Fetal Intervention Faculty

Anthony Johnson, DOAnthony Johnson, DO
Anthony Johnson, DO, is an internationally renowned board-certified specialist in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. He is a Professor with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth) and the Co-Director for The Fetal Center.

He has performed more than 500 laser ablation procedures in the treatment of severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and has extensive experience with other fetoscopic-based and needle guided in-utero procedures. Dr. Johnson has served as director of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s Special Interest Group in Maternal-Fetal Surgery and Special Interest Group in Genetics.

Additionally, Dr. Johnson is an examiner on the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Subspecialty Committee of the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and on the Medical Advisory Board of the Fetal Health Foundation. Dr. Johnson was a reviewer of the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which sponsored the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011.

Ramesha Papanna, M.D., M.P.H. Ramesha Papanna, MD, MPH

Ramesha Papanna, MD, MPH, is a board-certified specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology, and was also one of the first individuals in the United States to complete a formal fetal intervention fellowship.

He is a Professor with tenure in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth), the Program Director for the Fetal Intervention Fellowship, and the Co-Director for The Fetal Center. Additionally, Dr. Papanna was elected  as the president of the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet) with tenure from 2022-2025.

Dr. Papanna received his medical degree in 2000 from Kasturba Medical College in India. He then completed his residency at Rochester General Hospital in 2008 with a research focus on the diagnosis of preeclampsia. After completing his residency, Dr. Papanna pursued his fetal intervention fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which he completed in 2010. Additionally, he completed his master’s in public health from UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. Upon finishing his fetal intervention fellowship, Dr. Papanna spent several years in New Haven, Conneticut completing his maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at Yale University, where he focused on fetal membrane biology for the prevention of preterm, premature rupture of the membranes after fetal surgery.

Dr. Papanna is internationally recognized for his translational and clinical research, dedicated to improving outcomes following fetal intervention. He is actively involved in multiple research studies, including the NIH-funded research investigating the efficacy of a patch made from human amniotic membrane and underwater adhesive as a sealant for fetoscopic membrane defects to prevent preterm premature rupture of membranes. He is investigating cryopreserved human umbilical cord patch as a regenerative matrix for in-utero spina bifida repair.

Eric Bergh, MD Eric P. Bergh, MD

Eric Bergh, MD, is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth). He hails from the East Coast and received his medical degree at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. He completed both a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. He subsequently completed a fetal intervention fellowship at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth).

Dr. Bergh’s interests include operative fetoscopy, fetal transfusion and open fetal surgery. He has expertise training in fetal intervention for conditions including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn, fetal spina bifida and other fetoscopic-based and needle-guided in-utero procedures. He has performed more than 200 laser ablation procedures in the treatment of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Jimmy Espinoza, MDJimmy Espinoza, MD, MSc, FACOG

Dr. Jimmy Espinoza joined the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences in 2022 as a Professor the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division at UTHealth Houston and most recently joined the Division of Fetal Intervention in September 2023.

Dr. Espinoza’s clinical interests include in-utero interventions for the management of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, lower fetal urinary tract obstructions, fetal pleural effusions, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and fetal neural tube defects. Additional clinical and research interests include the use of imaging modalities in the prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defects, in particular the use of 3D/4D ultrasonography in the diagnosis of fetal heart defects.

A particular focus in Dr. Espinoza’s research is the use of biomarkers for stratification of risk to develop severe features in patients with suspicion of preeclampsia. He is the lead author of the latest ACOG practice bulletin for the diagnosis and management of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.

Dr. Espinoza received his medical degree from San Marcos University in Peru. He then completed his residency at the Maternal Perinatal Institute of the University of San Marcos and William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan. Dr. Espinoza completed his clinical fellowship in Fetal Medicine at the Fetal Medicine Foundation in London, United Kingdom. He also served as a Research fellow for the Perinatology Research Brand of the NICHD/NIH/DHHS and then as associated professor at the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, he holds a Master of Science (MSc) on Reproductive Health from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Espinoza is a recipient of numerous awards that recognize his contributions to obstetrics, gynecology, and maternal-fetal medicine. These include the top 2% of scientists most frequently cited worldwide by PLoS Biology (H-index: 82 and i10-index: 236), the Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award at Baylor College of Medicine for Development of Enduring Educational Materials, and the lead author of one of the top 10 Most-Frequently Cited Articles in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology over the prior five years with the article entitled  “Identification of patients at risk for early onset and/or severe preeclampsia with the use of uterine artery Doppler velocimetry and placental growth factor” Dr. Espinoza is currently a member of the ACOG Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines in Obstetrics

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Espinoza is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine and the Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy. He has served on several national committees as a reviewer and grant reviewer. Dr. Espinoza has obtained several NIH grant supports with over 2 million in federal funding throughout his career.

Dr. Espinoza has published over 300 and 20 invited articles, including reviews, editorials, and journals. Additionally, he has authored or co-authored nineteen book chapters. He is a recognized local, national, and international speaker, presenting in various countries worldwide.

Hernandez-Andrade Edgar A. Hernandez-Andrade, MD, PhD

Dr. Edgar Hernandez-Andrade, a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and Division of Fetal Intervention at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.

Dr. Hernandez-Andrade has an extensive academic background, having earned his M.D. from the School of Medicine in México City, México, followed by his Masters in Medical Science Faculty of Medicine in the National Autonomous University of México, and his Ph.D. at Lund University Hospital, University of Lund Scania, Sweden. He also completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship Maternal-Fetal at the Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, and the Diploma and Fellowship in Fetal Medicine at Harris Birthright Research Center for Fetal Medicine in London, United Kingdom, as well as Fellowship in Perinatal Medicine at National Institute of Perinatal Medicine National Health Council México City, México.

Dr. Hernandez-Andrade is a renowned expert in his field. He serves as the Director of the “Training and Research Ultrasound Unit (TRUST)” in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy since 2022 and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, Biomedicine Hub, Czech Gynecology, and Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In addition, Dr. Hernandez-Andrade has two patents, several NIH Grants, and a total of 191 Published Articles with 11062 Citations.

We are proud to have Dr. Hernandez-Andrade as a remarkable member of our team.

Lovepreet K. Mann, MBBS

Lovepreet K. Mann, MBBS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and Division of Fetal Intervention at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth). Dr. Mann received her medical degree in 2000 from Kasturba Medical College in India and is an internationally recognized researcher who has amassed many honors and awards during her career, including the Vandenberghe-Storz Award for Best Presentation at the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society Conference 2009.

Dr. Mann’s research has been supported by several grants, including two R01 and one R21. She is currently a co-investigator in the R01 program on the Human Umbilical Cord as a Regenerative Meningeal Patch to Prevent Tethering and Improve Neurological Function Following In-Utero Spina Bifida Repair from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Additionally, she has authored 32 publications and presented 63 abstracts.

Dr. Mann plays an integral role in the Division of Fetal Intervention by implementing and coordinating leading-edge research and innovation in fetal therapy.

Jerrie Refuerzo, MD Jerrie S. Refuerzo, MD

Jerrie S. Refuerzo, MD, is a Professor with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Division of Fetal Intervention at UTHealth Houston.

Dr. Refuerzo attended medical school and completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, she completed her Masters in Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Before her medical school and training, Dr. Refuerzo completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California-Riverside, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.

Dr. Refuerzo serves as the Director of the Maternal Care Program at The Fetal Center and oversees the prenatal and postnatal management of patients whose high-risk pregnancies have been diagnosed with complex congenital anomalies. Her research goal is to improve medication administration and safety in pregnancy.

Ashley Salazar Ashley E. Salazar DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC

Ashley E. Salazar, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and Division of Fetal Intervention at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth). She completed her Fellowship in Clinical and Translational Research Training Scholar Institute for Translational Sciences and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2022 at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She also has a Master of Science in Nursing. She has served on multiple NIH Research Protocol Committees in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and as the Director of the Perinatal Research Division at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Ashley Salazar currently serves as the Director of Research in the Division of Fetal Intervention at UTHealth Houston and oversees research projects at The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston.

KuoJen TsaoKuoJen Tsao, MD, FACS

Kuojen Tsao, MD, FACS, is the Children’s Fund, Inc. Distinguished Professor in Pediatric Surgery and Professor of Pediatric Surgery at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth) in the Department of Pediatric Surgery. He is the Division Chief of General and Thoracic Surgery. He is board certified in general and pediatric surgery with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery and fetal surgery. Dr. Tsao is the Co-Director of The Fetal Center.

Dr. Tsao served as the Chair of the American Pediatric Surgical Association Quality and Safety Committee. He is the Vice-Chair of Quality and Safety for the Department of Pediatric Surgery at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth) and led an initiative at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital that focused on establishing a culture of safety and the use of a surgical safety checklist his team created for its needs. He has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for research into safety for neonatal surgery and has led trials in resident education in patient safety. He also served as the Treasurer for the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet).

Additionally, he played a pivotal role in first-ever center in the United States dedicated exclusively to improving safety for pregnant women and babies that was established through grants from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Joe Kiani/Masimo Corporation to the March of Dimes in collaboration with McGovern Medical School (UTHealth).

 

Mary AustinMary T. Austin, MD, MPH, FACS

Mary T. Austin, MD, MPH, FACS, is an Associate Professor in both the Department of Pediatric Surgery at McGovern Medical School (UTHealth) and in Surgical Oncology and Pediatrics at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

She completed her surgical residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. During residency, Dr. Austin also received a Masters in Public Health from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed her Surgical Critical Care and Pediatric Surgery training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is board certified in Surgery, Surgical Critical Care and Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Austin has a special interest in pediatric surgical oncology, surgical critical care including ECMO, fetal surgery and clinical research. She is also the site-principle investigator (PI) for several multi-institutional studies sponsored by the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet).  She is a faculty mentor for our Center for Surgical Trials and Evidence-based Practice (C-STEP) program.