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Executive Council Members
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Executive Council - 2019 - 2020

The Executive Council is made up of sixteen positions elected by the Institutional Representatives during the APSA Annual Meeting in April of each year. These positions are the only members of the Executive Council with voting privileges. The committee vice-chairs are included as non-voting members of the Executive Council and are appointed to their positions by the Executive Council. The vice-chairs may in the absence of the committee chair serve as the proxy vote.

Visit the Executive Council leadership position page to find out more about the roles and responsibilities associated with each position.

Abhik Banerjee


Abhik Banerjee is a 8th year MD-PhD Student in the University of Southern California/California Institute of Technology MD-PhD program. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California Los Angeles, where he studied Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, and Music Performance. During his undergraduate research experience, he developed an animal model for characterizing the role of the Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor, CDKN1C, in a Growth Restriction Syndrome called IMAGe Syndrome. He currently performs research in the Guttman and Rothenberg groups, studying the roles of Split Ends Transcription Repressor in gene regulatory networks and long noncoding RNA-mediated gene regulation. He previously served as the 2016-2017 APSA MD/DO-PhD Member at Large, the 2017-2018 APSA Membership Committee Chair, and 2018-2019 APSA President Elect before assuming the role of President for the 2019-2020 year. Outside of lab and APSA, he enjoys volunteering with student-run clinics in the Los Angeles area and running.

Audra Iness Christovich
Immediate Past-President

Audra Iness Christovich is a seventh year MD-PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine. Audra obtained her PhD in Clinical and Translational Research, Cancer and Molecular Medicine in 2018 and is now in the clinical clerkship phase of the MD-PhD program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Larisa Litovchick, MD, PhD, Audra studied the oncoprotein B-Myb and its impact on cell cycle regulation by the transcriptional repressor complex, DREAM, in ovarian cancer. Additionally, she enjoys playing soccer and has been a part of a community league for several years. Her involvement in APSA began when she founded a local chapter at VCU and held roles as President and Institutional Representative. At the national level, she has served as Public Relations Chair (2016-2017), President-Elect (2017-2018), and President this past term. Audra was involved in developing several initiatives, including the establishment of the inaugural Burroughs Wellcome Fund-APSA Physician Scientist Trainee Diversity Summit, unifying the community of Physician Scientist Training/Research in Residency Programs, as well as the formation of the International Consortium of Clinician Scientist Trainee Organizations (ICCSTO). She looks forward to supporting the next generation of APSA leaders and her continued commitment to physician scientist trainee advocacy. 

Hannah Turbeville
President - Elect

Hannah Turbeville is a sixth year MD-PhD student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she studies the effects of preeclampsia on the offspring of affected pregnancies and the therapeutic potential of sildenafil in reducing their chronic disease risk in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Sasser. She previously attended the University of Southern Mississippi and earned a BS in Medical Laboratory Science after completing an honors thesis comparing diagnostic parameters of tumor markers in prostate cancer. Hannah began her journey with APSA in 2016 as a member of the Partnerships committee before moving on to Vice chair and Chair of the same committee. As President-Elect, she looks forward to facilitating diversity initiatives, strengthening partner relations, and ensuring that APSA serves as the voice of physician scientist trainees across the country. Loves: her German shepherd Zeus, Disney World, adventures, black coffee. Hates: pickles, movie spoilers, alarm clocks. 


Sarah Groover
Vice President


Sarah Groover is a fourth year in the PhD program Oklahoma State University, studying cancer epidemiology & immunology in HCV-associated liver cancer. The larger goals of her research revolve around the prevention and early detection of cancer, with a focus on results that will be clinically relevant. She has previously served as Vice-Chair (2017-2018) and Chair (2018-2019) for APSA's Public Relations Committee.


Eileen Hu
Co-Chair, Events Committee


Eileen Hu is a sixth year MD-PhD student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles where she discovered her passion for scientific discovery while studying hematopoiesis and neuron development in D. melanogaster, and anti-aging mechanisms in C. elegans. Currently, Eileen is completing her PhD in the Experimental Hematology Laboratory at the Ohio State University studying the effects of ROR1-targeted antibody therapy in leukemia under Drs. Natarajan Muthusamy and John Byrd. Eileen is a current NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral NRSA (F30) Fellow and a 2019 AACR Women in Science Scholar. She is a passionate advocate for medical research training and is an active member of the American Physician Scientist Association and is currently serving as the Co-Chair of the Events Committee for the 2019-2020 term. This year she looks forward to facilitating APSA's partnerships and lines of communications with national residency programs in order to better serve our members.

Lillian Zhang EC photoLillian Zhang
Co-Chair, Events Committee


Ms. Lillian Zhang is a sixth year MD/PhD student at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. She received her BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Biomedical Research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Currently, Lillian is a graduate student researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Andreas Baumler, where she is Salmonella virulence and pathogenesis. Within APSA, Lillian has served as an Institutional Representative, Vice Chair of the Events Committee, and is now in her second year as co-chair of the Events Committee.

 Jeff Chen
Vice-Chair, Events Committee


Diedreanna Britanya Welington
Vice-Chair, Events Committee



Jose Rodrigues
Co-Chair, Fundraising Committee


Jose A. Rodrigues is a 4th year DO/PhD Student at Michigan State University. Currently, as a second year graduate student, with his mentor Dr. Shannon Manning, Jose studies the molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistant Campylobacter jejuni an important foodborne pathogen. Jose is also collaborating with Dr. Victor DiRita, to understand bacterial pathogenesis of C. jejuni multi-drug resistant infections. Jose hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, in particular he has interests in critical care and infectious disease.

Co-Chair, Fundraising Committee


Brian Nohomovich is a 6th year DO, PhD student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI. He is currently a senior PhD candidate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and is currently working on defining the alterations of the human microbiome during acute gastroenteritis under the guidance of Shannon Manning, PhD. His professional interests include internal medicine (infectious disease/gastroenterology), pediatrics, probiotics, ecology, computational biology, and bioinformatics. He has served in numerous leadership positions including Director of Research for the Student Osteopathic Medical Association and Chair for graduate students on the Student Advisory Council for the college of Natural Sciences. He currently serves as the publicist for the local Doctors without Borders chapter at Michigan State University and is the Vice-Chair of Fundraising for APSA. 

 Alison Marie Smith
Vice-Chair, Fundraising Committee


Omar Toubat
Chair, Membership Committee


Omar is a fifth-year MD/PhD candidate in the USC-Caltech MD/PhD program. Prior to medical school, he earned a BA in biological sciences from USC’s Baccalaureate/MD program. His graduate work focuses on studying the paracrine signals between neural crest and second heart field cells during outflow tract morphogenesis, with the goal of improving our understanding of the molecular basis of conotruncal congenital heart disease and associated extra-cardiac anomalies. His long-term career goal is to become an academic congenital heart surgeon-scientist. In his free time, Omar enjoys playing soccer, watching Real Madrid, and attending USC football games. 

Kevin Matthew Blum
 Vice-Chair, Membership Committee (IR)


Melanie Barbini
 Vice-Chair, Membership Committee (LC)


Katelyn Robillard
Co-Chair, Partnerships Committee


Katelyn is a fifth year MD/PhD student at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. She previously graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Southeastern Louisiana University and worked as a student intern in the department of Comparative Pathology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. Katelyn is currently in her third year of graduate studies at the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, where she is working towards the development of gene therapy for vision loss in Usher syndrome. She has previously served as Vice-Chair of the Partnerships Committee and is excited to continue working with APSA's partnering organizations as Co-Chair of the committee.  


 Alex Waldman
Co-Chair, Partnerships Committee


Alex Waldman is a fourth-year MD/PhD student at Emory University School of Medicine and a National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholar. He is currently conducting a dually-mentored DPhil with Dr. Michael Lenardo at the National Institutes of Health and and Dr. Gabriele De Luca at the University of Oxford. He hopes to uncover and novel susceptibility variants in multiple sclerosis and validate their role in pathogenesis utilizing genomic, neuropathologic, and proteomic techniques. His involvement with APSA began on a regional level when he helped fundraise and recruit keynote speakers for the Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium in 2017. He subsequently joined the APSA Partnerships Committee for the 2017-2018 year and served as a Vice-Chair for the 2018-2019 year. He has now transitioned into the role of Partnerships Committee Co-Chair where he hopes to foster new partnerships with subspecialty organizations and further develop the International Consortium of Clinician Scientist Trainee Organizations

Juhye Lee
Vice-Chair, Partnerships Committee



 Kevin Yu
Vice-Chair, Partnerships Committee


 Samantha Spellicy
Co-Chair, Policy Committee

Samantha Spellicy is a 6th year MD/PhD student at the University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She attained her Bachelor of Science at the University of Maryland in Physiology and Neurobiology. Following graduation, she completed a postbaccalaureate IRTA at the National Institutes of Health, NIAID.  As a member of Dr. Steve Stice’s lab at the Regenerative Bioscience Center, Samantha is in pursuit of her PhD in Neuroscience and is studying the therapeutic efficacy of extracellular vesicles in stroke and other neuroinflammatory diseases. Her professional interests include neurosurgery, neurology, and pediatric neurology. Her involvement in APSA began in 2017 as member of APSA’s Policy Committee where she has served in various roles on the committee ever since. She enjoys playing video games, intramural and recreational sports, and reading in her hammock.

Elinor Mannon
Co-Chair, Policy Committee


Ms. Elinor Mannon is a fourth year MD/PhD student in the University System of Georgia MD/PhD Program at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She is currently a second-year graduate student in Dr. Paul O’Connor’s lab in the Department of Physiology, where her research focuses on the immunologic and metabolic effects of sodium bicarbonate therapy, as well as elucidating the signaling mechanism for the splenic cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. She previously attended Wellesley College, where she received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences. This past year Elinor served as a Policy Committee member, and was involved in researching and developing a resolution initiative focused on establishing parental leave policies for medical and dual-degree students. Outside of the lab, Elinor enjoys distance running and is passionate about all things coffee. 


Deng Pan
Vice-Chair, Policy Committee



 Nadine Ramirez
Chair, Public Relations Committee


Nadine Ramirez is an undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Biology with a minor Spanish. Nadine also currently partakes in viral RNA research assisting a post-graduate doctor, conducting this research at CU Anschutz Medical. Passionate about research, the medical field, and advocacy of both disciples Nadine is currently the  Public Relations Committee Chair. Nadine aspires to continue to integrate herself in APSA and further expand the scope of her work. 


Zaki Al-yafeai
Vice-Chair, Public Relations Committee



 Muhammad Saad Shamim
Co-Chair, Technology Committee


Muhammad Saad Shamim (@sa501428) is a fourth-year MD/PhD student and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University. He received a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Computational & Applied Mathematics and Cognitive Sciences from Rice University. His current research is in Computational Bioengineering and Genomics, specifically 3D interactions within the nucleus (Hi-C). Muhammad currently serves as the Technology Chair on the Executive Council, and in the past, has served as an APSA Institutional Representative, Vice-Chair of the Public Relations Committee in the past year, and as an organizer of the 2018 South Regional Meeting.

Christoper Sylvester
Co-Chair, Technology Committee


Christopher Sylvester is a fifth-year MD/PhD student in the Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University Medical Scientist Training Program. He earned his BS in Biological Engineering from Louisiana State University in 2015 where he studied biomedical applications of nanotechnology. His current research focuses on using three-dimensional cell culture to study how radiation and mechanics causes cardiovascular disease and ways to prevent it. He serves a Co-Chair of the Technology Committee and previously has worked as a student mentor with APSA.


Katie Hogan
Vice-Chair, Technology Committee


Trevor Hunt
Member-at-Large, MD/DO


Trevor C. Hunt is a rising 4th year MD student pursuing urology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Trevor is a member of Brody's Research Distinction Track in the lab of Dr. Johanna Hannan and his primary research focus is the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in bladder disease. He also studies socioeconomic factors in surgical patients under Dr. J.E. Betsy Tuttle-Newhall, and will be completing a one-year fellowship in urologic oncology research at the University of Utah School of Medicine with Dr. Brock O'Neil and Dr. William Lowrance prior to beginning 4th year. Trevor became involved in APSA through the Events Committee, where he planned and moderated the Social Sciences and Humanities panel for the 2019 Annual Meeting. He is an avid skier, golfer, and writer, authoring the monthly column "Research for the Rest of Us" on the medical advising website Student Doctor Network. Find him on Twitter: @TrevorHunt_ECU

Gina Calco
Member-at-Large, MD/DO-PhD MAL


Gina Calco is a fourth year MD/PhD student at Oregon Health & Science University. She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, where she graduated with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering in 2014. As a second year graduate student in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, she is investigating how metabolic dysfunction in obesity contributes to the pathophysiology of asthma under the direction of her co-mentors Drs. Zhenying Nie and David Jacoby. Outside of the lab, she enjoys dancing, baking healthy treats, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and traveling. Gina previously served on the national APSA Membership and Ad Hoc Mentorship Committees. As the DO-MD/PhD Member-At-Large, she is excited to start new initiatives that represent the interests of her DO-MD/PhD peers.  

Chu Hsiao
Member-at-Large, Social Sciences & Humanities

Chu Hsiao is a sixth-year MD-PhD at the University of Florida studying anthropology. She graduated Cornell University in 2012 with a BS in Human Biology, Health, and Society and a minor in Gerontology. Her research interest centers on better understanding how social environments become embodied biologically to affect health. She uses a biocultural approach that integrates anthropological theory and methods with molecular techniques. Chu is currently investigating how maternal stress impacts the placental transcriptome to affect offspring health in a cohort of mothers and babies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chu has served as the Institutional Representative for the University of Florida since 2016 and will begin her position as the Social Sciences and Humanities Member-at-Large starting in 2019. She looks forward to providing more resources and support for physician-scientists in the social sciences and humanities.

Aaron Sandoval
Undergraduate Liaison

Aaron Sandoval is an undergraduate senior at the University of Florida majoring in Biology and minoring in Health Disparities. At UF, Aaron studies the African spiny mouse’s ability to regenerate multiple tissues in the laboratory of Dr. Malcolm Maden. Through the Brigham Research Institute and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, he has worked as a summer intern in the laboratory of Dr. Jessica Whited studying axolotl salamander limb regeneration. Aaron also serves as the President of the UF APSA undergraduate local chapter. He hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist studying regenerative medicine and translating laboratory findings from the bench to the bedside. He has previously served as a 2018-19 Vice-Chair of Partnerships, in charge of Intercommittee Initiatives as well Interactive Sessions.

Julia Weidmeier
Resident, Fellow, and Junior Faculty Co-Chair


Ms. Julia (Erin) Wiedmeier, MD, MPH is a third year Internal Medicine Resident at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. She received her B.S. and MPH degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and completed her medical degree at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon where she also completed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research fellowship in cancer biology. She was recently accepted to the clinician investigator fellowship track at Mayo Clinic in the field of Hematology/Oncology. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her family. 

 Jennifer Kwan
Resident, Fellow, and Junior Faculty Co-Chair


Dr. Jennifer Kwan is a Cardiology fellow at Yale University School of Medicine. She obtained her MD and PhD degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Illinois Chicago. She previously graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Molecular Cell Biology, where she was both a Cal Alumni Scholar and recipient of the Berkeley Academic Scholarship. She is a recipient of the University of Illinois College of Medicine leadership award, Chancellor's Service Award, Eugertha Bates Memorial Award and her PhD research on PI3K-Akt signaling, supported by an NIH T32 research fellowship, has earned her the Molecular Genetics Provost Deiss award and the Erdös Prize for Excellence in Basic Sciences. She has presented her research at various national science meetings, including the Keystone Symposia. Within APSA, Dr. Kwan previously served as the Vice President of external affairs where she helped initiate and build multiple partnerships, including with the Keystone Symposia, Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) and the American Heart Association (AHA). In her tenure as the Policy Committee Chair for six years, she helped design and launch several major initiatives including the F30 and Tomorrow’s Physician and developed a policy panel to address issues like biomedical research funding advocacy and policies governing intellectual property/translational research at the APSA Annual meeting. Completion of analysis of F30 survey data identified significant biomedical funding shortfalls for which APSA advocated for coverage. Over the advocacy period and with support from AAMC GREAT group leaders and MD/PhD program directors, the number of NIH institutes participating in the F30 funding mechanism went from 10/27 to ALL NIH institutes. With input from leaders at the AAMC, ACE and AMWA, she helped develop and launch the pilot and national Tomorrow’s Physician survey: results have characterized future career interests of physicians and physician-scientists as well as identify significant factors that have helped or hindered their career development and have been accepted as peer reviewed abstracts and presented at the 2012 AAMC annual meeting, the Association for the Study of Higher Education and accepted for publication in BMC medical education. The Tomorrow's Physician national study results will be used to make data-based policy recommendations to help ensure the career success of physician-scientists in various career sectors, including academia, industry and government. To help with policy efforts and planning a longitudinal study to help assess factors that enable physician scientists to contribute to biomedical research, she has been in active discussions with ASCI and IOM leadership to facilitate synergistic efforts. She is also founder of the University of Illinois, College of Medicine Mentors Program that provides medical students with exposure to 26 different medical specialties and opportunities to apply and integrate their course material via real clinical cases and it celebrated its 10 yr anniversary in 2018. As a resident and fellow, discussions with deans, department chairs highlighted the dire attrition of physician scientists at the resident/fellow to junior faculty and early junior faculty stages of training with commonly cited reasons to be lack of protected time, economic misalignment of incentives, being pulled back for clinical duties, difficulty securing grants etc. 

Working with APSA leaders, she spearheaded and developed the new resident/fellow/junior faculty section of APSA to address the leaky pipeline phenomenon at these most vulnerable stages. As the co-chair of this section this year, she aims to gain a data based understanding as to the reasons behind attrition and to advocate for entities such as research RVUs that would increase the success of physician scientists during these training stages. One of the major initiatives this year will be research RVUs, whereby in collaboration with other policy making bodies, we plan on surveying academic institutions and specialty societies to assess current practices that support physician scientist research at early career stages, their metrics for success and outcomes thus far. Goal would be to share,encourage good practices.As a director of the APSA board of directors, Dr. Kwan plans to continue moving forward APSA initiatives and strengthen external collaborations to help reach common goals for physician-scientist career development while working to create more benefits for APSA members. 

Renee Russo EC photoRenee Russo, CAE
Executive Director


Renee Russo joined McKenna Management in 2017 and serves as Executive Director for several client organizations. Renee has over 10 years of association management experience, including local trade associations and international medical societies. Prior to joining McKenna Management, she served as Director of Administration for the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary tract at PRRI- An Association Management Company. She has a versatile skill set in administration, membership recruitment and outreach, volunteer engagement, board governance, and marketing communications. Renee holds a Bachelors Degree in Marketing Communications from Emerson College.

» View Past Executive Council members «