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Physicians

 

Evan S. Dellon, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Director of the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing

Dr. Dellon received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. After residency, he remained at Massachusetts General for two years working as a Hospitalist and Assistant in Medicine as well as an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He subsequently moved to Chapel Hill and completed both a clinical and a research fellowship in Gastroenterology at UNC, during which he received a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the UNC School of Public Health. His clinical training has also included experience with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic ultrasound.Dr. Dellon has been at the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing since 2008. Dr. Dellon’s main research interest is in the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). He also has research interests in advanced endoscopic techniques. He is a member of several professional societies, including the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the North Carolina Society of Gastroenterology. Dr. Dellon receives research funding from an American College of Gastroenterology Junior Faculty Development Award as well as an intramural NIH KL2 Career Development Award.

Dr. Dellon Publications 

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Nicholas J. Shaheen, MD, MPH

Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology

Dr. Shaheen attended college at Harvard University, and earned his medical degree at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, where he fulfilled his internship and residency requirements. He completed his clinical fellowship training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earned his masters degree at the UNC School of Public Health, and completed a National Institutes of Health fellowship in Epidemiology. For the last 12 years, he has been a faculty member at UNC.

Dr. Shaheen’s research interest is in the epidemiology and management of esophageal diseases. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters related to reflux disease, motility disorders, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer. He is currently on the editorial board of Gastroenterology and Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology, and is a reviewer for numerous journals including Gut, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, American Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Shaheen receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health, multiple private foundations, and corporations to pursue clinical and translational research in esophageal diseases. Dr. Shaheen is a member of several professional societies, including the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American Medical Society, and the North Carolina Medical Society. He is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American College of Physicians. He is the President of the North Carolina Society of Gastroenterology, and the Vice-Chair of the Clinical Practice section of the AGA.

Dr. Shaheen Publications

Shifali Arora, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Clinical Focus: General Gastroenterology and Endoscopy.

Academic Interests: My research interest is focused on quality improvement as well as the study and use of novel health technologies to better evaluate and treat gastrointestinal diseases. Specifically looking at ways in which sensors and apps can be incorporated into clinical care.

Shifali Arora

Swathi Eluri, MD, MSCR

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Clinical Focus: General Gastroenterology and Endoscopy.

Dr. Swathi Eluri MD, MSCR grew up in Chapel Hill and received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her doctor of medicine and completed residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She then completed her gastroenterology fellowship at the University of North Carolina Hospital and masters in clinical research at the Gillings Global School of Public Health. She also completed an advanced fellowship specializing in esophageal diseases at the University of North Carolina Hospital, where she is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Clinical Focus:  Dr. Eluri specializes in taking care of patients with Esophageal Diseases, particularly Barrett’s esophagus. She is trained in the endoscopic treatment of Barrett’s esophagus and early stage esophageal cancer. She is also experienced in the medical and endoscopic management of various other esophageal diseases including eosinophilic esophagitis, esophageal dysmotility, swallowing disorders, and gastroesophageal reflux.

Academic Interests: Dr. Eluri’s research interests include improving screening and surveillance practices in Barrett’s esophagus, use of non-endoscopic screening modalities, treatment outcomes in eosinophilic esophagitis and swallowing disorders. Dr. Eluri has contributed to multiple articles and reviews to medical journals in the area of esophageal diseases.

Clinicians


Melissa Spacek, NP, BSN, CGRN

Adult Nurse Practitioner

Melissa Spacek, NP, BSN, CGRNAdult Nurse PractitionerMelissa Spacek received her BSN at Gannon University in Erie, PA. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill, she worked in Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She joined the UNC team in March of 1996. Melissa initially worked as a staff nurse in general medicine when coming to UNC. She proceeded to specializing in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 1997, where she joined the endoscopy staff, initially as a procedural nurse and then moving to management of UNC’s Endoscopy department. She received her certification in Gastroenterology in 2001. Melissa joined UNC’s Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing in April of 2004. She is involved in both research and clinical, specializing in esophageal disorders. She is presently enrolled in UNC’s Adult Nurse Practitioner Program. Melissa Spacek Publications

Kathleen Ferrell, PA-C, MPAS

Physician Assistant

Kathleen A. Ferrell is a certified Physician Assistant for the CEDAS group at UNC. Kathleen graduated from the Physician Assistant program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, Virginia in 2007. She then completed her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree from the University of Nebraska. Kathleen worked for a private practice gastroenterology group in Christiansburg, VA for several years, before relocating to Chapel Hill, NC to work with the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing in June, 2010. She works directly with Drs. Shaheen and Dellon to diagnose and treat patients with a multitude of esophageal diseases including Barrett’s esophagus, eosinophilic esophagitis, functional esophageal disorders and gastroesophageal reflux.

Surgical Collaborators


Marco Patti, MD, FACS

Professor of Surgery
Surgical Co-Director, Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing

Timothy M Farrell, MD, FACS

Professor of Surgery

Research Associates


Xiaoxin (Luke) Chen, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Biology at the Cancer Research Program, Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

Dr. Chen is a member of the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing (CEDAS) at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Chen earned his medical degree at the Peking University Health Science Center (formerly Beijing Medical University), where he fulfilled his internship and continued as a resident (Orthopedic Surgery) for three years. He then went to Rutgers University, where he earned his PhD degree (Biochemistry) at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. Next, he became a faculty member of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory of Medicine, Department of Chemical Biology, Rutgers University. In 2005, he became a faculty member at NCCU, and joined CEDAS.

His research interest is molecular mechanism and prevention of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. His lab also works on how inflammation may contribute to oral cancer and prostate cancer. He has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters related to oral and esophageal diseases. He is currently a reviewer for numerous journals. Dr. Chen receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, private foundations and corporations to pursue basic and translational research in Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Dr. Chen is a member of several professional societies, including the American Association for Cancer Research.

 

 

Research Staff


 

Susan E. Moist, MPH, CCRP

Director of Clinical Trial Operations

Susie Moist is Director of Clinical Trial Operations for CEDAS. She received a BS in Psychology and minor in Business from the Pennsylvania State University and an MPH in Health Policy and Management from UNC Chapel Hill. Susie’s research career began in Florida focusing on substance abuse and mental health and continued on to pediatric epidemiology and type 1 diabetes. In 2010 Susie relocated to North Carolina and joined CEDAS where she currently directs all research project operations.

Ariel E. Watts

Assistant Director of Clinical Trial Operations

Ariel E. Watts graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. Her research career began during college, where she worked in a natural product chemistry lab on epigenetic modification of bioactive metabolites from marine invertebrates. After graduation, Ariel relocated to UNC-Chapel Hill where she has worked on various research projects involving the gastrointestinal system. Ariel’s research interests involve improving early disease detection and public health mechanisms to improve patient health outcomes. She currently directs multiple research projects related to diseases of the esophagus and gastrointestinal system.

Sarah McGee, CCRC

Clinical Research Administrator

Sarah McGee joined CEDAS in 2014 as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Research Specialist. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Policy in 2001 and in 2008 began working in research in the UNC Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care, specializing in Pulmonary Hypertension clinical trials. She currently monitors investigator-initiated trials related to Barrett’s Esophagus, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and other esophageal diseases.

Lindsay Cortright, MA

Senior Project Manager

Lindsay Cortright (pronouns she/her/hers) graduated East Carolina University in 2016 with a MA in Medical Anthropology focused on research methodology and the impacts of culture on health care decision-making. After graduation, she joined ECU as a clinical research coordinator in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, then worked as a research project manager, leading research projects across pediatric subdivisions and providing research design, regulatory, and data analysis assistance for medical trainees. Her research interests include social determinants of health, patient-reported outcomes, and dissemination and implementation research. Lindsay joined CEDAS in June 2020 and currently manages multiple research projects related to Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Barrett’s Esophagus, and other esophageal diseases.

Kacie Walker

Project Coordinator

Kacie Walker joined the CEDAS team in January 2019 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She graduated from Wingate University with a degree in Sport Management. Kacie’s interest in research began while working as a Pharmacy Technician in both retail and a physician’s office. Kacie currently helps coordinate multiple research projects related to Eosinophilic Esophagitis and other esophageal diseases.

Shilpa Karanjit

Research Manager

Shilpa Karanjit is a Reserach Manager for the CEDAS group. She graduated from Chongqing Medical University, China in 2011 with an MBBS degree and started working as a Medical Officer in the Emergency Department of a government hospital in Nepal. In 2018, she received an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After graduation, she moved to North Carolina and joined UNC. She has a research background in observational studies and cancer epidemiology. She currently manages multiple research projects related to rectal and colon diseases.

Hiwot Ekuban

Research Manager

Hiwot Ekuban joined CEDAS in July 2020 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. In college, she engaged in various global public health research topics, including HIV self-testing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and intimate partner violence in Thohoyandou, South Africa. After earning her Bachelors of Science in Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018, Hiwot served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in her hometown of Concord, North Carolina where she coached uninsured and underinsured patients in living healthy lifestyles. She currently coordinates studies related to Eosinophilic Esophagitis and other esophageal diseases.

Kiera Jonson

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Kiera Jonson joined the CEDAS team in March of 2021 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from North Carolina State University and previously worked as a Clinical Trials Assistant at the Durham VAMC. While at the VA, Kiera focused on prostate cancer research and the relationship between lifestyle factors and cancer progression. She currently coordinates multiple research studies relating to colon cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Julia Kim

Clinical Research Coordinator

Julia Kim graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2021 with a BA in Biology. During undergrad, she was a Carolina Covenant mentor and worked as a Research Assistant with CEDAS. As a RA, she maintained an electronic database for a biorepository study and recruited participants for other studies. She began coordinating studies related to colorectal cancer in June of 2021.

Julia Kim_CEDAS

Timothy Gee

Clinical Research Coordinator

Timothy Gee graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2020 with a degree in Allied Health. Prior to joining CEDAS in September 2021, he worked as an emergency department and cardiology scribe in California. He currently manages studies related to Eosinophilic Esophagitis and other esophageal diseases.

Megan Ramsey

Clinical Research Coordinator

Megan Ramsey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minors in Chemistry and Food Studies. As an undergraduate, she conducted research pertaining to molecular neuroscience and new recycling technology and presented at UNC’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. She was also an Undergraduate Lab Assistant for a neuroscience career and development networking course. Passionate about healthcare equity, she worked closely throughout her undergraduate career with Birth & Breastfeeding Evidence-Based Education and Support (BEBES), an organization focused on maternal and child healthcare. She currently coordinates studies relating to Barrett’s Esophagus and other esophageal diseases.

Jana Phillips

Clinical Research Specialist – Network Entity Sites

Jana Phillips joined the CEDAS team in 2022 as a Clinical Research Specialist for the UNC REX Network entity sites. Jana graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in Animal Science.  She began working at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008, where her early research projects involved using adeno-associated virus for its gene therapy applications in a variety of disease models, in addition to optogenetics research focused on delineating neural circuits involved in the manifestation of neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction, maladaptive eating behaviors, and anxiety. In 2012, Jana began clinical research as a study coordinator for UNC Fertility working with investigator-initiated studies and collaborative clinical trials to improve diagnostic tools and pregnancy outcomes for those suffering with endometriosis and unexplained infertility. Through various projects, their group and collaborators identified specific inflammatory biomarkers commonly associated with endometriosis, which was used to develop a new, non-invasive diagnostic tool, ReceptivaDx, to help improve fertility treatment outcomes for affected patients.

Elijah Moracco-Schelp

Clinical Research Coordinator

Elijah Moracco-Schelp joined CEDAS in March 2022 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Elijah graduated from UNC in 2021 with a degree in Political Science, and two additional minors in Spanish, and Social and Economic Justice. While in school, Elijah worked as a Research Assistant with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, where he evaluated links between Adverse Childhood Experiences, suicide, and social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He currently coordinates studies relating to Barrett’s Esophagus and other esophageal studies.

Wyatt Moorer

Clinical Research Coordinator

Wyatt graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a BA in history. Prior to joining CEDAS in June 2022, he worked as a government healthcare consultant helping implement state Medicaid systems and distribute provider relief funds. His prior medical experience includes working as a scribe for an opioid addiction clinic in Baltimore. He currently coordinates studies related to gastrointestinal and esophageal diseases.

Katie Danis

Clinical Research Coordinator

Katie Danis joined CEDAS as a Clinical Research Coordinator in August 2022. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and medical anthropology from UNC-CH in May 2022 and worked as an undergraduate research assistant at CEDAS from June 2021 before joining full time. She manages studies on Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and colorectal cancer.

Loyanna Hubbard

Clinical Research Coordinator

Loyanna Hubbard joined CEDAS in August 2022 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Loyanna graduated from Wake Forest University in 2022 with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Psychology and Chemistry. While in school, Loyanna worked as a medical scribe for Wake Forest Family Medicine and Wake Forest Ophthalmology. She also conducted research studying the neuroanatomy of Honeybees. She currently coordinates studies related to eosinophilic esophagitis and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Gracie Whitley

Clinical Research Coordinator

Gracie Whitley joined CEDAS in August 2022 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Gracie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2022 with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science, and two additional minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. While in school, Gracie worked as a Research Assistant with the UNC Cardiometabolic Lab, where she studied the impact of sedentary behavior on heart health via arterial stiffness and venous pooling. In addition, she interned as a Clinical Research Assistant at New Hope Clinical Research in Charlotte, NC, which focuses on clinical trials for various brain diseases and disorders. She currently coordinates studies related to gastrointestinal and esophageal diseases.

 

 

Administration