BIRCWH Scholars


The Tulane BIRCWH program has recruited a total of 23 scholars since its inception in 2002. Together, these individuals form a dynamic and diverse group of young researchers from a variety of backgrounds.

Shengxu Li, MD, PhD


Shengxu Li, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Li completed his medical training at Beijing Medical University, China, and his PhD study at the University of Cambridge, UK. His research focuses on the epidemiology of obesity, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and type 2 diabetes. As a BIRCWH Scholar, Dr. Li will examine sex-specific cardiovascular risk factors measured during childhood for changes in subclinical cardiovascular structure/function in young adults.

Owen Mogabgab, MD

Mogabgab 2


Owen Mogabgab M.D. is an interventional cardiologist and Assistant Professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine and Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana.  After receiving his M.D. from the University of Texas-Houston, he completed residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School where his research with the TIMI Study Group focused on the circadian rhythms of cardiovascular disease, including stent thrombosis.  He subsequently completed a fellowship in general cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center where he served as chief fellow.  He went on to complete a fellowship in interventional cardiology at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center and the VA North Texas Healthcare System in Dallas, Texas.  His research interests include the evaluation of novel devices and strategies for the recanalization of coronary chronic total occlusions.  As a BIRCWH Scholar, he will be evaluating gender differences in procedural outcomes in patients with advanced atherosclerotic disease, particularly coronary chronic total occlusions.


LaKeisha Williams,
PharmD, MSPH

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LaKeisha Williams, PharmD, MSPH, is a clinical researcher in pharmacy and faculty member in the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana. As a faculty member at Xavier University, Dr. Williams has served as an instructor, preceptor and mentor to introductory and advanced level pharmacy students. She has two clinical practice sites at the Louisiana State University (LSUHSC) Ambulatory Care Clinics, serving as a clinical preceptor for third and fourth year pharmacy students and as a clinical pharmacist providing medication therapy management services to patients, and pharmacotherapeutic recommendations to healthcare professionals of an interprofessional team. As a BIRCWH Scholar, Dr. Williams’s research aims to explore gender and racial/ethnic determinants and intervention to improve medication adherence, with a focus on vulnerable and underserved populations with chronic cardiovascular health conditions.


Qi Zhao, PhD

Picture_Qi Zhao

Qi Zhao, BMed, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of  Epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  Dr. Zhao completed her medical training at Peking University Health Science Center, China, and her PhD in Epidemiology at Peking Union Medical College, China. Her research focuses on genetic and environmental risk factors and their interactions in the development of cardiovascular disease. As a BIRCWH Scholar, Dr. Zhao will examine sex differences in novel risk factors in predicting the development of hypertension. Dr. Zhao has also received American Heart Association research funding for investigating the gene-obesity interaction in the regulation of blood pressure.

BIRCWH Associates

BIRCWH Associates are the past Scholars that remain connected to the Tulane BIRCWH program even when they are not financially supported by the program. The Associates provide valuable feedback to the Steering Committee and Mentors regarding the program effectiveness.  In addition, BIRCWH Associates provide much desired ‘peer mentoring’ of new scholars.  


Stacy Drury, MD, PhD (BIRCWH Training 2012-2014) is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Tulane University.  Dr. Drury completed her MD and PhD in Genetics at Louisiana State University School of Medicine and her adult and child and adolescent psychiatry training at Tulane University.  Her translational research projects examine genetic/epigenetic interactions with negative early life experiences to define, at the neural and neural circuitry level, how early adversity shapes the developing brain. She has received research funding from the AACAP, APA, Harvard Center for the Developing Child, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), Louisiana Board of Regents, Hyundai, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Drury's clinical and translational research seeks to enhance the understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the lasting impact of early adversity on children's health outcomes across the life span.



Milton Hamblin, PhD (BIRCWH Training 2012-14) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine.  Dr. Hamblin came to Tulane in 2012 after completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Hamblin's research focuses on gender-related differences in vascular biology and vascular remodeling-related pathophysiological diseases, including atherosclerosis and and vascular lesion formation. 

Emily Harville


Emily Harville, PhD (BIRCWH training 2008-10) is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  The focus of her research is reproductive epidemiology.  She has published 39 peer reviewed manuscripts since the start of her BIRCWH training in the areas of pregnancy epidemiology, stress measurement and epidemiological methods. She is currently the Principal Investigator on 1 R01 grant investigating the Long-Term Burden of Maternal Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Birth Outcomes. Dr. Harville is also the PI on 1 U19 subproject, investigating the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on pregnant women and women of reproductive age.

Minolfa in conference 02


Minolfa C Prieto, MD, PhD (BIRCWH training 2008-11) is an Associate Professor of Physiology at Tulane SOM.  She investigates the role of the intrarenal Renin-Angiotensin System in the development and progression of hypertension, as well as gender differences in the regulation of genes involved in response to high salt.  She has published more than 33 peer reviewed articles and 3 book chapters since the onset of her BIRCWH training. She currently is well-funded by the NIH through a R01 grant award and a clinical translational grant (LACaTs.)



Lisa Molix, PhD (BIRCWH training 2011-13) is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Tulane School of Science and Engineering. She came to Tulane in 2007, immediately following the completion of her PhD at the University of Missouri. Dr. Molix's research focuses on examining an interdisciplinary model of intergroup stress that investigates the relationships between psychosocial and behavioral factors (e.g. prejudice, empowerment, social identity, intergroup interactions) and cardiovascular health risk factors and outcomes in women and ethnic minorities.


Andrea Zsombok, PhD (BIRCWH training 2010-2012) is an Assistant Professor of Physiology and Medicine, Endocrinology Section. Dr. Zsombok's research focuses on the autonomic control of visceral organs during metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in rodents.  Her investigations employ electrophysiological, anatomical, retrograde tracer approaches in combination with in vivo brain injections in both sexes.



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