Faculty

There are 8 full-time clinical faculty members in the Clinic with additional faculty and research mentors available to direct training and research.

Robert G. Berger, MD
Professor of Medicine
Clinical Professor of Pharmacy

Dr. Berger's primary interest is in medical informatics. Over the last 14 years, a "clinical workstation" has been developed by Dr. Berger and others for global use within UNC Health System. Computerized physician order entry and use of "artificial intelligence" to enhance patient care continues to be the main thrust of Dr. Berger's research interest. Fellows in rheumatology are encouraged to participate in the development and testing of these software tools.

 

Leigh F. Callahan, PhD
Mary Link Briggs distinguished Professor of Medicine
Professor, Department of Social Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Research examines the factors surrounding arthritis and physical activity, health outcomes, and health disparities.

 

Beth L. Jonas, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine and Orthopaedics
Director, Rheumatology Fellowship Program
Dr. Jonas has served as the Program Director for Rheumatology at UNC since 2001. She is a member of the UNC Academy of Educators and formerly served on the ACR Committee on Education. Her major clinical interest is in the evaluation and management of patients with inflammatory arthritis. Dr. Jonas also participates in clinical research and is an active investigator in trials of new therapies for RA and OA.  Dr. Jonas is an active participant in innovative programs in medical education.

 

Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH
Joseph P. Archie, Jr. Eminent Professor of Medicine
Director, Thurston Arthritis Research Center
Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology
Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology

The main interests in Dr. Jordan's research are the epidemiology and genetics of osteoarthritis. Dr. Jordan is the principal investigator of a large, community-based prospective cohort of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip in Johnston County, a rural North Carolina county. She is also the principal investigator of a large osteoarthritis genetics study and one of the principal investigators of a genetics consortium to study heredity of osteoarthritis in families.

 

Richard F. Loeser, Jr., MD
Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor
Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology
Director of Basic and Translational Research, Thurston Arthritis Research Center

Dr. Loeser’s primary research goal is to discover the basic mechanisms relevant to joint tissue destruction in osteoarthritis. His lab uses a combination of in vitro experiments using human joint tissue cells and in vivo experiments in mouse models to study cell signaling pathways that regulate anabolic and catabolic activity responsible for joint tissue remodeling and destruction. The lab is studying how oxidative stress that occurs with aging and joint injury can alter the activity of these signaling pathways. Additional interests include studies of a cytokine, Macropage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF), in OA as well as studies on vitamin K-dependent proteins present in joint tissues and the relationship between vitamin K insufficiency and OA.

 

Amanda E. Nelson, MD MSCR RhMSUS
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Nelson is a rheumatologist and epidemiologist.  Her research is focused on 1) the impact of joint shape on osteoarthritis risk and 2) multiple joint osteoarthritis.  Her clinical interests include joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, crystalline arthropathies, and osteoarthritis.  Dr. Nelson is certified in musculoskeletal ultrasound and provides didactic and practical training for our Rheumatology fellows in this modality.  She also staffs a half-day ultrasound clinic with a rotating fellow on Thursday afternoons.  In this clinic, real-time imaging is performed to identify causes of musculoskeletal symptoms, and to enable ultrasound-guided therapeutic aspirations and injections.

 

Alfredo Rivadeneira, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director, UNC Rheumatology Clinic

Principal Investigator on numerous clinical trial studying biologic therapies in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Key clinical faculty member highly involved in clinical education of the rheumatology fellow. Former fellow at UNC became a faculty member at the conclusion of fellowship, currently serves as the Clinic Director.

 

Jennifer L. Rogers, MD.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Rogers primary clinical interests are lupus, inflammatory myopathies and autoimmune related lung disease.  She is an investigator in several lupus clinical trials and a leading member of the TARC clinical trials team.  Additionally, she maintains an active translational research collaboration with Barb Vilen, PhD in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, investigating the pathophysiology of lupus flare.

 

Robert Roubey, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine

The goal of Dr. Roubey's research is to determine the mechanisms by which antiphospholipid antibodies contribute to thrombosis and recurrent fetal loss. Areas of ongoing investigation include the following: characterization of the spectrum of antigenic specificities of "antiphospholipid" antibodies and their respective clinical associations, investigations of the mechanisms of autoantibody-mediated thrombosis in in vitro and in vivo model systems, the effect of antiphospholipid antibodies on the protein C anticoagulant pathway, development of immunoassays using purified protein antigens, and the role of b2GPIin apoptosis.

 

Assistant Professor of Medicine
 
Dr Sheikh is dual trained in Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology and her clinical interests are SLE (lupus), inflammatory arthritis, food allergy, allergic rhinitis and urticaria. She is Principal Investigator on several clinical trials for SLE studying new therapies for this disease and is leading the growth and expansion of the TARC clinical trials program. She enjoys teaching and is involved in the education of medical students, residents and sub-speciality fellows who rotate through the clinics.

 

Leonard Stein, MD
Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Stein's research interest include patterns and influences on the care of children with rheumatologic diseases and enhancing medical education with internet-based rheumatology education.

 

Teresa Tarrant, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Tarrant has dual clinical training in the fields of Allergy Immunology and Rheumatology and her research investigates molecular signaling pathways in autoimmunity, cancer metastasis, and immune deficiency.  Her clinic and research studies are directed toward understanding underlying mechanisms at play in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), and Sjogren's syndrome.  One of the over-arching themes of the Tarrant lab is in studying abnormal cellular trafficking in immune-mediated disease  and cancer.  The lab is particularly interested in chemokine receptor downstream signaling regulators, specifically G-protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and regulators of G protein synthesis (RGS), and studies them using cellular and molecular biology techniques, animal models, and translational studies in human tissues.



Research Mentors

Richard H. Gracely, PhD
Professor, Endodonics, Center for Neurosensory Disorders

Dr. Gracely's current research investigates the neural mechanisms responsible for the pain abnormalities observed in chronic multi-symptom illness and in experimental models of these syndromes, using innovative psychophysical methods and supraspinal neural processing using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

 

William Maixner, DDS, PhD
Professor, Endodonics, School of Dentistry and Pharmacology, School of Medicine
Director, Center for Neurosensory Disorders

Dr. Maixner's research program focuses on identifying the pathophysiological processes that underlie pain perception, persistent pain conditions, and related disorders. His current research focuses on genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological risk factors that contribute to the onset and maintenance of chronic pain conditions.

 

Jenny Ting, PhD
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Founding Director, Center for Translational Immunology
Immunology Program Leader, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research has broad interest in the application of basic molecular biology to the study of disease-relevant issues. Major directions include gene discovery, functional genomics and proteomics, gene regulation, molecular immunology, cancer research and neuro-inflammation.

 

Barbara J. Vilen, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Current studies in Dr. Vilen's lab are focused on identifying how IL-6 represses immunoglobulin secretion by autoreactive B cells and to understand the molecular basis of B cell receptor desensitization. Other current work centers on defining the molecular basis of BCR destabilization, and characterizing the mechanism by which the stability of BCR complex influences the ability of B cells to transduce signals.