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Research

Our goal is to improve the medical care we provide to women with the knowledge gained from our research efforts. The department is committed to developing and maintaining a strong foundation of basic science, clinical, and translational research. 

Faculty Researchers

Leo Brancazio, MD, FACOG

Leo R. Brancazio, MD, FACOG, is a nationally recognized expert in high-risk obstetrics with extensive clinical experience in medical complications of pregnancy and pharmacology during pregnancy. Dr. Brancazio, chair of the WVU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is board certified in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.

He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from West Virginia University and completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Magee-Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine.

Clinical Focus: Medical complications during pregnancy and obstetrical complications.

I-Chung Chen, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Chen received his PhD from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is an Embryologist with the WVU Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Medical Specialties: Reproductive endocrinology and infertility.                                                          

Clinical Focus: Infertility, embryology, and andrology.

Melanie Clemmer, PhD, Associate Professor

Dr. Clemmer is the IVF Laboratory Director for the WVU Center for Reproductive Medicine. She received her PhD in Reproductive Physiology from West Virginia University and completed a NIH Fellowship at Magee-Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Medical Specialties: Reproductive medicine

Clinical Focus: Obesity and pregnancy complications, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), reproductive physiology, cell function, oocyte quality and follicle health.

Sarah Dotson, MD, Assistant Professor, Medical Director for Performance Improvement

Dr. Dotson, Medical Director for Performance and Improvement, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.

She received her Master in Public Health and Doctor of Medicine degrees from Dartmouth College. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Medical School.

Clinical Focus: Medical complications during pregnancy and obstetrical complications.

Omar Duenas Garcia, MD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Duenas, board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, received his Doctor in Medicine degree from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – Instituto Nacional de Perinatología. He completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine - Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, a fellowship in Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a Master in Public Health at University of Massachusetts Amherst.                                                                                                                                                               

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology, urogynecology, and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

Clinical Focus: Pelvic reconstruction, robotic surgery, urinary incontinence, minimally invasive surgery, vaginal surgery, fecal incontinence, and postoperative pain and the use of non-narcotic options.

Rawan El-Amin, DO, Assistant Professor

Dr. El-Amin is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. She completed her residency at West Virginia University.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology

Mahreen Hashmi, MD, Professor

Dr. Hashmi, Residency Program Director and Medical Clerkship Director, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.                                                 

She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Ohio and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Riverside Methodist Hospitals.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and surgery

Clinical Focus: Endometriosis, laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery

Lekha Hota, MD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Hota received her Doctor of Medicine degrees from West Virginia University. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ohio State University and fellowships at the University of Louisville and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hota is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology – Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology, urogynecology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

Clinical Focus: Pelvic reconstruction, urinary incontinence, uterine prolapse, vaginal vault prolapse, minimally invasive surgery, vaginal surgery, and fecal incontinence.

Kelly Lemon, MSN, CNM, WHNP

Kelly Lemon is a certified nurse midwife and instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received her RN from West Virginia University and her MSN from Georgetown University.                        

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and midwifery services.

Clinical Focus: Prenatal visits, postpartum care, intrapartum care, contraceptive management, perinatal mood disturbance management, and annual gynecologic or well woman visits.

Krista Pfaendler, MD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Pfaendler received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Public Health and fellowship from the University of California Irvine. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology

Clinical Focus: Gynecologic cancer and malignancies, robotic surgery, surgical debulking, chemotherapy, minimally invasive surgery, health disparities, cervical cancer prevention, and early detection and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Roberta Renzelli-Cain, DO, MHS, FACOG, Assistant Professor

Dr. Renzelli-Cain received her medical degree from University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at West Virginia University.

Board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Renzelli-Cain is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a certified midlife and sexual health specialist. She is a sought-after clinician educator with expertise in the management of high-risk pregnancies, preeclampsia and breast pathology.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and Gynecology

Clinical Focus: Women's health, vaginal dystrophy, adolescent gynecology medical complications of pregnancy, menopause, aging, and MonaLisa Touch laser therapy.

Robert Shapiro, MD, Associate Professor and Adjunct Professor of Urology

Dr. Shapiro earned his Doctor of Medicine degree and completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University. He is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS). Dr. Shapiro is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Female Pelvic Medicine/Reconstructive Surgery.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and urogynecology.

Clinical Focus: Hysterectomy, robotic surgery, and urinary incontinence.

Shon Rowan, MD, Associate Professor

Dr. Rowan received his Doctor of Medicine and completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and practices at the WVU Center for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Rowan also serves as the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Director for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.                

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, reproductive medicine, reproductive endocrinology, surgery, and pediatric gynecology.

Clinical Focus: Clinically active in reproductive medicine including infertility and in vitro fertilization. Research interests include polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility-based studies.

Valerie Galvan Turner, MD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Valerie Galvan Turner is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Galvan Turner graduated with an MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2009 and completed her residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She completed her gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of California Irvine.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology.

Clinical Focus: Obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncology, gynecologic cancer and malignancies, robotic surgery, surgical debulking, chemotherapy, and minimally invasive surgery.

Megan Varvoutis, MD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Varvoutis received her Doctor of Medicine degree from East Tennessee State University. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Memorial Health University Medical Center and a fellowship at the Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Varvoutis is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Clinical Focus: High risk obstetrics, high risk pregnancy, medical complications during pregnancy, and obstetrical complications.

Resident Research Day / Annual Palladino Lecture

Every year we have Annual Resident Research Day, where our residents present the findings of their research projects. The presentations are evaluated by a panel of judges. We also invite an eminent physician scientist who acts as Guest Lecturer for the event and gives the Annual Palladino lecture. The names of the Guest Lecturer for the last five years include:

  • 2016. Loretta P. Finnegan, MD, LLD
  • 2017. Haywood Brown, MD
  • 2018. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, MD
  • 2019. Philip Samuels, MD
  • 2020. Rescheduled

See Current Program Year Brochure

For more information regarding current research projects or assistance with a research project, please contact our Research and Grants Analyst:

A photo of Todd Walters.
Todd Walters
West Virginia University
Position
Research and Grants Analyst, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Phone
304-293-1557