Meet Our Centennial Scholars

Current Centennial Scholars

Shaneda Warren Andersen, PhD (2019)

Shaneda Warren AndersenShaneda Warren Andersen, PhD, is an assistant professor of population health sciences in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her BS in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later earned an MS and PhD in population health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Warren Andersen completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center R25 Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC) training program.

As a Centennial Scholar, Dr. Warren Andersen’s research program examines how social determinants, modifiable risk factors and genetic variants influence cancer risk. Her primary interest is in breast and colorectal cancer epidemiology.

Bolanle Famakin, MD (2018)

Bolanle Famakin, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is a stroke neurologist and physician-scientist.

Dr. Famakin earned her medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA. She completed her internship in preliminary medicine, and neurology residency, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA. This was followed by a fellowship in cerebrovascular diseases and stroke at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. In addition, she completed a bench research fellowship at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Famakin’s research is focused on understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying innate immune activation during acute stroke and during stroke recovery. She uses rodent models of experimental cerebral ischemia in her studies and studies inflammatory pathways activated by the innate immune system during tissue injury such as cerebral ischemia.

The long-term goal of Dr. Famakin’s research is to obtain the requisite information needed to develop novel therapeutics to attenuate tissue damage resulting from innate immune activation during acute stroke and therapeutics to potentiate brain repair during stroke recovery.

Héctor Valdivia, MD, PhD (2018)

Dr. Héctor H. Valdivia is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center of the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Valdivia is an Editorial Board Member of Frontiers in Bioscience, Circulation Research and Journal of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of ion channels and calcium signaling in the heart.  Dr. Valdivia’s research interests are centered in the field of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology and Pharmacology. The long-term goal of his laboratory is to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the heart beat in normal and pathological settings. His lab has focused efforts on cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and ryanodine receptors. He uses multidisciplinary approaches at the molecular, cellular and intact animal level for an integral study of physiological and pathophysiological Ca2+ signaling in the heart. His work in general has been cited over 8,500 times!

Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH (2018)

Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPHJasmine Zapata, MD, MPH is a dynamic author, physician, health educator, speaker, youth empowerment specialist, and community leader known both locally and internationally. She is a board certified pediatrician as well as a preventive medicine/public health doctor. Her focus is on ways to get outside the clinic walls to impact health outcomes for children and families on a community based level. Her research and community work focuses on racial inequities in infant mortality, upstream determinants of health, youth resilience, and innovative methods of community engagement and health promotion. She received her BS in Biomedical Sciences from Marquette University and her doctorate in Medicine from the University of WI School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH). She also completed her Pediatrics Residency, Preventive Medicine/Public Health Residency, and Master’s in Public Health at UWSMPH where she currently works as a clinician, researcher, and Centennial Scholar. Outside of the hospital, she is the founder of the Beyond Beautiful International Girls Empowerment Movement and the Madam Dreamers Online Premed Academy. She is also co-founder of the Madison Inspirational Youth Choir among numerous other community roles. She is a 4-time author and her advocacy and community work has been featured on live national TV outlets, such as the Today Show. She is extremely passionate about mentorship, diversity in medicine, and community capacity building. Her ultimate mission is to use her infectious energy, gifts, and passions to “heal, uplift and inspire”.

Lisa Barroilhet, MD (2017)

Lisa BarroilhetLisa Barroilhet, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is also a gynecologic oncologist at the UW Carbone Cancer Center and an expert in ovarian cancer, drug development, and HPV and cervical cancer screening.

Dr. Barroilhet earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota. She completed her internship and residency at North Carolina Chapel Hill and a fellowship at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Dr. Barroilhet’s research is focused on improving the lives of women at high-risk for developing ovarian cancer. Her current research is aimed at examining a class of drugs that increase oxidative stress in cancer cells, which may ultimately prove to be a valuable option for chemoprevention, allowing women to avoid surgical menopausal and retain their ovaries. She is also working to advance the early detection of ovarian cancer using novel radiotracers and imaging techniques.

Her long-term goal is to reduce the need for ovarian removal, especially in young women, and improve early detection for those patients who retain their reproductive structures. Dr. Barroilhet became a Centennial Scholar in July 2017.

Dawd S. Siraj, MD, MPH&TM (2017)

Dawd S. Siraj, MD, MPH&TM received his medical degree from Jimma Institute of Health Sciences located in Jimma Ethiopia. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, NY followed by an Infectious Diseases Fellowship and Masters of Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health, as well as a Masters in Tropical Medicine at the University of Louisiana- New Orleans. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty in August of 2016, Dr. Siraj was a Professor of Medicine at Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University. He also served as the Director of their International Travel Clinic and Program Director of their Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program. Dr. Siraj has extensive experience in HIV care, travel medicine, and medical care given in resource-limited countries. For over a decade, Dr. Siraj has been traveling to Ethiopia to collaborate on research projects, quality improvement initiatives, clinical care, and medical education.

As a Centennial Scholar, Dr. Siraj is in the process of developing a Global Health Pathway training program for Internal Medicine residents and fellows, in which trainees will take part in global health education, research, and clinical service. Eventually, Dr. Siraj would like the collaborative relationship with Ethiopian medical institutions to expand to involve other Departments within the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Siraj became a Centennial Scholar in July 2017.

Elizabeth Felton, MD, PhD (2016)

Elizabeth FeltonElizabeth Felton, MD, PhD, received her PhD in biomedical engineering in 2007 and her medical degree in 2009, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed a neurology residency in 2013 and an epilepsy fellowship in 2015, both at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology with a subspecialty in epilepsy.

As a Centennial Scholar, Felton plans to develop a clinical research program focusing on dietary therapies for adults with epilepsy including assessing neuropsychological outcomes and determining if there are biomarkers to assess treatment response. Felton also plans to investigate women with epilepsy to determine if there is a relationship between abnormalities in brain connectivity and hormonally mediated seizure patterns which may lead to menstrual dysfunction and infertility. She also plans to mentor engineering and medical students as a way to increase diversity in these fields.

Felton joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in July 2015, and became a Centennial Scholar in January 2016.

Former Centennial Scholars

Michael Mancera, MD (2015)

Michael ManceraMichael Mancera, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2009. He completed an emergency medicine residency at Grand Rapids/Michigan State University, then went on to do a fellowship in out-of-hospital care, emergency medical services at Indiana University.

As a Centennial Scholar, Mancera plans to create an educational program focused on prehospital medicine for all levels of learners. Eventually, he intends to create an EMS fellowship program. Mancera joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013, and became a Centennial Scholar in July 2015.

Vanessa Tamas, MD (2015)

Vanessa Tamas, MD, received her medical degree from the University of California in San Diego in 2006. Following medical school, she completed a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

As a Centennial Scholar, Tamas plans to create a pediatric EMS curriculum for the EMS system of Dane County. Eventually, she hopes her work will make the state of Wisconsin and the SMPH a leader in the field of pediatric prehospital medicine. Tamas joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013, and became a Centennial Scholar in July 2015.

Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, MD, OD (2014)

Olachi Mezu-NdubuisiOlachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, MD, OD, received her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. Prior to her career as a physician, she obtained a doctor of optometry degree from Abia State University in Nigeria, and maintains a license to practice that discipline. She completed her pediatric residency at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and her neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

At UIC, she started basic science studies in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a blinding eye disease affecting premature babies, where she developed an in vivo mouse model to study ROP in live neonatal mice. She joined the University of Wisconsin in November 2013 and holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She became a Centennial Scholar in July 2014.

Jason W. Stephenson, MD (2014)

Jason StephensonJason W. Stephenson, MD, received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. He completed his diagnostic radiology residency at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he also completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal radiology.

Prior to joining the Department of Radiology in 2012, he was an assistant professor of radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. A former high school science teacher, Stephenson’s academic work is now focused on medical education at all levels, including curriculum design, e-learning and simulation technology for radiologic education.

Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD (2013)

Ozioma OkonkwoOzioma Okonkwo, PhD, received his doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Medical/Clinical Psychology. He completed an NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in “Aging and Age-Related Cognitive Disorders” at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and then completed a VA Advanced Fellowship in Geriatrics at the UW/Madison VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center.

Okonkwo’s research focuses on the neuroimaging of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, especially as regards the role of candidate modifiable and non-modifiable factors in influencing the clinical expression of Alzheimer-related brain changes among at-risk middle-aged adults.

Pablo F. Gómez, PhD, MD (2013)

Pablo GomezPablo Gómez, PhD, MD, received his medical degree from the CES University in Medellín, Colombia. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, and received his MA and PhD in history from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining the Department of Medical History and Bioethics, Gómez was an Assistant Professor at Texas Christian University.

Gomez’s work examines the history of medicine and corporeality in the early modern African and Iberian Atlantic worlds. His current book project examines black ideas and practices related to bodies, health, illness, and death in the 17th century Spanish Caribbean.

Carla Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS (2013)

Carla PughCarla Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, followed by her Surgical Internship and Residency at Howard University Hospital. Dr. Pugh then completed her PhD in Education at Stanford University of Education. Prior to joining the UW Faculty in March 2011, Dr. Pugh was an Associate Professor of Surgery and an Associate Professor of Education at Northwestern University. Dr. Pugh’s research focuses on the use of simulation technology for medical and surgical education, specifically the use of simulation technology to assess and quantitatively define hands-on clinical skills.

Angela Byars-Winston, PhD (2012)

Angela Byars-WinstonAngela Byars-Winston, PhD, received her doctorate in counseling psychology from Arizona State University. Byars-Winston’s research focuses on the examination of cultural influences on career development, especially for racial and ethnic minorities and women in the sciences, engineering and medicine, with the goal of developing evidence-based interventions to increase persistence and advancement in science for underrepresented groups.

Chris Capitini, MD (2012)

Christian CapitiniChris Capitini, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota and then completed his fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology through the joint program at Johns Hopkins University/National Cancer Institute. Capitini’s research focuses on using preclinical models of allogeneic bone marrow transplant to cure pediatric leukemias and solid tumors with tumor-directed immunotherapies, with the goal of rapid translation to the clinic.

Jesse Roach, MD (2011)

Jesse Roach, MD, received his medical degree and completed his residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed a combined fellowship in pediatric and adult nephrology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Roach’s research focuses on health policy and outcomes, specifically health care financing and health disparities.

Eneida Mendonça, MD, PhD (2011)

Eneida Mendonça, MD, PhD, received her medical degree from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil and her PhD in biomedical informatics from Columbia University in New York. She completed her residency in Pediatrics/Pediatric Critical Care at São Lucas Hospital, Catholic University of RS, Brazil. Prior to joining the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Mendonça was an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago.

Mendonça’s research focuses on the use of computational methods and language-driven techniques to improve the understanding, diagnosis and outcomes of complex diseases. She has great interest in exploring novel knowledge based approaches and automated learning methods to support decision making, evidence-based and personalized medicine.

Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS (2010)

Tracy DownsTracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, received his medical degree from the University of California San Diego. He completed his residency at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He completed his urologic oncology fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco. Prior to joining the Department of Urology in April 2010, Downs was an assistant professor at the University of California-San Diego. Dr. Downs’ research focuses on bladder cancer progenitors.

Heather M. Johnson, MD (2010)

Heather JohnsonHeather M. Johnson, MD, MS, is an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and a health services researcher with the University of Wisconsin Health Innovation Program. She received her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. She completed her internal medicine residency and clinical cardiovascular medicine fellowship at UW Hospital and Clinics, and received her master’s degree in population health from the UW Graduate School.

Johnson is an NIH-funded investigator (NHLBI 1K23HL112907; Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Hypertension Control in Young Adults). She has developed a research program that utilizes health outcomes data and qualitative methodology to improve the management of hypertension and the delivery of cardiovascular preventive services to young adults.

Johnson has evaluated predictors and mechanisms of subclinical atherosclerosis with the University of Wisconsin Atherosclerosis Imaging Research Program and the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. She has studied the effects of tobacco cessation and smoking on mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and the use of carotid intima-media thickness to improve evidence-based cardiovascular disease risk factor management.

Chanel T. Tyler, MD (2010)

Chanel TylerChanel T. Tyler, MD, received her medical degree at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. She completed her maternal-fetal medicine fellowship training at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Tyler’s research focuses on the immunologic changes associated with medical complications of pregnancy. Tyler is also completing her PhD through the UWSMPH Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program.

Dayle B. DeLancey, PhD (2009)

Dayle B. DeLancey, PhD, received her MA in English and American literature from Harvard University and her PhD and MSc from the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Prior to joining the Department of Medical History and Bioethics in October 2009, DeLancey was an assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

DeLancey’s work focuses on a book manuscript that explores how African-Americans viewed and experienced smallpox vaccination in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as inoculation in the 18th century.