Wolf and Daisy Losken Craniofacial Research Fellows

Mara Howard-Williams

2013-2014 Mara Howard-Williams

Mara Howard-Williams is a graduate from the University of North Carolina with a BA in Arab Cultures with honors and a BA in Vocal Performance. Mara is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health and has been committed to aiding children affected by idiopathic conditions for six years. This year, Mara is studying the incidence and prevalence of congenital anomalies in Palestinian children. She maintains and expands a data registry in support of the project. She hopes that this database may serve as a research model to identify risk factors in other regions, and applied to other congenital anomalies.

Justin Morse

2013-2014 Justin Morse

Justin Morse graduated from Baylor University with a BS in Economics and minors in Biology and Chemistry. He recently completed his third year of medical school at the UNC School of Medicine. His research focus this year will be using synthetic tissue scaffolding and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells from swine to test novel autologous treatments for alveolar cleft repair in a transitional swine model. Justin hopes that this research will contribute to the transition to clinical trials for using novel stem cell transplants to treat children with cleft lip and palate.





2012-2013 Alex Halevi

Alexandra Halevi graduated with honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Engineering with a BS in Chemical Engineering, a minor in Biochemistry, and a focus in Bioengineering. She joined the UNC Division as a Research Fellow after completing her third year of medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her research focus as a Research Fellowwas using synthetic tissue scaffolding and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells for auricular cartilage engineering. Alexandra hopes that this research will contribute to the improvement of ear construction outcomes for children with congenital malformations.



2012-2013 Sonya V. Patel

Sonya Patel is a native of North Carolina and received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from NC State.Following her third year of medical school at UNC, Sonya's year as a Research Fellow involved working to expand a data registry for Palestinian children with congenital anomalies. Her particular focus was on refugee populations, and how and why rates of congenital defects may differ in this subgroup. Sonya hopes that this project will be a model for other chronic disease databases, while also serving as a resource for healthcare professionals to effectively allocate resources in the region.


2011-2012 Matt Skancke, MD

Matt graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia with a BS in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering and anticipates a degree in Medicine in 2013 from the UNC School of Medicine. He was a Craniofacial Research fellow during his fourth year as a medical student at UNC, prior to planning to apply to a General Surgery program. His research focused on the stimulatory effects of connective tissue growth factor on umbilical cord-derived elastic cartilage development aiming to improve the elasticity of tissue engineered cartilage for use in microtia repair. During his fellowship, Matt also worked developing a porcine alveolar cleft model, a collaboration between UNC and NC State to develop a transitional animal model with future application to young children suffering from cleft lip and palate.


2011-2012 Hala Borno, MD

Dr. Borno graduated from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in Biochemistry. While a medical student at UNC, she conducted a year of global health research in 2011-2012, piloting a medical database in the occupied Palestinian territories and advised by Dr. John van Aalst. She graduated with a medical degree in 2012, following with a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Jake Dahl

2010-2011 Jake Dahl, MD, PhD

Dr. Dahl graduated from Villanova University with a BS is in Biology and received his MBA from Pennsylvania State University.  In addition, he received his PhD in Pharmacology from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Jake graduated Magna Cum Laude with his MD from Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University.

Gita Madain
2009-2010 Gita Madan, MD

Dr Madan  graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in Biology & English Literature and received her Masters in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Gita received her degree in Medicine in 2011 at the UNC School of Medicine.

Megan Jack


2007-2008- Megan Jack, MD
Megan graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Biology and completed her medical degree at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine. Dr. Jack completed her General Surgery Residency at UNC Chapel Hill in 2009. Dr. Jack is currently practicing with Sanctuary Plastic Surgery in Boca Raton, Florida.


2006-2007 Kamalkumar Kolappa, MD
Kamal graduated from Duke University in 2002 with a BS in Biology and received his degree in Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine in 2009.