Physiology and Anatomy Faculty In the News

Dr. Andras Lacko has made UNTHSC History by receiving the largest grant ever from the Rutledge Foundation for Lacko Nanoparticle Delivery Research. We are so proud. Congratulations Andras!





Congratulations to Our Valubility of the Year Recipient!

Physiology and Anatomy’s Dr. Rehana Lovely was selected to receive Valubility of the Year Award. This award is a testament to her teaching abilities and her dedication to her students. Rehana is a valuable team member and contributes greatly to the success of our PA, PT, graduate Medical Science, and TCOM anatomy programs. Keep up the excellent work, Rehana!!!!
*Rehana Lovely and Derrick Smith (GSBS)

Writing Successful Grants

Dr. Kurt Albertine visited our department in December to conduct a two-day grant writing workshop.  Faculty and students had the opportunity to learn tips on writing effective grants and even received feedback on some of their writing.  This was a great opportunity and will surely lead to more funded grants!

Name Change!

The ICMD is now the Department of Physiology and Anatomy, effective Fall 2017.

Operation Christmas Child

This holiday season Deborah Osikoya, graduate student in the Goulopoulou lab, led our department in collecting items for Operation Christmas Child. Together, we packed 23 Christmas gift boxes for 23 children. This was an amazing experience and to hear the responses from the children who received the boxes was even more special.  You can find such stories on Instagram using #ShoeboxRecipientTakeover



Physiology Outreach

Students, faculty and staff volunteered their time to share physiology with elementary and middle school students in the DFW area. The school visits occurred during Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week (November 6-10, 2017), a national initiative sponsored by the American Physiological Society.  It’s safe to say, everyone had a PhUn time!

Dallas Park (Crowley ISD)



William James Middle (Fort Worth ISD)


Homeostasis and the Hypothalamus: Lessons Learned

Dr. Tom Cunningham presented the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Seminar as a part of the Graduate Student Association Graduate Faculty of the Year Award for 2016-2017. The lecture was followed by a reception in his honor.  Congratulations Tom!


ICMD Student in the News

From personal trainer to PhD candidate… Justin Sprick, graduate student in the Rickards lab, describes his path through education, science and research thus far.  To read more, click here.

Fall 2017 Grant Notifications

We are pleased to announce recently funded grants to faculty and students of the ICMD!

  • Dr. Lisa Hodge was the recipient of a grant to study the effect of osteopathic manipulative techniques on tissue edema.
  • Dr. Andras Lacko received a grant to study the ability of high density lipoprotein particles to transport molecules.
  • Dr. Caroline Rickards was awarded a grant to study a novel approach for improving cerebral tissue blood flow and oxygenation via pulsatile perfusion therapy.
  • Dr. Ann Schreihofer received a grant to study autonomic regulation of blood pressure in obesity.
  • Justin Sprick of the Rickards lab was awarded a predoctoral fellowship to study the potential therapeutic benefits of remote ischemic preconditioning and occlusive exercise.

Hello Bellamy!


Join us in welcoming Baby Bellamy Reatz into the world. Congratulations Megan… she’s perfect!

ICMD PostDoc Receives Award

Dr. Lei Wang of the Mifflin lab was awarded the Onsite Trainee Poster Award at the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension in September of 2017. This award was granted based on the ability of the trainee to deliver an outstanding poster presentation, to answer questions regarding the work, and to describe how the work progresses the field .  Congratulations Lei, we are all proud of you!







ICMD Student in the News

Flora Park is a Medical Science student currently completing a one-year Integrative Physiology research track in the Rickards lab. Ms. Park volunteers her time to teach art and music classes at Westmore Senior Living five times per month. Read more about how Flora shares her talents with the elderly in Fort Worth.

Kicking off the Fall with Cake 🙂

The ICMD recently held a social gathering to celebrate faculty, staff, and student accomplishments. We look forward to an exciting and successful year full of insightful science, teaching and outreach!






A Baby Shower for Megan!

We enjoyed celebrating the countdown to the arrival of the latest ICMD baby!  We can’t wait to meet you Baby Bellamy!




Summer 2017 Research in the ICMD

This summer, several ICMD labs hosted undergraduate students from across the United States. The students presented their work at the summer research appreciation day hosted by UNTHSC’s Center for Diversity and International Programs. Trentyn Shaw (pictured third from left), an undergraduate student from Alabama State University, won first place for his presentation on the work that he conducted in Dr. Lacko’s lab.  Congratulations Trentyn and Dr. Lacko!


ICMD Student in the News

Dr. Brent Shell, former graduate student of Dr. Tom Cunningham, is featured as a top scholar in UNTHSC Insite News.  Read the story here.



UNTHSC Graduation 2017 Congratulations

The ICMD graduated several students this year in the May 20th commencement exercises. The students, their degree(s), and major professors are listed below.  In addition, an ICMD student and faculty member were recognized for their achievements in academic excellence. Dr. Brent Shell was awarded the prestigious President’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academics. Dr. Rong Ma was awarded with the Academic Commendation for Excellence, which is an award earned by tenured faculty members who received outstanding rankings on their post-tenure review process. We are so proud!

Sarika Chaudhari, M.D., Ph.D. (Ma lab)
Katelynn Faulk, Ph.D. (Cunningham lab)
Victoria Kay, P.A., Ph.D. (Rickards lab)
Jackson Lopez, M.S. (Mifflin lab)
Brent Shell, Ph.D. (Cunningham lab)

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Game Time!

On Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 members of the ICMD watched the Texas Rangers pummel the Philadelphia Phillies, ultimately sweeping the three-day series.  This was a great outing for our students, faculty, and staff, and their families.  Go Rangers!

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Preventable Aging Award 2017

ICMD graduate student, Justin Sprick (Rickards lab) is a trainee on the Institute on Healthy Aging (IHA)’s NIH-funded training grant.  The IHA held its annual Neurobiology of Aging Trainee Symposium on May 10, 2017, with Marc Diamond, MD, Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor at UT Southwestern, as keynote speaker.  Trainees competed for several awards during outstanding oral presentations and we are proud to announce that Justin was awarded the Preventable Aging Award. The award came with a monetary prize and it is well deserved.  Congratulations, Justin!

2017 GSBS Awards

This year ICMD faculty and students were acknowledged at the UNTHSC GSBS Annual Awards Banquet.  Dr. Tom Cunningham was voted the Graduate Student Association Graduate Faculty Member of the Year.  Justin Sprick (Rickards lab) was named Integrative Physiology Student of the Year and was inducted into Sigma Xi. Kirthikaa Balapattabi (Cunningham lab), Parul Chaudhary (Schreihofer lab), and Akpedje Dossou (Lacko lab) were offered Student Affairs Scholarships for GSBS Students.  Dr. Brent Shell won the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. Congratulations!

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Past Physiology Graduate Students and Current Faculty Honored at EB 2017

porter50Former UNTHSC Integrative Physiology graduate students, Dr. Maurice Williams (Gwirtz lab) and Lt. Col. Dr. Robert Carter, III (Smith lab), along with current ICMD Assistant Professor, Dr. Keisa Mathis, were honored at this year’s Experimental Biology as a few of the 140 American Physiological Society (APS) Porter Fellows during the 50th anniversary celebration of the fellowship.  The APS Porter Fellowship has given an opportunity to many minority scientists since 1967 by providing funding (i.e., tuition and stipend assistance) for 1-3 years of graduate school, as well as travel grants to attend Experimental Biology. Among Porter Fellows are the first African American to head an NIH institute, the first Hispanic to head an NIH Institute, Harvard Professors of Physiology and several university and medical school presidents.  The anniversary celebration was an awesome event put on by the American Physiological Society-Porter Physiology Development and Minority Affairs Committee.  Dr. Mathis also served on the Anniversary Honorary Committee.

High Honor for ICMD Faculty

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Recently-retired Professor, Dr. Peter Raven, has left his mark at UNTHSC and the ICMD and is now being recognized with the highest honor from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  Dr. Raven is the 2017 recipient of the ACSM Honor Award and will be celebrated at an awards banquet on June 2, 2017.  We are very proud of Dr. Raven and his excellence in education and science. Congratulations!





Award-Winning PostDoc

irfanICMD trainee, Mirza Irfan Beig, is the recipient of the American Physiological Society John F. Perkins, Jr. Memorial Award for International Physiologists. This award is intended to support family visits to the US for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty from overseas. Dr. Beig is a native of India and Australian citizen with approximately 11 years of research experience in the fields of neuro- and cardiovascular physiology/pharmacology. He has worked with internationally renowned groups and has published his work in high impact journals. Dr. Beig is much deserving of this award and we extend our congratulations!!

RAD Standouts

On April 7, 2017, ICMD graduate students and postdocs participated in UNTHSC’s Research Appreciation Day.  The day was
filled with interesting science and ICMD trainees fared well in the oral and poster competitions!


From left to right as pictured:

Gef Farmer (Cunningham Lab)–GSBS Postdoctoral Poster Award
Justin Sprick
(Rickards Lab)–GSBS Oral Presentation Award
Grace Pham
(Mathis Lab)–ICMD 3rd Place Graduate Student Research Award, TCOM 2nd Place Student Research Award, and Medical GSA Best in Second-Year Class
Serena Dossou
(Lacko Lab)–IMM Cancer Biology Translational Research Poster Presentation Award
Alex Marciante
(Cunningham Lab)–ICMD 1st Place Graduate Student Research Award and 3rd Place GSBS Poster Award
Kirthikaa Balapattabi
(Cunningham Lab)–ICMD 2nd Place Graduate Student Research Award
Julian Nguyen (Mallet Lab)–TCOM Honors Student Research Award (not pictured)

Congratulations to you all!!

Click here for a complete list of RAD 2017 winners.

Spring 2017 Grant Notifications

We are pleased to announce recently funded grants to faculty of the ICMD!

  • Dr. Andras Lacko was awarded a research award to study the potential of targeted biocompatible nanoparticles for the treatment of enhanced Ewing’s sarcoma.  Congratulations Andras!
  • Dr. Caroline Rickards is the recipient of a research award from the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation based in San Antonio.  Congratulations Caroline!

Student Awards for Experimental Biology 2017

Noah Jouette and Justin Sprick have both been selected to receive a 2017 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.  This award includes several professional development opportunities and a monetary prize. Congratulations Noah and Justin!

Deborah Osikoya is a recipient of the American Physiological Society Minority Travel Fellowship. In addition, Spencer Cushen has been awarded the APS Excellence in Professional Student Research Travel Award.  Both of these awards will provide funding for travel to Experimental Biology in Chicago in April.  Deborah and Spencer are members of the Goulopoulou lab. Congratulations!!

Graduate Student Ambassador for the American Physiological Society

Congratulations to Grace Pham for being selected as one of five Graduate Student Ambassadors for the APS!  This award comes with travel grants to attend Experimental Biology for two years as well as many professional development opportunities.  Other awardees were selected from the UT Health Science Center-San Antonio, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Iowa and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

National Wear Red Day-Friday, February 3, 2017

What is the importance of wearing red on this day you ask? It is to bring awareness to a disease that kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds (according to the American Heart Association). Cardiovascular disease is a devastating disease that will only be overcome with research, education, awareness and lifestyle changes.  We here in the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease at UNTHSC support this initiative and encourage you to wear red and donate to the cause. #GoRedWearRed #GoRedforWomen

Wear Red Day 2017 (2)

Junior Investigators with Big Ideas


Congratulations to all of our faculty who were featured prominently in the inaugural issue of Health Institute News!  To see the article, click here.

Happy Holidays from the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease!

The ICMD celebrated the holidays with a luncheon held at Blue Mesa on December 9, 2016.  We all had a great time with good food, games, friends, and fun!

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Sharing Physiology with the DFW Community

Researchers from the ICMD had the opportunity to present physiology concepts and conduct experiments with K-12 students around Fort Worth. Physiology Understanding Week or PhUn Week is an outreach program coordinated by the American Physiological Society.  Faculty, staff and students from the ICMD interacted with over 200 students during this year’s PhUn Week at a Clayton YES daycare (One Safe Place) and schools in both Fort Worth ISD (Tanglewood Elementary and William James Middle School) and Crowley ISD (Dallas Park Elementary). Students were engaged in discussions and demonstrations on the human body, health and exercise, and in some instances had the chance to conduct an actual experiment on kidney filtration. Everyone involved had PhUn!!

Clayton YES! One Safe Place (Pre-K)

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Dallas Park Elementary (1st Grade)

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William James Middle (8th grade)

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Congratulations Lisa!

Lisa Lehrer completed her first Susan G. Komen 3-day walk (20 miles/day) with Angels for the Cure on November 4-6th, 2016. Lisa finished with flying colors! We are all proud of you Lisa!

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Celebrating Martha! 

Patiently waiting for Baby Bachelor…

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ICMD 2016 Research Conference–Inflammation in Cardiovascular and Renal Disease


The Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease (ICMD) held its first institutional conference highlighting the role of inflammation in cardiovascular and renal diseases on Saturday, October 15th, 2016. The conference was organized by the ICMD Executive Committee (Drs. Mifflin, Cunningham, Schreihofer and Yurvati). The one-day conference included intriguing talks from Dr. Kathryn Sandberg (Georgetown University) as well as ICMD faculty (Drs. Mathis, Balamuthusamy, Mallet, Yurvati, and Goulopoulou).  Several trainees and other faculty also had the opportunity to present their abstracts in both oral and poster presentations.  The conference was a huge success!  *click poster to enlarge*




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Wedding Announcement

Congratulations to ICMD’s Lisa Swann Lehrer on her recent wedding.  Lisa made a beautiful bride!

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High Honor from the American College of Sports Medicine

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Raven on being named the recipient of the Honor Award from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The ACSM Honor Award is the highest award of the College and is given to only one individual each year. The Honor Award recognizes Dr. Raven’s lifetime of outstanding scientific contributions related to sports medicine and exercise science.

UNT System Board of Regents Appointment

Congratulations to Dr. Tom Cunningham, Professor in the ICMD, for his new appointment on the UNT System Board of Regents!

2016 FASEB Science Research Conference Awards

Parul Chaudhary (Schreihofer Laboratory) was awarded “Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation” for her poster entitled “Treatments for attributes of metabolic syndrome enhance phenylephrine-induced bradycardia and c-Fos expression in NTS in obese Zucker rats” at the FASEB-sponsored conference on Neural Mechanisms in Cardiovascular Regulation: Novel Research and Disease Treatment Strategies. Congratulations Parul!

Parul FASEB SRC 2016-2

Grant Announcement

Congratulations to Grace Pham for her recently funded Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association. The proposal entitled “The contribution of vagal tone toward hypothalamic -pituitary-adrenal axis in SLE hypertension” will be funded through June 2018. Grace is a DO/PhD student in the Mathis Laboratory.

June 2016 Valubility of the Month!

Congratulations Susan Rogers!!

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11th Annual Conference on Health Disparities Awards

Congratulations to Oluwatobiloba “Deborah” Osikoya for her Research Achievement Award at the Annual Conference on Health Disparities that took place at UNTHSC on June 9-10, 2016.  Deborah is a graduate student in the Goulopoulou Laboratory.

ICMD 2016 Seed Grant Awards Announced

Congratulations to the recipients of seed grant awards from ICMD for 2016-2017!

Collaborative Seed Grants

  • Drs. Robert Mallet, Marianna Jung and Myoung-Gwi Ryou:  Intermittent Hypoxia: Salvaging Cerebral Function after Ischemic Stroke
  • Drs. Ann Schreihofer and Derek Schreihofer: Mechanisms for improved arterial baroreflexes by treatments to prevent hypertension and restore glycemic control in obese Zucker rats

Junior Seed Grants

  • Dr. Stella Goulopoulou: Placental oxygenation and mitochondria-derived damage-associated molecular patterns
  • Dr. Keisa Mathis: Impaired Neuroimmune Mechanisms in Lupus Hypertension
  • Dr. Caroline Rickards:  Pulsatile Perfusion Therapy: A novel approach for improving cerebral tissue blood flow and oxygenation
  • Dr. George Samuel:  Pulmonary Impairment Secondary to Treated Tuberculosis
  • Dr. Joseph Yuan: Molecular determinants of store-operated calcium entry in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration

Take Me Out to the Ball Game…  

ICMD Faculty, Staff and Students enjoyed a night of baseball at Global Life Park. Go Rangers!

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ICMD Graduates 2016

Congratulations to recent ICMD graduates Gilbert Moralez, Ph.D. and Anh Nguyen, D.O, Ph.D., and their mentors Dr. Raven and Dr. Mallet, respectively.

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GSBS Awards Banquet Spring 2016 Honorees

Anh Nguyen won the Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence in Academics.  Anh will be in the competition for the President’s Award.

Brent Shell was awarded the Edward Elko Award for Distinguished Service to the Graduate Student Association.

Justin Sprick was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Association Member Award and received a Graduate Student Association Scholarship.  Justin was recognized for passing 6310 with distinction.

Parul Chaudhary was recognized for passing 6310 with distinction and the QE with distinction.

Noah Jouett received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease.

Dr. Patricia Gwirtz was nominated for the Golden Apple Teaching Award.

Susan Rogers was nominated for the Outstanding Staff Member Award.

ICMD Research Appreciation Day (RAD) 2016 Awardees

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

1st Place–Justin Sprick (ICMD)

2nd Place–Divya Duggal (Cell Biology)

3rd Place–Brent Shell (ICMD)

Neurobiology of Aging Annual Trainee Symposium Awards 2016

At the Neurobiology of Aging Annual Trainee Symposium (for recipients of the Neurobiology of Aging T32 fellowship), Justin Sprick won the “Preventable Aging Award”, valued at $250. This award is presented by the Preventable Aging Foundation, in recognition of quality basic, translational, or clinical research focused on prevention of aging and age-associated diseases.

American Physiological Society (APS) Awards at Experimental Biology 2016

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ICMD graduate students Gilberto Moralez, Brent Shell, and Grace Pham were honored at Experimental Biology 2016 as recipients of the Caroline tum Suden award of the American Physiological Society. The awardees are pictured here with the 88th President of the APS, Dr. Patricia Molina.

TCOM students Parish Jaini (Goulopoulou) and Charles Maloy (Mathis) were awarded the American Physiological Society Excellence in Professional Student Research Travel Award at Experimental Biology 2016. To read more about their experience in research in the ICMD follow this link:



Keisa W. Mathis, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Dale J. Benos Early Career Professional Service Award of the APS. The selection committee was extremely impressed with the remarkable level of service through her mentoring/teaching activities with students at the graduate/professional, undergraduate and K-12 levels, as well as with members of her community. She has been nominated for or won awards for both her mentoring and research throughout her career to date.  To read more, follow this link:



Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (SEBM) Awards 2016

ICMD’s Sarika Chaudhari and Gilbert Moralez were awarded the SEBM 2016 Young Investigator Award. Congratulations!!!!!  For more, follow this link:

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60th Midwinter Conference Awards 2016

Congratulations to Shehzad Batliwata, who won 1st place Entry at the 2016 TOMA’s 60th Midwinter Conference in Dallas, TX. : “Structural Impact of Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation of Right vs. Left Ventricular Myocardium”.  Shehzad did his honors research under Dr. Yurvati and Dr. Mallet’s mentorship.  poster competition

FitWorth Challenge 2016

These were some of the challenges we entered:Recently, some of our faculty and staff from the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease participated in the FitWorth Challenge, a Fort Worth community health event that provided incentives for teams of two to 10 individuals to track and increase their minutes of activity.  Activities included anything from walking to kickboxing—even housework counted!  We had 8 members on our “Fit for Physiology” team.  The members were:  Dr. Robert Mallet, Dr. Andras Lacko, Dr. Caroline Rickards, Nirupama Sabnis, Lisa Marquez, Melissa Henson, Susan Rogers and Deborah Osikoya.  The group came in 9th place out of 25 teams here at the UNT Health Science Center.  We had a great time learning new activities and new ways to snack.  We even won Challenge #5, which was to demonstrate how we could balance various duties.  Thanks to the idea of Dr. Rickards, we all stood on one leg balancing while each doing a specific duty relevant to our job!  We hope to do it again next year, and have even more teams!  Hats off to all of the team!!!

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Baby Announcement!!

Ava Daisy

Congratulations Dr. Keisa Mathis on your new little baby girl!!!






Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week 2015

Members of the Goulopoulou, Mathis, and Rickards labs brought physiology to local schools for PhUn Week 2015 (November 2-6th). The team presented general information about physiology and engaged students at Dallas Park Elementary and William James Middle in physiology-based experiments.  The overall theme of this outreach opportunity was”Health and Exercise”.  PhUn Week was sponsored by the American Physiological Society.

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This page was last modified on January 11, 2018