Meet the Fellows

Rebecca Campo, Ph.D, completed her doctoral degree in Social-Health Psychology at the University of Utah and was a Research Associate in the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute until 2013. Her doctoral research was funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31) and focused on the emotional and cardiovascular benefits of supportive quality relationships (i.e., friends, pets) during and while recovering from stress. Her overall research interests include examination and understanding of the role that supportive relationships and mind-body interventions have in promoting resilience in cancer survivors and other chronically distressed populations. Dr. Campo is also interested in examining the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among cancer survivors, and the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for adolescent young adult cancer survivors. Her most recent research included the efficacy of Tai Chi Chih and Qigong randomized controlled trials for improving health-related quality of life, psychosocial, and physiological outcomes in older cancer survivors. She is currently implementing (with Dr. Karen Bluth) a school-based mindfulness intervention for students enrolled in an alternative high school

Jaime Hughes, MPH, MSW,
 is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work and Department of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on military Veterans and the intersection of sleep disturbance, trauma, and chronic pain on functional outcomes and successful aging. Jaime's research involves the investigation of hybrid interventions combining mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy on enhancing longterm physiological and psychological resilience in individuals with chronic sleep disturbance. Prior to her doctoral training, Jaime was a research associate with the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center of the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System where she worked on a variety of survey and intervention research studies focused on behavioral sleep programs for both older Veterans and women Veterans. Jaime received her MPH and MSW degrees from the University of Michigan in 2009 and her BA from New York University in 2003.

Kristin Jerger, M.D,
 is a physician and a licensed massage therapist in North Carolina.  She received her medical and neuroscience research training at the Medical University of South Carolina (M.D.), George Washington University Medical Center (residency in Psychiatry), Children's National Medical Center, and George Mason University's Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study in Fairfax, Virginia where her research focused on neural dynamics of pediatric epilepsy. Dr. Jerger served as Director of Health Policy for the Council of Latino Agencies in Washington, D.C. from 2004-2007, when she moved with her husband and toddler twins to Costa Rica for a year.  After her children entered kindergarten, she attended Body Therapy Institute, in Siler City, NC, and became a licensed massage therapist in 2011. Currently, she is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program in Integrative Medicine within the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  In this position, she is drawing on her medical, psychiatric, neuroscience research, and massage backgrounds to build an integrated research and clinical practice that focuses on using touch to help alleviate suffering and strengthen connections.

Hongtao Li, M.B.B.S., Ph.D,
 has research interests that fall mainly in the field of integrative medicine, with a current focus on biomarkers during the process of diet, exercise and other healthy or pathogenic conditions. She is also interested in testing the traditional Chinese medicine theories with the most recent state-of-art technology. Hongtao holds an M.B.B.S. from Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, China in 1990. She finished her residency in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the First Hospital of Wuhan. She received her Ph.D. in 2009 in the department of Biology, Indiana State University with an emphasis on Immunology. She is a certified instructor in Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Diabetes from Tai Chi for Health Institute and American Arthritis Foundation.

Aaron Piepemier, Ph.D, completed his doctoral degree in Kinesiology - Sport & Exercise Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015. His work examined potential biological mechanisms of the physical activity-cognitive performance relationship (i.e., Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, BDNF). In addition to his academic accomplishments, he holds a 4th degree black belt and has 20 years of experience practicing and instructing martial arts. The Program on Integrative Medicine provides the necessary support for him to combine his two passions of martial arts and health science into the development of a line of research examining the effects of Tai Chi Chuan on outcomes related to the health and function of the human brain. 

Erin Walsh Ph.D, acquired her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky under mentorship of Ruth Baer, Ph.D., where she received strong research and clinical training in mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions. This training was supplemented by a two-year postdoctoral research position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the stress physiology of depression under mentorship of Heather Abercrombie, Ph.D. Erin joined the UNC T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Integrative Medicine to build expertise in functional magnetic resonance imaging and neurobiology of depression under mentorship of Gabriel Dichter, Ph.D. Erin’s long-term career objective is to explore the mechanisms by which mindfulness-based interventions alter stress-related neural, immune, and endocrine processes in persons with unipolar depression, and how such changes influence depressive cognition, emotion, and behavior. Erin’s current program of research investigates how mindfulness may reduce risk for depression in individuals with early life adversity by targeting key stress-related neural and immune circuits.

Nick Wise, Ph.D, is a chiropractic physician whose research interests include studying the effects of transcranial laser therapy on musculoskeletal pain conditions and athletic performance. His current project is examining the effects of Cranial Laser Reflex Technique on hamstring strength and flexibility in active college students.