Cardiovascular Research Inst

Dian Gu, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

Dian Gu, PhD, received her doctorate in Health Economics/Health Services Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Along with her PhD study, she was a PhD trainee in MD Anderson Cancer Center. In that role, she gained experience in applying health economics to cancer research, collaborating on manuscripts with clinicians on multiple projects concerned with cancer patients’ healthcare utilization, expenditures, and health outcomes.

Joshua Miller, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

Joshua Miller is a political scientist that focuses on the intersection of public health policy and vulnerable populations. Joshua received his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America in Politics.

Karla Llanes, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

Karla Llanes, PhD, received her doctorate in Health Psychology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). During her PhD training, she worked for A Smoke Free Paso del Norte, a west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Juarez, Mexico regional initiative targeting tobacco control in adolescents and adults. She has also taught several Statistics courses and Motivation and Emotion courses at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Vira Pravosud, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

Vira Pravosud, PhD, received her doctorate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Kentucky. Having obtained an undergraduate degree in Social Work & Sociology and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management and Administration from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Dr. Pravosud came to the U.S. in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine pursuing more expertise in public health research.

Eileen Han, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

Eileen Han, PhD, received her doctorate in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. During and after her PhD studies, she mainly conducted qualitative research about social media, with a focus on collective memory and social activism. She published a book about social media and collective memory in China, which was an expansion of her dissertation research.

James Croker, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

J. Alton Croker III, PhD, received his doctorate in Health Services & Policy focusing on cannabis policy, health outcomes, and health disparities. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021, where he served as a research investigator for the Cannabis and End-of-Life Study, along with research associate roles within the RUPRI Center. He previously worked in public affairs at GLAD (GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders), an impact litigation firm focusing on social equity for LGBTQ persons, people living with HIV/AIDS, and their families.

Jelena Mustra Rakic, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

Jelena Mustra Rakic, PhD, received her PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from Tufts University in Boston. Her dissertation was focused on elucidating the effect and mechanisms of the naturally occurring carotenoid, lycopene, on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung carcinogenesis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The important finding from her PhD implicated smoking-related alterations in lipid metabolism as one of main pathways leading to chronic inflammation and lung diseases development.

Abra Jeffers, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

Abra Jeffers, PhD, has a doctorate in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University focusing on statistical health care methods and applications. Her dissertation was on machine learning and epidemiological methods in the study of personal risk factors of cancers of the breast and prostate. Her research can be used to guide personalized health care strategies based on risk stratification.

Neiloy Sircar, JD, LLM

Postdoctoral Scholar
M_Cardiovascular Research Inst

Neil Sircar, JD, LLM is a human rights lawyer specializing in global and public health, global governance, and health in humanitarian crises. He recently concluded a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship with the National Institutes for Health through the Northern Pacific Global Health Consortium at the University of Washington. He is principal investigator on a study for assessing the implementation of human rights-based approaches to HIV testing and notification in Kenya with the prominent Kenyan non-governmental organization Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network.

Priyanka Vyas, PhD

Postdoc Scholar
Cardiovascular Research Inst

Priyanka Vyas, PhD started her career as a journalist in New Delhi, after completing her BA in political science from Wilson College, Mumbai.  During her stint as a reporter covering trade and policy issues, she became interested in how policies could be better analyzed and implemented.  This single most desire to influence policy decisions led her to move to the US for further education.

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