Last modified 2/21/2014


Current BIRCWH Scholars

Dr. Egle Bytautiene, M.D., PhD

1991–1992   Physician-Resident of Internal Medicine, Vilnius University Santariskes Hospital, Lithuania
1992–1997  Researcher, Heartscan, Inc, Nashville, Tenn
1997–2005 Research Fellow, Research Investigator Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, TX
2005, 2006 Visiting Scientist, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Huddinge University Hospital, Karolinska University, Stockholm, Sweden
2006–2011 Instructor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, UTMB, Galveston, TX
2011- Assistant Professor/BIRCWH Scholar, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine UTMB, Galveston, TX

Research Interests:

Dr. Bytautiene's areas of research include effects of maternal prepregnancy obesity and preeclampsia on long-term maternal and offspring health and obesity during pregnancy and postpartum.

Selected Publications:

Maged M Costantine, MD,  Esther H Tamayo,   Fanxgian Lu, MD PhD, Egle Bytautiene, MD, Monica Longo, MD PhD,  Gary DV Hankins, MD,  George R. Saade, MD. Using Pravastatin to Improve the Vascular Reactivity in a Mouse Model of Soluble Fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase-1-Induced Preeclampsia. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jul;116(1):114-20.

Chiossi G, Costantine MM, Betancourt A, Hankins GDV, Longo M, Saade G, Bytautiene E.Does sildenafil citrate affect myometrial contractile response to nifedipine in vitro? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Sep;203(3):252.e1-5. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Chiossi G, Costantine MM, Betancourt A, Hankins GDV, Longo M, Saade G, Bytautiene E. Effect of maternal body mass index on in vitro response to tocolytics in term myometrium. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Sep;203(3):261.e1-5. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Drever N, Saade GR, Bytautiene E. Fetal programming: Early-life modulations that affect adult outcomes. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2010 Nov;10(6):453-9.

Bytautiene E, Tamayo E, Kechichian ET, Drever N, Gamble P, Hankins GD, Saade GR. Prepregnancy obesity and sFlt1-induced preeclampsia in mice: developmental programming model of metabolic syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Mar 26.

Mateus J, Bytautiene E, Lu F, Betancourt A, Tamayo EH, Hankins GD, Longo M, Saade GR. Endothelial growth factor therapy improves preelampsia-like manifestations in a murine model induced by over-expression of SVEGFR-1. AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 2011 (in press).

Bytautiene E, Lu F, Tamayo EH, Hankins GD, Longo M, Kublickiene K, Saade GR. Long-term maternal cardiovascular function in a mouse model of sFlt-1-induced preeclampsia. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Jan;298(1):H189-93.

Bytautiene E, Vedernikov YP, Saade GR, Romero R, Garfield RE. Effect of mast cell degranulating agent on vascular resistance in human placental vascular bed and on the tone of isolated placental vessels. Reprod Sci. 2008;15:26-32.

Lu F, Bytautiene E, Tamayo E, Gamble P, Anderson G, Hankins G, Longo M, Saade G. Gender-specific effect of over-expression of sFlt-1 in pregnant mice on fetal programming of blood pressure in the offspring later in life. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007; 197:418.e1-5.

Bytautiene E, Romero RR, Vedernikov YP, El-Zeky F, Saade GR, Garfield RE. Induction of Premature labor and Delivery by Allergic Reaction and Prevention by Histamine H1 receptor antagonist. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;191:1356-1361.


Dr. Elizabeth Lyons
2010 - PhD., Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
2005 - M.P.H., Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
2002 - B.A. with High Honors, English and Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
2011-present - Assistant Professor/BIRCWH Scholar, Institute for Translational Sciences, UTMB, Galveston, TX.

Research Interests:

Elizabeth's research is focused on the use of technology for health promotion. Health topics of most interest to her are obesity, physical activity, chronic disease and aging. Her research has included pro-anorexia websites, online cancer mailing lists for survivors and caregivers, and the effects of video games on energy expenditure and intake.

She is currently studying video games as a tool to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior, the prevalence of behavioral weight loss tools in fitness video games and changes over time in active video game use in older adult women.

Funding Obtained:

Sponsor: American Heart Institute; Grant ID: 13BGIA17110021 ($139,840); STEP AND GO: A study of technology-based exercise promotion (2013-2015).

Selected Publications:

Lyons, EJ, Tate DF, Ward DS. The better the story, the bigger the serving: narrative transportation increases snacking during screen time in a randomized trial. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 May 16;10:60 (PubMed - in process). Available at

Lyons, EJ, Hatkevich C. Prevalence of behavior changing strategies in fitness video games: theory-based content analysis. J Med Internet Res. 2013 May 7;15(5):e81 (PubMed - in process). Available at

Lyons, EJ, Tate DF, Ward DS, Riisl KM, Bowling JM, Kalyanaraman S. Engagement, enjoyment, and energy expenditure during active video game play. Health Psychol. 2013 Mar 25 (PubMed - in process).

Lyons, EJ., Tate, D.F., Ward, D.S., Ribisl, K.R., Bowling, J.M., & Kalyanaraman, S. (in press). Do motion controllers make traditional video games less sedentary? Journal of Obesity.

Lyons, EJ, Tate, D.F., Ward, D.S., Bowling, J.M., Ribisl, K.R., & Kalyanaraman, S. (2011). Energy expenditure and enjoyment during video game play in adults: differences by game type. Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, 43(10), 1987-1993.

Fogel, J., Ribisl, K.M., Morgan, P.D., Humphreys, K. & Lyons, E.J. (2008). The underrepresentation of African Americans in online cancer support groups. Journal of the National Medical Association, 100(6), 705-712.

Meier, A., Lyons, EJ, Frydman, G., Forlenza, M. & Rimer, B. (2007). How cancer survivors provide support on cancer-related Internet mailing lists. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 9(2), e12. Available at:


Dr. Jacqueline Hirth
2001 - B.S., Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette.
2005 - M.P.H., Epidemiology, Indiana University, Indianapolis.
2010 - Ph.D., Population Health Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston.
2010 - 2012 - NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, UTMB, Galveston.
2012 - Present - Assistant Professor/BIRCWH Scholar, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.

Research Interests:

Jacqueline's research interests include cancer prevention among women, disparities in cancer screening & prevention practices, methods of improving HPV vaccination coverage, and compliance with cancer screening guidelines. Her research has also included the examination of racial and ethnic differences in women’s mental health symptoms and comparisons of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods.

Jacqueline is currently studying geographical disparities in HPV vaccine usage and long-acting contraceptive methods.

Funding Obtained:

Cervical Cancer Free America; ($5,000); Association of region of residence with human papillomavirus vaccine uptake among 9-17 year old adolescents in the U.S. (2013-2014).

Selected Publications:

Hirth JM, Tan A, Wilkinson GS, Berenson AB.  Compliance with cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus testing guidelines among insured young women. J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 May 30. 

Berenson AB, Tan A, Hirth JM, Wilkinson GS. Complications and continuation of intrauterine device use among commercially insured teenagers.  Obstet Gynecol. 2013 May; 121(5):951-8.

Hirth JM, Leyser-Whalen O, Berenson AB. Effects of a major US Hurricane on mental health disorder symptoms among adolescent and young adult females. J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jun; 52(6):765-72.

Hirth JM, Tan A, Wilkinson GS, Berenson AB. Completion of the human papaillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series among males with private insurance between 2006-2009. Vaccine. 2013 Feb 6;31(8):1138-40.

Hirth JM, Berenson AB. Racial/ethnic differences in depressive symptoms among young women: the role of intimate partner violence, trauma, and posttraumatic stress disorderJ Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Sep;21(9):966-74.

Hirth JM, Tan A, Wilkinson GS, Berenson AB. Completion of the human papillomavirus vaccine series among insured females between 2006 and 2009. Cancer. 2012 Nov 15; 118(22):5623-9.

Hirth JM, Rahman M, Berenson AB. The association of posttraumatic stress disorder with fast food and soda consumption and unhealthy weight loss behaviors among young women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Aug;20(8):1141-9.

Dr. Christine McGrath
1996 - B.A., Biology (Cum Laude), Texas A&M University,TX.
2001 - M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Ft. Worth, TX.
2011 - Ph.D., Philosophy, Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
2011 - 2013 - Sr. Fellow, University of Washington, Dept of Global Health.
2013 - Present - Assistant Professor/BIRCWH Scholar, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX.

Research Interests:

Christine's research interests include the human papillomavirus (HPV), HPV vaccination, sexually transmitted diseases, intimate partner violence, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, health disparities, and maternal/child health and nutrition.

Selected Publications:

McGrath CJ, Njoroge J, John-Stewart GC, et al. Increased incidence of symptomatic peripheral neuropathy among adults receiving stavudine versus zidovudine-based ART regimens in Kenya. J of NeuroVirology 2012, Apr 17 [Epub ahead of print]. 

McGrath CJ. Nduati R, Richardson BA, et al. The prevalence of stunting is high in HIV-1 exposed uninfected infants in Kenya. J of Nutrition 2012, 142(4):757-763.

Kohler P, Chung MH, McGrath CJ, Benki-Nugent S, et al. Implementation of free cotrimoxazole prohylaxis improves clinic retention among antiretroviral therapy-ineligible clients in Kenya. AIDS 2011, 25:1657-1661.

Benki-Nugent S, Chung MH, Ackers M, Richardson BA, McGrath CJ, et al. Knowing a sexual partner is HIV-1-uninfected is associated with higher condom use among HIV-1-infected adults in Kenya. Sexually Transmitted Diseases 2011, 38:808-810.

McGrath CJ. Chung MH, Richardson BA,et al. Younger age at HAART initiation is associated with more rapid growth reconstitution. AIDS 2011, 25:345-355.

Caetano R, McGrath CJ, Ramisetty-Mikler S, Field CA. Drinking, alcohol problems and the five-year recurrence and incidence of male to female and female to male partner violence. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2005, 29:98-106.

Caetano R, McGrath CJ. Driving under the influence (DUI) among U.S. ethnic groups. Accid Anal Prev 2005, 37:217-224.

Applicants can send a complete application packet to Abbey Berenson MD, PhD

Back to top arrow