Featured Faculty, Staff, and Fellows

Inside Stanford Digestive Health - Winter/Spring 2024

Featured Faculty

Karen Kim, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Dr. Karen Kim is a local who was born here at Stanford, although she spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles. She moved back to Palo Alto for high school, attended Harvard for college and again, returned to the Bay Area for medical school at Stanford. She completed her residency at University Hospitals at Case Western and her GI fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. Her first position after training was at a rural health care system called The Guthrie Clinic (based in rural Pennsylvania), where she practiced general GI in Ithaca, NY. After 10 years in practice there, she moved back with her family to the Bay Area. She worked at Kaiser Santa Clara and Redwood City prior to joining Stanford in October of 2023. Dr. Kim’s full bio is available at: https://med.stanford.edu/profiles/karen-kim

Clinical Expertise: Dr. Kim has practiced general gastroenterology and hepatology for all of her career and is continuing this at Stanford. She enjoys seeing a wide range of patients and problems and believes strongly in the clinician’s role as patient advocate—in both navigating a byzantine system and in understanding their particular socioeconomic and cultural context. Appointments with Dr. Kim can be made by calling the Stanford Digestive Health Center at (650) 736-5555.

Scholarly Expertise: From her time in Upstate New York, Dr. Kim has had an interest in rural healthcare and the challenges rural areas face in accessing care, subspecialty care in particular. She is interested in how academic medical centers like Stanford can help improve this access—through research, advocacy, and the development of technology. 

Something About Me: Dr. Kim is happiest while reading novels, perusing bookshelves, visiting art museums, cooking new dishes, running the Stanford Dish, and occasionally convincing her husband and teenage sons to do the same. 

Howard Masuoka, MD

Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Howard Masuoka completed a BA at Brown University, an MA at Vanderbilt, and then an MD, PhD at University of Alabama Birmingham.  As part of his PhD research, he developed the ATF4 knockout mouse that is still used around the world in studying disorders related to cellular stress. He did a research track gastroenterology fellowship under the mentorship of Gregory Gores followed by a transplant hepatology fellowship at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was an assistant professor at Indiana University and was active in basic science research (cell death, autophagy, and ER stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease), clinical research, and teaching. He has received awards for research in fatty liver while at Mayo Clinic and in teaching while at Indiana University. Dr. Masuoka’s full bio is available at: https://med.stanford.edu/profiles/howard-masuoka

Clinical expertise: Dr. Masuoka’s clinical interests include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/metabolic dysfunction-associated liver disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatic malignancies, obesity, and liver disease related to congenital heart disease. Appointments with Dr. Masuoka can be made by calling the Stanford Digestive Health Center at (650) 736-5555.

Scholarly expertise: Dr. Masuoka’s research focus is in liver disease with particular focus on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/metabolic dysfunction associated liver disease, hepatic neoplasia with extensive experience with cholangiocarcinoma, and viral hepatitis.  He has an interest in improving care of viral hepatitis by primary care providers, and he serves as a hepatologist for the Indiana Hepatitis Academic Mentorship Program (HAMP) and Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO) which educates and assists primary care providers in treating hepatitis B and C in the Midwest.

Something about me: His hobbies include photography, bicycling, and travel.  He enjoys learning languages and at the moment he is struggling to learn a little Japanese.

Roger Warren Sands, MD, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Dr. R. Warren Sands is a Transplant Hepatologist with a multi-faceted background in the medical field focused on patient centered care and research. Dr. Sands received his MD from Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and his PhD from Harvard University in Biomedical Engineering. He completed his residency and GI fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he stayed on as an attending. There, he honed his clinical expertise and developed new therapies to target inflammatory diseases including IBD and alcoholic hepatitis.  He then completed an additional fellowship in Transplant Hepatology at Mayo Clinic staying on in the Liver Transplant Clinic prior to coming to Stanford. His passion is to improve patient care by bringing together advances in research and technology with traditional clinical medicine to create an advanced, thoughtful, and caring clinical practice. Dr. Sands’ full bio is available at: https://med.stanford.edu/profiles/roger-sands

Clinical expertise: Dr. Sands’ expertise is using new technology to design novel therapeutics to improve patient care. Appointments with Dr. Sands can be made by calling the Stanford Digestive Health Center at (650) 736-5555.

Scholarly expertise: Dr. Sands treats a wide variety of liver diseases and specializes in Transplant Immunology, Living Donor Liver Transplantation, and treating individuals with alcoholic associated liver disease

Something about me: Dr. Sands’ enjoys traveling, hiking and other outdoor activities with his family and dogs.

Fellows' Corner

Abishek Dimopoulos-Verma, MD

First Year Fellow

Abhishek (Shake) Dimopoulos-Verma was raised in Palo Alto, CA. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California and was subsequently awarded a Fulbright grant to spend one year at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland researching gene therapy in mouse models with ALS. He earned his medical degree at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the New York University School of Medicine. After his internal medicine training, he worked as a hospitalist at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT prior to joining the fellowship program at Stanford. 

His clinical research prior to coming to Stanford has focused on predictive modeling of clinical outcomes in inpatient inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care, as well as the role of enteric infection in health outcomes of immunosuppressed populations. He created and published a simple emergency-department based score to identify IBD inpatients at risk of adverse outcomes during hospitalization for flare. During his time at Stanford, Shake aims to continue building on this foundation of using predictive modeling and artificial intelligence to create new diagnostic and predictive tools for clinicians and optimize clinical practice in the field of GI & hepatology.

Shake is married to Christina (his co-fellow), whom he met in eighth grade while playing a minor role in a school play named ‘Seven Supermans.’ He spends his free time brewing specialty coffee and reading high fantasy in the company of their two cats, Pocket and Snapdragon.

Staff Highlights

Rosalie Aguilar

Office Manager

Rosalie is the office manager for the GI Division Central Office location in Redwood City. She oversees the GI Office Suite and facilities. 

Fun Facts: Rosalie loves to travel to tropical places and spend time with her friends and family; she has a corgi named Peaches, to Rosalie, boba is life, and she loves collecting tropical houseplants.

Ruby Hernandez

Administrative Associate II

Ruby has been with the GI Division since 2023, currently working as an Administrative Associate to several GI faculty whom she enjoys assisting with their day-to-day administrative needs. 

Fun facts: She enjoys spending time with her 3 rambunctious sons and acts as a full-time family chauffeur to all their sports practices. In her free time, Ruby enjoys cooking and baking for her family and friends. 

Lorena Ibana

Administrative Associate III

Lorraine is the Executive Assistant to Division Chief, Dr. Ray Kim, Division Vice Chief, Dr. Uri Ladabaum, and Digestive Health Clinic Chief, Dr. Linda Nguyen. She plays an important role in the efficient operation of their schedules and everyday planning so the senior executives can focus on high-level leadership and strategy functions.

Fun Facts: She enjoys quality time with her family and friends, loves to travel anywhere there is water and delicious food. She is passionate about fitness and health and leads an active lifestyle.

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Winter/Spring 2024