Site News

Dr. Monica Jin awarded the ATVB Travel Award for Young Investigators

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Monica Jin, postdoctoral fellow in the Liu lab, on being awarded the ATVB Travel Award for Young Investigators by the American Heart Association (AHA)’s Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB). This award is given to the first author who has a high score of an abstract that was selected for presentation at the AHA annual meeting, Scientific Sessions 2014, Nov. 15-19, Chicago. Monica’s presentation is entitled “Dendritic Cells Play a Critical Role in the Initiation of Atherosclerosis”.


Written by the NC TraCS Institute. Posted in Join the Conquest.


When she was 5 or 6 years old, Joanne Jordan saw something on TV that she would never forget. The screen projected images of a child – about Jordan's age – with an enormous belly and her feet in a stream, surrounded by flies and filth. Jordan looked around at her own clothes and toys and wondered how there could be people in the world who didn't even have a roof over their heads. "It sounds crazy but that really hit me like wow, I am pretty lucky. Over the years, that feeling stuck with me, and I began to realize that the most important thing you can possibly have is your health. I saw medicine as my way of giving back for having the good luck of being born in the United States to a family who loved me and could care for me."


Jordan is the principal investigator of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and is a leading cause of disability in this country. Researchers believe that the rural South may be especially hard-hit by arthritis. Jordan's Osteoarthritis Project is the first of its kind to look at the causes of this condition in both African-Americans and Caucasians in rural Johnston County. Over the last 25 years, the study has uncovered a number of interesting findings. For example, it showed that there are in fact more cases of arthritis in this rural area than elsewhere in the country. The study also discovered that osteoarthritis affects different joints in African Americans than in whites. And it found that people who are exposed to certain metals like lead tended to have more severe disease.


"Osteoarthritis is so common, yet we know so little about it. For many people, volunteering for this project is an opportunity for them to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. To really be part of searching for a cure."


Jordan participated in her first marathon in March, race walking the entire 26.2 miles of the Tobacco Road Marathon to protect her joints. Though she loved the experience, she plans to go back to doing half-marathons, at least for now, which are less taxing on her aging knees. "My husband jokes that I am a little late to this party. It is sort of funny to discover a love for running in your late fifties. I never thought I would like it, but now I just couldn't live without it. It is so much fun."

Welcome Dr. Krista Todoric

Dr. Krista Todoric joins the faculty in the allergy and immunology (A/I) clinical program

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Krista Todoric to our faculty in the allergy and immunology (A/I) clinical program.  She holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics and will be splitting her time between our A/I Clinic at Carolina Pointe II and the Pediatric Food Allergy Research Group (headed by Dr. Wesley Burks).  

Krista received her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency at Hershey Medical Center, after which she spent a year working as a hospitalist.  She joined the UNC Allergy and Immunology fellowship training program in 2012 and completed her training this summer. She is an exceptional clinician and we are delighted she joined us.

Sheikh and Rogers named co-directors of new UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic

The Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology proudly announces the establishment of the UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic, co-directed by Drs. Saira Sheikh and Jennifer Rogers. This clinic will provide state-of-the-art care to patients with all forms of Lupus.

Burlington Resident Susan Corbett Selected to Serve as Department of Defense Patient Reviewer for Lupus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Aug. 11, 2014 – The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter (LFANC) recently announced that one of its lupus advocates, Susan Corbett, has been selected to serve as a Department of Defense Patient Reviewer for their Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP).

Lupus is listed as a disease area eligible for application to the PRMRP. In addition, the appropriation increased from $50 million to $200 million in FY 2014, so LFANC expects the Department of Defense to receive a large number of lupus grants.

"Our chapter nominated Susan [Corbett] not only because of her own journey living with lupus, but also because of her advocacy work within the lupus community, and her professional background as a pharmacist," said Christine John-Fuller, LFANC President and CEO. "We are proud to know that North Carolina will have representation for this very important time for lupus through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program."

Corbett is a lupus thriver, advocate for LFANC, and a team captain and top fundraiser for the Walk to End Lupus Now: Raleigh. She resides in Burlington with her family.

About Lupus:
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, hits out of nowhere, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive, and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to its scope and devastation.

About the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter
The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter is part of the national force devoted to solving the cruel mystery of lupus while providing caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. We work with local health professionals and volunteers to provide information and programs to ensure people with lupus and their families get answers and health professionals know about new means to diagnose and manage the disease. The chapter serves an estimated 45,000 living with lupus in North Carolina. For more information about lupus or the LFANC, visit or call (877) 849-8271. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

# # #

Christine John-Fuller, Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter
704-716-5640, ext. 5 (office)/704-604-9639 (mobile)

Koch wins ASA’s Peace Award for outstanding contributions

Gary G. Koch, PhD, professor of biostatistics at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named recipient of the American Statistical Society’s 2014 Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society.

Koch is a biostatistical consultant to TARC on numerous grants, manuscripts, and center projects, including MCRC and the Johnston County OA (JoCoOA) Project for over 20 years.  He is a mentor to Todd Schwartz, DrPH, our director of methodology core, who has been involved with TARC and JoCoOA for over a decade.   Todd still consults with Gary on biostatistical issues as needed for JoCoOA issues.

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Welcome Kirsten Ambrose, MS to the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance Team

We are thrilled to welcome Kirsten Ambrose, MS to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center as the new Program Manager for the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA). The OAAA consortium was recently awarded to TARC under the direction of Dr. Leigh Callahan.
The OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations committed to elevating Osteoarthritis (OA) as a national health priority and promoting effective policy solutions that aim to address the individual and national toll of OA.  They work with the health community to ensure people with OA have the access, skills and capacity to benefit from effective and proven interventions.  The OAAA has three working groups focused on physical activity, injury prevention and weight management.  
Kirsten comes to us after serving as Project Director for the Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, working with their clinical trials operation, developing pre-award grant proposals, and contributing to strategic planning.  She has also served as a Research Specialist in the Center for Neurosensory Disorders in the School of Dentistry, as a Consultant/Project Manager for Algynomics, Inc, as a consultant writer/editor for various organizations, and as a Lead Research Specialist in the Chronic Fatigue and Pain Research Center at the University of Michigan.  

Kirsten received her BA in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University and her Masters of Science in Exercise Science from The George Washington University.  She is the author of 21 scientific papers and 35 abstracts.  She is committed to the benefits and importance of physical activity for overall health, illness prevention and rehabilitation from injury, as reflected in her choice of graduate study, her professional experience in research and personal training of individuals with special needs, and her personal lifestyle.  
Kirsten officially joined us on July 14 and is working on the transition of operations of the OAAA to UNC – including updating its website, organizing Lunch and Learn webinars, writing and distributing its newsletter, managing membership and subscription lists, working on member recruitment and engagement, managing and supporting the three workgroups, and supporting the Steering Committee.   These many roles will not only serve the OAAA, but also the Chronic OA Management Initiative (COAMI), the MCRC, and TARC in general.  

Dr. Rebekah Layton joins TARC and the PALS team

Dr. Layton recently joined the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and our Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) as a member of the Partners in Active Living Study (PALS) research team.

Rebekah “Beka” Layton earned her Ph.D. (Social and Personality Psychology, 2014) and M.A. (Psychology, 2011) from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and her B.A. (Psychology and History & Sociology of Science, 2005) from the University of Pennsylvania. Rebekah is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where she served as a Military Police Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. As a paratrooper, she was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and completed her active duty service in Seoul, Korea as a Captain in the US Army.

Her research focus is in self-control and goal-setting, with additional research interests in physical fitness activity, emotion, and mindfulness.  Rebekah is thrilled to join the PALS team, led by Dr. Christine Rini. She is joined by her husband Seth, daughter Ariya, cat Sonic, and dog Lola. Rebekah loves to row (crew) and sing in her free time, and enjoys all things Broadway. She originally hails from Rensselaerville, NY, where she grew up in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, loves hiking along with any outdoor activity. 

Please join us in welcoming Beka!

Dr. Joanne Jordan discusses Muscles, Joints, Aches and Related Diseases

Dr. Cristy Page and Dr. Adam Goldstein with the UNC Family Medicine’s Weekly Health Radio Show YOUR HEALTH®, have a conversation with Dr. Joanne Jordan.

Tune in via podcast at:

Listen live on:
WCHL 97.9 FM, Saturday (7/26) at 9 AM, Sunday (7/27) at 9 AM & 5 PM and Monday (7/28) at 6 & 10 PM

WBNE 103.7 FM Saturday (7/26) at 3PM

KKAG 88.7 FM Sunday (7/26) at 7 AM

Nancy Wade and Linda Miles retire

Nancy Wade and Linda Miles will be dearly missed at JoCo and will always be a part of the UNC TARC and JoCo family!  We extend our warmest wishes to Nancy and Linda as they start this new chapter in their lives.

Janice Woodard, JoCo Project Manager for over 20 years, shares a few thoughts about two special ladies;

“Ask Linda." That has been the most used phrase in Johnston County for the past 18 years. Linda Miles has been the go to person for many projects.  Her contributions were invaluable keeping everyone organized, from making sure the participants' information was updated to creating forms for all the different studies.  She generally made the work easier for all of us! We will miss her experience, her willingness to always help and her friendship, but we are excited about this next season in her life. We all wish her many years of relaxation pursuing leisurely interests.

If you ask Nancy about JoCo, she always says there is never a dull moment in the county!  There all always new projects to work on and all of them are interesting. Nancy’s smile and friendship have been so important to our JoCo family and we will miss her contagious positivity! Nancy will be missed by all of us in the office and also by the participants who have worked with her. Even though she is retiring, we will know where to find her, at her pool, at the beach or just hanging out with her grandchildren.

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