Meet our Current Graduate Students Current Students Nathalie Egalite, MA - PhD Candidate Close Nathalie Egalite, MA - PhD Candidate Nathalie Egalite is a PhD candidate in the medical humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds an Honours Bachelor in Bioethics from the University of Toronto and a Master in Bioethics from the University of Montreal. Her dissertation examines moral challenges arising from the writing and publication of patient stories by physicians. Research Interests: Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Medicine, Postcolonial Thought, Literature. Ryan Hart, MA - PhD Candidate Close Ryan Hart, MA - PhD Candidate Ryan Hart is a medical humanities PhD student at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. His research is primarily geared toward exploring ways of narrowing the gap between medical and existential understandings of being ill. Ryan’s work draws on phenomenology, literature and medicine, depth psychology, and narrative studies. He has a masters degree in philosophy from KU Leuven in Belgium. Syed H. Husaini, MD - PhD Candidate Close Syed H. Husaini, MD - PhD Candidate Syed H. Husaini graduated from medical school in 2007. Since then, he has worked in different capacities. Syed spent two years working at the Neurostimulation Research Lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He worked on various neurostimulation research studies for the treatment of pharmacotherapy resistant depression. After UT Southwestern, Syed joined the United States Army Medical Command as a defense contractor. Syed worked on designing and developing training models for Army medics. The models are used to train medics for procedures performed on the battlefield. Syed joined Dr. Elena Volpi’s group at UTMB in 2012. His main job was performing muscle biopsies on research subjects, planning and executing multiple research protocols, and IRB submissions. Syed joined the IMH in the fall of 2014. His primary interest is the philosophy of mind. His other interests are political theory, the human condition, and history. Syed completed his qualifying examination with distinction in 2018 and is working on his dissertation. The title of his dissertation is Neurobiology of Human Agency, Neurophilosophy, and Neurolaw: Could Neuroscience Become a coercive force in the future? Mentor: William J. Winslade, PhD, JD, Ph Georgia Loutrianakis - PhD Student Close Georgia Loutrianakis - PhD Student Georgia Loutrianakis is a Bioethics and Health Humanities PhD student at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds a Master of Bioethics & Medical Humanities from Case Western Reserve University, with a concentration in Medicine, Society, and Culture. Research Interests: Reproductive Ethics and Justice, Neuroethics, End-of-Life Care, and Narrative Medicine. Susan McCammon, MD - PhD Candidate Close Susan McCammon, MD - PhD Candidate Deborah McNabb, MD - PhD Student Close Deborah McNabb, MD - PhD Student I am a retired Obstetrician/Gynecologist, currently pursuing a PhD in the Medical Humanities. My main areas of interest include Reproductive Health Care Bioethics and Public Policies to affect Social Determinants of Health. My goal is to teach pre-healthcare professionals or healthcare professionals at the university or medical center levels. Rebecca Marvi Permar, BA, MA, MLitt - PhD Candidate Close Rebecca Marvi Permar, BA, MA, MLitt - PhD Candidate Rebecca graduated with a BA in English Literature, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics from the University of Paderborn, Germany, and completed graduate studies in German and Comparative Literature with a MA from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a MLitt from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Her MA dissertation focused on physician-turned-patient narratives. Rebecca’s research interests include trauma studies, neuroethics, literature and arts in medicine, LGBTQ+ health, and social justice questions. Her dissertation will be an interdisciplinary exploration of emerging technologies in medicine and society, as well as the ethics of enhancement research. Corisa Rakestraw, MS - PhD Candidate Close Corisa Rakestraw, MS - PhD Candidate Corisa joined the Medical Humanities PhD program in the fall of 2017. She received an A.A. degree at Cottey College, a BA in Philosophy and a BA in World Languages – German at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and an MS in Health Care Ethics from Creighton University. Corisa also completed a semester of study at the Philipps-Universität Marburg in Marburg, Germany. Her interests are clinical ethics, particularly pediatric ethics, and the promotion, or defining the limitations, of adolescent autonomy. Corisa is also concerned with exploring the use of animals in medicine, including their value in the process of healing. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of therapy dogs in the healing process for hospitalized patients and the ethical considerations of this kind of patient-centered care. Corisa aspires to impart an elevated awareness of therapy dogs and service dogs to the field of medical humanities. M. Jeff Trower, BA, MA - PhD Student Close M. Jeff Trower, BA, MA - PhD Student I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where I earned a bachelor's degree in English, and I am a graduate of St. Edward's University (also in Austin), where I earned a master's degree in Liberal Arts, with emphases in English and Spanish. To be sure, both schools prepared me well for what UTMB promises to offer at the doctoral level. Professionally, I have been in higher education for more than 20 years, most recently working as Adjunct Professor of English at Austin Community College, where I taught freshman composition to high school juniors and seniors earning both high school and college credit. Not knowing what I was getting into when I first assumed the role of dual-credit instructor, I now see it as one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. Preparing young minds for the rigors of college and the challenges before them is what I do best. I lived in Austin for over 30 years before moving to Galveston to attend UTMB, but have also lived in Northern California, Colorado, and that gem of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, where I still have family. Research interests include literature and medicine, indigenous population healthcare narratives, medical apartheid, and climate migration and its attendant healthcare crises. D. Mike Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS - PhD Candidate Close D. Mike Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS - PhD Candidate Mike joined the Institute for the Medical Humanities as a joint JD/PhD student in 2015. He graduated from Texas State University with a BAIS in International Relations. Mike received an MPH focused on Public Health Ethics from Columbia University. Mike holds both JD and LLM (Health Law) degrees from the University of Houston Law Center and is licensed to practice law in Texas.Mike’s work focuses on the gaps between the truths we would claim and those that actually appear to be available to us. He tries to think about ways that ethical health care and ethical health policy might feasibly be made real in a world that seems to be “after morality.” Mike’s other interests include: ethical substance use policy, the limits of justification, medical futility and clinician conscience, moral injury, ethical concerns around human life extension and aging understood as a disease, enhancement ethics, the ethics of rhetoric, the questions of whether empathy can be taught, judicial moralizing, and any/the relationship between ethics and law. Johnna Wellesley - PhD Student Close Johnna Wellesley - PhD Student Johnna Wellesley is a Ph.D. student with the Institute of Bioethics and Health Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Johnna holds a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University, and the Certification of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Research interests include: ethics of end-of-life care, truth and truth-telling, medical decision-making, moral injury, and narratives of dying. Brandy Wright, MD - PhD Student Close Brandy Wright, MD - PhD Student Brandy Watson Wright, MD is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She is also board-certified in Hospice & Palliative Medicine and co-directs the UTMB School of Medicine’s Mindfully Evolving, Thriving & Advocating (META) course. Brandy is pursuing her PhD in Bioethics to focus on the effects of grief, health inequity, and biophilic design on medical decision making in the Black community. Brandy is a native of Detroit, a Michigan State University alum, and a graduate of The Wayne State University School of Medicine.