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Medical Director of UNC HHT Center

Raj Kasthuri, MD

Dr. Raj Kasthuri

Dr. Raj Kasthuri is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology, UNC Blood Research Center Associate Director, Clinical Research, and is the Director of the UNC HHT Center of Excellence. Dr. Kasthuri earned his medical degree from the Kasturba Medical College in India. He completed his fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Kasthuri’s clinical and research interests are in bleeding and clotting disorders, and HHT.

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Program Coordinator

Karen Smith.

Karen Smith, RN

Karen Smith has been the Program Coordinator as well as the Clinical Research Coordinator for the HHT Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the past 12 years. She has over 35 years of professional experience including Critical Care Supervisor, Clinical Educator, Emergency Trauma, Vascular Surgery and Wound Care Nursing, Pediatric Sedation as well as Radiology/Interventional Nursing Clinical Educator.

Genetic Counselor

Zahra S. Girnary, MS, CGC

Zahra S. Girnary, MS, CGC


Zahra Girnary, MS, CGC, is a clinical assistant professor who joined our UNC HHT team in May 2020. She received her undergraduate degree in biology and psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed her graduate training in genetic counseling at the University of South Carolina. As a clinical genetic counselor, Zahra works with patients throughout various clinics at UNC. She sees patients for suspected hereditary cancer syndromes, adults in the general genetics clinic, as well as patients who are at-risk for or suspected to have Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT).

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(919) 966-0901

Administrative Specialist

Tracy Monroe

Edie M. O’Connell

Ms. O’Connell is the Administrative Specialist for the UNC HHT Center of Excellence since November 1, 2022. She has over 20 years of professional clinical administrative experience, Including over 15 years as an US Army Reserve Sergeant serving all administrative duties.


Brian D. Thorp, MD, FACS, FARS

Brian D. Thorp, MD, FACS, FARS

Associate Director, NeuroRhinology, Advanced Rhinology and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery Fellowship | Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery



Pediatric Hematology Oncology

Julie Blatt, MD

Julie Blatt, MD

Professor, Fellowship Program Director


Interventional Radiology


Nima Kokabi, MD headshot


Nima Kokabi, MD

Associate Professor of Radiology, Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Interventional Oncology Director, and Cancer Imaging Director