Eugene P. Orringer, MD

Program Director, UNC MD-PhD Program
Professor of Medicine & Director,
Education/Training/Career Development Core- NC TraCS Institute

Dr. Orringer received his MD from the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969. He then moved to Chapel Hill, NC where, in 1975, after training in both Internal Medicine and Hematology, he joined the UNC faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Orringer was promoted to Associate Professor in 1979 and to Professor in 1986. He served as the Program Director of UNC’s NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) for a 10 year period that began in 1989. In 1999, he was named as the Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Faculty Development in the UNC School of Medicine, a position that he held until late 2009.

Dr. Orringer's early research activities focused primarily on the membrane transport properties of the normal human erythrocyte and on its disordered physiology in a variety of pathological states, especially sickle cell disease. He received a Research Career Development Award from NHLBI in 1982, and for the past 28 years he has consistently held peer-reviewed grant support from the NIH. Along with Dr. Marilyn Telen, his counterpart at Duke University, Dr. Orringer helped to develop and lead the NIH-funded Duke-UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. For 20 years, this Center has been held up as a model of Duke-UNC inter-institutional collaboration. In 1989, Dr. Orringer assumed the Directorship of the UNC GCRC, after which he began to focus more and more of his efforts on clinical and translational research. He was a national leader in the NIH-funded clincial trials that demonstrated the ability of hydroxyurea (HU) to reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes of painful vaso-occlusion and acute chest syndrome that are experienced by patients with sickle cell anemia. These studies were pivotal in the approval by the FDA of HU as the only drug currently available specifically for the treatment of sickle cell disease. In addition, over the past five years, Drs. Telen and Orringer have held two large, multi-institutional sickle cell-related R01 awards from NIH that are entitled: Outcome Modifying Genes in Sickle Cell Disease and Pulmonary Complications of Sickle Cell Disease.

In addition to his own research activities, Dr. Orringer has focused much of his effort on the training of young investigators, playing a major role in numerous NIH-funded pre- and post-doctoral training programs. In 1995, Dr. Orringer became the Director of the UNC MD-PhD Program. Less than two years after assuming this new role, Dr. Orringer and his team wrote UNC’s first successful Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) grant from the NIH, an award that is now in Year -13. This grant has enabled the UNC MD-PhD Program to grow from 12 students in 1995 to its current level of 75 students. In addition to the MSTP Award, Dr. Orringer is the PI of a K12 grant supported primarily by the Office of Research on Women’s Health that is entitled the: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (or BIRCWH) Award. UNC’s BIRCWH Program has just now begun its third five-year term after receiving an exceptional Priority Score of 10 on its recent competitive renewal. He was also the PI on two other K12 Awards: the Clinical Research K12 and the Multidisciplinary Clinical Research (Roadmap) K12, both of which were funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). These latter two K12 awards were folded into the CTSA grant after it was awarded to UNC in 2008. Dr. Orringer serves as the Director of the Education, Training, & Career Development Core of UNC’s CTSA Program. Under the umbrella of this core, Dr. Orringer has been able to bring together a number of programs for both pre-doctoral students (i.e., TL1, MD-PhD, Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, and the Howard Hughes Med-into-Grad Program) and junior faculty members (i.e., KL2, BIRCWH, Simmons [Minority] Scholar Program, the AHRQ-funded K12 Comparative Effectiveness Research, and the K2R Program). Finally, when he gave up the directorship and day-to-day management of the GCRC in 1999, he remained actively involved with this program, serving as the PI of UNC’s GCRC grant until 2008 when it too was subsumed within UNC’s CTSA. Based on all of these large NIH awards, Dr. Orringer has been among the highest of all NIH awardees in terms of NIH grant dollars received both here at UNC and nationally.

Dr. Orringer has served two terms as a member (and Chairperson) of the NIH Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee, as a member of the NIH GCRC Study Section, and as the President of the National GCRC Program Directors’ Association. He also served for 20 years on the North Carolina Governor's Council on Sickle Cell Disease, chairing the Medical Care & Research Committee. He is a member of the Steering Committee and the former Treasurer of the Clinical Research Forum, and he was a member of the NIH Advisory Committee for the Office of Research on Women’s Health. Finally, Dr. Orringer was the 2006 recipient of the Philip Hench Award, an honor given annually to that individual selected by the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh as its most distinguished alumnus.

Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD

Associate Director, UNC MD-PhD Program
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Dr.  Mohanish Deshmukh joined the MD-PhD leadership team in 2013 as an Associate Director.  Dr. Deshmukh has been a member of our Admissions committee since 2006 and brings invaluable basic sciences expertise to our program.  Dr. Deshmukh received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 where he studied yeast ribosome assembly and function.  He then went to Dr. Eugene Johnson’s lab in Washington University St. Louis for his postdoctoral research where he pursued his interests in apoptosis, focusing on this pathway in mammalian neurons.  Dr. Deshmukh came to the UNC Neuroscience Center and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in 2000 and was promoted to full Professor in 2011.

Dr. Deshmukh has a very active research program where he investigates the mechanism of apoptosis in a variety of models including neurons, stem cells and cancer cells. His lab also conducts translational research with projects that focus on strategies for preventing neurodegeneration, as well as for triggering apoptosis in brain tumors. His research on molecular pathways regulating cell survival and death has been well recognized with recent publications in Molecular Cell, Nature Cell Biology and Genes & Development.  He has also served on multiple and diverse study sections including the NIH, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program.  Dr. Deshmukh also currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Oncogene and Cell Death and Differentiation.

Prior to joining our leadership team, Dr. Deshmukh was the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.  Indeed, he is strongly committed to graduate training and education.  Dr. Deshmukh has trained 5 PhD students (with 5 PhD students currently in the lab) and three of these students, Yolanda Huang, Adam Kole, and Ayumi Nakamura (current) are from our MD-PhD program.  Dr. Deshmukh is the Course Director for the Advanced Cell Biology graduate level course and participates in medical and graduate teaching in multiple classes.  Indeed, he brings great commitment and passion to his teaching and mentoring activities.  In 2004, Dr. Deshmukh received a Teaching Excellence Award from UNC Medical School, and in 2012 was recognized by the Mentor of the Year Award from the Neurobiology Curriculum graduate students.

Mohanish Deshmukh's Lab Site

Toni Darville, MD

Associate Director, MD-PhD Program
Professor of Pediatrics
Vice Chair for Research & Division Chief of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases

Dr. Toni Darville joined the MD-PhD leadership team in 2015 as an Associate Director. Dr. Darville has been an active member of the UNC clinical, and research community since joining faculty in November 2013. Prior to that, she served as Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Darville received her M.D. from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and completed her Pediatric Residency and Infectious Disease Fellowship at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Dr. Darville has been a clinician scientist in academic medicine for over twenty years, actively engaged in the care of patients as well as in the clinical and scientific education of medical students, residents, fellows, PhD students, and MD-PhD students while also directing a research laboratory. Dr. Darville’s laboratory is currently focused on the immunobiology of Chlamydia trachomatis to increase understanding of this common genital tract disease with the ultimate goal to develop improved treatment and preventatives to prevent reproductive sequelae, and improve the reproductive health of women worldwide.

Investigations in Dr. Darville's lab include active collaborations with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center investigators at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Magee Women’s Research Institute, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, investigators at Johns Hopkins University, as well as investigators at Genocea, Biosciences, Inc. as part of the UPMC Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Center, and collaborations with investigators at several vaccine companies including Genocea Biosciences, Inc., Pfizer, and Merck. 

Toni Darville's Lab Site

MD-PhD Executive Committee

In addition to the leadership of Drs. Orringer, Darville, and Deshmukh, the UNC MD-PhD Program is lead by the MD-PhD Executive Committee. This small committee comprised of basic science and clinical chairs as well as current MD-PhD student mentors help guide the leadership on important programmatic issues and concerns.

Alison Regan

Assistant Director

Ms. Regan joined the program in 2008, just after the submission of the program's second competitive renewal. In joining the MD-PhD Program, Ms. Regan brought with her prior experience in working with numerous institutional training and career development awards, including: 3 T32s, 1 T35, 3 K12s and 1 K30. In addition, Ms. Regan has also managed the Office of Medical Student Research, an umbrella program for five different funding sources that support approximately 50 medical students each summer to engage in biomedical research. Ms. Regan has a BA in Psychology from Indiana University and has over 15 years of experience in management and research administration.

Carol Herion

Program Assistant

Ms. Herion also joined the program in 2008, just after the submission of the program's second competitive renewal. Ms. Herion has extensive office and administration experience in many different venues. Ms. Herion serves as Admissions Officer and Business Services Coordinator for the MD/PhD Program.