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Professional Notes: April 2022


Professional Notes is a round-up of awards, presentations, papers, and the other professional achievements of SLU faculty, staff members, and students.

Faculty and Staff

Appointments and Awards
Brent Tetri, M.D. (Internal Medicine), and Wing-Kin Syn, M.D.  (Internal Medicine) have been appointed Co-Directors of the Liver Center of Excellence at Saint Louis University.

Brent Tetri, M.D. (Internal Medicine), and Wing-Kin Syn, M.D. (Internal Medicine) have been appointed co-directors of the Saint Louis University Liver Center. Photo submitted.

Brent Tetri, M.D. (Internal Medicine), and Wing-Kin Syn, M.D. (Internal Medicine) have been appointed co-directors of the Saint Louis University Liver Center. The Saint Louis University Liver Center was established in 2001 to study liver disease and apply new technologies discovered through basic research for medical care of patients with liver disease. Through this mission the Saint Louis University Liver Center encourages and supports important biomedical research into liver disease, addressing major local, national, and international needs through a cohesive group of researchers across different disciplines.

Tetri joined Saint University in July 1991 and served as the division director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology from 2010 to 2019 as well as director of the Liver Center since 2017. He is internationally known for his basic and clinical research regarding Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) and Liver Fibrosis.

Syn is the new division director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Syn is well renown internationally for his work involving basic, clinical and translational research on multiple conditions such as NASH, Liver Fibrosis, Liver Cancer and immunology. He is also involved with serving veterans through a collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration.

Margaret Bultas, Ph.D.(Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing) has been selected to serve as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Sridhar Sampath Kumar, M.D. (Internal Medicine-Cardiovascular) will become chief of Cardiology Services at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton. Kumar will oversee a wide range of cardiac interventions, including state-of-the-art treatments, invasive and non-invasive testing, and medical management of heart failure and vascular diseases.

Dhiren Patel, M.D. (Pediatrics-Gastroenterology); Devita Stallings, Ph.D. (Nursing); and Jen Jen Chang, Ph.D. (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) were announced as 2022-2023 Clinical and Translational Research Funding Program (CTRFP) awardees. Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) and The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital awards 25 investigators as part of the 15th annual CTRFP.

Willis Samson, Ph.D.(Pharmacology and Physiology) was elected 2022–2023 president of theAmerican Physiological Society (APS). Samson began his term in April at the conclusion of the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2022.

Hemant Kumar Bid, Ph.D. (School for Professional Studies) was one of four physicians named to the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives Medical Advisory Board. The Board will bring key medical expertise to fulfilling the mission of increasing the awareness and access to medical cannabis and other holistic alternatives in the veteran and patient community.

Chalana Scales-Ferguson, J.D. (Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business) has been appointed to serve as the school's first director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The new role was created to spearhead strategy and initiatives within the School to foster an environment of acceptance for people of all backgrounds and perspectives. Scales-Ferguson assumes the position on April 18 and will report directly to Edward Jones Dean Barnali Gupta, Ph.D.

Media Appearances

The latest edition of the American Planning Association Economic Development Division's Spring 2022 issue of News & Views! featured an interview with Robert M. Lewis (Urban Planning and Development).

Richard Grucza, Ph.D. (Family and Community Medicine), co-wrote an op-ed in Scientific American. The op-ed was headlined "The Federal Government Should Decriminalize Marijuana."

Thomas F. Madden, Ph.D. (History/Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies) published an article in The New York Times.

Nancy Weaver, Ph.D. (Behavioral Science and Health Education) partnered with the Family Nurturing Center in Northern Kentucky during April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, to co-author an Op-Ed with the support of the Face It Movement. The Face-It Movement promotes best practices in child abuse prevention and intervention. The Family Nurturing Center took part in Weaver's "Support Over Silence for KIDS" program.

The full op-ed was published in the Courier-Journal with the headline "How to be a supportive bystander for kids when you see abuse happening."

Weaver is also the co-director of the Community Engagement Core at the Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy, Research and Training at Washington University.

Elaine Siegfried, M.D. (Pediatrics-Dermatology) was featured inThe American Journal of Managed Care. Siegfried discussed several pediatric patient populations with atopic dermatitis who are candidates for the use of systemic therapies.

Ghazala Hayat, M.D (Neurology) was quoted in the article, "Advances in Neuromuscular Disease Bring More Precise Diagnoses and Expanded Treatments" published in Neurology Today about advances in the field of neuromuscular disorders.


Rushaniya Khairova, M.D., Ph.D., (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience) had an article, "The role of lithium treatment on comorbid anxiety symptoms in patients with bipolar depression" published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Whitney Postman, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences) published "Coupling Hearing Health with Community-Based Group Therapy for Cognitive Health in Low-Income African American Elders" in Perspectives of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Groups. Her co-authors are audiologist Maureen Fischer, speech-language-hearing clinic administrator Kellie Dalton, and four former SLU SLHS graduate students including Kailin Leisure. The open-access paper is about the collaborative work on behalf of North St. Louis-based African American elders at risk for combined age-related cognitive decline and hearing loss.

Jason Longhurst, Ph.D. (Physical Therapy and Athletic Training) with colleagues from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Touro University published, "A Novel Way of Measuring Dual-Task Interference: The Reliability and Construct Validity of the Dual-Task Effect Battery in Neurodegenerative Disease" in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

In collaboration with colleagues in Australia and Canada, Oluwatoyosi (Olu) Owoeye, Ph.D. has a new publication, "Location of anterior knee pain affects load tolerance in isometric single leg knee extension" in the Journal of Science in Medicine and Sport.

Amelia K. Pinto, Ph.D. (Molecular Microbiology & Immunology) co-authored an article "Balanced T and B cell responses are required for immune protection against Powassan virus in virus-like particle vaccination" in Cell Reports.

Research led by Kenton J. Johnston, Ph.D. (Health Management and Policy) was highlighted inMad in America. The research, "Comparison of Performance of Psychiatrists vs Other Outpatient Physicians in the 2020 US Medicare Merit-Based Incentive Payment System" was published on March 25, 2022, in JAMA Health Forum.

John Tavis, Ph.D (Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) was quoted in the article, "Closing in on A Cure for Hepatitis B" published online on March 30, 2022, in Nature 603, S46-S48


Amanda L. Izzo, Ph.D. (Women’s and Gender Studies) gave a lecture for the St. Louis Public Library entitled “Ruth Porter and St. Louis Community Organizing in the Civil Rights Era.” The event was sponsored by West End Neighbors and the Cabanne History Project.

Tobias Winright, Ph.D. (Health Care Ethics and Theological Studies) presented the invited Fleer Lecture on "Just and Unjust Policing: Abolition or Reform?" at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, on Tuesday, April 12.

Erik Hall (Forensic Science) gave a presentation at the 3rd Annual Belize Forensic Science Symposium. Hall also presented at the 4th Annual Global Webinar on Forensic Science.

Yasar Caliskan, M.D.(Internal Medicine)co-chaired the Clinical Genemo Resource (ClinGen) Complement Gene Curation Expert Panel (GCEP). ClinGen is an NIH-funded resource dedicated to building a central resource that defines the clinical relevance of genes and variants for use in precision medicine and research. ClinGen was founded in 2013 by the National Human Genome Research Institute and is a growing collaborative effort with over 1,700 contributors from more than 40 countries.

Devin Johnston, Ph.D. (English), an acclaimed poet, participated in the first-ever series of expert-led poetry workshops at the Endangered Wolf Center. The unique four-week program featured workshops hosted by two Webster Groves poets and instructors in honor of National Poetry Month in April. The inaugural poetry experience coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Wolf Center, which was founded in 1971 by St. Louis-based zoologist Marlin Perkins.



Five SLU undergraduate students, who are members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), presented their research results at the 2022 Experimental Biology Conference and ASBMB Annual meeting in Philadelphia. They participated in ASBMB events, such as an undergraduate research competition, and presented research posters at this national conference.

Presenting research results were Clayton Hill and Amisha Paul (Mentor: Rita Heuertz, Ph.D.), Vaishnavi Srirama (Mentor: Uthayashanker Ezekiel, Ph.D., ASBMB Advisor), Ether Dharmesh (Mentor: Silviya Zustiak, Ph.D.) and William Park (Mentor: Zhenguo Lin, Ph.D.).

Hill and Srirama received ASBMB Travel Awards. Dharmesh won an Honorable Mention Award for the undergraduate poster competition. The DeNardo Education and Research Foundation provided funding for attendance at the conference for Clayton Hill, Vaishnavi Srirama, and Amisha Paul.


Amelia Flood, a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, received a 2022 Margaret W. and John M. Moore Research Fellowship from the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn., on April 14, 2022. The fellowship will support archival research at the library's collections focused on the first civilian governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dr. Paul M. Pearson, and the intersections between Quaker identity, U.S. empire, and New Deal reform programs. Flood also served as as an invited respondent on a panel focused on Virgin Islander activist Casper Holstein on April 20, 2022, for the Society of Virgin Islands Historians.

Valerio Rasi, M.D./Ph.D. student, is the first prize winner of the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition doctorate level. Valerio is a MD/PhD student, who is completing his PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Hoft.

The 3MT competition was started at the University of Queensland, Australia, and allows graduate students to compete with a video that summarizes their graduate work in three minutes on one slide. Valerio distinguished himself at this challenging endeavor and it will serve him well for his return to medical school to complete his MD degree.

Daniel Pike, Ford Lab, received the Wendell H. Griffith Award in Biochemistry. The award is presented each year to the graduating medical student who has shown excellence in biochemistry and a continuing interest in the application of biochemistry to medicine.