Meetings & Steering Committee Membership


Meetings take place quarterly in conference room AG017A.

Voting Members

Marja M. Hurley, M.D.Marja M. Hurley, M.D.
Chair, GWIMS
Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Professor of Orthopaedics, UConn Musculoskeletal Institute

Dr. Hurley received the Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Connecticut. After completing a residency in internal medicine, she practiced internal medicine. Dr. Hurley returned to the UConn School of Medicine to pursue a fellowship in endocrinology with professor Lawrence Raisz and upon completion of the fellowship, joined the faculty. Dr. Hurley is currently professor of medicine and orthopaedic surgery in the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. Hurley is also a member of the graduate faculty in cell biology and skeletal craniofacial and oral biology.

Dr. Hurley is a widely published endocrinology researcher whose work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1989. Her lab has identified genes that may play a role in the development of osteoporosis. She lectures at conferences and national and international meetings, has written several textbook chapters on bone biology, and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles. In addition, she is a reviewer for leading endocrinology journals and serves on an NIH study section.

As a professor of medicine, Dr. Hurley lectures first- and second-year students, works closely with residents, and supervises graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Hurley is the recipient of numerous awards, including Connecticut Technology Council 2010 Women of Innovation and Leadership Award and the 2011 University of Connecticut Health Center Board of Directors Faculty Recognition Award. Dr. Hurley was recently elected as a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Dr. Hurley is currently the associate dean for the Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health. She has also held other major administrative positions at UConn Health including serving as interim senior associate dean for Education, chair of the School of Medicine Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education and chair of the Education Council. Dr. Hurley was appointed by Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, former vice president for Health Affairs and dean, to serve as the School of Medicine representative to the AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science. Dr. Hurley has mentored over forty high school, college, medical, dental, graduate, and postdoctoral students in her research laboratory, where more than 50 percent are women.

Rashmi Bansal, Ph.D.Rashmi Bansal, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience

Dr. Bansal is a professor of neuroscience at the UConn School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India. Her current research is focused on the role of growth factor signaling in oligodendrocyte development and axon-glial interaction leading to myelination under normal and pathological conditions. She is an author on numerous articles published in forefront journals. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Neuroscience Research. She serves on several committees including the NIH grants review group, the International and American Societies of Neurochemistry and the Councils of the American Society for Neurochemistry and the Asia Pacific Society for Neurochemistry.

Stormy Chamberlain, Ph.D.Stormy Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Genetics and Developmental Biology

Dr. Chamberlain is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology at UConn Health and a member of the UConn Stem Cell Institute. Her lab studies chromosome 15q11-q13 imprinting disorders, and has been focusing on induced pluripotent stem cell models of these diseases. Dr. Chamberlain received a B.A. degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in medical sciences-genetics from the University of Florida, where she studied mouse models of Prader-Willi syndrome. She was a postdoc with Terry Magnuson, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina studying the role of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 in the epigenetic regulation of stem cell pluripotency before completing a second short postdoc with Marc Lalande, Ph.D., at UConn Health.

Laurinda A. Jaffe, Ph.D.Laurinda A. Jaffe, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology

Dr. Jaffe is chair of the Department of Cell Biology. She was a graduate student at University of California Los Angeles, and a postdoc at University of California San Diego. Research in the Jaffe Lab concerns the physiological events that initiate embryonic development, in particular the regulation of oocyte meiosis and the activation of eggs at fertilization. Over the past 15 years, the lab has focused on how membrane receptors and cyclic nucleotides function in the signaling pathways by which the somatic cells of the ovarian follicle control meiosis in the mammalian oocyte. Dr. Jaffe’s research was recognized by a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2014), and her research and mentoring contributions were recognized by the Pioneer in Reproduction Research Leadership Award sponsored by the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole), NICHD, and the Burroughs Welcome Fund (2017). Dr. Jaffe served on the National Institute of Health and Human Development Board of Scientific Counselors (2011-2016), and currently serves on the Scientific  Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, Germany (2017-2022).

Liisa Kuhn, Ph.D.Liisa Kuhn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Reconstructive Sciences
Center for Regenerative Medicine and Skeletal Development

Dr. Kuhn is a tenured associate professor in the Reconstructive Sciences Department, School of Dental Medicine. She is also core faculty in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University and worked at General Dynamics in San Diego, CA before completing her M.S. and Ph.D. in materials engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Kuhn held postdoctoral positions at Case Western University and Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital, conducting biomineralization studies and orthopaedic research. She joined the faculty at UConn Health after co-founding and selling a start-up company in Boston, MA that developed bone graft substitutes.

Dr. Kuhn's research spans fundamental studies to translational research. She has an expertise in drug delivery and conducting in vitro and in vivo studies that she gained while working in industry and at UConn Health. The Kuhn Lab's mission is to use biomaterial technologies to develop better treatments for damaged or diseased tissue, particularly in the elderly.

Sun-Kyeong Lee, Ph.D.Sun-Kyeong Lee, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
UConn Center on Aging

Dr. Lee is an assistant professor in the UConn Center on Aging at the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. Lee received her undergraduate degree from Korea University and her postdoctoral degree from the University of Connecticut. She has conducted basic osteoclast biology research at UConn Health for the last 20 years, initially as a postdoctoral fellow and an independent investigator. Dr. Lee's research activities include studying the role of cytokines and hormones in the regulation of bone resorption and formation with the hope of providing new and improved therapies for the treatment of osteoporosis. She also studies the role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and their receptors in the development and function of osteoclasts. One of Dr. Lee's major academic activities includes mentoring Ph.D. students, dental master's degree students and postdoctoral fellows. She is also a member of the skeletal, craniofacial and oral biology graduate program at UConn Health.

Nilanjana Maulik, Ph.D., FAHANilanjana Maulik, Ph.D., FAHA
Professor, Molecular Cardiology and Angiogenesis Laboratory
Department of Surgery

Nilanjana Maulik is a well-established and highly reputed cardiovascular scientist. Her research has advanced knowledge in the areas of angiogenesis and revascularization of the ischemic myocardium. Dr. Maulik received her Ph.D. in biochemistry in December 1990 from Calcutta University, India. After completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Maulik joined the Department of Surgery at UConn Health as a research fellow. She has continued her service there as a faculty member, and was promoted to tenured professor. Dr. Maulik also serves as a faculty member in the Cell Biology Graduate Program at UConn Health. She is heavily involved in NIH-funded research and serves as an expert in the field in the NIH study sections; she frequently gives invited lectures at national and international scientific conferences. Dr. Maulik’s current research focuses on understanding the basic molecular mechanism of myocardial angiogenesis in the ischemic tissue and is directed toward understanding the program for the expression of survival and growth factors involved in arteriogenesis and collateral growth in cardiovascular (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD). She has trained more than 100 scientists (M.Sc.s, M.D.s, Ph.D.s), most of whom are actively engaged in professional careers all over the world.

Dr. Maulik is member of several prestigious societies including the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), American Heart Association (AHA), International Society of Heart Research (ISHR), American College of Nutrition (ACN), and International College of Angiology (ICA). She has served as a member of the Myocardial Ischemia Metabolism (MIM) study section of NIH and of the NHLBI Program Project Review Committee for several years. Presently, Dr. Maulik serves as a reviewer for several special-emphasis panel study sections of NIH. She is on the editorial boards of several major cardiovascular journals and served as editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal Molecular Biology Reports (Springer Press). She is a fellow of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (Canada), ACN, and AHA. She has published more than 190 original peer-reviewed articles and almost 35 book chapters. She has also edited three books on epigenetics, nutrition, and cardiovascular diseases for CRC (Springer Press). Lastly, Dr. Maulik has organized several international conferences and symposia.

M. Melinda Sanders, M.D.M. Melinda Sanders, M.D.
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director, Surgical and Cytology Services

Dr. Sanders is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. She graduated from the University of Toledo School of Medicine, pursued anatomic pathology training at Yale-New Haven Hospital and fellowship training in anatomic and cytopathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Her clinical and research activities center on gynecologic pathology. She also directs the Mechanisms of Disease course for second year medical and dental students.

She is currently serving as chair of the Academy of Distinguished Educators at UConn Health.

Linda Shapiro, Ph.D.Linda Shapiro, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Cell Biology
Center for Vascular Biology

Dr. Shapiro is an associate professor of cell biology and director of the Center for Vascular Biology at UConn Health. Dr. Shapiro obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She was a faculty member at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital prior to joining the UConn Center for Vascular Biology in 2001 and was selected as director in 2010. Dr. Shapiro is former director of the cell biology area of concentration and has mentored numerous postdoctoral fellows, graduate and dual degree students.

Her laboratory's research focuses on the function of cell surface peptidases in inflammation and angiogenesis with particular emphasis on cancer and cardiovascular disease. She has published numerous research articles and her work has been funded since 1995 by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Connecticut Stem Cell Initiative, Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Komen Foundation. She is a former member of the Atherosclerosis and Inflammation in the Cardiovascular System NIH study section and is currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Pamela Taxel, M.D.Pamela Taxel, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Dr. Taxel is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at UConn Health. She received her medical degree from the State University of New York at Downstate College of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of South Florida and UConn School of Medicine. She went on to specialty training in geriatrics, as well as endocrinology and metabolism, at the UConn School of Medicine.

Currently, she serves as the fellowship director in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Her clinical area of focus is in the treatment of patients with osteoporosis, with a special interest in the treatment of men and women receiving cancer therapies that impact bone health. She collaborates with School of Dental Medicine colleagues in several research projects including a study assessing the impact of bone health on implant success or failure, as well as another project on the identification of risk factors for osteonecrosis of the jaws in patients receiving bone-modifying therapies for advanced cancers.

Kristyn Zajac, Ph.D.Kristyn Zajac, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Zajac is an assistant professor of medicine in the Calhoun Cardiology Center, Behavioral Cardiovascular Prevention Division, at UConn Health. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Delaware in 2009. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship and an NIH-funded postdoctoral research fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Prior to her appointment at UConn Health, she was an assistant professor at the Family Services Research Center in MUSC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and she served as the director of MUSC’s Adolescent and Family Services clinic.

Dr. Zajac’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for substance abuse and mental health disorders among high-risk adolescents and young adults. She currently has a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop and evaluate an integrated treatment for substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder among high-risk emerging adults. Her work has also been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Psychological Foundation.

Past Members

Biree Andemariam, M.D.Biree Andemariam, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Andemariam received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine where she graduated with research honors. She joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 2007 in the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Andemariam is an expert in the management of malignant and non-malignant hematologic disorders. In 2010, she developed the region’s only clinical and research center for adults with sickle cell disease. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in increased susceptibility to infection in sickle cell disease. Her work is fundamentally translational in that she conducts her research in both human subjects and by utilizing a mouse model of sickle cell disease.

Dr. Andemariam completed her internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. She has received several research honors including an Amgen Research Fellowship Award for her work in treating refractory and relapsed lymphoma, a Clinical Research Feasibility Fund Award for her research in hemophilia, and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. She was also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar. Her current work is supported by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science K12 Program, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research, Inc.

Anjanette Ferris, M.D., M.P.H.Anjanette Ferris, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Ferris earned her Doctorate in Medicine from the State University of New York at Downstate College of Medicine, and completed her postdoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, including a residency in internal medicine, fellowship in cardiology, and research fellowship in preventive cardiology. She also holds a Master of Public Health Degree from Columbia.

Dr. Ferris was co-author of “Tracking Women’s Awareness of Heart Disease: An American Heart Association National Study,” a major driving force behind the development of the Association’s “Go Red for Women” heart disease awareness campaign. She is also the lead author of the article, “American Heart Association and American Stroke Association National Survey of Stroke Risk Awareness Among Women.” Dr. Ferris is a recipient of the Trudy Bush Fellowships for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women’s Health Award and the American College of Cardiology Career Development Award in Women’s Cardiovascular Health.

Dr. Ferris is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, Association of Black Cardiologists, and the National Medical Association. She currently serves as a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

Gloria Gronowicz, Ph.D.Gloria Gronowicz, Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery

Dr. Gronowicz received her Ph.D. in cell biology from Columbia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at the University of Chicago and then a second postdoctoral fellowship in bone biology with Dr. Gideon Rodan at UConn Health. She joined the Department of Orthopaedics as an assistant professor and worked her way to tenured professor in orthopaedics. In 2007 she joined the Department of Surgery as her primary department with a secondary appointment in Orthopaedics.

Dr. Gronowicz has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been supported continuously by grant support from NIH and foundations since 1987. Her research encompasses tissue engineering, osteoporosis, aging, integrative medicine therapies and deafness with an emphasis on bone biology aspects of these topics. She has served on study sections for NIH and NASA. She was the Co-Chair of Bone Topic for the Orthopaedic Research Society meetings from 2011-2014. Dr. Gronowicz is the past Chairman of the Skeletal Cranial Facial and Oral Biology (SCOB) graduate program, and continues to teach in graduate, dental and medical school courses.

Dr. Gronowicz has had a life-long commitment to women issues in science. She chaired the Working Group on the Status of Women Faculty at UConn Health, which culminated in a 1994 document on women salaries, which was approved by both Medical and Dental School Councils and resulted in adjustments to all women salaries. She is a member of the Women’s Leadership Committee of the Orthopaedic Research Society and chaired their annual scientific workshop on Bone Histology and Histomorphometry.

Naomi Rothfield, M.D.Naomi Rothfield, M.D.
Professor of Medicine

Dr. Naomi Rothfield, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at UConn Health. She is an internationally renowned rheumatologist with special expertise in the management of systemic lupus ematosus, scleroderma and Raynaud’s disease. Dr. Rothfield has published over 100 papers on rheumatologic diseases and her clinical research involves the investigation of new therapies to enhance the care of patients with scleroderma, SLE and Raynaud’s disease.