MD-PhD Directorate

Dr. Thomas Pearson - Program DirectorThomas A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD
Director, MD-PhD Training Program

Dr. Pearson is the Director of the MD-PhD Training Program and Term Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine. He received his MD, MPH and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins and completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine and Fellowships in Pathology and Cardiology, all at John Hopkins. Dr. Pearson’s major research interest has been on the etiology and pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and related disorders of lipids and lipoproteins. Sponsored research since 1983 has entailed studies of basic pathology of human tissues and animal models, clinical studies, randomized trails, and cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiologic studies. He has published over 365 papers, many in high impact journals. Dr. Pearson has served on numerous NIH study sections and special emphasis panels, especially for NHLBI. He has been PI/PD for a large number of training and education grants (K07, KL2, K30, T32, R25).

Dr. Wayne McCormackWayne McCormack, PhD
Co-Director, MD-PhD Training Program
E-mail: | 352.294.8334

Dr. McCormack is a Professor of Pathology in the College of Medicine. He directs the Office of Biomedical Research Career Development (OBRCD) of the UF CTSA Program and the CTSA TL1 Program. Dr. McCormack directs experiential learning exercises in team science; coordinates multidisciplinary career experiences in the industry, regulatory sciences, and community health; and oversees didactic coursework, such as the two-year cycle of Inter-professional Skill Development Seminars. He advises MD-PhD and other dual-degree program trainees. Dr. McCormack has been involved in every facet of graduate program planning, curriculum development, recruiting/admissions, and administration over the past 20 years. He also teaches Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development and Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research. His education research focuses on team-based learning and competency-based assessment in graduate education, medical student peer evaluation, and humanism in medicine.

Dr. Kristianna Fredenburg

Kristianna Fredenburg, MD, PhD
Co-Director, MD-PhD Training Program
E-mail: / 352.627.9240

Dr. Fredenburg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology. She has a PhD in Cell Biology and Toxicology from NC State University, followed by postdoctoral training at Duke University, and an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Fredenburg completed her residency and fellowship training in Anatomic Pathology at UF in 2015. She investigates the molecular and genetic basis of disparate outcomes of head and neck cancers between black and white patients. She relates well to MD-PhD students as a junior faculty with clinical, research, teaching and family responsibilities. Dr. Fredenburg has been a member of the MD-PhD Executive Committee since 2016. She has been especially active as a co-mentor for scholars who are women and/or from underrepresented minority groups. She brings to the Program leadership an established commitment to MD-PhD training and a mentor/role model for our diverse Scholars. She chairs the Scholar Recruitment and Selection Committee.

Dr. Ali ZarrinparAli Zarrinpar, MD, PhD
Co-Director, MD-PhD Training Program
E-mail: | 352.265.0535

Dr. Zarrinpar is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of Research for the Division of Transplantation Surgery. He received his MD-PhD in Biochemistry in 2005 from UCSF. He then completed residencies in General Surgery and Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery at UCLA where he received a CTSA KL2 Award. He relocated to UF in 2017 with K08, R21 and UH2 awards from NIH. His research integrates immunity and inflammation, as well as cellular metabolism, growth, and activation at the molecular level. Dr. Zarrinpar has a strong mentoring track record and proves a strong role model for the Physician Scientist with clinical, research, teaching, and family responsibilities. He mentors scholars in the transition between MS2 and GS1, GS4 and MS3, and MS4 and postgraduate medical education. He will be especially helpful to Scholars with surgical career interests and interacts with the Career Opportunities Program to facilitate exploration of careers outside academic medicine.

Yulia StrekalovaYulia Strekalova, PhD, MB
Assistant Professor (Research) & Director of Grants Development /
Director of Educational Development and Evaluation
E-mail: | (352) 846-2399

Dr. Strekalova is the MD-PhD Evaluator. She is a Research Assistant Professor and Director of Grants Development and Evaluation Working Group of the TWD Program of the UF CTSA. Dr. Strekalova has an established career interest and track record in program evaluation, including evaluation of education and training programs, and is well versed in mixed methods approaches (qualitative and quantitative) for program evaluation. Dr. Strekalova has been responsible for establishing learning objectives and acquired competencies for the Program, as well as development of the Logic Model and evaluation plan.

Wanda Aviles - Program CoordinatorWanda I. Avilés
Program Coordinator – Operations
E-mail: | 352.273.8479

Ms. Avilés is the MD-PhD Coordinator for Operations. She provides day-to-day management of Programs and projects, and organizes, convenes, and provides support to the Internal Advisory Committee, the External Advisory Committee, the Dual Doctorate Committee, and the MD-PhD Scholar Council. As the Operations Coordinator, she assures scholar participation in OBRCD activities, including Professional Skill Development Series (GS1-2), Science Career Opportunities, Practicum (MS1-2), Clinical Experience (e.g. Equal Access Clinic), Clinical Mentoring and Postgraduate Planning. She will also integrate MD-PhD Programs with those of the 10 PhD Programs in which MD-PhD scholars are pursuing PhD degrees.  Wanda was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Florida since 1999. Wanda completed her BLS with a major in Psychology from Barry University.

Kenneth Wynn - Program CoordinatorKenneth Wynn
Program Coordinator – Recruitment & Evaluation
E-mail: | 352.294,8336

Mr. Wynn serves as the MD-PhD Coordinator for Recruitment and Evaluation. He promotes the Program, facilitating the recruitment and selection of high quality, diverse applicants to whom offers of admission can be made. He staffs and supports the Recruitment and Selection Committee. He also maintains progress reports, Individual Development Plans, and productivity measures (i.e. meeting attendance, presentations at local and national meetings, publications, grant applications, and awards). This includes semi-annual meetings with the Scholars and Mentors to monitor progress on Individual Development Plans. He will also track graduates per the evaluation plan for at least 15 years following graduation. Kenneth is a graduate of UF, completing both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Family, Youth and Community Sciences, with a concentration in Family Financial Management.

Mary GipsonMary Gipson
Administrative Specialist
E-mail: | 352.294,5957

Mrs. Gipson serves as the Administrative Specialist for the UF MD-PhD Directorate. Mary coordinates the scheduling of the many committees and meetings of the Directorate. She also provides document development service for grant applications, handbooks, manuscripts, and correspondence related to the Directorate. Mary is a native of West Virginia and a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in Communications.