Bio

Honors & Awards


  • Soros Fellow, Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans (2011)
  • NIH Academy Fellow, National Institutes of Health (2005-2007)
  • American Chemical Society Scholar, American Chemical Society (2003)
  • McNair Scholar, McNair Scholars Program (2003)
  • Slayton Evans Research Award, American Chemical Society (2003)

Education & Certifications


  • Bachelor of Arts, Pomona College, Chemistry (2005)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work


  • Free Medical Clinic Health Care Provider, Samaritan House Clinic

    Volunteer in free medical clinic to provide general medical services to low-income families in the San Mateo County.

    Location

    Redwood City, CA

Research & Scholarship

Research Projects


  • A Systematic Review of Acceptance of Telehealth for Hypertension Management: Developing Framework for Interventions in Underserved Populations (Scholarly Concentration Project)

    A systematic literature review was performed to identify variables affecting telehealth acceptance among underserved patients with hypertension. The electronic databases searched for relevant publications on telehealth and hypertension management included: Medline and Scopus. The search returned 91 articles and 27 were retained for detailed review to assess eligibility for the study. Three articles met the selection criteria to be included in this review study. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) was used to synthesize and analyze the studies. 1,2 A total of 13 different variables related to patient acceptance were identified in the studies--10 variables regarding performance expectancy, 3 regarding effort expectancy, and none regarding social influence and facilitating conditions. Existing literature focused largely on performance expectancy variables. None of the studies evaluated patients’ perceptions of social influence or facilitating conditions. Based on this review, an English and Spanish questionnaire based on the UTAUT model was developed to assess patient acceptance of telehealth interventions in underserved communities. Future research on these variables will aid in the development, implementation, and evaluation of telehealth applications for preventive health education and management of chronic diseases such as hypertension.

    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Organization

    Stanford Medical School

  • Penetrance and clinical consequences of a gross SDHB deletion in a large family

    Conducted translational research on Pheochromocytoma under the guidance of Karel Pacak, MD, PhD. Designed and published a research study of the clinical phenotype of patients with rare deletions of the succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) gene

    Time Period

    2005 - 2007

    Location

    Bethesda, Maryland

    Organization

    National Institutes of Health

  • Using SIMPLE NMR to isotopically perturb intermolecular hydrogen bonding equilibria

    Designed a research project with the guidance of Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Daniel J. O’Leary to study intermolecular hydrogen bonding in complex natural products such as cancer fighting Epoxyquinol A, using SIMPLE NMR to isotopically perturb intermolecular hydrogen bonding equilibria. Also synthesized model 1,5 1,6 diols to further explore SIMPLE NMR results.

    Time Period

    2003 - 2005

    Location

    Claremont, CA

    Organization

    Pomona College, Claremont

Professional

Work Experience


  • Research Associate at National Institutes of Health Research, National Institutes of Health (8/31/2005 - 6/21/2007)

    Conducted translational research on Pheochromocytoma under the guidance of Karel Pacak, MD, PhD. Designed and published a research study of the clinical phenotype of patients with rare deletions of the succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) gene. Conducted basic science research projects studying the molecular basis of metastatic pheochromocytoma.

    Location

    Bethesda, Maryland

  • UC, Riverside Medical and Health Careers Program Assistant, University of California, Riverside (7/1/2007 - April 1, 2009)

    Provided program technical and administrative support. Advised students interested in medical and health careers. Participated in outreach and recruitment activities.

    Location

    Riverside, CA

  • Research Associate at National Institutes of Health in Spain (Instituto de Salud, Carlos III), National Institutes of Health in Spain (Instituto de Salud, Carlos III). (2004)

    Carried out a public health research project while studying abroad, dealing with the burden of disease in Spain, under the guidance of the director of the Masters program in International Health at the Institute’s school of public health.

    Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Research Assistant Organic Chemistry Lab, Pomona College, Claremont (2003 - 2005)

    Designed a research project with the guidance of Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Daniel J. O’Leary to study intermolecular hydrogen bonding in complex natural products such as cancer fighting Epoxyquinol A, using SIMPLE NMR to isotopically perturb intermolecular hydrogen bonding equilibria. Also synthesized model 1,5 1,6 diols to further explore SIMPLE NMR results.

    Location

    Claremont, CA

  • General Chemistry Lab Teaching Assistant, Pomona College, Claremont (2002)

    Assisted in teaching General Chemistry students analytical Chemistry laboratory techniques by providing one on one support during lab. Graded and assessed student lab reports, supervised lab safety, and led demonstrations

    Location

    Claremont, CA

  • Marine Biology Teacher, Tutor, and Residence Hall Assistant, Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound Program, Harvey Mudd College, Upward Bound (2002)

    Under the supervision of Vickie Ramos, director and supervisor of the 2002 Upward Bound Summer Program at the University of California, San Diego, developed and carried out lesson plans for a Marine Biology enrichment course for first generation college students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Evaluated student assignments and study habits through daily class and study hall sessions. Provided tutoring on math, science, English, and standardized test taking skills. Lived with the students for 10 weeks, served as a Resident Advisor, serving as a peer counselor and activities coordinator.

    Location

    Claremont, CA

Publications

Journal Articles


  • Penetrance and clinical consequences of a gross SDHB deletion in a large family CLINICAL GENETICS Solis, D. C., Burnichon, N., Timmers, H. J., Raygada, M. J., Kozupa, A., MERINO, M. J., Makey, D., Adams, K. T., Venisse, A., Gimenez-Roqueplo, A., Pacak, K. 2009; 75 (4): 354-363

    Abstract

    Mutations in the gene encoding subunit B of the mitochondrial enzyme succinate dehydrogenase (SDHB) are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and are associated with hereditary paraganglioma (PGL) and pheochromocytoma. The phenotype of patients with SDHB point mutations has been previously described. However, the phenotype and penetrance of gross SDHB deletions have not been well characterized as they are rarely described. The objective was to describe the phenotype and estimate the penetrance of an exon 1 large SDHB deletion in one kindred. A retrospective and prospective study of 41 relatives across five generations was carried out. The main outcome measures were genetic testing, clinical presentations, plasma catecholamines and their O-methylated metabolites. Of the 41 mutation carriers identified, 11 were diagnosed with PGL, 12 were found to be healthy carriers after evaluation, and 18 were reportedly healthy based on family history accounts. The penetrance of PGL related to the exon 1 large SDHB deletion in this family was estimated to be 35% by age 40. Variable expressivity of the phenotype associated with a large exon 1 SDHB deletion was observed, including low penetrance, diverse primary PGL tumor locations, and malignant potential.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2009.01157.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265223100009

    View details for PubMedID 19389109

  • Characterization of an animal model of aggressive metastatic pheochromocytoma linked to a specific gene signature CLINICAL & EXPERIMENTAL METASTASIS Martiniova, L., Lai, E. W., Elkahloun, A. G., Abu-Asab, M., Wickremasinghe, A., Solis, D. C., Perera, S. M., Huynh, T., Lubensky, I. A., Tischler, A. S., Kvetnansky, R., Alesci, S., Morris, J. C., Pacak, K. 2009; 26 (3): 239-250

    Abstract

    Pheochromocytomas are chromaffin cell-derived neuroendocrine tumors. There is presently no cure for metastatic pheochromocytoma and no reliable way to distinguish malignant from benign tumors before the development of metastases. In order to successfully manage pheochromocytoma, it is necessary to better understand the biological determinants of tumor behavior. For this purpose, we have recently established a mouse model of metastatic pheochromocytoma using tail vein injection of mouse pheochromocytoma (MPC) cells. We optimized this model modifying the number of cells injected, length of trypsin pre-treatment, and incubation temperature and duration for the MPC cells before injection, and by serial passage and re-selection of tumors exhibiting the metastatic phenotype. We evaluated the effect of these modifications on tumor growth using serial in vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies. These results show that number of cells injected, the pre-injection incubation temperature, and duration of trypsin treatment are important factors to produce faster growing, more aggressive tumors that yielded secondary metastatic lesions. Serial harvest, culture and re-selection of metastatic liver lesions produced even more aggressive pheochromocytoma cells that retained their biochemical phenotype. Microarray gene expression comparison and quantitative real-time PCR of these more aggressive cells to the MPC-parental cell line identified genes that may be important for the metastatic process.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10585-009-9236-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000263788500008

    View details for PubMedID 19169894

  • Superiority of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography to other functional imaging techniques in the evaluation of metastatic SDHB-associated pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY Timmers, H. J., Kozupa, A., Chen, C. C., Carrasquillo, J. A., Ling, A., Eisenhofer, G., Adams, K. T., Solis, D., Lenders, J. W., Pacak, K. 2007; 25 (16): 2262-2269

    Abstract

    Germline mutations of the gene encoding subunit B of the mitochondrial enzyme succinate dehydrogenase (SDHB) predispose to malignant paraganglioma (PGL). Timely and accurate localization of these aggressive tumors is critical for guiding optimal treatment. Our aim is to evaluate the performance of functional imaging modalities in the detection of metastatic lesions of SDHB-associated PGL.Sensitivities for the detection of metastases were compared between [18F]fluorodopamine ([18F]FDA) and [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET), iodine-123- (123I) and iodine-131 (131I) -metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), 111In-pentetreotide, and Tc-99m-methylene diphosphonate bone scintigraphy in 30 patients with SDHB-associated PGL. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) served as standards of reference.Twenty-nine of 30 patients had metastatic lesions. In two patients, obvious metastatic lesions on functional imaging were missed by CT and MRI. Sensitivity according to patient/body region was 80%/65% for 123I-MIBG and 88%/70% for [18F]FDA-PET. False-negative results on 123I-MIBG scintigraphy and/or [18F]FDA-PET were not predicted by genotype or biochemical phenotype. [18F]FDG-PET yielded a by patient/by body region sensitivity of 100%/97%. At least 90% of regions that were false negative on 123I-MIBG scintigraphy or [18F]FDA-PET were detected by [18F]FDG-PET. In two patients, 111In-pentetreotide scintigraphy detected liver lesions that were negative on other functional imaging modalities. Sensitivities were similar before and after chemotherapy or 131I-MIBG treatment, except for a trend toward lower post- (60%/41%) versus pretreatment (80%/65%) sensitivity of 123I-MIBG scintigraphy.With a sensitivity approaching 100%, [18F]FDG-PET is the preferred functional imaging modality for staging and treatment monitoring of SDHB-related metastatic PGL.

    View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.2006.09.6297

    View details for Web of Science ID 000247010400020

    View details for PubMedID 17538171

  • Clinical presentations, biochemical phenotypes, and genotype-phenotype correlations in patients with succinate dehydrogenase subunit B-associated pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM Timmers, H. J., Kozupa, A., Eisenhofer, G., Raygada, M., Adams, K. T., Solis, D., Lenders, J. W., Pacak, K. 2007; 92 (3): 779-786

    Abstract

    Mutations of the gene encoding succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) predispose to malignant paraganglioma (PGL). Recognition of the SDHB phenotype in apparently sporadic PGL directs appropriate treatment and family screening.The objective of the study was to assess mutation-specific clinical and biochemical characteristics of SDHB-related PGL.The study design was retrospective descriptive. Patients: Patients included 29 patients (16 males) with SDHB-related abdominal or thoracic PGL.There was no intervention.Clinical presentations, plasma and urine concentrations of catecholamines and O-methylated metabolites, and genotype-phenotype correlations were measured.Mean +/- sd age at diagnosis was 33.7 +/- 15.7 yr. Tumor-related pain was among the presenting symptoms in 54% of patients and was the sole symptom in 14%. Seventy-six percent had hypertension, and 90% lacked a family history of PGL. All primary tumors but one originated from extraadrenal locations. Mean +/- sd tumor size was 7.8 +/- 3.7 cm. In this referral-based study, 28% presented with metastatic disease and all but one eventually developed metastases after 2.7 +/- 4.1 yr. Ten percent had additional head and neck PGLs. The biochemical phenotype was consistent with hypersecretion of both norepinephrine and dopamine in 46%, norepinephrine only in 41%, and dopamine only in 3%. Ten percent had normal catecholamine (metabolite) levels, consistent with biochemically silent PGL. No obvious genotype-phenotype correlations were identified.SDHB-related PGL often presents as apparently sporadic PGL with symptoms related to tumor mass effect rather than to catecholamine excess. The predominant biochemical phenotype consists of hypersecretion of norepinephrine and/or dopamine, whereas 10% of tumors are biochemically silent. The clinical expression of these tumors cannot be predicted by the genotype.

    View details for DOI 10.1210/jc.2006.2315

    View details for Web of Science ID 000244721900006

    View details for PubMedID 17200167

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