Kurt Gilliland, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor;
Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Evaluation

  • B.A., University of North Carolina, 1992
  • M.S., North Carolina State University, 1995
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2003

Research Interests

Medical Education Research. Translational Education at Carolina (TEC) is a new curriculum that will transform the way medical students learn the art and science of medicine through integrated basic science and clinical skills blocks, longitudinal patient care experiences, and flexible clinical experiences that give them opportunities in specialty fields well before they apply to residency programs. The redesigned curriculum will reflect the needs of future physicians, the desire for early differentiation and exploration, and the realities of adult learners today.  In particular, the 16-month Foundation Phase replaces the traditional curriculum often seen in the first two years of medical school. The foundational blocks will integrate normal and abnormal human conditions, teach the basics through cases and clinical experiences, and rely extensively on active learning techniques.  Evaluation of this unique curriculum will allow not only for continuous modification of the curriculum itself but also for significant contributions to the educational literature.

Scientific Research. The normal human lens is transparent for the purpose of optimally focusing light on the retina. When the lens loses its transparency and becomes opaque, it is known as a cataract, a condition in which light is scattered instead of focused. Cataract, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, may be a multifactorial disease with many sources of light scatter. One particular source of light scatter in human age-related nuclear cataracts is likely to be rare lipid spheres within the cytoplasm known as multilamellar bodies (MLBs). Characterization of the morphology and distribution of MLBs is establishing that these structures are potential light scattering centers that may contribute to the opacity in the cataract. 

    Recent Publications

    PubMed 1

    Street, S.E., Royal, K.D., Gilliland, K.O., and C. McNeil.  2015.  The flipped classroom improved pre-clinical medical student performance and satisfaction in a basic science physiology course.  Medical Science Educator. 25: 35-43.

    Gilliland, K.O. and E.T. Kernick.  2014.  Team-based learning: cavernous sinus thrombosis.  MedEdPORTAL. www.mededportal.org/publication/9887

    Royal, K.D., Gilliland, K.O., and G.A. Dent.  2014.  A student-led methodology for evaluating curricular redundancy.  Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation. 10(23): 1-8.

    Royal, K.D., Kernick, E.T., and K.O. Gilliland.  2014.  Are repeat exam scores trustworthy? A note about measurement error and the need for genuine instructional intervention.  Medical Science Educator. 24(1): 39-41.

    Royal, K.D., Gilliland, K.O., and E.T. Kernick.  2014.  Using Rasch measurement to score, evaluate, and improve examinations in an anatomy course.  Anatomical Sciences Education.  7(6): 450-460.

    Mohamed, A., Gilliland, K.O., Metlapally, S., Johnsen, S., and M.J. Costello. 2013. Simple fixation and storage protocol for preserving the internal structure of intact human donor lenses and extracted human nuclear cataract specimens. Molecular Vision. 19: 2352-2359.

    Costello, M.J., Mohamed, A., Gilliland, K.O., Fowler, W.C., and S. Johnsen. 2013. Ultrastructural analysis of the human lens fiber cell remodeling zone and initiation of cellular compaction. Experimental Eye Research. 116: 411-418.

    Costello, M.J., Brennan, L.A., Basu, S., Chauss, D., Mohamed, A., Gilliland, K.O., Johnsen, S., Menko, S., and M. Kantorow. 2013. Autophagy and mitophagy participate in ocular lens organelle degradation. Experimental Eye Research. 116: 141-150.

    Costello, M.J., Burette, A., Weber, M., Metlapally, S., Gilliland, K.O., Fowler, W.C., Mohamed, A., and S. Johnsen. 2012. Electron tomography of fiber cell cytoplasm and dense cores of multilamellar bodies from human age-related nuclear cataracts. Experimental Eye Research. 101: 72-81.

    Gilliland, K.O. and R.L. Montgomery.  2011.  Anatomists and Eponyms: The Spirit of Anatomy Past.  Nottingham, England: Nottingham University Press.  ISBN 978-1-904761-73-0. 

    Gilliland, K.O. and E.T. Kernick. 2011. Human Anatomical Structure and Embryonic Development.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.  ISBN 978-0-860061-54-0. 

    Costello, M.J., Johnsen S., Metlapally, S.,  Gilliland, K.O., Frame, L., and D. Balasubramanian. 2010. Multilamellar spherical particles as potential sources of excessive light scattering in human age-related nuclear cataracts. Experimental Eye Research.  91: 881-889.

    Newton, W.P., Stone, K., Dent, G.A., Shaheen, N.J., Byerley, J., Gilliland, K.O., Rao, K., Farrell, T., and A. Cross.  2010.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.  Academic Medicine.  85: 424-429.