Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn PROMOTES Research on Sex and Gender in Health

BIRCWH Scholars


Current Scholars

C. Alix Timko, Ph.D.

C. Alix Timko, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology in Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine; Psychologist, Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
 catimko@pennmedicine.upenn.edu
 267-426-5467

Research Summary

Dr. Timko’s BIRCWH-sponsored research will use functional brain imaging to focus on the reward system in adolescent males presenting to CHOP with anorexia. The purpose of her research is to fully describe the course of eating disorders in a sample of adolescent males and to use this information to inform specific hypotheses regarding sex differences in the neurobiology of anorexia. During anorexia, a phenomenon referred to as contamination of reward and punishment occurs – that is, food becomes a fear stimulus and the consumption of food becomes punishing, whereas restricting intake becomes rewarding. Disruptions in reward circuitry in anorexia have not yet been explored in males and her research will serve to fill an important and critical hole in the research of adolescent eating disorders.

PubMed Link


Melanie Kornides, ScD, MPH, MS, BSN

Melanie Kornides, ScD, MPH, MS, BSN
Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Department of Family and Community Health
 kornides@nursing.upenn.edu

Research Summary

Dr. Kornides’ research focuses on the utilization of big data to contextualize sex disparities in pediatric and women’s health. The research she plans to conduct while in the BIRCWH program seeks to address sex disparities in HPV vaccination uptake. Assessing these disparities is important for women’s health, as improving vaccination coverage of adolescent boys will reduce HPV infections in the general population and HPV-related diseases and cancers for both females and males.

PubMed Link 


Jennifer Lewey, MD, MPH

Jennifer Lewey, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine; Director Penn Women's Cardiovascular Center; Co-Director, Penn Pregnancy and Heart Disease Program
 Jennifer.Lewey@uphs.upenn.edu
 267-588-2327

Research Summary

As her BIRCWH-funded research, Dr. Lewey will study obesity prevention in high-risk postpartum women, primarily African-Americans.  Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and pregnancy represents a timepoint in life when women gain excessive weight. At one year postpartum, almost one-third of lower-income women will become newly overweight or obese, increasing their risk for cardiovascular diseases in middle and older age. Her research aims to better understand the predictors of excessive postpartum weight retention in order to deliver effective and scalable weight loss interventions during a time when women are at the highest risk.

PubMed Link



Previous Scholars

Montserrat C. Anguera, PhD

Montserrat C. Anguera, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
 anguera@vet.upenn.edu
 215-898-0567

Dr. Anguera's research program investigates X-chromosome Inactivation (XCI), a fundamental biological event that occurs in female mammals for equalizing expression of X-linked genes between genders. Using her background experience in XCI mechanisms, she has embarked on a new research direction investigating epigenetic gene regulation important for immunity. Specifically, Dr. Anguera is interested in determining how XCI regulation in lymphocytes contributes to the female-bias in autoimmune disorders, which are associated with overexertion of immunity-related genes from the X-chromosome. Her lab uses mouse models to investigate how disrupting X-linked gene dosage impacts the development and severity of the autoimmune disorder lupus. Her team also uses clinical samples from lupus patients to investigate how X-inactivation is maintained in lymphocytes. 

Click here to read more about the Anguera Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 


Roy Wade, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, MSHP

Roy Wade, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, MSHP
Pediatrician, CHOP Cobb's Creek Primary Care
 wader2@email.chop.edu
 215-590-4773

Dr. Wade’s research interests focus on the intersection between childhood poverty, adversity, and well-being. As a BIRCWH scholar, Dr. Wade will study the impact of paternal childhood adversity on child outcomes. Dr. Wade’s research as a BIRCWH scholar will form the basis for future studies elucidating the biological pathways through which childhood stress impacts the health of future offspring.

Dr. Wade completed a PhD in Microbiology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School, completing his pediatric residency at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. After residency, Dr. Wade completed a Commonwealth Fund Harvard Minority Health Policy Fellowship at the Harvard School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, earning a MPH in Health Policy and Management. He completed a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 



Associate Scholars

Malitta Engstrom, PhD, LCSW

Malitta Engstrom, PhD, LCSW
Assistant Professor, School of Social Policy and Practice
 malitta@sp2.upenn.edu


Payal Shah, MD

Payal Shah, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
 Payal.Shah@uphs.upenn.edu