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The UNC CRI is excited to announce the recipients of the 2019 Carolina For The Kids (CFTK) Research Grant Awards, part of the CRI’s Research Grant Initiative. These grants are made possible by the generous donors and hard work of UNC students through the Carolina For The Kids Foundation. These awards are designed to provide seed funding and/or boost funding for projects to generate data or demonstrate proof-of-concept, support career development, and empower future applications for larger extramural research awards. The recipients this year are listed below.

Thomas Alexander, MD, MPH

Dr. Alexander’s project, “Novel RNA Sequencing Based Diagnostic Testing for Leukemia,” will evaluate a novel technology which can be used to subtype certain types of cancers, helping to guide therapeutic decisions. This new technology may drastically improve diagnostic capabilities in resource poor areas.

Arti Pandya, MD, MBA

Dr. Pandya’s project, “Identifying the Genetic Basis of Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorders,” seeks to uncover possible genetic causes of a certain form of hearing loss affecting loss. Data from this project will empower larger research projects to better characterize patients and explore genetic etiologies of this disease – a critical first step in research involving rare diseases.

Bianca Allison, MD, MPH

Dr. Bianca, a fellow in General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, will explore “Trends in the initiation & continuation of long-acting reversible contraception among adolescent females in North Carolina.” Despite huge strides at addressing teen pregnancy across the US, rates of adolescent pregnancy are higher in the US, particularly in NC, when compared to most other developed nations. This project aims to uncover socioeconomic factors affecting use of long-acting birth control options in populations across the state.