Members of the Center of Excellence for Integrative Heath Research | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC students walking through Lubbock campus courtyard.

Who We Are

The Center’s faculty is made up of our director, our steering committee, and other core faculty members/faculty associate members.

Faculty & Staff

Translational Neuroscience Therapeutics

Centers and Institutes Staff 

Member Profile

Center of Excellence for Integrative Health

 Director of Integrative Health Research 

Leslie Shen Ph.D. Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP)

Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen, PhD, Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP)

  • Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine, TTUHSC
  • Founding director, Center of Excellence for Integrative Health
  • Professor, pathology with joint appointment at Dept. of Laboratory Science and Primary Care & an adjunct appointment at Dept. of Nutritional Sciences
  • Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Award 2011
  • Published 100+ peer-reviewed journals and 6 book chapters
  • Made 120+ national and international conference/invited talks.
  • Served on editorial board for 13 journals
  • Served on grant reviewer for NIH (NCCIH, NIDDK), USDA, national, private, and foreign funding agencies.
  • Fellow, United State Bone and Joint Initiative
  • Fellow, NIH Clinical Research Management
  • Fellow, Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM)
  • Research Interests: dietary supplement/phytochemicals and exercise in musculoskeletal health and obesity related chronic diseases.  

(806) 743-2815

  Mohamad Al-Rahawan, M.D, M.P.H 
Mohamad Al-Rahawan,  M.D., M.P.H.

  • Associate Professor and Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology Oncology, SOM.
  • Research Interests: Pediatric Cancer treatment and prevention. Vitamin deficiency and supplementation in survivors of childhood cancer.

Phone: (806) 775-8600

Michael Blanton, PhD

Michael Blanton, PhD.

  • Professor and Vice Chair of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, SOM
  • Senior Associate Dean and MD/PhD Program Director.
  • Co-Director of Center for Membrane Protein Research, TTUHSC.
  • Research Interests: structure/function of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; development of smoking cessation agents and for the treatment nervous system disorders.

(806) 319-1778

Jean Brismee, PT, ScD
Jean-Michel Brismée, PT, ScD. 

  • Distinguished Professor in the Doctor of Science Program in Physical Therapy, School of Health Professionals.
  • Research Interests: Intervertebral disc hydration/height, musculoskeletal health manipulative therapy, mind-body therapies including yoga, meditation, Tai Chi.


Ming Chyu, PhD

Ming-Chien Chyu, PhD.

  • Professor of Healthcare Engineering
  • Research Interests: Non-pharmacological approaches in musculoskeletal issues-healthcare engineering approach- biomechanics.

(806) 834-8982

Jannette Dufour PhD
Jannette M. Dufour, PhD.

  • Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, SOM.
  • Research Interests: Mechanisms of Sertoli cell immune privilege, transplantation of genetically modified Sertoli cells and co-transplantation of Sertoli cells and pancreatic islets.  

Christopher Enakpene, MD
Christopher A. Enakpene, MD.

  • Associate professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Permian Basin.
  • Research Interests: diabetes in pregnancy and obesity, REDSOAP Study, ARABIN Study.   

Arturo Figueroa MD, PhD

Arturo Figueroa, PhD. 

  • Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, TTU
  • Research Interests: arterial stiffness, aortic hemodynamics, wave reflection, blood flow, endothelial function, L-citrulline supplementation, resistance exercise, muscle metaboreflex
(806) 834-5587

 Kwanghee, Jung
Kwanghee Jung , PhD.

  • Multivariate Statistics and Functional Data Analysis, Psychological Measurement and Testing Theory, Data Analytics and Big Data Analytics.
  • Bio-medical Data and Patient-Reported Outcomes Research.
  • Human Brain and Mental Health Research, Statistical Software Development, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Development

Office: (806) 834-0023

Gurvinder Kaur, PhD. 

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Education, SOM.
  • Research Interests: immune privileged properties of Sertoli cells & how to improve islet cell survival after transplantation.

 Jaehoon Lee, PhD
Jaehoon (Jason) Lee, PhD. 

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership
  • Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics (REMS) program and the co-director of the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy at TTU
  • Research Interests: high dimensional data analysis, experimental design and sample size calculation, as well as multiple testing adjustments.
(806) 834-5907

Sue Ann Lee, PhD CCC-CLP
Sue Ann Lee, PhD. 

  • Associate Professor, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, School of Health Professionals. 
  • Research Interests: Speech-language impairment, bilingualism, speech-language intervention, speech-language instrumentation, ultrasound, telepractice

Hui Luk, PhD
Hui Ying Luk, PhD. 

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, TTU
  • Research Interests: Immunoendocrine response on skeletal muscle regeneration and hypertrophy

(806) 834-0827

 Conrad Lyforn, PhD.

Lyford, Conrad PhD.

  • Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, TTU
  • Research Interests: Behavioral change towards healthy behavior and disease prevention. Community/school interventions for obesity prevention. Cost-benefit analysis. Developing country food security and health system

Phone: (806) 834-688

Natalia, Lutsevich, MD, PhD

Schlabritz-Lutsevich, Natalia , MD, PhD

  • Associate Professor of OB/GYN, TTUHSC (Odessa)
  • Research Interest: Comparative placental physiology (non-human primates and human) in normal and pathological pregnancies. Non-human primate model in pregnancy-related research. Maternal-placental-fetal interaction in maternal obesity, maternal alcohol consumption, pre-eclampsia and racial discrepancies. Fetal programming of adult diseases, in utero fetal brain protection, placenta-fetal brain axis. Placental stress, transport and synthesis of amino acids, lipid derivatives (endocannabinoids), lipid-soluble vitamins and hormones in adverse maternal environment. Microbiome and its role in the reproduction.

Office: (432) 703-5169

Narasimhan Madhusudhanan, PhD

Madhusudhanan, Narasimhan PhD

  • Assistant Professor (Research), Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, SOM
  • Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms underlying fetal alcohol developmental toxicity, Neuropathic pain mechanisms and treatments, Oncogenic signaling in cancer progression and metastasis and oncogene-directed treatment options

Office: (806) 743-4079

Inola Mello

Mello, Inola, DNP, APRN, FNP-C 

  • Family Practice SON TTUHSC
  • Vitamin D, sexual health, sleep patterns/anxiety, recreation drug use/misuse in college health.

Office: (806) 743-7282

 Naima, Moustaid PhD

Naima Moustaid-Moussa, PhD. FTOS, FAHA

  • Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences. 
  • Founding Director of the Obesity Research Cluster, TTU. 
  • Research Interests: Basic and integrated nutrition and obesity research, endocrine function of adipose tissue and nutrient-gene interactions in metabolic diseases, mechanisms of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds in metabolic and aging-related diseases; beta cell function in diabetes; and childhood obesity prevention.

(806) 834-7946                

Mary Murimi, PhD.
Mary Murimi, PhD.

  • Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
  • Research Interests: food security, maternal and child nutrition, nutrition education
(806) 834-1812



  • Professor, Division of cardiology/Department of Internal Medicine
  • Research Interests: Molecular basis of heart failure, proteomics and genomics of chemo related cardiotoxicity, development of risk models to assess cardiovascular outcomes in the post cardiac transplant and mechanical assist device populations

Office: (806) 743-3659

Volker Newgebauer, MD, PhD
Volker Neugebauer, MD, PhD.

  • Professor and Chair of Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, SOM.
  • Founding Director and Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics (CTNT), TTUHSC.
  • Research Interests: Neurobiological mechanisms of brain dysfunction related to chronically relevant disorders, such as chronic pain, comorbid conditions of anxiety, depression, etc.

(806) 743-3880

Wilna Theron, PhD, RD (SA)

Wilna Oldewage-Theron, PhD, RD (SA)

  • Professor of Nutritional Sciences
  • Research Interests: Community Nutrition using food fortification, supplementation, nutrition education, food product development and implementation, as well as school feeding programs on food insecurity, dietary diversity and nutritional status of women and children as well as the elderly.

(806) 834-0567

Ty Palmer, PhD
Ty Palmer, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management.
  • Research Interests: Impact of age-related disparities on muscular function, interventional strategies to improve functional performance in older adults

(806) 834-7884

Oak-Hee Park, PhD.
Oak-Hee Park, PhD.

  • Senior Research Associate at Research Office, College of Human Science
  • Research Interests: Community nutrition, food environment

John W. Pelley
John W. Pelley, MBA, PhD 

  •  Professor, Department of Medical Education, SOM
  • Research Interests: Mindfulness strategies in learning and mind-body wellness; integrative medicine education

(806) 743-1116

Jennifer Phy, MD
Jennifer Phy, MD. 

  • Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, SOM.
  • Research Interests: Polycystic ovary syndrome and weight loss by dietary modification, acupuncture on vascular tone and stress levels in infertile women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

(806) 743-4256

 Narissra M Punyanunt, PhD

Punyanunt, Narissra M. PhD

  • Associate Professor & Assistant Dean of International Affairs, Department of Communication, College of Media & Communication TTU
  • Research Interests: Health communication; health advocacy, the crafting of messages about health, and strategies for the promotion of health-care services.

Office: (806) 834-3273

Latha Ramalingam, PhD.
Latha Ramalingam, PhD. 

  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Texas Tech
  • Research Interests: Bioactives in maternal obesity, Renin Angiotensin System (RAS) in beta cells, and the interactions between adipocytes and beta cells and their influence on diabetes and obesity.

(806) 834-0841

Eric Rivas Assistant Professor
Eric Rivas

  • Assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, TTU
  • Research Interests: Exercise and Thermal Physiology. Acute and chronic exercise, cold, heat, and hypoxia effects on metabolic and vascular function in healthy, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

(806) 834-8563

Sharda P. Singh, PhD.
Sharda P. Singh, PhD 

  • Associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine, SOM
  • Research Interests: Clinical trials and animal studies – dietary supplement/phytochemicals in prevention of doxorubicin induced cardiotoxicity.

(806) 743-3902

 Andrew C. Shin Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, TTU

Shin, Andrew C.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, TTU
  • Research Interests: Neurobiology of appetite control, body weight regulation, and nutrient metabolism

Office: (806) 834-1713 

 Phillip Sizer Jr., PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT
Phillip S. Sizer Jr., PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT 

  • President’s Distinguished Professor, Associate Dean for Research and ScD Program Director in the School of Health Professions at TTUHSC
  • Research Interests: Clinical pathoanatomy, sensorimotor control and functional biomechanics of the spine and extremities, tissue and movement screening

(806) 743-3902

 Huaxin Song, PhD. School of Nursing, TTUHSC
Song, Huaxin PhD.

  • School of Nursing, TTUHSC
  • Research Interests: Chronic Disease Management through inter-professional collaborative practice; Childhood obesity prevention; Big Data and measurement matrix for research and quality improvement programs for healthcare system.

Office: (806) 743-2661

Grace Sun, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Sun, Grace DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

  • Associate Professor, School of Nursing, TTUHSC
  • Research Interests: Education in Integrative Healthcare, Whole Body Wellness

Office: (806) 743-9246  

Heather Vellers, PhD.
Grant Tinsley, PhD. 

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, TTU
  • Research Interests: Body composition assessment methodology, lifestyle interventions to improve body composition, intermittent fasting, dietary supplementation, resistance training

(806) 834-5895

Healther Vellers, PhD.
Heather Vellers, PhD.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, TTU
  • Research Interests: Mitochondrial biology and genetics-role in exercise training response and pathological etiologies

(806) 834-8890

Shu Wang, PhD.
Shu Wang, PhD.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences.
  • Research Interests: nutrition and nanomedicine for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular disease and obesity

(806) 834-4050

 Fangyuan Zhang, PhD Assistant Professor of Statistics of Department of Mathematics and Statistics, TTU

Zhang, Fangyuan  PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Statistics of Department of Mathematics and Statistics, TTU.
  • Research Interests: Developing statistical methods to detect genetic effects, epigenetic effects, and interaction effects between genes and environment associated with human complex diseases.
  • Application of bio-statistical methods to real data analysis.

Office: (806) 834-2587

 Zhang, Yan, PhD, LAc
Yan Zhang, PhD, L.Ac.  

  • Associate Professor and the Founding Director of Division of Integrative Medicine in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, SOM, TTUHSC.
  • Research Interests: Clinical trials-acupuncture and mind-body intervention, health services research-secondary data analysis on CAM related topics, complementary and integrative health education

(806) 743-6056

Julie Zook, Ph.D.

Zook, Julie Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, College of Architecture
  • Research Interests: Environmental determinants of health related to architectural and urban/community design; use of EHR data to better understand functioning of healthcare architecture.

Office: (806) 742-1400

Mimi Zumwalt, MD.
Mimi Zumwalt, MD. 

  • Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, SOM
  • Research Interests: Female athletes/Injury prevention, exercise techniques/training Rx Natural/alternative nutrition, sex/gender differences

(806) 743-2465

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Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen, PhD, CCRP
Founding Director
(806) 743-2815