2020-2021 MD/PhD Program Leadership


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, MD, PhD Program, University System of Georgia

Office: CA-2010  Phone: 706-721-8740  Email: rcameron@augusta.edu

Dr. Richard S. Cameron received his PhD 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, MD Distinguished Chair in Endocrinology

Co-director, MD, PhD 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, MD, PhD 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.


Dr. Kathryn BollingerKathryn Bollinger, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Office: BA-2727   

Phone: 706-721-6175   

Email: kbollinger@augusta.edu 

Dr. Kathryn Bollinger received an MD/PhD degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed residency training in ophthalmology followed by a fellowship in glaucoma at the Cleveland Clinic, Cole Eye Institute.  Dr. Bollinger is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and serves as a staff ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist within the Augusta University Department of Ophthalmology. Her research focuses on development of novel neuroprotective treatments for glaucoma, and her laboratory is funded by the National Eye Institute. She is a recipient of the Alcon/ARVO Young Clinician Scientist Award, an American Glaucoma Society Mid Career Clinician Scientist Award, and a Medical College of Georgia Exemplary Teaching Award for Graduate Medical Education. She has mentored numerous medical students and residents in the laboratory and clinic. She serves as a Patient Education Ambassador for the Glaucoma Research Foundation.


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 PhD 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.


 Dr. Leslie Petch LeeLeslie 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. Xin-Yun LuXin-Yun Lu, MD, PhD

GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Translational Neuroscience

Office: CA-3006 

Phone: 706-721-0550 

Email: xylu@augusta.edu

Dr. Lu graduated from Binzhou Medical College in 1987. She received a master’s degree in biochemistry from Guangdong Medical College in 1990 and her PhD in pharmacology from Washington State University in 1998. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan, and joined the faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2003, being promoted to associate professor in 2009 and becoming a full professor in 2013. In 2017, she was recruited to the Medical College of Georgia as the GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in translational neuroscience. Dr. Lu’s research aims to understand the molecular link between metabolic disturbances and neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Her laboratory is particularly interested in adipocyte-derived hormones (ie, adipokines), determining how adipokines signal to target neurons in the brain, modulate neural plasticity, and contribute to emotional control and cognitive regulation. Her research has revealed new insights into the role of adipose tissue-brain crosstalk in the pathogenesis and treatment of depression and PTSD.


Dr. Brian MillerBrian 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 Mumtaz RojianiMumtaz V. Rojiani, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) & Pathology

Office: CN-3112   

Phone: 706-721-0295   

Email: mrojiani@augusta.edu 

Dr. Rojiani received her PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UMDNJ (now Rutgers University), Newark NJ. She completed postdoctoral fellowships at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver BC and University of Florida in multiple areas of cancer biology.  During her tenure at USF and at MCG-AU Dr. Rojiani has focused her research on the tumor microenvironment and matrix biology. More specifically, she is investigating the MMP-independent functions TIMP-1 in lung adenocarcinoma. Dr. Rojiani is also a coinvestigator on a grant investigating Hypoxia and Src Signaling in prostate cancer metastasis.  She has mentored undergraduate, graduate and medical students as well as postdoctoral fellows. She has served on MCG’s medical student admissions Task Force and is presently coordinating the Georgia Cancer Center’s introductory program ‘Introduction to Oncologic Pathology’.


Brian Stansfield, MDDr. Brian Stansfield

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 mutations 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD and MD, PhD. 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. 



 


 

Elinor Mannon, BALynn Tran

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

Email: emannon@augusta.edu 

Elinor is a 4th year MD/PhD student in the University System of Georgia’s MD/PhD program. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2016 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Biological Sciences. She is currently a second-year graduate student in Dr. Paul O’Connor’s lab in the Department of Physiology, where her research focuses on understanding the immunologic and metabolic effects of sodium bicarbonate therapy, as well as elucidating the signaling mechanism for the splenic cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway (CAIP). She has presented first-author abstracts related to her work at institutional, national, and international meetings, and has a first-author review highlighting the current controversy in the field of the CAIP, along with several other co-authored publications. In addition to serving as a member of the MD/PhD Admissions Committee, Elinor serves as a Co-Chair for the American Physician Scientists Association’s Policy Committee and as President of the Medical College of Georgia Honor Council. In her spare time, Elinor enjoys running, cooking shows, and all things coffee.

 


Lynn TranRebekah Robinson, BS

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

Email: rebrobinson@augusta.edu 

Rebekah is a 4th year MD/PhD student in the University System of Georgia’s MD/PhD program.  She graduated from Armstrong State University (now the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University) in 2016 with degrees in Biology and Biochemistry.  She is currently a second year graduate student in the Shruti Sharma lab in the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine at Augusta University, and her research is focused on the role of interleukin 6 (IL-6) cytokine signaling in renal cell carcinoma.  She has co-authored five publications and presented her work at several local, regional, and national conferences.  In her spare time, Rebekah enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors.


Connie Pro Pic

Constance R. Hamlett, MBA

Program Manager

Office: GB-3350A   

Phone: 706-721-7835  

Email: cohamlett@augusta.edu