Principal Investigator

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Dimple Patel Desai to the STRI family. Dr. Desai is a board-certified family physician with a research interest in Obesity and NAFLD/NASH. She completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at UT Pan American and then went on to complete her medical degree at UT Medical Branch in Galveston Texas. After completing her residency in family medicine where she was also selected as Chief Resident by her peers and faculty, she returned home to the Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Patel Desai aims to provide compassionate, evidence-based care to all patients.

Clinical Research Nurse Practitioner

As a native of the Rio Grande Valley, Francisco Pina brings over 27 years of dedication to healthcare to the South Texas Research Institute. Graduating in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then in 2001 with a Master’s of Science in Nursing, he obtained degrees from the University of Texas-Pan American as both a Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner. He is a bilingual member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners with experience in pediatrics, HIV care, family medicine, and the education of aspiring medical professionals. Along with a deep commitment to providing compassionate care to NAFLD/NASH patients in the RGV, Mr. Francisco Pina also strives to constantly expand our knowledge base to best serve the growing needs of our local community.

Clinical Research Assistant

Sonya Rios joins our team as a Clinical Research Assistant for South Texas Research Institute- Brownsville. She obtained her Associate’s degree specializing in Pharmacy from South Texas College and is a certified Phlebotomist and Pharmacy Technician, specializing in Sterile Compounding. She brings over 18 years of experience in the medical field, three of which were spent conducting clinical trials. Sonya has gained clinical and internship experience throughout the years and is extremely compassionate towards patients and very enthusiastic to learn more about clinical research.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Alejandro Flores was born and raised in the neighboring border town of Camargo, Tamaulipas, MX. He completed his high school studies at South Texas ISD for Health Professions. He attended the University of Texas-Pan – American in 2012 focusing on a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology. Alejandro obtained his medical degree from…

Clinical Research Coordinator

Claudia Padilla, M.D. has joined our team and will be our clinical research coordinator at the site in Brownsville, Texas. Claudia obtained her medical degree as a Medical Surgeon with specialization in Ear, Nose, and Throat from Universidad Autonoma Nuevo Leon.