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 Scheduler

Erick Vela joins South Texas Research Institute as a Clinical Research Scheduler in our Edinburg location. He obtained his associate’s degree in medical practice management from Kaplan College. Erick brings more than eight years of experience in the medical field. STRI is excited to have Erick on our team and to enhance our service to the South Texas community.

Patient Recruiter

Yolanda Liesener from Edinburg Texas joins South Texas Research Institute as a patient recruiter. She has worked as a medical assistant for over 15 years. Yolanda is very enthusiastic about the opportunity of being part of our team and helping our community learn about liver disease, clinical research, and treatments. Yolanda is extremely dedicated and determined to provide the best experience for our patients. We’re thrilled to have Yolanda join our STRI family.

Community Outreach Representative

Jacqueline Martinez a native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico later raised here in Edinburg. She joins STRI as our Community Outreach Representative. Jacqueline brings 15+ years of experience in Office Administration and Customer Relations in the health and fitness field. She enjoys helping Women reach their health & fitness goals as a Personal Trainer/Wellness Coach.

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

Jillian is a native of the Rio Grande Valley. She obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Texas-Pan American. She worked as an educator in the RGV before relocating to North Carolina. While there, she worked in the healthcare setting, caring for patients from diverse populations and backgrounds. She joins South Texas Research Institute with a blended perspective of educating and caring for the community in clinical research. She is enthusiastic about raising awareness of liver health and supporting the vision of STRI.

HR Talent Manager

Alejandra serves as our Human Resources and Talent Manager. She comes from over 15 years of Human Resources and Finance Administration experience serving various Texas State Agencies; she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Texas A&M International University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Alejandra brings expertise and enthusiasm to South Texas Research Institute and joins in its mission to raise awareness in the Rio Grande Valley area. She is eager to support STRI and the staff in their continuous growth and success.

Clinical Research Intern

Stephanie joins South Texas Research Institute as a Clinical Research Intern. She is currently working towards her degree (B.S in Biomedical Sciences) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and aspires to become a medical doctor one day. Stephanie is excited to be a part of STRI team and hopes to get a better understanding of what happens “behind the scenes” into finding cures for long-term diseases.

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.

Lab Technician

Eliza Alaniz joins South Texas Research Institute as a Lab Technician. She moved to the Rio Grande Valley from Zapata County and has worked in the healthcare industry for over 7 years. She obtained her Phlebotomy and EKG certification from Valley Grande Institute. Eliza is excited to help and give back to her community and learn more about the diseases that affect them.