A Round of Applause: February 2024 SMHS Kudos

Illustration, hands clapping

Congratulations to all our students, alumni, faculty, and staff on their recent success. The items below highlight a few of the achievement and expertise that can be found at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) in recent months.

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Andrew Choi, MD ’07, BA ’03, FACC, MSCCT, associate professor of medicine and of radiology at GW SMHS, the co-director of multimodality cardiac imaging at the GW MFA, was featured in the Center for Faculty Excellence Spotlight, highlighting his role within the Division of Cardiology.


Jay Faber, MD, MSHS ’21, was selected to speak at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine’s Brain Health Symposium March 1. Faber, who earned a Master of Health Sciences in integrative medicine at GW SMHS, practices at the Amen Clinics, a renowned brain health imaging center in Encino, California. At the conference he discussed holistic treatments to address the addictive brain including fentanyl's alarming nationwide effects; trending neuroscientific concepts on addiction including transcriptomics, microbiomics, and novel neuroanatomic discoveries; as well as health care’s burnout rate and how to overcome it.


Former National Football League (NFL) running back Zach Zenner, MSHS ’22, announced plans to launch a sports nutrition consulting company called Zion Performance in partnership with One West Sports Group. Zenner, who spent five seasons in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, and Miami Dolphins, earned his Master of Health Sciences in integrative medicine at GW SMHS. 



Richard L. Abbott, MD ’71, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, was elected to serve as the president of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, a term that will continue until Sept. 30, 2026. Abbott is the past president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology, and the Pan American Ophthalmological Foundation.


Ruth S. Spector, MD ’86, MBA, FCCM, was named a Pinnacle Life Member by the Inner Circle, for contributions to the fields of internal medicine, anesthesia, and critical care medicine. Prior to opening her own practice, Spector most recently served as director of critical care services Good Samaritan Hospital.



Aparna Baxi, PhD ’23, a GW Integrated Biomedical Sciences alumna and post-doctoral fellow with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, who recently passed away, published “Cell Lineage–Guided Mass Spectrometry Reveals Increased Energy Metabolism and Reactive Oxygen Species in the Vertebrate Organizer,” in the Feb. 1, 2024 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, along with Sally Moody, PhD, Professor Emerita of Anatomy and Cell Biology at GW SMHS; and Peter Nemes, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of Maryland-College Park. 

In this ground-breaking work, Baxi and the team pioneered a deep discovery proteomic screen and a targeted metabolic screen of the cells in the embryo that induce the formation of the nervous system and the axial mesoderm – known as the “organizer”. This study revealed that upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation and accumulation of reactive oxygen species are required for proper patterning of the embryo. 

Baxi, Moody, and Nemes also published the article, “Time-resolved Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of the Developing Xenopus Otic Vesicle Reveals Putative Congenital Hearing Loss Candidates,” in the Aug. 16, 2023 edition of the journal iScience, an open access journal from Cell Press. 

In this article, Baxi, Nemes, and Moody used quantitative mass spectroscopy to determine protein abundances during the development of the inner ear, a structure that frequently develops abnormally resulting in congenital hearing loss syndromes. Comparison of the proteomic dataset to congenital hearing loss datasets revealed several potential disease targets. 

Together, these innovative studies demonstrate that using high-resolution mass spectroscopy to analyze embryological processes expands the bioanalytical toolbox of cell and developmental biology, providing previously unavailable information – i.e., beyond genomics and transcriptomics – about the molecular regulation of normal and abnormal embryonic development.


Paul L. Kimmel MD, MACP, FRCP, FASN, Clinical Professor of Medicine Emeritus, and former director of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at GW SMHS, published, “The Body’s Keepers.” The book describes the history of the treatment of kidney failure by dialysis and transplantation.


Rita A. Manfredi, MD, FACEP, clinical professor of emergency medicine, co-edited From Self to System: Being Well in Emergency Medicine, with Diann Krywko, MD. The 40-chapter text focuses on how health system impact the well-being of health care professionals, and present ways to adapt and stay healthy as they serve patients, communities, and families.


Gary Sprouse, MD ’82, RESD ’85, BS ’78, recently published “Highway to Your Happy Place: A Roadmap to Less Stress.” The book addresses feelings of worry, guilt, regret, boredom, low self-esteem, and being overwhelmed in an easy-to-read format. The book addresses feelings of worry, guilt, regret, boredom, low self-esteem, and being overwhelmed in an easy-to-read format. Each chapter offers a better understanding of the problem and easy-to-use tools to reduce stress.

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Steven W. Boyce, MD, selected to serve as chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the GW MFA, and professor of surgery at GW SMHS.
Sharad Goyal, MD, MS, is among 48 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) members to receive the 2024 ASTRO Fellow (FASTRO) designation.