Current Physiology Graduate Students


Mahmoud Abdelbary   

My research interest is the contribution of renal cell death in the control and development of hypertension in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Sullivan

MABDELBARY@augusta.edu

Kasey Belanger   

My research interests are sex differences of the pathophysiology of hypertension. My current work focuses on better understanding the contribution of the immune system, and Tregs in particular, on blood pressure development and control between males and females. I am also interested in examining sex differences in the cerebrovascular and cognitive consequences within my hypertension model.

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Sullivan

KBELANGER@augusta.edu

Vadym Buncha

I am interested in studying the vascular dysfunction in pathological states. My current work is focused on the question - how pulmonary vascular dysfunction contributes to pathogenicity of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

Mentor: Dr. Zsolt Bagi

VBUNCHA@augusta.edu

Emily Burns

My research interest revolves around better understanding salt-sensitive hypertension through examining how sodium contributes to immune dysregulation. Current work focuses on the involvement of the CD14/TLR4 complex pro-inflammatory response and how immune cell-derived ROS production drives exacerbation of hypertension and renal damage as a result of a high salt diet.

Mentor: Dr. David Mattson

EMBURNS@augusta.edu

Shinjini Chowdhury    

My research interests revolve around the role of aldosterone in obesity-associated hypertension. My current project focuses on elucidating the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of aldosterone production in response to very low-density lipoprotein and sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor activation.

Mentor: Dr. Wendy Bollag

SHCHOWDHURY@augusta.edu

Casey Derella   

My overall research interest is to better understand how various diseases impact the vascular health of humans and contribute to cardiovascular disease. My current work focuses on better understanding the factors contributing to microvascular and skeletal muscle dysfunction in people with type 1 diabetes.

Mentor: Dr. Ryan Harris

CDERELLA@augusta.edu

Katie Anne Fopiano

I am interested in studying microvasculature dysfunction within heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). My current project focuses on the glycoprotein CD44 and how different variants of this protein can potentially play a role in the coronary microvascular dysfunction and endothelial inflammation seen in HFpEF.

Mentor: Dr. Zsolt Bagi

KFOPIANO@augusta.edu

Yonghong Luo

My research interests revolve around better understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms that cause impaired wound healing in diabetes mellitus. I am currently investigating the role of a transporting protein aquaporin-3 in wound healing and how its expression is regulated in an in vitro diabetes model.

Mentor: Dr. Wendy Bollag

YOLUO@augusta.edu

Elinor Mannon 

My research interests include inflammation and chronic disease, such as hypertension and type II diabetes. My current work focuses on understanding the immunologic and metabolic effects of sodium bicarbonate therapy, as well as elucidating the signaling mechanism of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.

Mentor: Dr. Paul O'Connor

EMANNON@augusta.edu

Sam Melnyk

My research interest is in wound regeneration in the cornea. My current work focuses on investigating factors that lead to the impairment of corneal epithelial wound healing observed in diabetes mellitus.

Mentor: Dr. Wendy Bollag

SMELNYK@augusta.edu

Lindsey Ramirez  

I am interested in the impact that early life stressors have on long term cardiovascular, renal, and cognitive health. I am currently investigating the effect of low oxygen during the first week of life and how that insult can increase likelihood of hypertension in later life. My newest project is determining whether a maternal high fat diet will produce a pro-inflammatory profile in the offspring and increase likelihood of hypertension in later life. Soon, I would like to do some behavioral studies to determine the impact of these stressors on cognition.

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Sullivan

LRAMIREZ@augusta.edu

Sarah Ray  

My research interests include the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury (AKI) and the associated long-term sequelae. My current work focuses on better understanding the factors which contribute to the development of vascular congestion following ischemia-reperfusion in both males and females, as well as the potential role of vascular congestion in the development of hypertension and chronic kidney disease after AKI.

Mentor: Dr. Paul O'Connor

SRAY@augusta.edu

Yanna Tian  

My overall research interest is to better understand vascular dysfunction in aging and disease conditions, such as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. My current project to investigate the mechanisms that underlie the excess release of a protein shedding enzyme (ADAM17) and how the increased shedding of specific proteins could alter vascular function in aging.

Mentor: Dr. Zsolt Bagi

YTIAN@augusta.edu

Samuel Walton

I am interested in the mechanisms behind pathogenic diseases, specifically ones associated with alterations either from or to the immune system. My interests are focused on the areas that provide potential therapeutic advantages not only for one disease but other related diseases. What are the biochemical pathways involved, what proteins are being affected, all the way to which elements are interacting? Each of these provides a pivotal role in the disease phenotype, so it only seems appropriate to link them together to better understand the corresponding problem, also linking together with other diseases with similar pathogenic backgrounds. I currently am researching the effects that the immune system has on salt-sensitive hypertension and the corresponding changes to renal hemodynamics.

Mentor: Dr. Dave Mattson

SAWALTON@augusta.edu