Dr Hayek's medical education began at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He completed his training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Hayek moved to Ann Arbor in 2018 to join U of M's Frankel Cardiovascular Center, and is working to expand the Cardio-Oncology clinic. He continues to pursue state of the art research in risk prediction, ever expanding his knowledge base and research interests.
In his free time, Dr. Hayek is a tech geek who enjoys the company of his wife and two children.
Penney earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California San Diego in Biochemistry and Chemistry. She has spent her career in translational research, from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, to State University of New York at StonyBrook, to the University of Michigan, where she has spent over 15 years managing translational research labs. Her passion lies in finding treatments and preventative medications for chronic illnesses.
In her free time, she plays soccer, loves reading, crafting, and exploring, and volunteers for all of her three children's many activities.
Research Team Members
Tonimarie Catalan is a graduate of the University of Michigan Class of 2020 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Spanish. Suffering from many ailments herself as a child, she was quickly exposed to the world of medicine and felt a fascination for the field. Before attending medical school to pursue an MD-PhD, she hopes to continue her clinical and laboratory research so that she can continue fostering her love for science.
She has spent 2 years with the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School as a laboratory assistant under Dr. Ryan Baldridge, PhD. Her work focused on ER-associated degradation (ERAD) and protein quality control in the Tul1 protein complex.
In addition to working in the Hayek Lab, she does clinical research for Dr. Scott Hummel, MD at Michigan Medicine Department of Cardiology focusing on treatment of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). In her free time, she enjoys reading, knitting, embroidering, and running.
Kingsley was born and raised in Michigan and has also spent a lot of time in his native country Nigeria. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Laboratory Science at Michigan State University. He enjoys learning about many different things related to microbiology and human biology, and their applications to human health. Kingsley also finds research in the field of astrobiology very interesting and important for the future. He plans to attend graduate school after determining the research that interests him most.
In his free time, Kingsley enjoys going to the gym, playing video games, watching the Detroit Lions, and spending time with his pet bearded dragon.
Alexi received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2015. Towards the end of her undergraduate career, she pursued an accelerated BSN program at Michigan State University and, soon after, began her PhD in Nursing Science at the University of Washington with a graduate certificate in Public Health Genetics.
Alongside her studies there, she worked on many projects related to cancer survivorship, cardio-oncology, and symptom science. She has also been supported by numerous NIH funded fellowships and grants from the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as received funding from the American Cancer Society, American Nurses Foundation, and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.
Within the Hayek lab, she will continue her focus on cardio-oncology projects. Leveraging her strong interest in epidemiological methods, Alexi strives to improve the quality of life in cancer survivors by enhancing early prediction methods and developing evidence-based treatment guidelines through her research.
In her free time, Alexi enjoys cuddling with her cats, doing high intensity workouts, and reading. She loves to travel internationally and hopes to visit Amsterdam, UK, and Scotland very soon.
Anis attended the Faculty of Medicine at the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) in Lebanon, where he earned a Master's degree in Biology and Medical Sciences in 2020 and received his Medical Doctorate in 2022. He worked with the Physiology and Pathophysiology research lab (Fares lab) at USJ to study the mechanisms related to the early development of cardiac fibrosis in father/offspring mice. He was also a junior clinical researcher on his university hospital’s COVID-19 task force, where he worked on evaluating the prognostic value of pulmonary artery enlargement in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Within the Hayek lab, he will be involved in translational research surrounding the reduction of suPAR levels in patient populations at risk of cardiovascular or kidney diseases and clarifying/elucidating mechanisms behind suPAR’s pathogenic role through in vivo and in vitro experimentation.
In his free time, Anis plays table tennis, enjoys outdoor activities, hiking and camping, photography (landscape), reading, and spending time with his family and friends.
Feriel Presswalla was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and she received her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 2015. She previously worked at the Miller Lab at the Kellogg Eye Center as a Research Lab Specialist and is taking on the same position at the Hayek Lab. Feriel is interested in going to medical school to pursue cardiopulmonary surgery. Her research with the Hayek Lab focuses on the role of suPAR in cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.
Outside of work, she is the Secretary and Scholarship Chair of the Board of Governors of the Henderson House co-op on campus, as well as Recording Secretary and Archivist for the UMAC (University of Michigan Alumnae Council). In her free time, Feriel is an avid TV and film enthusiast and plant mom, and she loves pub trivia, scavenger hunts, fiber arts, and reading!
Ian Pizzo was born and raised in Michigan, where he graduated from Central Michigan University in 2022 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Biology, following the pre-medicine pathway. Ian is currently a Study Coordinator in the Hayek Lab, responsible for coordinating the COVID and Cardio-Oncology research studies.
Ian is hoping to gain research experience and exposure before applying to medical school to ultimately pursue his goal of becoming a physician.
In his free time, Ian enjoys spending time with his family and friends, and traveling to experience different cultures around the world.
Nathan was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where he graduated from Finlandia University in 2017 with a BS in Nursing. After graduating, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he spent most of the past five years as a nurse in the Cardiothoracic ICU. Nathan is currently enrolled in the Premedical Postbaccalaureate program at the University of Michigan, meeting requirements to apply to medical school. He has always had an interest in research and is especially excited to learn and contribute to research applicable to the patient population he is most familiar with from his nursing experience.
In his free time Nathan enjoys spending his time in the outdoors including running, hiking, camping, and fly fishing.
Brayden is a graduate of the University of Michigan Class of 2021 with a B.S. in Biomolecular Science. Brayden comes to us with experience working as a Medical Assistant in the Cardiovascular Center clinics. Brayden is a Research Associate currently working on the At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit study and the associations found in the COVID-19 Inflammatory Biomarkers study with viral titers.
In his free time, Brayden enjoys playing basketball and sand volleyball, spending time with family, and going on road trips with his friends.
Libby received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Cornell College in 2018. After graduation, she moved to Ann Arbor, where she earned her Masters Degree in Public Health in Epidemiology in 2020 from the University of Michigan. She is currently applying to medical school where she plans to pursue a career in academic infectious disease medicine.
Outside of school and work, Libby enjoys going on hikes with her rescue dogs Dexter and Arbor, cooking, and photography.
Noor Sulaiman was born and raised in Michigan, and she graduated from Wayne State University in 2021 with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology and a minor in Biology. During that time, she volunteered at the Karmanos Cancer Institute as part of a research project studying the effects of a novel anti-cancer drug for about two years. Noor is a research assistant in the Hayek Lab where she is is responsible for clinical data collection for many of our studies.
She is a new student at Wayne State University Medical School earning her MD with hopes to continue pursuing her love for science.
In her free time, Noor loves being outside, spending time with her friends, traveling, and learning about new cultures and languages.
Moses grew up in North Muskegon, Michigan. She is pursuing a B.A. degree in both Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology and Biophysics on the pre-med track at the University of Michigan. She joined the Hayek lab as a research assistant, and is currently working towards completing a senior thesis on the Disruption of the RAGE pathway in mouse models of atherosclerosis.
After college, she hopes to matriculate into an MD/PHD program. Namratha is an EMT in-training, bioinformatics programmer, Undergraduate Department of Biology laboratory assistant, volunteer for the Michigan Medicine ECMO laboratory, and hospice caretaker. In her free time, Namratha enjoys coding apps, eating, and hiking.
Grace is a University of Michigan student in the School of Literature, Science and the Arts, majoring in Biomolecular Science and minoring in Music for the class of 2025. She intends to pursue an MD-PhD program in the future with the intent of focusing research in the area of cardiology. Grace began with the Hayek lab as a first-year undergraduate student through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and enjoyed the work so much she stayed on as a Research Assistant, continuing her knowledge, training, and skillset.
In addition to her academics, Grace volunteers in the UM hospital and performs with the UM Campus Symphony Orchestra and the Life Sciences Orchestra. In her free time, she enjoys hot yoga, skiing, running, knitting, and cheering for the Wolverines.
Annika began as a student researching in Dr. Hayek's lab with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and has continued on as a Laboratory Assistant. Annika was born and raised in Michigan. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. During her undergraduate education at Michigan, she is studying Biology and Spanish on the pre-medical track.
In her free time, Annika loves cooking, baking, playing tennis, and spending time with friends and family.
Caroline is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology, class of 2023 She is studying movement science on a pre-PA track. Caroline has worked as a research assistant for the Hayek Lab since the beginning of 2022. Caroline was born and raised in Michigan.
In her free time, Caroline is part of the Impact Dance club on campus, and she also enjoys spending time with friends and family and working out.
Medha joined the Hayek lab as first-year undergraduate student through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP.) She is currently a student at the University of Michigan’s School of Literature, Science and the Arts hoping to pursue a degree in Public Health. Following her UROP project researching suPAR's association with Aortic Aneurysms, Medha returned to the lab as a Research Assistant to expand her research capabilities.
Previously, Medha has worked as a patient attendant at Michigan Medicine and volunteered at the American Red Cross. In addition to her experience in pre-health, she is interested in political science.
In her free time, Medha likes to cook, play chess, work out, and spend time with her family and friends.
Clinical Residents and Fellows
Pat grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and attended the University of Notre Dame, receiving his bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences, along with a minor in Philosphy, in 2013.
Pat earned a Master's degree in cellular and molecular biology from University of Michigan in 2017, while attending medical school. He received his medical degree from UM Medical School in 2019, and began his residency in Internal Medicine shortly thereafter. After his year as Chief Resident, Pat plans on pursuing a Cardiology fellowship and career in academic medicine.
Outside of medicine, Pat loves spending time with his wife, family, and friends, drinking coffee, playing board games, running, cooking, and watching sports.
Danny has received not only his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, but also earned his medical degree, completed his Internal Medicine Residency, and is currently a Cardiology Fellow all at the University of Michigan!
Danny enjoys playing and watching sports (especially U of M!), golfing, travelling, and spending time with his wife, Jessica.