in 2000, and the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Georgia in 2007. The overall goal of Dr. Ergul’s laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and Veterans Administration, is to better understand the regulation of vascular structure and function in diabetes. In recent years, Dr. Ergul’s efforts have focused on determining the effects of diabetes on cerebrovascular structure and function because diabetes not only holds a 2-6 fold increased risk for stroke and cognitive impairment, but also is associated with poorer outcomes and increased mortality. To translate her findings into clinical use, Dr. Ergul collaborates with the Department of Neurology in an effort to identify biomarkers of vascular damage in diabetic and nondiabetic stroke patients that will guide treatment strategies.

 

Dr. Leslie Petch Lee Leslie Petch Lee, PhD

 Associate Dean for Campus Integration and Academic Enhancement

 Director of Phase 1 and 2 Curriculum, AU/UGA Medical Partnership

 Office: Winnie Davis Hall 106   Phone: 706-713-2182   Email: lpetch@uga.edu 

 Dr. Lee received her PhD in Pharmacology and carried out postdoctoral training in Cell Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). During her graduate and postdoctoral training, she studied growth factors and cell adhesion initiated signaling pathways involved in the regulation of cell growth and proliferation. Following postdoctoral training, Dr. Lee was appointed Associate Director of the Molecular Virology Core facility of UNC-CH's Center for AIDS Research. In this capacity Dr. Lee contributed to numerous national and international basic and clinical studies on HIV drug resistance and response to therapy. Dr. Lee joined the Provost's Office at the University of Georgia in 2005, was appointed Phase 1/2 Curriculum Coordinator for the Medical Partnership in 2008, and became Assistant Dean for Curriculum in 2010. In her current role as Associate Dean, Dr. Lee works with colleagues at MCG and UGA to promote clinical and basic science research opportunities at UGA for MCG students from all campuses, and to promote and develop existing and new dual degree programs. She also provides administrative oversight for the Medical Scholars Program at the Partnership and serves as the point of contact for dual degree programs that work with UGA degrees. Dr. Lee has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at MCG, and has represented the Medical Partnership on the Medical College of Georgia Instructional Technology Advisory Committee, the Phase 1/2 Curriculum Committee, the Curriculum Oversight Committee, and the Admissions Committee.

 

Dr. Brian Miller Brian J. Miller, MD, PhD, MPH

 Associate professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior

 Office: EG-3014   Phone: 706-721-4445   Email: brmiller@augusta.edu

 Dr. Brian Miller earned his BS in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, a combined MD/MPH degree from  The Ohio State University, and a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from the University of Oulu, Finland. He  completed his general psychiatry residency and fellowship in psychotic disorders at Medical College of Georgia, where he served as chief resident. He joined the faculty in 2010. Dr. Miller's laboratory, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Stanley Medical Research Institute, and National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), has a focus on inflammation/cytokines as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target in schizophrenia. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Outstanding Young Clinical Science Faculty Award from Medical College of Georgia, the American Psychiatric Association Kempf Fund Award for Research Development in Psychobiological Psychiatry, and an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In addition to his research, Dr. Miller leads the general psychiatry journal club and clinical case conference, and serves as a PGY-4 outpatient clinical supervisor.

 

Dr. Brian Stansfield Brian Stansfield, MD

 Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

 Office: CB-3212A  Phone: 706-721-5059  Email: bstansfield@augusta.edu 

 Dr. Brian Stansfield graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 2004 and completed his residency in general  pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Georgia. He went on to Indiana University to complete a fellowship in neonatal/perinatal medicine and a post-doctoral research fellowship through the NIH-sponsored Pediatric Scientist Development Program. He joined the section of neonatology at the Children's Hospital of Georgia in 2013 with a joint appointment in the Vascular Biology Center. Dr. Stansfield's laboratory, funded by the Department of Defense and American Heart Association, focuses on cardiovascular manifestations and aberrant angiogenesis related to inherited mutatations in the p21 Raspathway. Dr. Stansfield is also interested in the effect of early life growth trajectories on future cardiovascular risk and has several ongoing collaborations with scientists in the Georgia Prevention Institute to study the relationship between fetal growth restriction and visceral adiposity in later life. He is also actively involved in the training of clinician-scientists through the neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at Augusta University - Medical College of Georgia and serves as a thesis mentor for graduate PhD, MD, and undergraduate students.

 

Jenn Sullivan Jennifer C. Sullivan, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology

Office: CB-2204   Phone: 706-721-9796   Email: jensullivan@augusta.edu

Dr. Jennifer Sullivan received her Ph.D. in cardiovascular pharmacology from Albany Medical College in 1999 before coming to the Medical College of Georgia for her post-doctoral training in the Vascular Biology Center.  She joined the Medical College of Georgia faculty in the Department of Pharmacology in 2004 and the Department of Physiology in 2014.  Dr. Sullivan’s laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association, seeks to address gaps in our knowledge regarding the mechanisms controlling blood pressure in males vs. females.  Hypertension affects ~33% of adults in the U.S. and uncontrolled hypertension increases the risk of kidney disease, stroke, heart disease, aneurysm and peripheral artery disease. Recent studies in her laboratory are directed toward determining sex differences in blood pressure control with respect to three major pathways known to regulate cardiovascular health: the nitric oxide pathway and oxidative stress, the renin-angiotensin system, and inflammation. Notably, Dr. Sullivan is committed to service to the scientific community and currently serves multiple leadership roles for American Heart Association and the American Physiological Society. She is also actively involved in graduate and medical education and serves as thesis mentor for Ph.D. students and Medical Scholars.

 

Stu Thompson Stuart A. Thompson, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease

Office: CB-2607   Phone: 706-721-7277   Email: stthomps@augusta.edu

Dr. Stuart A. Thompson received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1992, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University. He joined the faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University, subsequently moving to the Medical College of Georgia in 1999. Dr. Thompson currently funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases studies the gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and Helicobacter pylori, specifically, gene regulation events that contribute to the pathogenesis of these organisms, including biofilm formation, motility, oxidative stress resistance, and interactions with host epithelial cells. He is actively involved in student training at the undergraduate, graduate Ph.D. and M.D., Ph.D. levels and has also served on multiple research review boards, including for the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, UK Wellcome Trust, and British Medical Research Council.

 

Neal WeintraubNeal L. Weintraub, MD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Cardiology

GRA Kupperman Eminent Scholar in Cardiovascular Medicine

Interim Chief, Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology

Associate Director of the Vascular Biology Center

Office: CB-3330   Phone: 706-721-7808  Email: nweintraub@augusta.edu

Dr. Neal L. Weintraub graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1984.  He completed clinical training in Internal Medicine at Emory University and the University of Illinois and undertook a combined research/clinical Cardiovascular Fellowship at St. Louis University from 1991-1995.  He joined the faculty at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1995, rising to the rank of Professor of Medicine in 2005 and serving as Interim Division Director of Cardiovascular Diseases from 2003-2005.  In 2006, he was recruited to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as the Stonehill Professor of Medicine and Director, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases.  In 2013, Dr. Weintraub was recruited to Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Weintraub’s laboratory, funded by NIH since 1997, is focused on vascular biology with emphasis on oxidative stress, inflammation, and obesity.  In particular, his work has advanced the understanding of the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease and mechanisms of adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity.  As a clinical cardiovascular physician, Dr. Weintraub treats patients with a variety of cardiovascular disorders and has been ranked among the Best Doctors in America for many years.  He also conducts clinical research in stem cell therapy, heart failure, and remote cardioprotection.  Dr. Weintraub is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Cardioception, LLC., a biotech company established in 2010 that is utilizing the skin’s natural protective functions to develop innovative therapies for limiting heart damage in the setting of a heart attack. 

Neal WeintraubMerry Ma, BS

Student member, MD/PhD Program, University System of Georgia

Email: mma@augusta.edu

Merry is a 6th year MD/PhD student in the University System of Georgia's MD/PhD Program. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2012 where she studied biology, psychology, and statistics. She will earn her PhD in neuroscience in Spring 2018. Merry studies the role of NADPH oxidases on neuroinflammation following traumatic brain injury to identify potential novel therapeutic targets. Merry has presented seven first-author abstracts at local and national meetings and authored two peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored another to date. In addition to serving as a member of the MD/PhD Admissions Committee, Merry also serves on the Graduate Student Council and has been actively involved through the Biomedical Students Association. In her spare time, Merry enjoys traveling, baking, and competing in regional ultimate frisbee tournaments.

Stu ThompsonLauren Prusinski, BS

Student member, MD/PhD Program, University System of Georgia

Email: lprusinski@augusta.edu

Lauren is currently a fifth year MD/PhD student in the University System of Georgia’s MD/PhD Program, having graduated with her BS in biochemistry, Chinese & Japanese studies, and humanities from Valparaiso University in 2013. Lauren is completing her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine; her research focuses on identification of changes in DNA repair regulation and function in the myometrial progenitor cell population of the uterus, which is believed to initiate uterine fibroid tumorigenesis. Lauren has received multiple awards for her various presentations at local and international meetings, including a Best New Investigator Poster Award at the 2017 Society for Reproductive Investigation Annual Meeting, as well as a prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellowship (Parent F30) in support of her dual-degree integrated research and clinical training. Several first-author manuscripts are in preparation, in addition to her co-authored publications. Outside of her research and clinical duties, Lauren volunteers at the Medical College of Georgia student-run Women’s Clinic and at the Veggie Park Farmers Market in an effort to dedicate more of herself to the Augusta community, and she enjoys weightlifting, cooking, and walking with her husband and their three-legged dog at the Augusta Canal.

 

Patricia Frederickson Patricia A. Frederickson, BA, MEd

Program Manager

Office: GB-3350H   Phone: 706-721-7835   Email: pfrederickson@augusta.edu

Patricia Frederickson received both her BA in Rhetoric (2011) and MEd in Educational Technology (2012) from Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. She has been working within the Augusta University community since early 2013, and the MD/PhD program since 2014. Patricia is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honors society, and has also presented speeches and papers several times at annual Georgia Communication Association conferences. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration, and spends her spare time volunteering for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, reading, and just generally enjoying cats.