Yale University-Mayo Clinic CERSI

2018-2019 CERSI Scholars

Yale University

Greg Rhee, PhD, MSW

NIA Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
Project Title: Association of Industry Payments to Physicians’ Prescribing Patterns: A Case Study of Recently FDA-approved Prescription Drugs

Dr. Rhee is a geriatric pharmaco-epidemiologist and health services researcher. He is also a social worker by clinical training. One of his research interests is post-market surveillance of prescription drugs and its association with quality of care and patient outcomes. Through this research project, he is interested in guiding both clinical and public health interventions to improve clinical practice and patient care.

Michael Solotke

Doctorate of Medicine Candidate (2020), Yale School of Medicine
Project Title: Medicare Formulary Coverage After FDA Black Box Warnings

Michael Solotke is a medical student at Yale School of Medicine. His research interests include policy-relevant issues such as drug safety and insurer formulary coverage. Michael's recent research has focused on characterizing Food & Drug Administration (FDA) black box warnings, and his CERSI Scholars project will examine the impact of black box warnings on Medicare formulary coverage. He developed an interest in health policy while working as a consultant at IMS Consulting Group (now known as IQVIA), where he worked for several years on pharmaceutical and biotechnology projects related to drug pricing, payer issues, research and development, and international health policy.

Tasmeen Shiny Weerakoon, MS

MPH Health Care Management Candidate (2019), Yale School of Public Health in conjunction with Yale School of Management
Project Title: Improving Clinical Trial Diversity via Novel Partnerships between Industry Sponsors, Community Partners, and CTSA Sites

Shiny is a recent graduate of the MS program in Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology at Miami University. Currently, she is an MPH Health Care Management candidate who is committed to a career that applies management tools to advance scientific discovery and patient outcomes. Shiny looks forward to building upon her diverse backgrounds in science research and healthcare management consulting to increase patient diversity in clinical trials. Her research aims to develop a framework for creating novel and strategic partnerships between major partners in clinical trials, such as industry sponsors or Big Pharma, community partners, and CTSA sites. As an emerging healthcare consultant, Shiny has a vested interest in improving patient well-being by aligning incentives of multiple stakeholders in the multifaceted and interconnected healthcare industry.

Audrey Zhang, AB

Postgraduate Associate, Yale School of Medicine
Doctorate of Medicine Candidate (2020), NYU School of Medicine

Project Title: Characteristics of Pivotal Trials Supporting Supplemental Indications for FDA-Approved Novel Therapeutics

Audrey is a current MD candidate at the NYU School of Medicine with an interest in evidence-based translation of research into policy and practice, including the evaluation of new therapeutics and incorporation into the standard of care. She has previously worked with Connecticut and Massachusetts state agencies on initiatives regarding the appropriate use of medication and pharmaceutical cost containment, respectively. Her recent research has focused on factors influencing FDA decision-making on novel therapeutics, including different forms of evidentiary support.

Audrey was the recipient of the 2019 Society of General Internal Medicine Lipkin award.

Mayo Clinic

Luz Milbeth Cumba Garcia, MS

Predoctoral Student, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Immunology
Project Title: Characterization of Plasma-derived Exosomes in Patients with Glioblastoma for Potential Use as Liquid Biopsies

Luz Milbeth Cumba Garcia is a second-year Immunology PhD student at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She taught basic science skills to college science students in China before being recruited to Mayo Clinic’s Post baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP/PostBac) in 2014. While at Mayo, Luz has worked on the structure of amyloid proteins from amyloidosis patient samples and the pathologic contribution of T cells during acute neuroinflammation, which resulted in two publications. She is currently working with Dr. Ian Parney, analyzing the molecular signature of plasma extracellular vesicles shed from glioblastoma tumors and exploring the potential of these particles as liquid biopsies.

Shaheen Kurani, ScM

Predoctoral Student, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Project Title: Area Deprivation Index as a Predictor of Opioid Overdose

Shaheen is a current predoctoral student at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her area of focus is mixed methods research and interests include big data and marginalized populations. Shaheen’s current research aim is to understand area deprivation as it relates to opioid overdose mortality in an effort to inform policy surrounding opioid prescriptions. Upon graduating, Shaheen plans to work as a health services researcher improving access and quality of care for populations in need.

Srishti Saha, MBBS, MD

Postdoctoral Research Trainee, Mayo Clinic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Project Title: Durability and Safety of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Clostridium Difficile Infection: A Long Term Follow Up Study

Dr. Saha recently completed her Internal Medicine Residency from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. She is interested in the human gut microbiome and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT); specifically, FMT for Clostridium difficile and other infections. FMT is a highly efficacious new therapy which holds immense potential in treating several diseases. As its therapeutic net widens, it will be vital to have robust safety data. In her current project, she plans to study the durability, safety, and tolerability of FMT and provide long-term follow up data. Her future plan is to establish herself as a clinician-investigator and, through similar research, generate high-quality evidence that helps both physicians and patients make well-informed treatment decisions.

Maryam Zolnoori, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research
Project Title: Utilizing Patient-Generated Data to Identify Significant Factors Associated with Non-adherence to Antidepressants: A Text Mining Approach

Dr. Zolnoori is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the field of text mining and machine learning at Mayo Clinic. Her long-term research goal focuses on integrating data sources from electronic health records, patient-generated data, and biomedical literature to improve medication non-adherence, pharmacovigilance, and mental healthcare. She is also interested in developing interventions to support and promote patient engagement and patient-centered care. Her diverse educational and research background in health and information science has prepared her with a unique skill-set, such as terminology, statistical analysis, text mining, and knowledge management for tackling complex problems in biomedical informatics research and providing innovative solutions for current healthcare problems.