Newswise — Bethesda, MD (February 26, 2014) – The American Physiological Society (APS) today announced the election of Patricia E. Molina, MD, PhD, as the new president-elect. Barbara Alexander, PhD, Rudy M. Ortiz, PhD, and Bill Yates, PhD, were also announced as new APS Councillors. The new officers were elected by the APS membership and will take office at the Experimental Biology meeting on April 30, 2014.
Dr. Patricia E. Molina is a Richard Ashman, PhD professor and head of the department of physiology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans. She is also director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence at LSUHSC. Dr. Molina received her medical degree from the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala and her PhD from LSUHSC. Dr. Molina completed her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Molina’s research focuses on the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on the cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune consequences of acute traumatic injury and hemorrhagic shock. Her laboratory also investigates the interaction of chronic alcohol and cannabinoid use on the behavioral, metabolic, and immune consequences of HIV/AIDS.
Active on a number of APS committees, Dr. Molina has served as chair of both the International and Porter Physiology Development and Minority Affairs committees and of the APS Gulf-Coast chapter.
“Physiologists’ skills and knowledge have never been as relevant as today. They are the core of team science, render context to big data, and should lead the educational initiatives necessary for health literacy, essential in achieving health equity,” Dr. Molina said. “I am committed to the professional development of a diverse and inclusive APS membership body that will continue to evolve and embrace current and future scientific challenges.”
Dr. Barbara T. Alexander is an associate professor and director of the Analytical and Assay Core at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. She received her undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University before completing her graduate work and postdoctoral training at UMMC. Dr. Alexander’s research focuses on the renal mechanisms linking low birth weight and hypertension. Utilizing an integrative approach, including whole animal and molecular and biochemical analysis, she investigates how poor fetal growth due to placental insufficiency leads to high blood pressure.
Dr. Alexander has served as secretary-treasurer of the Water and Electrolyte Homeostasis section and on the editorial board of AJP—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology; AJP—Renal Physiology; and AJP—Heart and Circulatory Physiology. She has also served as a member on the Women in Physiology and Communications committees and as an organizer for the APS conference “Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities.”
“My involvement in the APS is driven by its strong commitment to foster education, scientific research, and communication of science to the public,” Dr. Alexander wrote. “I value these missions of the APS and believe that it is important for our council to continue to provide avenues of support to its members in order to not only enrich their science and career goals but to ensure the continuation of physiology as a science.”
Dr. Rudy M. Ortiz is an associate professor and founding faculty member at the University of California, Merced. He completed his undergraduate and graduate (MSc) work at Texas A&M University and received his PhD from University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Ortiz’s research focuses on the regulation of metabolism in a variety of animal models with the intent that the data will have translational value to clinical medicine. His laboratory also investigates the contribution of insulin resistance to cardiorenal complications and metabolic derangement with a particular emphasis on the development of hypertension, steatosis, and insulin signaling in the heart and kidneys.
Dr. Ortiz has served on several APS committees including the Porter Physiology Development and Minority Affairs, Trainee Advisory, and Comparative Section Steering committees. He has also participated in a number of minority and educational outreach initiatives such as the NIDDK Travel Fellows program and Explorations in Biomedicine undergraduate physiology exploration retreat.
“Clearly, these are very difficult times for all scientists, but challenges provide the opportunity to develop new and bold paths to help manage these obstacles,” Dr. Ortiz noted. “Witnessing firsthand the negative effects the current funding environment is having on the retention of many young scientists, I think the APS can be the leader among professional societies to develop innovative programs to retain these scientists.”
Dr. Bill Yates is a professor of otolaryngology and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD at the University of Florida in Gainesville and conducted his postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University in New York City. The focus of Dr. Yates’s research is the role of the vestibular system in adjusting blood pressure and respiration during movement and changes in posture. Additional research interests include determining the neural pathways through which vestibular signals influence the sympathetic nervous system (which controls blood pressure) and respiratory motor neurons, and which neural pathways are responsible for producing motion sickness.
Dr. Yates is the incoming editor of the APS Journal of Neurophysiology. He has also served as chair of the Animal Care and Experimentation committee and on the Central Nervous System Section Steering committee and the Committee on Committees.
“I tremendously appreciate APS’s leadership in advocacy to protect research funding and minimize administrative burden,” Dr. Yates said. “I believe that increased advocacy efforts are critical to prevent further erosion of funding for research, as well as to permit the continued use of animals in experimentation.”
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Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues, and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first US society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 11,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.