Meet the Team

Current Lab Members

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Michael Mitakidis, M.D.

Instructor of Internal Medicine
Division of Cardiology
Email | Faculty Profile
I serve in the capacity of Instructor and CMRU Administrator, focusing on managing clinical research and developing our wet lab and biorepository operations. Originally from South Africa, I received my medical degree from the School of Medicine at University of Pretoria and then post-graduate studies in primary emergency care, tropical medicine, aerospace medicine, family medicine, and healthcare management. Prior to joining the UT Southwestern faculty, I served as Medical Director for International-SOS and Deputy Director of Hospital Services for Singapore's Ministry of Health. I also served as Science and Medicine Advisor for the American Heart Association in Dallas, and Director of Clinical Education and Development for Christus Health. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, as well as cooking, art, and table tennis.

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Ayushi Vashisht, BTech., MSc., MS.

Clinical Research Project Manager

I am the lead clinical research coordinator in the CMRU. Currently, I serve as project manager of the CMRU's portfolio of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) trials. These include Phase II, and Phase III pharmaceutical and NIH sponsored trials. I have an extensive background in molecular biology and analytical methods used for cell, animal and human research. Before joining the CMRU I worked in academic research labs in University of Kansas Medical Center in reproductive biology. Outside of work I enjoy baking and traveling.

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Traci Tiemann Betts, PT, DPT

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Email | Faculty Profile
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UT Southwestern and a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Physical Therapy. After completing my Doctor of Physical Therapy training from UT Southwestern Medical Center and a post-graduate residency in Cardiovascular & Pulmonary PT from Duke University Medical Center, my clinical focus targets rehabilitation for patients impacted by chronic illness with a high frailty burden across the continuum of healthcare settings. Additionally, I serve as the Program Director for the UTSW Cardiovascular & Pulmonary PT Residency and have the distinct privilege of joining the Cardiometabolic Research Unit for collaborative investigations and focused training in applied clinical research.
Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my husband, snow skiing with my sons, and long distance running with my golden retriever.

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Neil Keshvani, M.D.

Cardiology Fellow
I am a Cardiology fellow at UT Southwestern and a post-doctoral research fellow in the CardioMetabolic Research Unit. I have an interest in pragmatic clinical trials and health services research within cardiology. I have been at UT Southwestern since 2016 and completed my internal medicine training, chief residency, and cardiology fellowships here. I am also concurrently enrolled in a Master’s Program in Biomedical Informatics. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and 2-year-old daughter, reading, traveling, and college basketball.
Research Focus

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Vinayak Subramanian, M.D.

Clinical Research Fellow, PGY-3
I am a clinical research fellow in the CMRU. My clinical and research interests are in Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) and the use of health technology solutions to improve the care of patients with cardiovascular disease. I had the opportunity to be the inaugural UT-StARR fellow under the NIH sponsored -R38 grant (Mentors: Dr. Thomas Wang, and Dr. Ambarish Pandey). I joined the CMRU for dedicated research experience after completing one year of clinical residency in 2021. During my research years I have been involved with multiple heart failure clinical trials which include both pharmaceuticals' studies and novel digital health interventions to augment care for patients. I completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from NC State University and completed my Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I came to Dallas for Internal Medicine training and plan to pursue a subspeciality fellowship in Cardiology. Outside of work I am interested in political history, progressive rock music and rediscovering cult and classic movies and shows.
Research Focus

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Juan David Coellar Pauta, M.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I recently joined UT Southwestern’s CMRU to support pioneering and innovative ways in aiding patients with cardiovascular disease, particularly within the Hispanic population. My Ecuadorian heritage fuels my commitment for serving my community.

My professional background started at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, where I completed my medical degree with a Major in Bioscience and Minor in Innovation and Research. I then moved on to MD Anderson where I witnessed how research is positively impacting countless lives. After my experience there, my life-aim really crystalized: I want to provide affordable and innovative quality care through my medical practice and scientific research.

As I shift from research in basic sciences to clinical research, I am eager to enhance my scientific contributions through CMRU, focusing on core healthcare needs of our heart disease patients.
Outside work, city walks and playing e-sports with friends fuel my downtime. Family remains at the center of my life, as I prioritize time with those who I grew up with.

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Ritika Dhruve, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.

Postdoctoral Researcher

medicine began with a solid foundation, as I completed my medical school training at Gujarat University, India. Fueled by a profound desire to make a lasting impact on healthcare, I pursued an MPH degree with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. During this transformative phase, I witnessed the remarkable convergence of clinical medicine and scientific research, where this potent combination drives significant advancements in healthcare. Exploring studies like the Multi- Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) revealed the impact of genetics on the rising prevalence of cardiovascular morbidities. As a Postdoctoral Researcher at UTSW, CMRU, my passion lies in delving deeper into cardiovascular epidemiology. My focus centers on pilot study projects and clinical trials highly specialized in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF). Through these endeavors, I aim to bring us closer to innovative therapies that will benefit communities, harnessing the powerful synergy of clinical medicine and scientific research. Outside work, I find joy in various activities outside work. Cooking, reading, and traveling are among the many endeavors.

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Lajjaben Patel, M.B.B.S

Postdoctoral Researcher

I trained as a doctor from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. During my medical school, I served as the Science Society secretary and worked to improve research opportunities for MBBS students. I also contributed to research projects involving telemedicine use during the COVID-19 pandemic and risk factors for the development of mucormycosis following COVID-19 infection. To grow as a researcher, I decided to join the phenomenal CMRU team. My focus here as a postdoctoral researcher is on the epidemiology of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and developing novel approaches to the prevention and management of heart failure among older adults. My career goal is to become a physician-scientist and work in the field of implementation science. To unwind, I usually like to watch sitcoms, dance to Garba songs, participate in medical quizzes, explore new restaurants and occasionally, try an adventure sport!
Research Focus

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Poornima Shreenath, B.S., M.S.

Research Technician II

As a resolute and results-driven research technician, I bring to the team a strong healthcare background in quality assurance, process monitoring controls, and quality control. With a Master of Science in Biotechnology from the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Nagpur University India, I possess a strong academic background that compliments my practical experience. I have also received Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and hold qualifications as an ISO internal auditor for quality management and food safety management systems. As a research technician, I am adept at performing laboratory tasks, utilizing various equipment and apparatus, and recording research data. Outside of work, my time is enriched by treasured moments with friends and family, captivating TV series, thrilling travels, and culinary explorations. I am excited to contribute to the Division of Cardiology!

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Daniel Ayodele, M.B.S.

Clinical Research Coordinator II

I am originally from North Carolina, and I ventured to Texas to attend the University of North Texas, where I received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. I then received my Master of Biomedical Sciences from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, where I engaged in public health research, studying the link between Type II diabetes and food deserts in underserved populations. I am joining the CMRU from UTSW Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, where I participated in Phase II, III, and IV sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials. I joined the CMRU to coordinate sponsored-initiated and investigator-initiated clinical research trials and promote health equity.

I value work-life balance and love reading, listening to podcasts, game nights with friends, and traveling in my free time.

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Pedro Rosario-Favela, B.S.

Clinical Research Coordinator II

I am serving in the role of Clinical Research Coordinator for our Cardiometabolic Research Unit. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Delaware State University and have a background in sponsor initiated clinical research. My experience as a CRC includes phase III, IV, and V clinical research studies primarily in the field of Infectious Diseases. I joined the Cardiometabolic Research Unit to provide additional support for both the investigator-initiated and sponsor-initiated clinical research studies in the Division of Cardiology. My hope while working with the CMRU is to help further our team’s efforts in expanding clinical trial opportunities to diverse populations. In my free time I enjoy visiting

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Sujitha Vasireddy, MHI, Pharm-D

Clinical Research Coordinator II

I am a qualified health professional working as a lead clinical research coordinator in CMRU, tasked with the management of different clinical trials. I completed my Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore and graduated with a master’s degree in Information Science with a major in Health Informatics from University of North Texas. I have hands-on experience in the delivery of patient care and management of high-quality healthcare data from project start-up to closeout. I also serve as an administrative and project lead for the Evidence-Based Management of Heart failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction (Polypill) Trial. My work focuses on coordinating multiple clinical research projects which includes sponsor, as well as NIH funded projects. I am committed to teamwork and have a positive attitude. l like to play with my furry dog friend in my free time.

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Elviche Lenou, B.S., M.S.

Senior Research Associate

I am Elviche Tsakem, Senior Research Associate, received my MS in Medical Biotechnology from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. After my graduation, I joined Vanderbilt University, where I studied the role of ‘arrestin’ in different mouse models and provided technical assistance in generating mouse model of the Parkinson's disease and dementia. In subsequent assignments at the research institutes of Baylor and UTSW, a wide-ranging support was provided in immunology research and management of the procurement and supply chain for the labs. In joining the CMRU group in Winter 2022, I’m very excited to work on translational research, focusing particularly on preclinical cardiovascular diseases as well as establishing and maintaining a biobank for future research.

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Wyatt Miller, B.S.

Medical Student Researcher

I grew up in Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in biology. After graduating I came to Texas for medical school at UT Southwestern. I joined the lab to spend a dedicated year of research between my third and fourth years of medical school and explore my interest in academic cardiology. I'm really looking forward to honing my clinical research skills while working on exciting and cutting-edge studies with the lab! In my free time I enjoy long distance running, hiking, and traveling.

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Anand Jain

Student Intern

I am Anand Jain, a Student Intern working for the CMRU. I grew up in Dallas and currently attend the University of Texas as an undergraduate. I am studying Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics and Public Health Informatics. I am excited to learn the mechanics of clinical research, and I plan to utilize these skills after I apply to medical school. I enjoy cooking, table tennis, pickleball, and spending time with friends and family in my free time.

Our team is a fun and collabortive Group

We are always looking to recruit motivated researchers.

Contact Us
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Team Member Presentations

Cardiometabolic Research Team members actively attend and presents at regional and national conferences.

View our Team's Presentations
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Presentations by Ambarish Pandey, M.D., M.S.C.S.

Dr. Pandey actively provides updates and progress of the research projects in the Cardiometabolic Research Unit.

View presentations by Dr. Pandey
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