Our Team

Cesar A. Arias, MD, MSc, PhD
John F. III and Ann H. Bookout Distinguished Chair for Research Excellence, Research Institute
Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Full Member, Research Institute
Co-director, Center for Infectious Diseases Research
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: Antimicrobial resistance, diagnostic and clinical microbiology, microbiome science, enterococcal infections

Personal Interests: Biking, soccer, theatre, opera, outdoor activities, traveling

Dr. Cesar Arias has over 25 years of experience in the field of antimicrobial resistance. His career has focused on the clinical and molecular aspects of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with emphasis on gram-positive organisms. He became interested in infectious disease (ID) because of its prominence as a public health problem and also because ID spans all aspects of clinical medicine. After medical school, he attended the University of London where he focused on clinical microbiology and performed research on the molecular biology of capsule genes in S. pneumoniae, developing molecular tools for capsule typing of this important pathogen. He obtained his PhD at Cambridge in 2000, studying the molecular mechanisms of vancomycin resistance in enterococci. During graduate studies, he discovered a new enzyme and elucidated a novel mechanism for synthesis of D-serine in bacteria. After completing residency at UTHealth McGovern Medical School as well as a fellowship in ID (joint program with UT MD Anderson Cancer Center), he expanded studies on staphylococci and enterococci.

He was the recipient of a K99/R00 NIH Pathway to Independence Award and now holds an NIH K24 mid-career investigator award to increase patient-oriented and mentoring activities on antimicrobial resistance. He has also founded two overseas research units (Molecular Genetics and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit and the International Center for Microbial Genomics) focused on AMR at Universidad El Bosque, Bogota, Colombia. His most recent research has concentrated on elucidating the mechanistic basis of resistance to daptomycin with focus on enterococci and to dissect the molecular epidemiology and clinical impact of multidrug-resistant organisms as part of the NIH-funded Antimicrobial Resistance Leadership Group. A major component of the research on MDR organisms is the use of genomics as a major tool to dissect the molecular epidemiology and population structure of MDR bacteria.
Adarsh Bhimraj, MD, FIDSA
Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship and Education
Division of Infectious Diseases, Houston Methodist Hospital
Center for Infectious Diseases, Houston Methodist Research Institute

ID Interests: Neurologic infectious diseases, COVID-19 Therapeutics, Clinical reasoning & Evidence based medicine, Medical Education

Personal Interests: Running, backpacking, hiking, traveling and "ID Bug Bowling"

Dr. Adarsh Bhimraj is the Director for the Infectious Diseases Fellowship and Education Programs at Houston Methodist Hospital. Prior to this, Dr. Bhimraj was at Cleveland Clinic for more than 12 years, where he served as the Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program from 2011-2015 and served as the Director for Clinical Reasoning Education. He has a keen interest in teaching clinician reasoning, especially in complex and ambiguous scenarios and the application of the best available evidence to patient care and policies. Dr. Bhimraj’ s dedication to teaching excellence was recognized at Cleveland Clinic, where he received the Internal Medicine House Staff Teacher of the Year Award at Cleveland Clinic on two separate occasions. His passion for education extended beyond residency training, as he served as the Principal Director for the Cleveland Clinic Intensive Review of Internal Medicine for an impressive decade, ensuring the delivery of comprehensive and up-to-date medical education to a wide range of healthcare professionals.

In addition to his educational leadership roles, Dr. Bhimraj made significant contributions to the field of infectious diseases through his clinical expertise and leadership roles nationally. He chaired the annual infectious diseases conference IDWeek in 2022, which is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious conferences in the field of infectious diseases and related specialties. As a sought-after speaker, panelist, and moderator, Dr. Bhimraj has participated in numerous national and international conferences, including ID Week, ECCMID, ASM Microbe, and SHM Conference Converge. Dr. Bhimraj has also played a critical role as the Chair for the IDSA COVID-19 Rapid Living Guideline Series, which provided timely evidence based clinical practice guidance during the ongoing pandemic.

Recognized for his exceptional contributions, Dr. Bhimraj was honored with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Citation Award in 2020. This prestigious award is given to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary contributions to IDSA, made significant discoveries in the field of infectious diseases, or achieved a lifetime of outstanding achievements.

Dr. Bhimraj's clinical area of expertise is in neurological infectious diseases. At Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Bhimraj served as the Head of the Section of Neurologic Infectious Diseases for an impressive 11 years. This leadership position allowed him to make significant contributions to the understanding and management of infectious diseases affecting the nervous system. He has served as a panelist on the IDSA and Neuro Critical Care Society's guideline panel related to healthcare-associated meningitis, further solidifying his expertise in this area. His expertise is also evident in his authorship of book chapters on CNS infections in renowned medical publications, including Mandell's Infectious Diseases and Greenberg's Neurosurgery.
Eleftherios Mylonakis, MD, PhD, FIDSA
Charles and Anne Duncan Presidential Distinguished Chair, Department of Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Full Member, Research Institute
Chair, Department of Medicine
Houston Methodist

Dr. Eleftherios Mylonakis, is Chair of Department of Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Prior to joining HMH, Dr. Mylonakis was Charles C.J. Carpenter Professor of Infectious Disease and. Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University where he was also Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Assistant Dean for Longitudinal Medical Research. Prior to his 10 years at Brown, Dr. Mylonakis was Attending Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and rose through the ranks at Harvard Medical School up to Associate Professor.
Alejandro Granillo, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Academic Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Alejandro Granillo went to medical school at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Monterrey Mexico, then came to Houston Methodist for his Internal Medicine residency. He completed his infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science center at Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center where he also served as chief fellow. He is interested in general infectious diseases, sepsis, central nervous system infections and antimicrobial resistance. He is also interested in quality improvement and medical education. In his free time, he enjoys time with his wife and beautiful daughters, visiting the many parks in Houston and discovering new ice cream places.
Ana V. Salas Vargas, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Academic Institute
Houston Methodist

ID Interests: Bone and Joint infections, neuro infections, Non TB mycobacteria, Common Variable immunodeficiency and opportunistic infections, endocarditis, Clostridiodes difficile.

Personal Interests: Indoor cycling on my Peloton, walks with my senior dog (not in Texas Summer time), explore Houston gastronomy, travel.
Ashley L. Drews, MD, FACP
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Associate Professor of Medicine, Houston Methodist Academic Institute
Adjunct Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine, Texas A&M University
System Epidemiologist, Houston Methodist
Medical Director, Infection Control, Houston Methodist Hospital
Clinical Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital

ID Interests: Infection prevention, COVID-19, bacteremia, bone and joint infections

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, yoga, travel, baking

Ashley L. Drews, MD, FACP, is the Medical Director of Infection Control for the Houston Methodist System. She is also the Clinical Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases for the Department of Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Dr. Drews is highly committed to the prevention of infection and disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she took an active role in the education of the entire Houston Methodist System by developing and creating a safety video on proper Hand Hygiene which was just one of the many goals she achieved by making sure the entire Methodist system was a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. In addition, Dr. Drews has contributed to multiple press articles, live news interviews, and Houston Methodist livestream Town Hall chats as an expert and panelist on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Drews received her MD (Summa Cum Laude) from Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas. Dr. Drews completed her internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She returned to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas to complete her infectious diseases fellowship.

Dr. Drews has received multiple teaching awards throughout her career. Most recently she was given the Texas A&M College of Medicine Faculty Teaching Award. In addition, in 2020, she received the System Physician Award from the Houston Methodist System Quality & Patient Safety Awards. The Houston Police Department honored Dr. Drews with the Homeland Security Award in 2020.
Jiejian Lin, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Academic Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: Infectious involving immunocomproised hosts, vaccination in solid organ transplant.

Personal Interests: Indoor cycling on my Peloton, walks with my senior dog (not in Texas Summer time), explore Houston gastronomy, travel.

Dr. Lin's journey in the medical field has been a diverse one. Graduating from medical school in 1984, she initially pursued training to become an endocrinologist in China. However, her path took an exciting turn when she decided to move to the USA in 1990 and delve into research training in immunology and microbiology. She successfully completed her Ph.D. dissertation, which focused on B lymphocytes signaling in 1995. 

Driven by a passion for patient care and a desire to make a difference, Dr. Lin returned to pursue residency training in internal medicine in the US. It was during this time that she witnessed the transformative changes in HIV care, which sparked her interest in infectious diseases. She completed her infectious diseases training in Baylor College of Medicine. After spending 14 years in private practice, Dr. Lin made the decision to join the current infectious diseases group in 2016.  Since then, she has been actively involved in patient care, sharing knowledge and experiences with trainees and colleagues.

The recent pandemic and travel restrictions have allowed Dr. Lin to discover new interests outside of medicine. She developed a deep appreciation for birding and photography, finding solace and inspiration in nature's beauty. This newfound passion serves as a balance to her professional endeavors, offering moments of tranquility and creativity.
Kevin A. Grimes, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Academic Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: The best antibiotic is the one the patient actually takes

Dr. Kevin Grimes is the Deputy Chair of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Houston Methodist Academic Medicine Associates and Weill Cornell Medical College. He attended school at the University of Texas- Austin and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Medical School for his MD and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health for his MPH, concentration in Community Health.

Dr. Grimes specialty within infectious diseases is transplant ID. He works closely with the transplant teams to care for transplant patients from pre-transplant through post-transplant. His other clinical interests include HIV, CMV, mycobacterial and fungal infections, and now, COVID-19. While a clinician first, Dr. Grimes research pursuits have begun in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, and his efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic lead to him being elected as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Dr. Grimes has been the recipient of many local awards, including Texas Super Doctors and Houston Top Doctors, and Marquis Who’s Who.
Dr. Masayuki Nigo, MD

ID Interests: Transplant Infectious Diseases, Big data and Biomedical Informatics in ID

Personal Interests: Spending time with family and Japanese community in Houston

Masayuki Nigo, MD, MSc obtained his medical degree from the University of Fukui in Japan in 2005, followed by residencies in Japan and at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, in 2013. Dr. Nigo specialized in infectious diseases through fellowships at UTHealth McGovern Medical School. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in July 2016 and was later promoted to Associate Professor in 2022.

With a Master's degree from the School of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Texas Science Center at Houston, Dr. Nigo focuses his research on utilizing big data analysis and machine learning to develop predictive models from electronic health records (EHR). His specific areas of investigation include pharmacokinetics and drug-resistant infections in high-risk populations such as transplant recipients and immunocompromised patients. Dr. Nigo also undertakes quality improvement and research projects by extracting valuable insights from EHR data.

Dr. Nigo's contributions have earned him multiple awards in teaching and leadership. He actively participates in Japanese medical community programs in Houston (JMTX) and New York City (JMSA), aiming to support and engage with the Japanese healthcare community in the United States. He has received a commendation from the Consulate General of Japan in Houston. Dr. Nigo is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases in both the U.S. and Japan.

In January 2023, Dr. Nigo transitioned to Houston Methodist Hospital. Starting in July 2024, he will assume the role of Associate Program Director of the Oncology and Transplant Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program. Dr. Nigo finds fulfillment in working with and educating the next generation of healthcare professionals, including medical students, medicine/pharmacy residents, and infectious diseases fellows.
Max Adelman, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Assistant Clinical Member, Research Institute
Department of Medicine
Center for Infectious Diseases Research
Houston Methodist Hospital
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: Sepsis, bacteremia, fungemia, C diff, critical illness, immunocompromised patients, ultrasound

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, running, biking, exploring local splash pads with my toddlers

Max is a clinician-scientist with clinical training in Infectious Diseases and Critical Care Medicine. He actively practices both of these specialties at Houston Methodist, where he also teach residents, fellows, and Texas A&M EnMed medical students as the Critical Care Clerkship Director. He additionally conducts clinical and translational research on issues relevant to critically ill patients with or at risk of severe infections, including the impact of multi-drug resistant bacteria and yeasts.
Elizabeth R. Ramos-Salazar, MD
Infectious Diseases
Houston Methodist Academic Medicine Associates

ID Interests: Transplant /immunocompromised ID, sepsis, bloodstream infections, C diff, nosocomial infections

Personal Interests: Activities with families like walking, watching movies, yoga, zumba/dancing, crocheting, baking.

Ramos-Salazar's mission is to provide the best specialized care for patients with known and emerging infections. She strives to pay attention to details and to listen to her patients in order to build a trusting relationship with them.
William R. Miller, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Assistant Clinical Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist

ID Interests: Antimicrobial resistance, microbiology, diagnostics, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing

Personal Interests: Spending time with my family and two dogs, cooking, growing vegetables, running, reading, and travelling
Dierdre B. Axell-House, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Assistant Clinical Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: Antimicrobial resistance, gram positive bacteria, cardiac device infections, clinical trials, onco/transplant infectious diseases

Personal Interests: Spending time with husband, furniture refinishing, home remodeling, drawing/painting, foodie, playing with my cat

Axell-House is a physician-scientist with background in protein biochemistry and molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Her recent research involved the development of a novel test to identify daptomycin resistance in enterococci by measuring for a resistance factor, the protein LiaX. Their interests and upcoming projects include the development of optimal methodology to study risk factors for the development of infections from a host (patient) and pathogen (bacteria) standpoint, and the study of infections and antimicrobial resistance in patients with cardiac devices, specifically left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). She also has clinical interests in Serratia spp. and non-tuberculous mycobacteria.
Rodrigo de Paula Baptista, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Assistant Research Member, Research Institute
Department of Medicine
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: ID, molecular microbiology, Genomics, Transcriptomics, parasitology, eukaryotic and procaryotic pathogens, bioinformatics, epidemiology

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, gaming, drumming, DIY home, movies/series

Dr. Baptista has an extensive background spanning 13 years in the fields of eukaryotic pathogens and bioinformatics. Dr. Baptista possesses a wealth of experience working with parasite genomic data, particularly in the realm of Trypanosomatids and Apicomplexan parasites. Recent years have seen Dr. Baptista develop specialized expertise in evolutionary genomics, with a specific emphasis on the analysis of highly repetitive genomes and transcriptomes. This expertise encompasses various tasks such as assembly, annotation, variant calling, and the detection and characterization of duplications and repetitive elements within these genomes.

Additionally, Dr. Baptista has served as an advisor to the UFMG team in the IGEM competition, an international Synthetic Biology competition, for two consecutive years. Over the course of their career, Dr. Baptista has successfully assembled and annotated numerous prokaryotic and protozoan parasite genomes, utilizing a range of sequencing platforms including paired-end Illumina, Ion-Torrent short reads, PacBio, and Oxford Nanopore long-reads. These contributions have resulted in the publication of valuable data sets made available to the scientific community. Dr. Baptista has also conducted studies on genomic duplications and performed analyses of parasite genetic crosses within population datasets.

In the role of a bioinformatician, Dr. Baptista maintains collaborations with various research groups worldwide, focusing on diverse protozoan parasites, prokaryotes, and vectors. Presently, Dr. Baptista leads the genomics enterprise within the Department of Infectious Diseases at Houston Methodist Research Institute, working alongside Dr. Cesar Arias' research group. The primary research focus of this group revolves around utilizing genomics to characterize antibiotic resistance in clinical bacterial infections, with the overarching goal of mitigating the emergence and spread of resistant pathogens induced by treatment. Moreover, Dr. Baptista's research also extends to neglected and emerging eukaryotic pathogens to further broadening the scope of investigation within the genomics domain.
Diana Panesso, PhD
Associate Research Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Associate Research Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID interest: Antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus and Enterococcus, Daptomycin resistance in Enterococcus.

Personal interest: Socializing and spending time with loved ones like organizing gatherings and going out with family and friends. Her favorite activity is cooking and experimenting with recipes, hosting dinner parties, or exploring different cuisines to indulge her culinary creativity

Dr. Panesso Botero' is a researcher with more than 20 years of expertise in the field of antimicrobial resistance. Her work primarily focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of glycopeptide and daptomycin resistance in enterococci, exploring the molecular epidemiology of staphylococci and enterococci, and investigating the clinical impact of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Dr. Panesso Botero has actively promoted collaboration between scientists in South America and the United States and holds a position as an Associate Professor, in the Molecular Genetics and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit (UGRA) at the Universidad El Bosque, Bogota, Colombia.

Additionally, Dr. Panesso Botero has dedicated her research efforts to investigating the genetic mechanisms underlying daptomycin resistance in enterococci. Her primary focus has been on comprehensively understanding the function of the enterococcal LiaFSR system, which is a three-component regulatory system responsible for maintaining cell envelope homeostasis in bacteria. Currently, she is investigating the LiaF function and its impact on daptomycin resistance. Her research not only deepens the understanding of resistance mechanisms but also paves the way for the development of novel strategies to combat antibiotic resistance in enterococci.

As an associate research professor at Houston Methodist Research Institute her expertise encompasses various areas within her field. Dr. Panesso Botero is deeply committed to the mentorship and education of researchers and medical professionals. She actively engages in mentoring and teaching activities, guiding, and imparting her knowledge and expertise to a diverse range of individuals, including medical students, Infectious Diseases fellows, MD residents, PhD students, and microbiology students. Through her mentorship, she aims to cultivate scientific curiosity and foster critical thinking skills among her mentees.
Kavindra V. Singh, PhD
Research Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Full Research Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: ID, molecular microbiology, Therapeutics and pre-clinical animal models.

Personal Interests: Movies, Yoga/meditation.

Dr. Kavindra V. Singh, M.Sc., Ph.D., research focus is in the field of antimicrobial research, molecular bacterial genetics, and the pathogenesis of enterococci, staphylococci, and gram-negative bacteria. His primary research focus lies in understanding the mechanisms behind antimicrobial resistance, unraveling the molecular intricacies of bacterial genetics, and comprehending the pathogenesis of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. He has established pre-clinical animal models to study the antimicrobial efficacy of several new antibiotics and/or the bacterial colonization of mouse GI tract or heart aortic valves in mouse GI tract model or experimental endocarditis in rat model, respectively.

Dr. Singh's dedication to scientific discovery is evident in his impressive publication record. He has 176 research papers published in various esteemed peer-reviewed journals and have presented over 90 abstracts at national and international scientific conferences, sharing his insights and findings with fellow researchers and scholars. He has authored four book chapters, offering comprehensive insights into his specialized areas of research.

Dr. Singh has served as principal-investigator or co-investigator in many pharmaceutical funded grants or NIH R01 or R21 grants. Currently he is co-investigator with Dr. Arias (PI) in a PO1 grant.

Dr. Singh's commitment to education and mentorship is evident through his extensive work and training the Ph.D. students and post-doctoral M.D. fellows resulting in the publication of many research papers in peer reviewed research journals and/or presentation in various national / international scientific meetings.

Beyond his scientific pursuits, Dr. Singh recognizes the importance of holistic well-being and practices yoga and meditation. His compassionate nature and dedication to serving others serve as a guiding force in his personal and professional life.

Dr. Singh's unwavering commitment to scientific exploration, extensive research contributions, mentorship of young scholars, and his passion for helping others in need have solidified his place as a respected and influential figure in the field of antimicrobial research, molecular bacterial genetics, and pathogenesis. His work continues to pave the way for advancements in understanding and combating bacterial infections, leaving a lasting impact on the scientific community and society as a whole.
Truc T. Tran, PharmD
Associate Research Professor of Medicine, Academic Institute
Associate Research Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

ID Interests: Daptomycin resistance in enterococci and streptococci, combination therapy for treatment of infection with multidrug-resistant organisms

Personal Interests: Gardening, stationery

Truc (Cecilia) Tran, PharmD, is a pharmacist-scientist with interests in antimicrobial resistance research and pharmacology. She received her pharmacy degree at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. She completed her Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dr. Tran then completed her Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellowship at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and University of Houston College of Pharmacy. Cecilia is an awardee of the NIH K08 grant. Cecilia’s research encompasses a multifaceted approach, delving into mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and exploring therapeutic strategies. Through laboratory investigation, Cecilia made significant contribution to the field by describing two novel mechanisms of daptomycin resistance, a crucial antibiotic used to treat serious infection. These findings have shed light on the evolving landscape of antimicrobial resistance and evaluation of novel therapeutic target(s). Her current research efforts focus on the molecular basis of daptomycin resistance, a significant concern in the clinical management of enterococcal infections, and clinical outcomes of patients with enterococcal bacteremia. She has published her research findings in high-impact scientific journals and disseminated the results to the broader scientific community. Cecilia’s work includes a broad spectrum of basic science, translational, and clinical research. In addition to research, Cecilia practices as an ID pharmacist, ensuring optimal patient care and bridging the gap between scientific discoveries and patient outcomes.