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Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Class Notes


Helen Horstmann, MD, MCP ’72, was appointed chair of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Flower Show for the fourth time.

Stanley Fiel, MD, MCP ’73, has been named chief medical officer of Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey. Fiel has served as the chairman for the Department of Medicine and as a leading physician at Morristown Medical Center for nearly 20 years. He is professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, the author of more than 200 published medical works, a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Physicians, and a member of other professional societies including the American Thoracic Society. His major research interests include the mechanisms of inflammation in cystic fibrosis and therapeutic advances in the treatment of obstructive pulmonary disorders including asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mariell Jessup, MD, HU ’76, shared her cardiology expertise about the cardiac arrest suffered by NFL football player Damar Hamlin on an NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt segment. Jessup is the chief science and medical officer for the American Heart Association.

Kenneth Kosik, MD, MCP ’76, was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of Expansion Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing transformative oral medicines for severe RNA-mediated diseases. Kosik is the Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research and co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previously, he was a full professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and held appointments at McLean Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Stephen Klasko, MD, HU ’78; MBA, was appointed to the National Board for Education Sciences by President Joe Biden. Klasko is an advocate for transformation in higher education and health care, including his call for institutions to close gaps of equity and health disparities.

Madeleine Weiser, MD, MCP ’78, sold her primary care practice in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, to Nemours Children’s Health on January 1, 2023. The practice was renamed Nemours Children’s Health, Ardmore. Weiser is a pediatrician with 44 years of experience. She is a former clinical instructor for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics.

Ana L. Pujols-McKee, MD, HU ’79, executive vice president, chief medical officer, and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at The Joint Commission, has been named one of 2022’s Top Diversity Leaders by Modern Healthcare.

Ihor S. Sawczuk, MD, MCP ’79, was honored by the New York Academy of Medicine at an event celebrating his 30th year as a fellow of the academy. Currently, he serves as the president of academics, research and innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health and associate dean of clinical integration at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in New Jersey.

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Mark Russ, MD, HU ’80, has been named chief medical officer of Silver Hill Hospital, a not-for-profit psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. Russ will oversee clinical operations of the hospital’s inpatient, transitional and outpatient programs. He previously served at New York-Presbyterian/Westchester Behavioral Health as vice chair for clinical programs and medical director. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has received grants and authored more than 40 peer-reviewed papers on self-injurious patients, assessment of suicide risk, aggressive behavior in psychiatric inpatients, inpatient unit structure and function, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on mental health and other topics.

David O’Rourke, MD, HU ’83, owns a family medicine practice that has joined the Penn State Health Medical Group and has been renamed Penn State Health Medical Group – Spring Ridge. O’Rourke is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. He began his Berks County, Pennsylvania, practice in 1987. He has served patients of all ages for primary care needs, as well as partnered with the Wilson and Wyomissing Area school districts to provide medical services to student athletes and school district staff.

Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, HU ’85, the recently appointed CEO of Thomas Jefferson University, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the reorganization plans of the university’s health system. He shared that Jefferson’s hospitals will be divided into three regions, each with its own president. Cacchione spoke at the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Health Care CEO Summit at City Winery, addressing the soaring labor and supply costs that have impacted hospitals locally and nationally. He was also listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2023 Power 101.

David J. Shulkin, MD, MCP ’86, HD ’19, joined the Health Testing Advisory Board of ixlayer, a health tech company focused on lab testing. Shulkin is the CEO of Shulkin Solutions and previously served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin and his daughter, Jennie Shulkin, have launched a health care startup, called Override, that is taking a non-opioid approach to help people suffering from chronic pain. The company has acquired Take Courage Coaching, a national health and wellness company that provides pain management coaching in the workers’ compensation area.

Virginia Calega, MD, MCP ’87, was appointed to the board of directors of Chester County Food Bank. An internist and geriatrician, Calega is the founder and president of VCC Healthcare Solutions, which works with providers, payers and employers in a patient-centric approach to optimize the delivery of care. She previously worked for 17 years in the health insurance industry.

Beth Baughman Dupree, MD, HU ’87, was featured on NBC Nightly News in a segment, “Arizona Hospital Misses Cancers in Dozens of Patients.” Dupree is chief medical officer and co-founder of Innerstill Health, Gateway Clinics and Signal Relief, companies working to bring about change in mental wellness and non-narcotic pain management.

Christopher Bowden, MD, HU ’88, was appointed chief medical officer of Remix Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing small-molecule therapies to modulate RNA processing and address the underlying drivers of disease. Bowden joined Remix from Agios, where he served as strategic advisor and chief medical officer from 2014 to 2022.

Howard J. Franklin, MD, MCP ’88, was appointed senior vice president, medical at Assertio Holdings Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company. Franklin was previously chief medical officer at Finch Therapeutics, a microbiome-based biotechnology firm applying new technologies to the treatment of immuno-oncology, IBD and autism spectrum disorder. He previously served as chief medical officer of Salix Pharmaceuticals, a division of Bausch Healthcare Corporation with a focus on gastrointestinal medicine, where he shaped and executed clinical, regulatory and medical affairs strategies for a suite of GI-related assets with a focus on lifecycle management. He has also held senior roles at Icon Bioscience, Oceana Therapeutics, The Medicines Company, Esprit Pharmaceuticals and Odyssey Pharmaceuticals.

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Scott M. Klein, MD, MCP ’93, was appointed president and CEO of Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Klein is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine and has spent the past 30 years working in children’s hospitals. He began his career in medicine as a pediatric intensivist, caring for seriously ill children in the intensive care unit, then transitioned into pediatric hospice and palliative care. Before joining Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Klein served as executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief medical officer at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York.

Lisa Ahrendt, MD, HU ’97, is being recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Distinguished Healthcare Provider for her contributions to the medical field. Ahrendt is a board-certified medical oncologist with 18 years of experience in the field and eight years in her current position with Intermountain Healthcare in Colorado. She specializes in treating breast, colorectal and lung cancers, chronic myeloid leukemia, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Ahrendt is affiliated with the American Medical Association and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Wendell Joseph Gorum II, MD, HU ’97, was recognized by Continental Who’s Who for his career in the medical field and for his private practice achievements. An orthopedic surgeon with 20 years of experience, Gorum serves patients at his private practice in Brooklyn, New York, where he specializes in trauma surgery, motor vehicle accidents and workers’ compensation cases.

Daniel Albo, MD; PhD molecular pathobiology, MCP ’98, chair of surgery at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, participated in a two-part video interview series with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service. In part one, he discussed the work of the medical school and how it is handling what he called a “bonafide health crisis” of health care access in the area. In part two, Albo focused on his department’s work helping patients with cancer.

Robert J. Winn, MD, HU ’98, was promoted to regional director of the Crossroads Treatment Center at its new Pennsauken, New Jersey, location. The center is an outpatient facility that treats patients with opioid use disorder.

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Paul Bolno, MD, MCPHU ’00; Surgery Residency, MCPHU; MBA, Business Administration, LeBow ’05, president and CEO of Wave Life Sciences, was named one of the Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leaders of Massachusetts for 2023 by the Healthcare Technology Report.

Brett Karlik, MD ’03, joined the medical team at Penn Highlands Eye Center in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. A board-certified ophthalmologist, Karlik has 20 years of ophthalmological experience. He previously served as chief of ophthalmology at Nassau University Medical Center. He practiced at Elk County Eye Clinic in St. Marys, and the Lasik Vision Institute and Karlik Ophthalmology in Pittsburgh.

Jamie Rapacciuolo, DO; MS biological science ’04, offered advice about how humidifiers help relieve nasal congestion for Live Science magazine. Rapacciuolo is a family physician for the Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.

Major Mathanraj Packiam, PhD microbiology and immunology ’06, was a member of a U.S. Army medical team that helped investigate the cause of death of a red panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases’ pathology team conducted transmission electron microscopy studies on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue from the red panda’s brain in an effort to identify and speciate the protozoa in the brain tissue. Packiam is stationed in Maryland at both the Aberdeen Proving Ground 1st Area Medical Laboratory and the Fort Detrick U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Felipe Orellana, MD; PBC Drexel pathway to medical school ’07, a board-certified surgeon, joined the medical team at Honesdale Surgical Associates, part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers in Pennsylvania. Previously, Orellana practiced acute care surgery in hospitals located in New Jersey and New York.

Danielle J. Miller, MD ’08, was quoted in an article on LancasterOnline’s website about the increase in direct primary care practices — those not affiliated with a health system — in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, area. Miller opened her direct primary care practice, Luz Medicine, in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, in October 2020.

Liang Oscar Qiang, MD; PhD molecular and cell biology and genetics ’09, assistant professor, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at the College of Medicine, co-chaired a symposium, “Innovative Cellular Models and Experimental Approaches to Probe Mechanisms and Therapies for Gulf War Illness” at the 2023 annual conference of the American Society for Neurochemistry in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 21. Qiang also delivered a talk, “Anti-sense Oligonucleotides for Neurodegenerative Diseases,” at the Cell and Gene Therapy Symposium held by Drexel University on May 4, 2023.

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S. Yaseen Zia, MD ’10, was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve as a member of the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control for a term ending August 31, 2026. Zia is a board-certified radiation oncologist and has been with Pardee UNC Health since 2018.

Lawrence Fried, MD ’11, was announced as one of the physicians who will be assisting Virpax Pharmaceuticals of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, in the development of NobrXiol, a cannabidiol product aimed at managing epilepsy in children and adults. He is expected to assist in several areas, including advising on trial design, regulatory pathway development and patient recruitment. An experienced clinical leader in epilepsy and neurology and a practicing epileptologist, Fried serves as an attending physician in the Pediatric Regional Epilepsy Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and as an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Minarich, MD ’11, was a guest on WAMC Northeast Public Radio station’s “Medical Monday,” in which he discussed colon health for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Minarich is a surgical oncologist with Nuvance Health in New York. He has a broad-based practice in melanoma, sarcoma, gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary malignancies, and has a special clinical interest in appendiceal malignancies, cytoreduction and HIPEC therapies.

Gisela Vargas, MD ’12, PBC Drexel pathway to medical school ’07, was one of four local Hispanic leader panelists who participated in Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Hispanic Heritage Month Business Panel discussion. Vargas is the assistant program director for Lehigh Valley Health Network’s internal medicine residency program.

Amanda Baker, MD ’14, led a structured literature review with her peers regarding parental leave policies within the neurointerventional surgery community and related arenas that was published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery. As a result of the survey data from Baker’s team, the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery released a statement advocating pregnancy and parental leave policies in neurointerventional surgery that would support balancing surgeons’ careers with their goal of having a family. Baker is a neurointerventional radiology fellow at the University of California San Francisco and a member of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Michael Twomey, MD ’14, was named executive medical director for the Saint Alphonsus Health Alliance in Boise, Idaho. Twomey came to Saint Alphonsus from Valley Family Health Care, where he had served as medical director since 2020. He has practiced family medicine in Emmett, Idaho, since 2017.

Elizabeth Adrianne Hammershaimb, MD ’16, was recognized as one of Baltimore Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Hammershaimb, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, is an attending physician at University of Maryland Medical Center and an instructor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Lucas First, MD ’17, joined St. Peter’s Musculoskeletal Medicine, a practice of St. Peter’s Health Partners Medical Associates in Latham, New York. Board certified in pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation, First practices interventional pain management.

Brielle R. Ferguson, PhD neuroscience ’18, see Chamberlin ’22.

Erin P. McEachern, MS neuroscience ’18, see Chamberlin ’22.

Xuan Luo, MS drug discovery and development ’19, now a PhD student in the Pharmacology & Physiology program, Renée Jean-Toussaint, MS drug discovery and development ’19, and colleagues at the College of Medicine authored “Small Extracellular Vesicles From Spared Nerve Injury Model and Sham Control Mice Differentially Regulate Gene Expression in Primary Microglia.” The paper appeared in the Journal of Pain on April 11, 2023.

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Owen McLeod, MS interdisciplinary health sciences ’20, see Chamberlin ’22.

Mitch Nothem, PhD pharmacology and physiology ’20, and colleagues at the College of Medicine authored “Effects of Ethanol on Mechanical Allodynia and Dynamic Weight Bearing in Male and Female Mice With Spared Nerve Injury,” which appeared in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research in February 2023. Nothem is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Drexel’s Department of Pharmacology & Physiology. See also Bryant ’23.

Claire A. Rolland, MS neuroscience ’20, see Chamberlin ’22.

Mariah Wulf, MS neuroscience ’20, now a Neuroscience PhD student at the College of Medicine, and a Drexel colleague authored “Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury on the Sympathetic Nervous System,” which appeared in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience in February 2023.

Rachel Berman, PhD molecular and cell biology and genetics ’21, see Mohamed ’21.

Jadwiga Bilchak, PhD neuroscience ’21, and Drexel colleagues published a research article, “Bumetanide Increases Postsynaptic Inhibition After Chronic SCI and Decreases Presynaptic Inhibition With Step-Training,” in the Journal of Physiology on April 15, 2023.

Tejsi Dhameliya, MS molecular and cell biology and genetics ’21, and colleagues from Drexel and the Medical University of South Carolina authored “Kruppel-Like Factor 8 Regulates Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stem Cell-Like Activity,” which was published in Frontiers in Oncology on April 19, 2023.

Hager Mohamed, PhD, microbiology and immunology ’21, and a College of Medicine colleague are among the authors of a paper, “Pancreatic Cancer Cells Undergo Immunogenic Cell Death Upon Exposure to Gas Plasma-Oxidized Ringers Lactate,” published in the January 2023 issue of the Plasma Oncology Collection of the journal Cancers. Mohamed, Rachel Berman, PhD molecular and cell biology and genetics ’21, Jennifer Connors, PhD microbiology and immunology ’22, and College of Medicine faculty members published “Immunomodulatory Effects of Non-thermal Plasma in a Model for Latent HIV-1 Infection: Implications for an HIV-1-Specific Immunotherapy” in the journal Biomedicines on January 3, 2023, as part of a special issue, “Nonthermal Plasma-Based Immunotherapy.”

Linda A. Chamberlin, MD/PhD neuroscience ’22, in collaboration with Neuroscience program alumni including Shasha Yang, PhD ’21, Nancy R. Mack, PhD ’22, Brielle R. Ferguson, PhD ’18, and Erin P. McEachern, MS ’18; Joshua Lucas, MD ’22; and Interdisciplinary Health Sciences alumni Owen McLeod, MS ’20, and Claire A. Rolland, MS ’20, along with a College of Medicine colleague, published a research article, “Pharmacogenetic Activation of Parvalbumin Interneurons in the Prefrontal Cortex Rescues Cognitive Deficits Induced by Adolescent MK801 Administration,” in Neuropsychopharmacology on March 23, 2023.

Jennifer Connors, PhD microbiology and immunology ’22, see Mohamed ’21.

Joshua Lucas, MD ’22, see Chamberlin ’22.

Nancy R. Mack, PhD neuroscience ’22, see Chamberlin ’22.

Emily Nickoloff-Bybel, PhD pharmacology and physiology ’22, was one of the authors of “Dopamine, Immunity, and Disease” in the December 8, 2022, issue of Pharmacological Reviews. Coauthors included colleagues at the College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Kayla Socarras, PhD microbiology and immunology ’22, who is now a postdoctoral associate at the Translational Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, received a T32 award from the Mass General Brigham Training Program in Precision and Genomic Medicine.

Julia Sutter, MS microbiology and immunology ’22, now a PhD student in the Microbiology & Immunology program, published a first-author review, “Manipulation of Oxidative Stress Responses by Non-thermal Plasma to Treat Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection and Disease.” The review was published in the February 2023 issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Other authors included colleagues from the College of Medicine and the University of Minnesota.

Kathleen Bryant, PhD neuroscience ’23, Mitch Nothem, PhD pharmacology and physiology ’20, and colleagues from the College of Medicine’s Barker Lab published a research article, “A History of Low-Dose Ethanol Shifts the Role of Ventral Hippocampus During Reward Seeking in Male Mice,” in eNeuro on May 16, 2023. The article was chosen for the journal’s featured research spotlight.

Claudia Guzik, MD ’23, and College of Medicine colleagues published “Structure of VanS From Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci: A Sensor Kinase With Weak ATP Binding” in the March 2023 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Former Residents and Fellows


Nita Desai, MD; Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency, Drexel/Hahnemann ’08, was profiled in Axios Charlotte’s “Behind the Mask” series, produced in partnership with Atrium Health. The series tells the stories of health care heroes in Charlotte, North Carolina. Desai serves as a gynecologic surgeon at Atrium Health Women’s Care Urogynecology & Pelvic Surgery. She is the only female pelvic surgeon with a focus on minimally invasive gynecology and pelvic pain in the area.

Steven A. Maser, MD; Surgery Internship, HU ’88, Orthopedic Surgery Residency, HU ’92, has recently been named vice president of medical affairs of Rapid City Hospital, Monument Health, in Rapid City, South Dakota. He had previously served as vice president and medical director of Monument Health Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital, also in Rapid City.

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