Priyesh Mehta, D.O.

Medical Director & Principal Investigator
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Dr. Mehta is Director of META Medical Research Institute and is the lead Principal Investigator for all META Medical research studies. Dr. Mehta completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital the University hospital for Cornell and Columbia University. He then went on to complete a sports and interventional pain fellowship at The Hospital For Special Surgery ranked #1 in orthopedics nationwide. He has over 14 years of research experience performed at the Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Mehta is Board Certified in Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and has been invited to present at numerous national conferences. Currently, Dr. Mehta serves as editor and reviewer for Interventional Pain Medicine Reports.

Dr. Mehta’s Publications

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Tristan Handler, M.D.

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Dr. Handler joined MMRI as a Sub-Investigator in November 2019 with over 18 years’ experience in clinical research. Dr. Handler has degrees in Biomedical Engineering (2001) and Medicine (2005) from Boston University. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Wilford Hall Medical center at Lackland Air Force Base and fellowship in Gastroenterology at Brooke Army Medical Center. Dr. Handler served 13 years in the United States Air Force ultimately leading him to Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Handler is Board Certified in Gastroenterology.

Dr. Handler has worked with Digestive Specialists since 2015 while also serving at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. At the conclusion of his active duty service he joined Digestive Specialists full time. Dr. Handler practices throughout the Dayton area with offices in Springboro, Huber Heights, and on Needmore Road. Dr. Handler practices general gastroenterology with an interest in biliary disease. He is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

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Grace Hassan, NP-C

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Grace joined META Medical Research when Dr. Mehta established the institute. She comes to us from Mercy Hospital and brings expertise in providing care for both critically ill and chronically ill patients with a focus on post-trauma care. Grace is passionate about caring for different patient populations, and patients with complicated medical conditions. She has cared for people who experienced falls, motor vehicle crash injuries, and gunshot wounds. Grace is upbeat, friendly and likes to educate and advocate for her patients.

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Jacqueline Horne, NP-C

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Jacqueline joined META Medical Research when Dr. Mehta established the institute. She comes to us from Ohio University where she graduated with honors with a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree. She has an extensive background in geriatrics, where she spent much of her career as the Director of Nursing at a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation facility. She is kindhearted, compassionate, and responsive to the needs of her patients. When she isn’t busy in the office, she enjoys spending time with her 2 children and playing competitive volleyball year round.

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Rajkamal Jit, M.D.

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Dr. Jit joined MMRI as a sub-investigator in July of 2019 with previous clinical research experience at the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Jit completed both his GI Fellowship Training and Internal Medicine Residency training at Wright State University Booshoft School of Medicine. He has served as a Gastroentrologist and Hepatologist since 1999 in the Dayton area. Not only is Dr. Jit active in our local community, but he is also an active member of several national and international GI societies, including the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Dr. Jit is board certified in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and is an active practitioner in both specialties at Digestive Specialists, Inc., with offices located in Dayton, Huber Heights, and Springboro.

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Nagaraja Sharma Oruganti, M.D.

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Dr. Oruganti joined MMRI as a sub-investigator in October 2019 with 20 years of clinical research experience. He received his medical degree and completed his post-graduate training in Internal Medicine, followed by Gastroenterology, at Osmania Medical College, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. He worked as attending staff and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology from 1992-1994. He subsequently completed an Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. His special areas of interest include inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer screening and liver disease. Dr. Oruganti is Board Certified in Gastroenterology and presently practices in Huber Heights, Beavercreek and Kettering endoscopy locations. Dr. Oruganti is a member of several GI societies, including the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), Montgomery County Medical Society (MCMS), Greene County Medical Society (GCMS), and the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA).

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Patrick Spencer, D.O.

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Dr. Spencer joined MMRI as a sub-investigator in June of 2019 with over 10 years of clinical investigator experience.  He has extensive expertise (over 30,000 procedures) in Advanced Cataract Surgery, Custom LASIK vision correction, Premium Intraocular Lens Implantation and the latest in Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgical (MIGS) procedures. Dr. Spencer treats and manages many eye conditions including Diabetes, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Uveitis, Corneal Disease and Dry Eye. As a member of many local and national medical societies, Dr. Spencer is committed to life-long education and advancement in the field of ophthalmology. Chairman of the Ophthalmology department at Kettering’s Grandview and Southview Hospitals and with privileges at, Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, Miami Valley Ambulatory Surgical Center, Miami Valley Hospitals and West Chester Medical Center, Dr. Spencer is able to provide care throughout the Ohio Valley.  Dr. Spencer is Board Certified in Ophthalmology and is the founder/owner of Iworks Laser & Vision Center in Dayton, OH.

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Michael Verdon, D.O., FACOS

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Dr. Verdon joined MMRI as a sub-investigator in 2019.  He is a neurological surgeon who has been treating patients with spinal disorders for over 20 years. Dr. Verdon’s approach to neurosurgery is compassionate, and patient-centered, with a primary focus on improving his patient’s function and facilitating their ability to enjoy life.

Dr. Verdon is a Fellow of the American Osteopathic Board of Surgeons and completed his residency in Neurological Surgery at St. John/ Providence Hospital. He holds a Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, PA; a Masters in Physical Therapy from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Verdon holds privileges at Soin Medical Center as well as an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, OH.

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Julie M. Carstens, MPA, MS, JD, CHRC

Clinical Research Manager
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Julie Carstens joined META Medical Research Institute with 25 years’ experience in research administration, and diverse background in leadership, contract law, and healthcare. She started her career working with human subject protection programs and then transitioned into regulatory affairs; she subsequently served as a research site director and research compliance officer.

While continuing her career in clinical research, Julie obtained her law degree, and then joined MMRI where she oversees daily operations, participates in study feasibility, negotiates CTAs and clinical trial budgets, manages regulatory affairs, and serves as the primary point of contact for sponsors, IRBs and regulatory authorities.

Julie is passionate about servant leadership and helping others achieve success. When Julie isn’t involved with MMRI activities, she enjoys spending time with her children, dogs, and her husband, who is a United States Marine.

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Yvonne Horne, MA

Sr. QA Specialist/CRC
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Yvonne joined META Medical Research Institute with over 20 years of clinical, administrative, and training experience. After overseeing both clinical and administrative operations of several urgent cares, Yvonne used her longtime passion for research and quality patient care to help her urgent care facility start and manage their own research entity. Here Yvonne was instrumental in clinical trials from start to finish on both the clinical and administrative fronts. 

Yvonne then helped to open and oversee several more clinical research entites and facilities. At each research facility, Yvonne participated in study feasibility, negotiated CTAs and budgets, managed regulatory affairs, served as the main point of contact for IRBS, sponsors, and regulators; trained staff, and served as a back-up clinical research coordinator (CRC). 

Today, Yvonne manages the MMRI Quality Assurance Program, reviews clinical trials for accuracy, discusses and reports trial findings, and still serves as a back-up CRC. When she is not tending to her MMRI duties, Yvonne loves spending time with her grandchildren.

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Daniel Geyer, MPH, CCRP

Clinical Research Coordinator
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Dan joined META Medical Research Institute with over 16 years of clinical experience. As one of our Clinical Research Coordinators, he expertly conducts day-to-day operations of clinical research trials including subject recruitment, protocol implementation, and regulatory upkeep. Dan also assists in the planning, development, and submission of potential research projects, facilitates communication and cross-project research between medical and clinical institutions. When Dan isn’t involved with MMRI activities, he enjoys spending time with his son and volunteering at his church.

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Pournima Shirahatti, BAMS

Clinical Research Coordinator
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Pournima joins META Medical Research with over 5 years of research experience. Before joining the clinical research world, Pournima was treating patients with a holistic approach as a holistic practitioner, where she was an expert in herbal medicine and holistic procedures to help aid in the healing of her patients. Pournima then gained experience as a regulatory specialist, and in quality assurance. As one of MMRI’s Clinical Research Coordinators, Pournima is instrumental in the success of our studies from start to finish. She corresponds with clinical and medical institutions to facilitate sponsorship opportunities, provides subjects with quality care, records and collects data for analysis, and assists in summarizing key findings. Pournima enjoys spending time with her family and socializing in her free time.

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