Site News

Dr. Richard Loeser joins our team as the Director of Basic and Translational Research

We are extremely pleased to announce that Richard Loeser, MD, joined the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center on Monday, March 3, 2014.

Dr. Richard LoeserWe are extremely pleased to announce that Richard Loeser, MD, joined the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center on Monday, March 3, 2014.  Dr. Loeser is a rheumatologist and was previously the Dorothy Rhyne and Willard Duke Kimbrell Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he also served as Section Head of Molecular Medicine. 

Upon his arrival at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, Dr. Loeser was awarded the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine and appointed as the Director of Basic and Translational Research.  He will be an active partner in our mission to serve patients, lead and conduct research, and mentor trainees in our Division and the Department of Medicine.   

Once settled at UNC, Dr. Loeser will recruit three additional basic and translational research faculty members to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  We are fortunate that he brought several valuable colleagues with him to Chapel Hill.  Scott Wood, a post-doctoral student; Meredith Greene, a graduate student; and Y (Mary) Zhao and Kathryn Kelley, both laboratory technicians.  Dr. Loeser, his faculty recruits and all associated staff and students will be housed on the fourth floor of the Thurston Building.     

Dr. Loeser’s translational research interests include osteoarthritis, aging, inflammatory diseases, and cell signaling.   His laboratory has studied the basic biology of healthy cartilage cells in joints for over 20 years, was the first to describe certain types of cell receptors, and has published over 100 original manuscripts on these topics, among others.  Dr. Loeser is the Principle Investigator on multiple, currently-funded NIH grants studying cell signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of osteoarthritis.  Dr. Loeser looks forward to active collaboration with multiple groups across the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, including the Center on Aging, the Departments of Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Cell Biology and Physiology, Biomedical Engineering, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

I hope you will join in our excitement in welcoming Dr. Loeser as his leadership will be transformative for our Division and our Center.


Welcome new faculty member Dr. Jennifer Rogers

Please join us in warmly welcoming our new faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Rogers.  Dr. Rogers will officially begin her new appointment on March 1, 2014. 

Dr. Rogers obtained her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, before coming to UNC in 2005.  She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine here at UNC in 2008.

She then worked as a hospitalist in New Zealand and several hospitals in Western North Carolina before accepting a hospitalist position at WakeMed, which she held from 2009 to 2011.  She served as Visiting Post-Doc with us in Rheumatology from 2009 to 2010 and joined us as a Rheumatology Fellow in 2011.

Dr. Rogers has been working with Drs. Teresa Tarrant and Barb Vilen on a translational research project examining biomarkers of lupus flare, for which she obtained funding from the NC TraCS Institute.  Her clinical interests include myositis and lupus.

In addition to seeing patients in the Rheumatology clinic, she will work with Dr. Beth Jonas on aspects of our Rheumatology education programs and on several clinical trials.  Dr. Rogers will also work on several new clinical and research initiatives with our collaborators in other divisions. 

"I am honored to join the outstanding faculty at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  As a clinical rheumatologist, I care for patients with a wide range of autoimmune and rheumatologic illnesses, but I have a special interest in lupus and inflammatory myopathies.  I am excited for the opportunity to forge new clinical collaborations with our pulmonary and nephrology colleagues and hope to bring our shared interests together to provide the best care for our patients.  I'm also looking forward to working with the UNC Thurston Arthritis Clinical Trials team as we continue to expand our rheumatology trials program."

Outside of her passion for rheumatology, Dr. Rogers loves spending time with her growing family.  She and her husband are outdoor enthusiasts and enjoy hiking, skiing and mountain biking.  "We can hardly wait to share our love for adventure with our new baby girl!"

Dr. Rogers' compassion and enthusiasm for patient care, education and research will be a wonderful addition to our strong and successful team.  We are thrilled to have Dr. Rogers join us as an Assistant Professor.  Please join us in welcoming her!

The Chronic Osteoarthritis Management Initiative (COAMI)

Dr. Joanne Jordan, COAMI Chair, worked with colleagues to prepare the U.S.Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI)/COAMI annotated bibliography of guidelines and recommendations on the management of OA. An extensive literature review and rigorous screening process yielded several areas where current recommendations and guidelines offer general consensus: education and self-management, exercise and weight loss, use of assistive devices, alternative/complementary approaches, surgical interventions, and pharmacologic interventions.

The Findings of the Annotated Bibliography of Clinical Outcomes on the Management of Osteoarthritis team also included TARC team members Kirsten Nyrop, PhD; Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR; Yvonne Golightly, PT, MS, PhD; Adam Goode, PT, DPT, PhD; and Leigh Callahan, PhD.  Dr. Nelson was the first author of the manuscript.  Kelli Allen, PhD, currently at Duke, was also on the team.

A systematic review of recommendations and guidelines for the management of osteoarthritis: The Chronic Osteoarthritis Management Initiative of the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative.  Nelson AE, Allen KD, Golightly YM, Goode AP, Jordan JM.  Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Dec 4. pii: S0049-0172(13)00258-8. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2013.11.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Access the abstract: 

Summary Recommendations from a Systematic Review of Recommendations and Guidelines for the Management of OA

  • Provide or refer patients to self-management programs.
  • Provide education, regular contact to promote self-care, joint protection strategies, and individualized treatment plans.
  • Advise patients to engage in low-impact aerobic exercise and, if overweight, to lose weight.
  • Consider range of motion, flexibility, endurance, and strengthening exercises, exercise combined with manual therapy, and PT/OT referral.
  • Recommend walking aids and assistive devices to improve Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
  • Discuss thermal modalities for hand, knee and hip OA.
  • Joint replacement is recommended for appropriate patients.
  • Arthroscopy with debridement is not indicated for symptomatic OA.
  • Pharmacologic management of OA
  • Intra-articular therapy

Click here to view the COAMI Care Model in it's entirety

Dr. Mary Anne Dooley Retires

Dr. Mary Anne Dooley, Associate Professor of Medicine, is retiring from the UNC Health Care System at the end of February after 23 years of devoted service to our patients, our referring physicians, the UNC School of Medicine, and the people of North Carolina.  She has cared for many of our patients over the years, especially those with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), vasculitis, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to patient care, Dr. Dooley and her research team have led many clinical trials to find better and more advanced treatment options for autoimmune conditions, particularly for lupus and lupus nephritis.

Dr. Dooley received her medical education here at UNC, where she held the prestigious Holderness Fellowship, and also completed a Masters degree in Public Health.  She then completed her internship, residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts before returning to North Carolina for a fellowship in Rheumatology and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center.

She joined the faculty at UNC in Rheumatology and Immunology in 1991 and has had an impressive career here, wearing many hats in the Division and in the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center.  She expanded the Sanford Rheumatology Outreach Clinic and served as Clinic Director for our UNC Rheumatology Clinic for many years, launching and overseeing a huge expansion in our Infusion Clinic.  She also served as Acting Division Chief of the Division for four years.

Dr. Dooley is an internationally recognized expert and has been a vital contributor to, and leader in, many national and international lupus initiatives, including the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) and the Lupus Clinical Trials Consortium.  Her seminal paper in Kidney International in 1997 was one of the first to cast doubt on the efficacy of cyclophosphamide for lupus nephritis in African Americans in the South.  Most recently, her paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 detailed the superiority of mycophenolate mofetil over azathioprine in maintaining remission in lupus nephritis.

Dr. Dooley has taught countless medical students, residents, and Rheumatology and Nephrology fellows, and cared for hundreds on patients with SLE.  We deeply appreciate the contributions Dr. Dooley has made to our Division and Center.  We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to provide exceptional medical care to all of our patients and look forward to continuing to care for all of Dr. Dooley's patients in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Tammy Bradsher, Administrative Support Supervisor, Rheumatology Clinic, at telephone number (919) 957-6554, if you have any questions. 

Please join us in thanking Dr. Dooley for her many years of service and wishing her the very best in the future. 


Dr. Nelson receives certification in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

amanda_nelson.pngDr. Amanda Nelson has received certification in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound in Rheumatology through the American College of Rheumatology RhMSUS program.  This certification requires extensive training, practice, and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.  Dr. Nelson previously completed the Train-the Trainer program through USSONAR (Ultrasound School of North American Rheumatologists) and the ACR.  She was a speaker and small group mentor for the Duke Musculoskeletal Ultrasound in Rheumatology Training course in 2013, and now serves as a mentor for the USSONAR online training program.  She provides didactic and hands-on training in musculoskeletal ultrasound for our Rheumatology fellows, and staffs a half-day ultrasound clinic at the Farrington Road Rheumatology clinic site.

2013 American College of Rheumatology Conference - San Diego, CA

Numerous faculty and staff of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center attended the Annual American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Conference in San Diego, California October 25 - 30.

Call to Action on Walking sent to the Surgeon General

The OA Action Alliance, with partner organization Thurston Arthritis Research Center, submits a Call to Action on Walking to the Surgeon General.

A special Osteoarthritis and Cartilage issue on pain in osteoarthritis

The September 2013 special issue of OAC on Pain in Osteoarthritis has come out. This issue incorporates articles from basic science, pre-clinical animal models, to clinical OA, clinical trials, and policy. It was guest-edited by our own Dr. Joanne Jordan, and Richard Gracely, PhD in the UNC School of Dentistry.
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