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Current Scholars

Learn more about our current scholars below.

Lisanne Jenkins, PhD

Research Assistant Professor - Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Faculty Profile

Project title: Structural Brain Network Properties of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Across Dementias

Lisanne Jenkins, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Feinberg School of Medicine. She received her PhD in 2013 from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests are in the domain of affective neuroscience, and she uses neuroimaging to identify biomarkers of psychiatric symptoms in neurological and psychiatric populations. Her current project involves creating structural connectomes of functional brain networks to identify properties associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms across behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. The results of her study will inform treatments for these symptoms which are highly distressing to patients and caregivers and extremely difficult to treat, to improve quality of life.

Ravi Patel, MD, MSc

Assistant Professor of Medicine-Cardiology

Faculty Profile

Project Title: Longitudinal Characterization of Disproportionate Left Atrial Myopathy in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Ravi Patel MD MSc is an Instructor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine (Division of Cardiology). He received his medical doctorate at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, he completed his fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and his post-doctoral research fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention at Northwestern University. Ravi's global research interest surrounds identification of mechanisms and therapeutic targets for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). His current research aim is to understand the clinical impact and pathogenesis of left atrial mechanical dysfunction prior to the development of HFpEF.

Hadijat-Kubura M. Makinde, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Medicine - Rheumatology

Faculty Profile

Project title: The Utilization of Monocyte Transcriptional Profiles to Classify Systemic Sclerosis Disease State

Hadijat Makinde, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. training from Rush University Graduate College in 2015 and completed her postdoctoral training at Northwestern University Department of Surgery. Dr. Makinde’s current research aims to addresses the impact of monocytes and macrophages in scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin and internal organs. Her long-term research goal is to utilize computational models to develop a precision medicine approach for the patients who suffer from the disease.

Anna Pfenniger, MD, PhD

Instructor of Medicine (Cardiology)

Faculty Profile

Project title: The Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Atrial Fibrillation

Anna Pfenniger, MD PhD is an Instructor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine (Division of Cardiology, Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology). She received her medical doctorate and her PhD at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). After a post-doctoral research fellowship at New York University, she completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts. She subsequently completed her fellowships in Cardiovascular Diseases and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at Northwestern University. Dr. Pfenniger’s broad research interests involve identifying mechanisms of arrhythmias to enhance therapeutic strategies for patients suffering from arrhythmias, with a particular focus on atrial fibrillation. Her current research project focuses on the role of endothelial dysfunction in atrial fibrillation by applying non-invasive imaging modalities in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, and gene therapy approaches in pre-clinical models of atrial fibrillation. The results of her study will enhance knowledge of this disease and may lead to novel, mechanism-guided treatments for atrial fibrillation.

Colleen Peyton, DPT

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences and Pediatrics

Faculty Profile

Project title: Early Structural and Functional Motor Trajectories in Preterm Infants

Colleen Peyton, DPT is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science and in the Department of Pediatrics. She received her DPT from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston and obtained her post-graduate specialty certification in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Dr. Peyton’s research project focuses on the development of spontaneous movement behaviors in infants born very preterm with and without brain injury. She is also interested in exploring how these early movement behaviors are related to myelination of motor pathways in brain. Her long-term research goal is to develop early and targeted treatments for infants with cerebral palsy.

Kyle L. MacQuarrie, MD, PhD

Instructor of Pediatrics (Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation)

Faculty Profile

Project title: Nuclear Organization in the Pediatric Tumor Rhabdomyosarcoma

Kyle MacQuarrie MD, PhD is an Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received both his MD and PhD from the University of Washington School of Medicine as a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program there. He then completed both his pediatrics residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship as a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program at Northwestern University/ Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. MacQuarrie’s broad research interests are in understanding the intersection of pediatric tumor biology and normal developmental biology on the cellular and molecular level. His current work focuses on investigating the organization of the cell nucleus in the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma. Long-term, he hopes to be able to use such work to improve diagnosis, prognostication, and therapy in pediatric solid tumors.

Carol Haywood, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences

Faculty Profile

Carol Haywood, PhD, OTR/L, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences with an affiliation in the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research. She completed her PhD in 2018 at the University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, and she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Integrated Fellowship in Health Services and Outcomes Research at Northwestern University until 2021. Dr. Haywood has expertise in qualitative research methods, and she is committed to advancing health equity and quality of life for people with disabilities through her work. Dr. Haywood’s current research aims to identify factors that affect ability and satisfaction with participation in health care for people with mobility impairments. The results will inform an item bank for development of a patient-reported measure of participation in health care for people with mobility impairments, which can be implemented in a variety of settings to examine access and quality of care.

Lajja Desai, MD

Attending Physician, Cardiology Instructor of Pediatrics (Cardiology)

Faculty Profile

Lajja Desai, MD, is an Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Cardiology) and Invasive Pediatric Electrophysiologist at Lurie Children’s. She received her undergraduate degree in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and medical degree from the University of Iowa. She then completed her residency training in Pediatrics at Emory University/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and completed her fellowships in Pediatric Cardiology and Electrophysiology at Northwestern University/Lurie Children’s. Her broad research goal is to merge the engineering and pediatric cardiac fields to create novel solutions that improve the quality of patient care. Her current research project focuses on developing a non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tool to evaluate oximetry and 4D flow in single ventricle heart disease. Long-term, she aims to leverage her clinical role as an interventional cardiologist to be at the forefront of developing and implementing pioneering diagnostic MRI tools that guide interventional approaches.

Amanda Becker, MD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Critical Care)

Faculty Profile

Amanda Becker, MD is an Assistant Professor and physician-scientist at Northwestern University in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine. She received her medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Wisconsin. She subsequently completed her fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine followed by a two-year research fellowship at Northwestern University. Broadly, Dr. Becker’s scientific pursuits focus on advancing understanding of age-related differences in innate immune responses to tissue injury and organ dysfunction during critical illness, with a specific interest in cardiac injury and recovery. She also seeks to identify novel therapeutic targets to improve tissue and organ recovery during critical illness. Her current research project investigates the neonatal mammalian myeloid response to hypoxia and the role of myeloid hypoxia inducible transcription factors in cardiac regeneration after cardiac injury. Her project also seeks to determine whether myeloid hypoxia-stimulated regenerative mechanisms exist in human neonates/infants and are lost with age. Dr. Becker’s research will help uncover age-related differences in immune mediated regenerative versus reparative responses to cardiac injury and may identify novel therapeutic targets to improve cardiac tissue recovery and myocardial function after injury.

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