GWIMS Team Members

Program Leadership

Nakeisha L. Pierre, MD

Nakeisha Pierre, MD

Tulane GWIMS Steering Committee Chair
Director of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology
Director of Preoperative Medicine

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Dr. Nakeisha Pierre, a New Orleans native, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and has been a member of the Tulane Community as both Resident Physician and Faculty since 2002 with only a brief respite post-Katrina. Dr. Pierre received her Doctor of Medicine from LSU School of Medicine New Orleans in 2002. She completed her residency in Anesthesiology in 2006 at Tulane School of Medicine, and a Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine Texas Heart Institute in 2007. She is currently the Chair of Tulane’s GWIMS Chapter, Vice Chair of the General Medical Faculty, and has leadership roles on both Tulane Hospital and University administrative and academic committees. Her leadership roles as Clinical Director of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology and Director of the Preoperative Medicine Clinic have fostered the development of institutional change through evidence based guidelines, policy and procedure reform. Dr. Pierre is recognized regionally as an expert preoperative consultant and her collaborations in both private and academic institutions have fostered measurable gains. Dr. Pierre is acknowledged as a devoted physician, wife, mother, and mentor to the community.

Georgina Dobek, DVM, DACLAM

Georgina Dobek

Tulane GWIMS Steering Committee Vice Chair
Assistant Professor

Director, Department of Comparative Medicine

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Dr. Georgina Dobek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. She received her Bachelors of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Texas A&M University. She completed residency training in Laboratory Animal Medicine at Tulane University, and is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. As Director of the Department of Comparative Medicine, Dr. Dobek supervises the operations of three animal housing facilities, provides research support and training for scientists and students, co-directs the laboratory animal medicine residency program, and provides clinical care for over 20,000 research animals housed at Tulane.

Tulane GWIMS Steering Committee & Mentors 

Gabriella Pridjian, MD, MBA

Gabriella Pridjian, MD

Associate Dean, Surgical Services
Professor and Chairman of Obstetrics & Gynecology

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Dr. Gabriella Pridjian was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in July of 2004. Additionally, she is a clinical geneticist in the Human Genetics Program at Tulane. Dr. Pridjian received her MD degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology as well as her Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellowship at the University of Chicago, Chicago Lying-In Hospital. After spending several years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she moved to New Orleans and completed a fellowship in Human Genetics at Tulane University School of Medicine. She subsequently became Chief of Maternal- Fetal Medicine and then Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Pridjian has authored numerous publications and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Pridjian's areas of research are in preeclampsia, prenatal diagnosis, pregnancy loss, and metabolic disorders in pregnancy.

Cecilia Gambala, MD

Cecilia Gambala, MD

Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education
Medical Student Clerkship Director

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Cecilia Gambala is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Cecilia Gambala received her Bachelor of Science In Cell and Molecular Biology and Art Studio from H. Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University. She has an extensive educational history at Tulane University earning both a Masters of Science in Public Health and a Medical Degree. She subsequently completed her Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency and Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship in Chicago at the University of Illinois.  In 2011, she returned to Tulane University Medical School to begin her academic career. She currently acts as Director of medical student education in Ob/Gyn and is the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education. Dr. Gambala's research interests outside of medical education include prenatal diagnosis, obesity, diabetes and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. 

Mary T. Killackey, MD

Mary T. Killackey, MD

Chair, Department of Surgery
Director, Pediatric Kidney Transplant - Children's Hospital
Professor of Surgery & Pediatrics

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Mary Killackey, MD is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Tulane University Medical Center. She moved to New Orleans in October 2006 after working as a liver transplant attending at Albert Einstein in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Killackey received her undergraduate(1994) and medical(1998) degrees from Columbia University. She completed her General Surgery residency at the University of Rochester, Strong Memorial. From there, she went on to complete the Abdominal Organ Transplant Fellowship at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. During her fellowship, she gained expertise in liver, pancreas, intestinal and kidney transplantation in both adult and pediatric patients. In addition to the transplant experience at Mount Sinai, she gained extensive training in hepatobiliary surgery including resection and radio frequency ablation. Dr. Killackey has actively participated in clinical research and has presented at national transplant meetings. She has focused her research to clinical issues related to ischemia reperfusion, and recurrent Hepatitis C after transplant. She is an active member of the transplant community and is a member of several societies on both the local to international level.

Laurianne G. Wild, MD

Laurianne G. Wild, MD

Professor of Medicine
Chief, Section of Clinical Immunology, Allergy & Rheumatology

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Laurianne Wild, a New Orleans native, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University’s H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College. She earned her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine followed by completion of her internship, residency and chief residency at the University of Southern California Los Angeles County Medical Center. She was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society during her residency. At completion of her training in southern California, she returned to New Orleans to complete an Allergy and Clinical Immunology Fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine and subsequently joined the faculty. She served as Fellowship training program director for nineteen years and now co-directs the training program. She holds the rank of Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. Dr. Wild is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology as well as a Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Tina Simpson, MD, MPH

Laurianne G. Wild, MD

Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Section of Adolescent Medicine
Chief, Clinical Diversity Officer

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Dr. Simpson is a Professor of Pediatrics, Section Chief of Adolescent Medicine and Chief Clinical Diversity Office of Tulane University School of Medicine. She is board-certified in Adolescent Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Simpson has a passion for clinical research. The primary focus of her research efforts is the reduction of high-risk behaviors among adolescents and young adults, especially high-risk sexual behaviors.

Shauna Levy, MD, MS

Shauna Levy, MD, MS

Assistant Professor
Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery/Bariatric Surgery

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Shauna Levy, MD, MS, FACS, FASMBS, DABOM is an Assistant Professor of Surgery who started as full-time faculty at Tulane University Medical Center in October 2017. Dr Levy is double board certified in General Surgery and Obesity medicine. She is fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery with an emphasis on Foregut and Bariatric surgery. She is also the Medical Director of Tulane’s Bariatric and Weight Loss Center. Dr Levy has always been interested in fitness, weight loss and nutrition; she is very passionate about helping patients treat the disease of obesity. She works closely with patients to determine the best treatment for disease including medication, surgery or both. She specializes in anti-obesity medications as well as surgical weight loss treatments including vertical sleeve gastrectomy, roux en y gastric bypass and duodenal switch. This clinic can also help patients who have gained weight back after bariatric surgery. Dr Levy works with each patient to help them achieve long term weight loss. In addition to her work at Tulane, Dr Levy is very passionate about improving access to care for obesity treatments and educating the public on obesity treatment options. She is the State Access to Care Representative (STAR) for the Louisiana Chapter of ASMBS. She is President-Elect of the Louisiana ASMBS chapter. Additionally, she has recently been featured in many news outlets discussing new treatment options for obesity as well as the need for better insurance coverage for obesity treatments. You can find Dr Levy on The Hill Magazine, BBC World News, NBC News online, The Daily Mail, Food We Need To Talk Podcast, America Dissected Podcast, SiriusXM Doctor Radio, and more. Dr Levy's favorite role is mom to two young girls. They enjoy spending time exploring Louisiana.

Heddwen Brooks, PhD

Heddwen Brooks, PhD

Professor and Chair
Department of Physiology

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Dr. Brooks received her bachelor’s degree from the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, her masters from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and her PhD from the Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine in London. She followed this with training as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a visiting fellowship at the NHLBI Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism, National Institutes of Health. She has been recognized with the Astra Zeneca Young Investigator Award and the Lazaro Mandel Award from the American Physiological Society. Internationally recognized as a leader in research mentorship, scientific ethics and professional scientific writing, Dr. Brooks’ goal has always been to increase the research capabilities of those surrounding her while working together to solve important scientific questions. She is a passionate advocate for women in science, and has mentored many women.

Eman A. Toraih, MD, MSc., PhD, DBio

Eman A. Toraih, MD, MSc., PhD, DBio

Assistant Research Professor
Medical Genetics, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics
Department of Surgery

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Eman Toraih is an Assistant Research Professor in the Division of Endocrinology within the Department of Surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine. She moved to New Orleans in November 2019 to expand her ongoing basic and clinical research program. Dr. Toraih received her medical degree (2002) and masters and doctoral degrees in Medical Genetics (2008 and 2014) from Suez Canal University in Egypt. During her time there, she taught Molecular Genetics, Cancer Genomics, and Bioinformatics to medical students and worked as head of the Molecular Lab in the Center of Excellence of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, founded in 2015. Her research focused on cancer, and she presented her work at various local and international conferences where she received numerous awards. She conducted sizable projects on cancer, one of which focused on the genetic makeup of brain cancer patients. At Tulane, she has developed a network of multidisciplinary and international collaborators in a short time, bringing together world-class researchers with varying skill sets to achieve common goals. She helps students, fellows, residents, and faculty members to broaden their horizons by learning new subjects and techniques in basic science and clinical research activities. Dr. Toraih’s work has shed light on the utility and benefits of new thyroid cancer biomarkers for active surveillance. She identified a prognostic molecular panel that accurately predicts the risk of tumor specimens developing aggressive behavior. Dr. Toraih was awarded the Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Grant in 2020, Louisiana Clinical & Translational Science Center grant in 2021, and recently received an American Thyroid Association research grant funded by Bite Me Cancer and Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. Her findings assist clinicians in determining the frequency and modality of follow-up studies to better serve patients with thyroid cancer, with the goal of making a significant positive impact on thyroid cancer survival rates and reducing the aggregate cost of thyroid cancer treatment in the United States. On the leadership side, Dr. Toraih proactively introduced OncoLand and DiseaseLand bioinformatics software into Tulane University School of Medicine, providing students and faculty with access to hundreds of curated and quality-controlled public cancer and non-cancer datasets. Dr. Toraih is also the administrator of Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software at Tulane University. Apart from her high adaptability during COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Toraih is also committed to community service. She is engaged in several volunteer activities to provide aid to the homeless, serve meals and basic supplies to those in need, and help communities affected by hurricanes.