Meet Our Team

U-M MEND Division, Diabetes Care & Complications Team

“Our success is possible only because of the clinical research team’s very hard work and dedication. I am very fortunate to work with such an outstanding group” - Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD

Assisting Dr. Pop-Busui in recruiting and seeing patients are physicians Nazanene Esfandiari, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine; Roma Gianchandani, MBBS, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine; Lynn Ang, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine; Kara Mizokami-Stout, MD, Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine; and Alex Lin, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. Also asissting Dr. Pop-Busui is a group of outstanding Clinical Research Nurses: Cindy Plunkett, Catherine Martin, and Andrea Waltje; Clinical Study Coordinators: Virginia Leone and Jacob Reiss; and Clinical Subjects Associate: Brittany Williams.

Principal Investigator, Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD

Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD
Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD

Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD, is a prominent diabetologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field of diabetes as a result of her extensive clinical, research, teaching, and service activities. She has received awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, and the University of Michigan. Since 2013, Dr. Pop-Busui has been an elected member of the Clinical Practice Committee of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to preventing and curing diabetes. Dr. Pop-Busui also served as a member of the Complications Study Section of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a member of the study section of the American Heart Association, and a member of the National Institutes of Health NIH ZDK1 GRB-J J3 and NIH ZDK1GRB-S (O2) Study Sections.

Due to Dr. Pop-Busui's scholarship efforts, she is internationally recognized as an expert in the field of diabetes complications, especially diabetic neuropathies. A particular focus of her research interest and efforts involve diabetic peripheral and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy. She has received funding for her research from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the JDRF and the ADA. In addition, Dr. Pop-Busui has been privileged to contribute her research efforts to some of the most important national diabetes clinical studies to date, which have advanced the understanding of diabetes, informed changes in its treatment, and impacted the standard of care, thereby improving the lives of people affected by diabetes

As an investigator and site Principal Investigator of the NHLBI-funded Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial, Dr. Pop-Busui leads a team of ACCORD investigators from the United States and Canada in exploring the role of cardiac autonomic neuropathy on cardiovascular mortality in the study participants, and the effects of interventions on neuropathy risks in this cohort. As an investigator of the NIDDK-funded Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC), Dr. Pop-Busui took the lead in studies evaluating the natural history and the impact of metabolic memory on cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in this cohort, and the role of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in the development of left ventricular dysfunction in type 1 diabetes.

Most recently, Dr. Pop-Busui is the site Principal Investigator and member of the Steering Committee of the newly funded NIDDK trial "PERL: A Multicenter Clinical Trial of Allopurinol to Prevent GFR Loss in Type 1 Diabetes" and site Principal Investigator in the NIDDK-funded trial "Glycemia Reduction Approaches for Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study (GRADE)."  In addition, as a member of the American Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Committee, Dr. Pop-Busui has made major contributions to the Standards of Clinical Care in Diabetes in 2013 and 2014, and advocated for implementing the optimal care for diabetes and its complications, based on most rigorous scientific evidence, with the ultimate goal to improve the life of all people affected by diabetes.

Dr. Pop-Busui has devoted her life and career to the treatment and understanding of diabetes and its devastating complications, a commitment forged when she was a medical school resident and saw in her rotations the suffering of people with diabetes. Dr. Pop-Busui lives in Ann Arbor with her husband.


Lynn Ang, MD
Lynn Phyuphyu Ang, MD

Lynn Phyuphyu Ang, MD, joined the University of Michigan Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes in 2013 as an Endocrinology Fellow and completed the Clinical Track of the Fellowship Program under mentor Dr. Pop-Busui in 2015. She is now an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Co-Investigator on Dr. Pop-Busui's team. Dr. Ang received her medical degree from the Institute of Medicine II in Myanmar and served an internship performing clinical duties for the Government of Myanmar in Yangon. She went on to serve her residency at North Shore-LIJ, Forest Hills Hospital in Forest Hills, NY, assuming the post of Associate Chief Resident and receiving the Resident of the Year Award. Her clinical interest is general endocrinology because, she says, "I love broad topics to brainstorm." Dr. Ang's research interest is type 1 diabetes and its complications; she is also interested in glucose variability and its association with development of cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in type 1 diabetes. In her off-time, Dr. Ang loves to spend time with her baby girl and enjoys road trips with her family.

Nazanene Esfandiari, MD, FACE
Nazanene Esfandiari, MD, FACE

Nazanene Esfandiari, MD, FACE, is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan's Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (MEND) and an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes and thyroid diseases. She screens patients with type 1 diabetes for eligibility in the PERL study and also performs a physical examination at the clinical study participants' visit when it is required. Dr. Esfandiari's expertise in treating many patients with type 1 diabetes who have micro- and macrovascular complications is valuable to the Pop-Busui team's clinical research efforts. Dr. Esfandiari received her medical degree from the University of Bordeaux II, Bordeaux, France, and held several internships and residencies there before coming to the United States as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cardiology Research Foundation, Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. She continued her education with a residency in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care in Worcester, MA, and then a fellowship in endocrinology, metabolism, and diabetes at the University of Michigan. In 2003, Dr. Esfandiari joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, where her clinical interests are thyroid disorders and diabetes. Her research interests include thyroid cancer, obesity and type 1 diabetes. Dr. Esfandiari is kept busy as the director of the MEND Division at the Brighton Health Center in Brighton, Michigan, and Co-director of Endocrine Sequences for second-year medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School. She also serves as an attending physician in the University of Michigan's Thyroid Nodule FNA Biopsy Clinic, the Endocrine Oncology Clinic, the Hyperglycemia Inpatient Intensive Insulin Program, and the Endocrine Post-Bariatric Surgery Clinic. Dr. Esfandiari is also a member of MEND Fellowship Steering Committee. In 2015, she was inducted into the Department of Internal Medicine’s Clinical Excellence Society, Academiae Laureati Medici. Outside of the clinic, Dr. Esfandiari enjoys traveling and cooking.

Roma Gianchandani, MD
Roma Gianchandani, MD

In 2004, Roma Gianchandani, MBBS, established the innovative Hospital Intensive Insulin Program at the University of Michigan to closely monitor and treat glucose in hospital inpatients. In 2013, Dr. Gianchandani was inducted into the Department of Internal Medicine’s Clinical Excellence Society, Academiae Laureati Medici, in its inaugural year. Her clinical interests include hospital diabetes management, intensive insulin therapy, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Her research has focused on outcomes of inpatient blood glucose management programs and the technological aspects of intravenous insulin delivery and glucose sensing, among other topics. She received her medical degree from Topiwala National Medical College in Bombay, India, and held internships in India and Germany before beginning her residency in internal medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit, where she became Chief Resident. After serving a post-graduate fellowship in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (MEND) at the University of Michigan, Dr. Gianchandani joined the endocrinology faculty of the Dean Medical Center and St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin before returning to Michigan in 2002. Since then, she has been an endocrinologist in the MEND Division, where she is now a Professor of Internal Medicine.

Clinical Study Nurses

Cindy Plunkett, RN
Cindy Plunkett, RNC

Cynthia Plunkett, RNC, CCRC, is the Lead Study Coordinator for the Pop-Busui Clinical Research Team on multiple studies of diabetes complications, including the NIH-funded Preventing Early Renal Loss in Type 1 Diabetes (PERL) and Cardiac Autonomic Neuropathy and Myocardial Dysfunction in Type 1 Diabetes (CAN). In this responsible role, she oversees the workings of numerous components of concurrent clinical studies in various stages of completion. This includes supervising staff, coordinating patient visits, screening patients, arranging approvals, dispensing medications, collaborating with the study sponsors, and interacting with patients to ensure they have good health and a great experience during the clinical trial. Plunkett has been engaged in clinical research at the University of Michigan since 1990, including working on the General Clinical Research Unit for seven years, after serving as a staff nurse at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center for six years. She received her nursing degree from Chester County College in Pennsylvania and holds numerous certifications and advanced training from professional associations. She has been a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator since 2006. Outside of the clinic, her hobbies include reading, gardening, and trying new restaurants.

Cathy Martin, MS
Cathy Martin, MS

Cathy Martin, MS, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, has spent her entire professional career within the diabetes programs at the University of Michigan.  She earned both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan.  She is the 1995 recipient of the R. Faye McCain Memorial Award for Leadership and Academic Excellence in Medical-Surgical Nursing, and the 2013 winner of the Diabetes Champion Award from the Michigan chapter of the American Diabetes Association, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to diabetes education, advocacy, and research. Since 1987, she has been involved in a variety of clinical trials to advance the understanding of diabetes and to improve its treatment. Martin contributed to the landmark “Diabetes Control and Complications Trial” (DCCT), which demonstrated the benefits of aggressively controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes, as well as on the follow-up to that study, called “Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study” (EDIC). She is currently study coordinator for the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Type 2 Diabetes, A Comparative Effectiveness Study (GRADE). She has collaborated on nearly 50 publications and has been a sought-after speaker on diabetes topics for national organizations across the country. Given her long association with U of M, it should be no surprise that she is a fan of Michigan football and attends most home games.  She enjoys golfing and biking in her spare time, and always has some home improvement project going on (ask her about the deck!).

Andrea Waltje, RN
Andrea Waltje, RN

Andrea Waltje, RN, MS, brings her prior research experience to the team, having coordinated research projects on diabetes, tobacco cessation, and sun protection at the University of Michigan. With a Master of Science degree in clinical health psychology from Ohio University, her clinical focus has been on health behaviors. While at Ohio University, she provided psychotherapy and health education to persons with diabetes and HIV diagnosis. Before joining the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, & Diabetes (MEND), Andrea was the research nurse for a NIH-funded randomized controlled trial, educating nurses on the provision of smoking cessation interventions to inpatients in the hospital setting; in two other randomized controlled trials, she provided smoking cessation interventions and sun protection education to Operating Engineers. Currently, Andrea is Clinical Research Coordinator for the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Type 2 Diabetes, A Comparative Effectiveness Study (GRADE) in the MEND Division, of which Dr. Pop-Busui is Co-Principal Investigator. Her main responsibilities are related to the recruitment and screening of participants into this NIH-funded multicenter study. Privately, Andrea enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, and swing dancing.

Clinical Study Staff

U-M Virginia Leone
Ginny Leone, MA

Virginia Leone, MA, joined the Pop-Busui team in 2014 as a clinical subjects coordinator and brought with her more than a dozen years of human subject research experience at the University of Michigan in the Departments of Rheumatology and Anesthesiology. Currently, her primary responsibility is as the recruitment coordinator for the PERL (Preventing Early Renal Loss in Type 1 Diabetes) study. In this role, Ginny conducts extensive record reviews to identify potential candidates for the study, performs follow-up with candidates, and schedules and conducts screening assessments. Ginny earned a B.A. in psychology as a Regents Alumni Scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in rehabilitation counseling from Michigan State University. Renovating her bungalow in Ypsilanti takes up a lot of her time lately, but Ginny also loves good wine and good books, as well as cycling and cross-country skiing.

U-M Brittany Williams
Brittany Williams

Brittany Williams is a Clinical Subjects Associate who joined the team in 2011 and performs a variety of vital tasks for the clinical research studies of the Pop-Busui team. She is trained and certified to perform Heart Rate Variability Testing and venipuncture, which she has utilized on numerous studies. She also reviews and screens databases for potential research subjects and interacts with patients in various phases of the clinical studies. Brittany also maintains databases for the clinical studies. She is a 2005 graduate of South Lyon High school and the Oakland Technical Center South West-Culinary Arts Program in Walled Lake, Michigan, and enjoys experimenting when cooking. Brittany also has accrued credits in the business administration program at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. Outside of work, she loves playing with her daughter, watching movies, and hanging out with her husband and family.

U-M Jacob Reiss
Jacob Reiss

Jacob Reiss, BS, is a Clinical Research Coordinator who joinded the team in 2016. Jacob works primarily on the TINSAL (Targeting Inflammation with Salsalate in Type 1 Diabetes Neuropathy) study. In addition to his role as a research coordinator, Jacob is responsible for the creation of databases in the electronic data capture system RedCap. He is a 2016 honors graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a bachelors in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology. In his free time, he enjoys playing baseball and golfing.