Meet Our Team

The UNC Food Allergy Institute is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses, and researchers, each one with a special interest in helping patients with food allergies.

Medical Providers

Clinical Research Staff

  • Sarah Bennick, RN, BSN, CPNP
  • Christine Brown, CCRP
  • Deanna Hamilton, RN
  • Lauren Herlihy, RN, MSN, CPNP
  • Betsy Pitkin, RN

Laboratory and Other Research Staff

  • Elizabeth Gabel
  • Rishu Guo, MD, PhD
  • Janelle Kesselring
  • Mike Kulis, PhD
  • Kelly Orgel
  • Anusha Penumarti, PhD
  • Nicole Szczepanski
  • Ping Ye, PhD
  • Xiaohong Yue, MS, DDS
  • Huamei Zhang, MS


The UNCFAI participates in the NIH-funded Consortium for Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), a network of food allergy centers that includes Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, National Jewish Research & Medical Center, and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. CoFAR was established to conduct multi-center clinical trials, observational studies, mechanistic studies, and basic research towards further understanding of the best possible treatment approaches for food allergies.

The UNCFAI also collaborates with the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), an international clinical research consortium sponsored by NIAID. The ITN facilitates research studies between academic, governmental and industry researchers to accelerate the clinical development of immune tolerance therapies.