January 25, 2017

Five faculty named the 2017 Pittman Scholars

Written by
Five faculty members in the UAB School of Medicine have been named the 2017 class of James A. Pittman Jr., M.D., Scholars, a program organized to recognize the contributions of junior faculty and support the recruitment and retention of highly competitive scientists and physician-scientists.

The Pittman Scholars, named for the late James A. Pittman, M.D., longtime dean of the School of Medicine from 1973 to 1992, are nominated by their department chairs based on their research achievements and their potential for continued discovery in the basic or clinical sciences. Pittman is considered a principal architect of the School for his ability to recruit top scientists and physicians to UAB.

Five Pittman Scholars are selected each academic year. The selected class of scholars will receive $12,500 per year for five years to support the faculty member’s research-related activities or scholarly enrichment. An advisory committee will evaluate the Pittman Scholars and the progress of the program annually.

The 2017 Pittman Scholars are:

BhattSurya Bhatt, M.D.Surya Bhatt, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Bhatt joined the UAB School of Medicine in 2012 after completing fellowship training in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospital. Bhatt earned his medical degree at Mysore Medical College in India, and completed an Internal Medicine residency and chief residency at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, India, followed by an Internal Medicine residency at Temple University/St Luke’s Hospital. Bhatt’s primary research interest is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), with a special emphasis on acute exacerbations of COPD, cardiac comorbidity, heart-lung interactions and respiratory physiology.

HabeggerKirk Habegger, Ph.D.
Kirk Habegger, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Habegger has a diverse background in energy metabolism research, endocrinology, biochemistry and integrative physiology, which serve his primary research interests to discover and dissect the neuroendocrine signaling pathways regulating energy, glucose and lipid metabolism. Habegger joined the UAB faculty in 2013 from the University of Cincinnati, where he completed his post-doctoral training and served as a research assistant professor. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Indiana University in 2009.

HaladeGanesh Halade, Ph.D.
Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Disease. Halade studied pharmaceutical sciences and has a PhD. in pharmacology from the University of Mumbai, India. He worked with pharmaceutical companies in basic-drug discovery, regulatory affairs and intellectual property management before transitioning postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He joined the Division of Cardiovascular Disease in 2013. His research interest is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the resolution of inflammation following myocardial infarction in heart failure pathology.

Chad HunterChad Hunter, Ph.D
Chad Hunter, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Hunter joined the UAB faculty in 2014 after earning his doctorate in biology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2007 and completing his postdoctoral fellowship training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Hunter’s research focuses on understanding how transcription factors and transcriptional coregulators control decisions governing pancreatic beta-cell development and postnatal cell function—a critical piece for developing future cell-based diabetes therapies.

Marek NapieralaMarek Napierala, Ph.D.
Marek Napierala, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Napierala joined the UAB faculty in 2013 after completing postdoctoral training at the Texas A&M University and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Poznan, Poland. Research in Napierala’s lab is devoted to investigating pathogenic repeat sequences, especially GAA repeats expanded in Friedreich’s ataxia, the most common autosomal recessive ataxia.