The Pulse

Welcome to The Pulse, the biannual UPMC Cardiovascular Fellowship Program e-newsletter. This publication is issued twice a year to keep graduates up to date on what’s happening with the program. It is our hope that this will help everyone to stay in close contact and promote ongoing interaction among graduates, new and old.

Congratulations, Graduates!

It gives us great pleasure to present the 2018 graduates of the UPMC Cardiovascular Fellowship Program and to wish them the best in their next endeavors.

Robert A. Baumgartner, MD, will join UPMC Passavant as an interventional cardiologist.

Patrick T. Bering, MD, will join Medstar Washington Hospital in Washington, DC in an academic position as a cardiac imaging specialist and general cardiologist.

Stephen J. D’Auria, MD, will continue to the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program at UPMC.

Sebhat A. Erqou, MD, PhD, will join Brown University / Rhode Island VA Medical Center as an assistant professor and physician scientist.

Michael V. Genuardi, MD, will continue to the Advanced Heart Failure Fellowship Program at UPMC.

Helen C. Huang, MD, will join the UCLA satellite clinic in Porter Ranch, CA as a general cardiologist.

Jae In Lee, MD, will continue to the EP Fellowship Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

Jack Z. Li, MD, MBA, will continue to the EP Fellowship Program at UPMC.

Ahmad Masri, MD, will continue as a T32 fellow in the Heart and Vascular Institute while also completing advanced imaging training.

Shivang P. Shah, MD, will join Indiana Heart Physicians Indianapolis with Franciscan Health as an electrophysiologist.

Polakit Teekakirikul, MD, will join The Chinese University of Hong Kong as an assistant professor and physician scientist. He will also maintain an appointment with UPMC through the Department of Developmental Biology.

Ajay Tripuraneni, MD, will join UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg as an electrophysiologist.

Jonathon A. Wertz, MD, will join UPMC Hamot in Erie as an electrophysiologist.

Manling Zhang, MD, MS, will join UPMC and VA Cardiology as an Advanced Heart Failure specialist and physician scientist.

Awards and Honors

Award Recipients

Please join us in congratulating this year’s award recipients:
  • Advanced Heart Failure/Cardiac Transplant Fellow Recognition Award in Memory of Jeffrey Wierenga: Manling Zhang, MD
    The Advanced Heart Failure/Cardiac Transplant Fellow Recognition Award in Memory of Jeffrey Wierenga was established in memory of Jeffrey Wierenga to recognize the fellow who most embodies the hope, promise, and reality of transplantation procedures.

  • Chief Fellow Award: Michael V. Genuardi, MD
    The Chief Fellow Award is presented to the chief fellow to acknowledge his or her dedication and leadership in the fellowship over the past year.

  • Galal M. Ziady Memorial Award: Polakit Teekakirikul, MD
    The Galal M. Ziady Memorial Award is presented to a fellow who is focused on the treatment of disadvantaged communities and patients.

  • James A. Shaver Memorial Award: Ahmad Masri, MD
    The James A. Shaver Memorial Award is presented to the fellow who best exemplifies Dr. Shaver’s deep commitment to cardiovascular education.

  • Edward I. Curtiss Memorial Teacher Award: Frederick Crock, MD
    The Edward I. Curtiss Memorial Teacher Award is presented to the faculty member who demonstrates outstanding excellence in teaching the cardiology fellows.

  • Excellence in Research Award: Ahmad Masri, MD
    Runners up:
    Sebhat Erqou, MD, PhD
    Polakit Teekakirikul, MD
    The Excellence in Research Award is presented to a fellow that exhibits significant past research discoveries and promise for the future

HVI Trivia Night

Emily Guhl, MD
By Emily Guhl, MD
Second-Year Fellow
Tuesday March 20 was our first-ever trivia night, in honor of Dr. Fred Crock, at Sharp Edge Brewery in Highland Park. About 50 members of the HVI (fellows, faculty, sonographers, and family) were invited to form teams and compete in Dr. Crock-inspired trivia with categories such as Famous Twins, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, and Name that Lyric. Dr. Crock selected the Birmingham Clinic to be the recipient of the approximately $4,000 of donations collected in his name. After receiving bonus points for creative names—Probi-Wan Knobi, a team of sonographers led by Dr. Jenifer Lee— took first place by a close two-point margin over Team Josh Levenson, Assistant Program Director. We look forward to our next HVI trivia night!

Probi Wan Kenobi

First Place Team Probi Wan Kenobi

Marroquin, Follansbee, Power, Lee

L-R: Oscar Marroquin, MD, William Follansbee, MD, John Power, MD, Joon Lee, MD

The Cardiac Wet Lab

Roy Sriwattanakomen, MD
By Roy Sriwattanakomen, MD, Third-Year Fellow and Chief Education Fellow
When I was a first-year medical student at Pitt, I struggled through anatomy class. Memorizing structures and the relationships between them seemed pointless without an understanding of their importance. What I learned was used to pass exams and then quickly forgotten. During internal medicine residency, anatomical considerations rarely arose as I focused on clinical medicine and physiology. Then during cardiology fellowship – with the myriad of imaging techniques necessary to characterize the structure and function of the heart as well as the use of fluoroscopy during invasive procedures – I found myself wishing that my knowledge of cardiac anatomy was stronger. Despite hours spent studying model hearts, Schmidhofer cups, and websites that allowed me to manually rotate the heart in various projections, I wished that I could go back to first-year anatomy class so that I could cut a heart, hold it in my hands, and study the anatomy with the understanding of the heart that I had now.

This past April, as though reading my mind, new electrophysiology attending Dr. Krishna Kancharla organized such a session. With the majority of the cardiology fellowship in attendance and enough pig hearts for each individual fellow to perform his or her own dissection, Dr. Kancharla deliberately led us through the dissection, making sense of fluoroscopic views in the cath and EP labs, and focusing on cardiac chamber relationships and valvular and outflow tract anatomy. The usefulness of the session was evidenced by the fact that, despite starting at 5:30 p.m. and lasting for three hours, not a single fellow left early. We were completely engrossed in the dissection and the clinical applications of what Dr. Kancharla taught us. By the end of the session, echo and fluoroscopic images and EP procedural considerations made more sense to us.

This wet lab was the first of several sessions that Dr. Kancharla has planned. In speaking with many of my co-fellows, this session was one of the most useful didactics we have had, directly addressing a gap in knowledge. With a better understanding of anatomy, imaging and interventional cardiology become more intuitive and enjoyable. We’re grateful that Dr. Kancharla has taken the time to organize and skillfully lead these sessions to make us better cardiologists.

Share Your Publication News

Have you had an article published recently? Share this news with the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute for inclusion in a new section of the Our Research page on the HVI website! Email the link to your article, along with a brief description, to

Request for Updates

We know how much you value the education you received here, and invite your input and support. One of our first priorities is to gather contact information for all of our former trainees.

Please email Denise Goppman at with your current email address and any updates that you might like to share.

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