Internal Medicine Trainees

Jingnan HanVibhu Parcha, MBBS - PGY 1

Dr. Parcha received his medical degree from Dr. RP Governmental Medical College, India in 2019. After graduating, he pursued a post-graduate clinical research fellowship in the UAB Cardiovascular Clinical and Translational Research Program under Dr. Pankaj Arora. His overall research ambition is to translate experimental knowledge and discoveries into an improved understanding of human physiology through clinically focused, patient-oriented research. He has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary research projects across the domains of:

  1. mechanistic clinical trials and translational research in the natriuretic peptide signaling pathway
  2. cardiovascular genomics and implementation of precision cardiovascular medicine, and
  3. cardiometabolic disease epidemiology.

He is currently leading multiple investigations into genomic determinants of natriuretic peptides and understanding the determinants of incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity of pathogenic variants associated with inherited cardiomyopathies. His clinical interests include cardiovascular genomics, multimodal cardiovascular imaging, and non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.

Recent Publications:

  1. Association of Transthyretin Val122Ile Variant With Incident Hearth Failure Among Black Individuals 
  2. Chronobiology of Natriuretic Peptides and Blood Pressure in Lean and Obese Individuals 
  3. Natriuretic Peptide Deficiency in Obese Individuals: Mechanistic Insights From Healthy Organ Donor Cohort
  4. Racial Differences in Serial NT-proBNP Levels in Heart Failure Management: Insights from the GUIDE-IT Trial
  5. Association of Polygenic Risk Score with Blood Pressure and Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Individuals with Type II Diabetes Mellitus: Insights from the ACCORD Trial
  6. Corin Missense Variants, Blood Pressure, and Hypertension in 11 322 Black Individuals: Insights From REGARDS and the Jackson Heart Study 

Recent News:

  1. Parcha Identifies the "Heart" of a Successful Fellowship-Collaboration and Mentorship
  2. Genetic Variation Common Among Black Individuals is Associated with Higher Risk of Heart Failure and Death
  3. Inside a High-Tech Heart Clinic, Doctors Look for Clues to the Past: UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic
  4. Genetic Risk Scores May Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Type 2 Diabetes


Jingnan HanAlexander Yang, MD, PhD - PGY 1

After completing a neuroscience bachelor degree at the University of Michigan, Alex completed his MD/PhD at Wayne State University. His PhD was focused on the molecular mechanisms of fatty liver disease. His overall goal is to establish new pharmacological treatments for metabolic diseases. He is very excited to continue his training both as a physician and a scientist in the ABIM Research Pathway here at UAB where he is a first year Internal Medicine resident.

Recent Publications:

  1. Adipocyte lipolysis: from molecular mechanisms of regulation to disease and therapeutics 
  2. Dynamic interactions of ABHD5 with PNPLA3 regulate triacylglycerol metabolism in brown adipocytes 
  3. Genetically-encoded sensors to detect fatty acid production and trafficking


Jingnan HanKenneth Long, MD, PhD - PGY 2

After completing undergraduate degrees in Molecular Biology and Materials Science Engineering at the University of Illinois, he decided to continue pursuing his MD/PhD in Urbana-Champaign working in Dr. Brian Cunningham's lab developing novel optical biosensors. His research focused on developing smartphone biosensors capable of performing point-of-care diagnostics, with a particular focus on utilizing them to address global health challenges. He enjoys finding engineering solutions wherever he finds himself—be it developing foot-powered irrigation pumps in Cambodia or converting an N95 fit-test machine into a setup to measure filtration efficiency of consumer and hospital materials for mask-making—and is excited to continue along this path in the ABIM Research Pathway here at UAB.

Recent Publications:

  1. When weighing universal precautions, filtration efficiency is not universal 
  2. Activate Capture and Digital Counting (AC+ DC) Assay for Protein Biomarker Detection Integrated with a Self-Powered Microfluidic Cartridge 
  3. Spectrometric Smartphone-based System for Ibuprofen Quantification in Commercial Dosage Tablets
  4. Detection of Ascorbic Acid Using a Spectrometric Smartphone-based System


Clinical Fellowship Trainees 

Jingnan HanMorgan Locy, MD, PhD - PGY 3

Dr. Locy completed his BA in Biology/Pre-Medicine at Capital University.  During and after completing his undergraduate degree he worked on redox systems in lung development and hyperoxic lung injury at Nationwide Children's Hospital.  He then went on to train in the NIH-supported Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Morgan's dissertation research centered around oxidative protein modifications, primarily o,o'-dityrosine, in interstitial lung disease and cystic fibrosis.  Dr. Locy joined the UAB ABIM Research Pathway in June 2020 as a first-year internal medicine resident.

Recent Publications:

  1. Oxidative cross-linking of fibronectin confers protease resistance and inhibits cellular migration 
  2. Metformin reverses established lung fibrosis in a bleomycin model
  3. Mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 reprograms metabolism to induce oxidative stress and myofibroblast senescence in age-associated lung fibrosis
  4. Oxidative Modifications of Protein Tyrosyl Residues Are Increased in Plasma of Human Subjects with Interstitial Lung Disease
  5. Thioredoxin reductase inhibition elicits Nrf2-mediated responses in Clara cells: implications for oxidant-induced lung injury


Research Trainees

Chao He, MD, PhDAlwalpreet Chadha, MD - PGY 7

Dr. Chadha received his medical degree from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, India in April 2014.  After graduation, he performed clinical and translational research for two years in the laboratory of Dr. Krishnan at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His clinical work was focused on analyzing outcomes in patients with gastrointestinal malignancies, mainly pancreatic, colorectal, and hepatocellular carcinomas. His translational research focused on the use of gold nanoparticles as means to sensitize tumors to radiation. Dr. Chadha subsequently joined the UAB ABIM Research Pathway in June 2016 and is currently in his second year of hematology/oncology research. He joined Dr. Weaver’s lab in January 2020 and has been studying the pathogenesis of colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) with specific focus on the role of IL-22 and tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells in CAC development and progression.

Recent Publications:

  1. Pilot study of neurologic toxicity in mice after proton minibeam therapy
  2. Proton beam therapy outcomes for localized unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma
  3. Does unintentional splenic radiation predict outcomes after pancreatic cancer radiation therapy?
  4. Preoperative radiation dose escalation for rectal cancer using a concomitant boost strategy improves tumor downstaging without increasing toxicity: A matched-pair analysis 

Recent News:

  • William Wilson, MD, Endowed Young Investigator Award by the Conquer Cancer Foundations, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2022
  • O'Neal Invests Pre-R01 Program Award: Weaver (PI); Chadha (Collaborator), 2021
  • Richard A Elkus Eminent Scholars Program in GI Oncology Research and the O'Neal NextGen Postdoctoral Scholar Award, 2021
  • Outstanding Research Fellow, UAB Division of Hematology and Oncology, 2021


Jingnan HanJingnan Han, MBBS - PGY 4

Dr. Han received her medical degree from Peking University Health Science center in 2014. After graduation, she went to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for her graduate study. She has worked with Drs. Gordon Tomaselli and Andreas Barth in the Department of Cardiology. Her research work involved implementing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system to study the molecular pathophysiological mechanism of Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy (MMD1) using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from patients with the disease. She was also interested in functional genomics and focused on using statistical tools to analyze microarray data from animal models of cardiac aging. Dr. Han subsequently joined the UAB ABIM pathway in June 2019 and is currently a Second-year Cardiology fellow.

Recent Publications:

  1. Cystathionine beta synthase-hydrogen sulfide system in paraventricular nucleus reduced high fatty diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance by brain-adipose axis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease. 
  2. In vivo therapeutic applications of cell spheroids. 
  3. Keratin-dependent regulation of Aire and gene expression in skin tumor keratinocytes. 


Nirav PatelNirav Patel, MBBS - PGY 4

Dr. Patel received his medical degree from the Baroda Medical College, Vadodara, India on December 2013. After graduation, Dr. Patel worked as a post-doctoral clinical research fellow in Dr. Arora’s Translational Lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has been involved in human translational research involving physiological perturbations to understand the endocrine system of the heart and its contribution to cardiovascular diseases. His research interests are: i) human physiological studies focused on the natriuretic peptide system, ii) pathophysiologic determinants of health disparities in cardiovascular research, and iii) epidemiological and outcomes research to study cardiovascular risk factors. Dr. Patel joined the UAB ABIM Research Pathway in June 2019 and currently in his second-year internal medicine residency.

Recent Publications:

  1.  Race-based demographic, anthropometric and clinical correlates of N-terminal-pro B-type natriuretic peptide. 
  2.  Racial differences in the association of NT-proBNP with the risk of incident heart failure in REGARDS. 
  3. Ideal Cardiovascular Health Among American Adults After the Economic Recession of 2008-2009: Insights from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 
  4. Race, Natriuretic Peptides, and High-Carbohydrate Challenge: A Clinical Trial.
  5. Evaluation of the incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation after aortic valve replacement. 
  6. Cardiovascular Health and Disease Among Asian-Americans (From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey)
  7. In-Hospital Management and Outcomes After ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction in Medicaid Beneficiaries Compared With Privately Insured Individuals. 
  8. Race-based demographic, anthropometric and clinical correlates of N-terminal-pro B-type natriuretic peptide.
  9. Evaluation of the incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation after aortic valve replacement.
  10. In-Hospital Management and Outcomes After ST-Segment-Elevation
  11. Myocardial Infarction in Medicaid Beneficiaries Compared With Privately Insured Individuals.


ABIM Research Pathway Alumni

Ahmed Mustafa1Mustafa Ahmed, MD

Dr. Ahmed completed his medical degree at the University of Manchester in Manchester England in 2004 after which he took house positions in Medicine and Surgery at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and then the Queen¹s Medical Center in Nottingham, UK. In 2007 he entered the ABIM Research Pathway in medicine/cardiology/interventional cardiology here at the University of Alabama Birmingham. His key areas of research include translational approaches to the treatment of mitral regurgitation, intervention for complex structural heart disease, and the use of 3D-echocardiography in the assessment and intra-procedural guidance of complex interventional structural procedures. Dr. Ahmed has over 70 peer-reviewed publications and was awarded a Frommeyer Investigative Fellowship research funding award (2014) in the UAB Department of Medicine.  


Curtiss Miranda1Miranda Curtiss, MD, PhD

Dr. Curtiss attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an undergraduate, receiving a BS in Biochemistry and BA in Biology.  She worked in the lab of John Osterman. She completed a post-baccalaureate year at NIH-NIAID (Laboratory of Immunogenetics) in the IRTA program working in the lab of Silvia Bolland on the immunophenotype of mice with the lupus accelerator gene Yaa (since identified as a TLR7 gene duplication).  She then completed her MD/PhD at the University of Iowa with a Ph.D. in Immunology in the laboratory of Paul Rothman studying the role of the transmembrane protein Tim-1 (HAVCR-1) in a mouse model of allergic airway disease and studying the initial signaling events downstream of Tim-1 ligation in lymphocytes.   She was accepted into the ABIM Research Track at UAB and completed her residency in 2014.  She completed dual fellowship training in Allergy/Immunology and Pulmonary and joined the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care.  Her clinical interests include pulmonary inflammation, severe asthma, and immunodeficiencies.  She is now working in the lab of Frances Lund to characterize molecular pathways by which dendritic cells induce Th2 cells. 

Recent Publications:

  1. Stick a Fork in Me; I’m Done”: Epithelial Cell Expression of ORMDL Sphingolipid Biosynthesis Regulator 3 Mediates Autophagic Cell Death
  2. Chitinase 3-like-1 protects airway function despite promoting type 2 inflammation during fungal-associated allergic airway inflammation
  3. Tim-1 regulates Th2 responses in an airway hypersensitivity model
  4. Fyn binds to and phosphorylates T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-1 (Tim-1)
  5. The role of the T-cell costimulatory molecule Tim-1 in the immune response
  6. Unique Lipid Signatures of Extracellular Vesicles from the Airways of Asthmatics
  7. Airway Remodeling in Asthma

Recent News:

  • UAB Department of Medicine 2017 Frommeyer Fellowship Award, renewed 2018.
  • UAB Department of Pediatrics 2017 Dixon Award
  • American Lung Association/American Association of Allergy Asthma and Immunology Allergic Lung Disease Research Award 2020
  • AAAAI/ALA Allergic Respiratory Disease Research Award 2020, renewed 2021


Nathan Erdmann, MD, PhDNathan Erdmann, MD, PhD

Dr. Erdmann is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska in Biological Sciences before pursuing his MD and PhD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Dr. Erdmann’s PhD work focused on neurotoxicity in the setting of HIV, specifically the excitotoxic conditions induced by HIV infection in the CNS.  Upon completion of both degrees, he entered the ABIM research pathway at UAB. After 2 years of Internal Medicine residency, he joined the Division of Infectious Diseases as a fellow. He identified Paul Goepfert as his primary mentor and his current research focuses on T cell responses in HIV.  He was awarded the Frommeyer Fellowship in Investigative Medicine, and is now primarily funded by his K08, ‘Viral Adaptation to CD4 T cell responses. He currently works as an Assistant Professor for UAB’s Infectious Diseases program and as an Associate Scientist for our Center for AIDS Research and Center for Clinical and Translational Science programs.

Recent Publications:

  1. Herpes Zoster in Persons Living with HIV-1 Infection: Viremia and Immunological Defects Are Strong Risk Factors in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy
  2. Normal T-cell activation in elite controllers with preserved CD4+ T-cell counts
  3. HLA Class-II Associated HIV Polymorphisms Predict Escape from CD4+ T Cell Reponses

Recent News:

  • Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases, August 2017.
  • Grant Award- Walter B Frommeyer Fellowship in Investigative Medicine- Research Funding, 2016-2017.
  • Grant Award - K08 to NIAID, July 2017.


Jason Guichard, MD, PhDJason Guichard, MD, PhD

Dr. Guichard received his undergraduate degree in Biology-Chemistry from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. He completed medical school through a National Institutes of Health-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC earning both a M.D. and a Ph.D. in cardiovascular biology. In 2009, he matched into the American Board of Internal Medicine Research Pathway in Cardiovascular Diseases for residency and fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Guichard is continuing basic science research in the Center for Heart Failure Research at UAB under the mentorship of Dr. Louis J. Dell’Italia. Current and future experiments will provide novel insights into the mechanisms leading to heart failure in volume overload and potentially lead to targeted therapies that can improve left ventricular remodeling and function in isolated mitral regurgitation. He is a 2014 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation Cardiovascular Young Clinician Scientist Award winner.

Recent Publications:

  1. Cardiomyocyte mitochondrial oxidative stress and cytoskeletal breakdown in the heart with a primary volume overload
  2. Whole-genome profiling highlights the molecular complexity underlying eccentric cardiac hypertrophy
  3. Xanthine oxidase inhibition preserves left ventricular systolic but not diastolic function in cardiac volume overload
  4. Aldosterone receptor antagonists: current perspectives and therapies
  5. Disruption of Desmin-Mitochondrial Architecture in Patients with Regurgitant Mitral Valves and Preserved Ventricular Function
  6. Catheter-Directed Treatment for Acute Pulmonary Embolism: Systematic Review and Single-Arm Meta-Analyses


Chao He, MD, PhDChao He, MD, PhD – Instructor

Dr. He received his medical degree from Soochow University, China and his PhD in Free Radical and Radiation Biology from the University of Iowa.  He joined the ABIM Pathway in 2015 and completed his residency and clinical fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in June 2019.  His research focus is on lung macrophages in chronic lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis. He is a recipient of the Parker B. Francis Fellowship and the Walter B. Frommeyer Jr. Fellowship in Investigative Medicine.

Recent Publications:

  1. NOX4 modulates macrophage phenotype and mitochondrial biogenesis in asbestosis.
  2. Increased flux through the mevalonate pathway mediates fibrotic repair without injury. 
  3. Bag-mask ventilation during tracheal intubation of critically ill adults. 


Jordan Stephen1Stephen Jordan, MD, PhD

Dr. Jordan received his undergraduate degree in biophysics from Oklahoma City University and then joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He received his PhD in Cell Biology for his work designing a novel malaria vaccine.  He was accepted into the ABIM Research Track at UAB and completed his residency in 2013 and Infectious Disease Fellowship in 2015. 

Dr. Jordan’s research focuses on understanding the immune response to Chlamydia genital infection under the mentorship of Dr. Geisler.  Through collaboration with an ongoing cohort study at the Jefferson County Department of Health, he has shown recently that 20% of women who test positive for Chlamydia at the STD clinic clear their infection prior to returning to the STD clinic for treatment.  With evidence supporting an immune-mediated etiology for this spontaneous clearance, Dr. Jordan’s focus is on studying the T-cell response to Chlamydia and the cytokine profiles elicited during chlamydia infection to understand how this immune response occurs.  Dr. Jordan is a 2014 Honorable Mention awardee for the J. Claude Bennett Award for Excellence in Research.

Recent Publications:

  1. 66: Chlamydia. Cohen’s Infectious Diseases, fourth edition, August 4th, 2016
  2. Utilization of the Cepheid Xpert CT/NG Sample Adequacy Control to Determine the Influence of the Urethral Swab on Cellular Content in Post-Swab versus Pre-Swab Urine. Accepted to Sexually Transmitted Diseases, September 2016.
  3. Malaria immunoepidemiology in low transmission: correlation of infecting genotype and immune response to domains of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 3   
  4. Limited variation in vaccine candidate Plasmodium falciparum Merozoite Surface Protein-6 over multiple transmission seasons

Recent News:

  • Presentation - Influence of Immune Responses and other Factors on Chlamydia Clearance in Women.  NIAID Collaborate Research Center Developmental Research Program Update, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, 2016.
  • Poster - Identifying Chlamydia trachomatis-specific Cytokines that Correlate with Protection against Chlamydia.  32nd Annual UAB Trainee Research Symposium, Birmingham, Alabama, 2016.
  • Grant submission - K08 to NIAID October 2016.
  • Poster - Investigating the Correlation of Chlamydia trachomatis-specific Cytokines with Risk for Chlamydia Reinfection.  Southeastern Immunology Symposium, Durham, North Carolina, 2016.
  • Poster - Investigating the Correlation of Chlamydia trachomatis-specific Cytokines with Risk for Chlamydia Reinfection.  2016 STD Prevention Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2016.
  • Poster - Investigating the Correlation of Chlamydia trachomatis-specific Cytokines with Risk for Chlamydia Reinfection.  Annual Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium/Physician-Scientist Symposium, UAB, Birmingham, Alabama, 2016.
  • Grant - July 2015: $30,000 NIAID Collaborative Research Center Development Research Project Award.
  • Poster - Identification of T-cell Responses that Correlate with Protection against Chlamydia trachomatis Infection.” International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research, Brisbane, Australia, 2015.
  • Grant: Received a 1-year extension of NIAID CRC grant for an additional $30,000 of funding, July 2015.


Yulia Khodneva, MD, PhDYulia Khodneva, MD, PhD

Yulia Khodneva obtained her MD degree in the Yaroslavl State Medical Academy, in Yaroslavl, Russia, her home city, and then specialized in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD). Her post-graduate work in Russia was focusing on outpatient rehabilitation of adolescents and your adults with SUD, using principles of motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy in combination with medical treatment. Yulia is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine (DOPM) and Internal Medicine. Her research interests include cardiovascular epidemiology and health promotion intervention development for patients with chronic disease. Her primary mentors are Drs. Andrea Cherrington and Suzanne Oparil. Yulia’s research has been supported by the AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY (AHRQ) training grant to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2T32HS013852-16) and NHLBI T32 HL007457 “Mechanisms of Hypertension and Cardiovascular Diseases”.

Recent Publications:

  1. Jannat-Khah DP, Khodneva Y, Bryant K, et al. Depressive symptoms do not discriminate: racial and economic influences between time-varying depressive symptoms and mortality among REGARDS participants. Ann Epidemiol. 2020;46:31-40.e2. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.04.004
  2. Khodneva Y, Richman J, Andreae S, Cherrington A, Safford MM. Peer Support Intervention Improves Pain-Related Outcomes Among Rural Adults With Diabetes and Chronic Pain at 12-Month Follow-Up [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 2]. J Rural Health. 2020;10.1111/jrh.12422. doi:10.1111/jrh.12422
  3. Khodneva Y, Richman J, Kertesz S, Safford MM. Gender differences in association of prescription opioid use and mortality: A propensity-matched analysis from the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) prospective cohort [published online ahead of print, 2019 Dec 20]. Subst Abus. 2019;1–10.
  4. Khodneva Y, Goyal P, Levitan E. Sterling M, Cherrignton A, Jackson E, Safford MM, Depressive Symptoms and Incident Hospitalization for Heart Failure: Findings From the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study, under review, Circulation- Heart Failure, August 2019
  5. Gowey MA, Khodneva Y, Tison SE, Carson AP, Cherrington AL, Howard VJ, Safford MM, Dutton GR. Depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and metabolic health: The REGARDS study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Mar;43(3):615-632PubMed PMID: 30518827; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6405306.
  6. Cherrington AL, Khodneva Y, Richman JS, Andreae SJ, Gamboa C, Safford MM. Impact of Peer Support on Acute Care Visits and Hospitalizations for Individuals With Diabetes and Depressive Symptoms: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial.Diabetes Care. 2018 Dec;41(12):2463-2470. PubMed PMID: 30373734; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6463553.
  7. Sterling MR, Durant RW, Bryan J, Levitan EB, Brown TM, Khodneva Y, Glasser SP, Richman JS, Howard G, Cushman M, Safford MM. N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide and microsize myocardial infarction risk in the reasons for geographic and racial differences in stroke study. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2018 Apr 16;18(1):66. PubMed PMID: 29661151; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5902876.
  8. Khodneva Y, Safford MM, Richman J, Gamboa C, Andreae S, Cherrington A. Volunteer peer support, diabetes, and depressive symptoms: Results from the ENCOURAGE trial. J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2016 Apr 26;4:38-44. PubMed PMID: 29159129; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5680452.
  9. Khodneva Y, Shalev A, Frank SJ, Carson AP, Safford MM. Calcium channel blocker use is associated with lower fasting serum glucose among adults with diabetes from the REGARDS study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2016 May;115:115-21. PubMed PMID: 26818894; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4887408.
  10. Khodneva Y, Muntner P, Kertesz S, Kissela B, Safford MM. Prescription Opioid Use and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Death Among Adults from a Prospective Cohort (REGARDS Study). Pain Med. 2016 Mar;17(3):444-455. PubMed PMID: 26361245; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6281131.


Gregory Payne1Victor Lin, MD, PhD

Dr. Lin completed his Sc.B. in Biochemistry with honors at Brown University before going on to train in the NIH-supported Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), receiving both an MD and a PhD in Cell Biology. His dissertation research in the lab of Fang-Tsyr (Fannie) Lin centered around thyroid hormone receptor-interacting protein 6 (TRIP6), an adaptor protein that is upregulated in a number of malignancies, including ovarian cancer and glioblastoma. His work illustrated how TRIP6 specifically regulates p27KIP1, a CDK inhibitor that is an important prognostic determinant in cancer. He went on to complete his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Hematology and Oncology as part of the ABIM Research Pathway at UAB. During this time, he did his postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Lalita Shevde-Samant, where his research focused on the role of the Hedgehog pathway in regulating DNA repair, particularly the role of GLI1 in enabling the repair of double-strand breaks in ribosomal DNA (rDNA). After completing his training, he joined the Department of Medicine at UAB as an Instructor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology with a clinical focus in lung cancer and sarcoma and a research focus in precision oncology. He is the Associate Director of the UAB Molecular Tumor Board and also serves on the UAB MSTP Advisory Committee.

Recent Publications:

  1. TRIP6 antagonizes the recruitment of A20 and CYLD to TRAF6 to promote the LPA2 receptor-mediated TRAF6 activation
  2. TRIP6 regulates p27KIP1 to promote tumorigenesis
  3. TRIP6: an adaptor protein that regulates cell motility, antiapoptotic signaling and transcriptional activity
  4. The adaptor protein TRIP6 antagonizes Fas-induced apoptosis but promotes its effect on cell migration


Gregory Payne1Gregory Payne, MD, PhD

Dr. Payne received his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Yale University in 2005.  He subsequently obtained his MD and PhD in Cardiovascular Physiology while completing a Medical Scientist Training Program at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2011.  As a graduate student, Dr. Payne worked in the laboratory of Dr. Johnathan Tune, PhD where he investigated the molecular mechanisms linking obesity and perivascular adipose tissue with early coronary artery disease. Dr. Payne joined the UAB ABIM Research Pathway in 2011 and has since completed a residency in Internal Medicine and clinical fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease.  During clinical training, Dr. Payne was honored by the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease as the 2014 Vera Bittner Outstanding First-Year Fellow and 2015 Best Clinical Fellow.  He was further recognized as the 2015-2016 Chief Cardiology Fellow.  His clinical interests focus on general cardiology with a specific emphasis on vascular disease and inflammation.   

 As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Payne studies novel inflammatory pathways in cardiovascular disease. Specifically, his current research aims to understand how extracellular matrix-derived chemokines contribute to vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Dr. Payne’s research has been nationally recognized, and he is an inaugural recipient of the American Heart Association-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AHA-AMFDP) Career Development Award.

Recent Publications:

  1. Prolyl endopeptidase contributes to early neutrophilic inflammation in acute myocardial transplant rejection
  2. Velocity Transfer Function in the Right Pulmonary Artery and Impaired Cardiopulmonary Reserve in COPD
  3. Effects of hyperoxia on alveolar and pulmonary vascular development in germ-free mice
  4. Deciphering COPD and associated cardiovascular impairmentDeciphering COPD and associated cardiovascular impairment
  5. The Matrikine Acetylated Proline-Glycine-Proline Couples Vascular Inflammation and Acute Cardiac Rejection
  6. Mind the Gap – Addressing cardiovascular disease in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Recent News:

  • Northwestern Cardiology Young Investigator Forum (NCYIF), 2nd Place Award for Fellow in Basic Science, 2018.
  • 2018 American Heart Association – Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AHA-AMFDP) Career Development Award.
  • NIH Future Research Leadership Conference – Invited Scientist, 2019
  • NIH / NHLBI Diversity Supplement Award Recipient, 2019
  • 2019 UAB Comprehensive Cardiovascular Center Integrative Mechanisms in Cardiovascular Disease Award
  • 2020 Assistant Director of the UAB Medical Scientist Training Program
  • 2021 Fellow of the American Heart Association - ATVB Council
  • 2022 American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Young Physician Scientist Award


Sunil RangarajanSunil Rangarajan, MBBS

Dr. Rangarajan completed his medical degree at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute in India, and pursued 2 years of a postdoctoral fellowship at UAB during which he studied the role of age and gender in cisplatin mediated nephrotoxicity. He entered the UAB Internal Medicine ABIM Research Pathway in 2014 and is currently in the final year of a dual fellowship in Medical Oncology and Nephrology (Onconephrology). He was awarded the 2020Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology – Young Investigator Award, which provides funding for his project -Heparanase and renal damage in myeloma. He was recently selected to serve in the Trainee and Early Faculty Council and the Communications Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Recent Publications:

  1. Acute Kidney Injury in Patients Treated with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.
  2. Clinical Features and Outcomes of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-associated AKI: a multicenter study.
  3. Immunoglobulin Light Chains Generate Proinflammatory and Profibrotic Kidney Injury
  4. COX-2 derived prostaglandins as mediators of the deleterious effects of nicotine in chronic kidney disease.
  5. Heparanase-enhanced shedding of syndecan-1 and its role in driving disease pathogenesis and progression.
  6. Sinister small extracellular vesicles that support tumor survival and progression. 

Recent News:

  • Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology – Young Investigator Award, 2020.
  • Southern Society of Clinical Investigation – Young Investigators Forum prize, 2019.
  • National Kidney Foundation – Young Investigator Forum prize, 2019.


Zarjou Abolfazl 1Abolfazl Zarjou, MD, PhD

Dr. Zarjou received his MD from the Medical University of Debrecen, Hungary where he then pursued his PhD degree. He joined Dr. Anupam Agarwal’s research team as a postdoctoral fellow at UAB.  He matched in the ABIM Research Pathway in 2011 and after completion of IM residency completed his Nephrology fellowship. Dr. Zarjou’s research interest is focused on the heme oxygenase-1/ferritin system in the context of acute kidney injury and cardiovascular diseases. He is currently an Assistant Professor in UAB’s Division of Nephrology.

Recent Publications:

  1. Dynamic Signature of Lymphangiogenesis During Acute Kidney Injury and Chronic Kidney Disease. 
  2. Ferritin Light Chain Confers Protection Against Sepsis-Induced Inflammation and Organ Injury.
  3. Proximal tubule H-ferritin mediates iron trafficking in acute kidney injury
  4. Sepsis and acute kidney injury
  5. Identification of a microRNA signature in renal fibrosis: role of miR-21
  6. Ferritin prevents calcification and osteoblastic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells 

Recent News:

  • American Society of Clinical Investigation, Young Physician Scientist Award, 2020.
  • Southern Society of Clinical Investigation, Research Scholar Award, 2019.
  • Winner of National Kidney Foundation Young Investigators Forum, 2017.
  • UAB Department of Medicine 2017 Frommeyer Fellowship Award.
  • K08 Award, December 2017 – Targeting Ferritin in Vascular Calcification associated with CKD.
  • Grant- American Society for Nephrology Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award, 2015.