Eugene P. Orringer, MD

Program Director, UNC MD-PhD Program
Professor of Medicine & Director,
Education/Training/Career Development Core- NC TraCS Institute

Dr. Orringer received his MD from the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969. He then moved to Chapel Hill, NC where, in 1975, after training in both Internal Medicine and Hematology, he joined the UNC faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Orringer was promoted to Associate Professor in 1979 and to Professor in 1986. He served as the Program Director of UNC’s NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) for a 10 year period that began in 1989. In 1999, he was named as the Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Faculty Development in the UNC School of Medicine, a position that he held until late 2009.

Dr. Orringer's early research activities focused primarily on the membrane transport properties of the normal human erythrocyte and on its disordered physiology in a variety of pathological states, especially sickle cell disease. He received a Research Career Development Award from NHLBI in 1982, and for the past 28 years he has consistently held peer-reviewed grant support from the NIH. Along with Dr. Marilyn Telen, his counterpart at Duke University, Dr. Orringer helped to develop and lead the NIH-funded Duke-UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. For 20 years, this Center has been held up as a model of Duke-UNC inter-institutional collaboration. In 1989, Dr. Orringer assumed the Directorship of the UNC GCRC, after which he began to focus more and more of his efforts on clinical and translational research. He was a national leader in the NIH-funded clincial trials that demonstrated the ability of hydroxyurea (HU) to reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes of painful vaso-occlusion and acute chest syndrome that are experienced by patients with sickle cell anemia. These studies were pivotal in the approval by the FDA of HU as the only drug currently available specifically for the treatment of sickle cell disease. In addition, over the past five years, Drs. Telen and Orringer have held two large, multi-institutional sickle cell-related R01 awards from NIH that are entitled: Outcome Modifying Genes in Sickle Cell Disease and Pulmonary Complications of Sickle Cell Disease.

In addition to his own research activities, Dr. Orringer has focused much of his effort on the training of young investigators, playing a major role in numerous NIH-funded pre- and post-doctoral training programs. In 1995, Dr. Orringer became the Director of the UNC MD-PhD Program. Less than two years after assuming this new role, Dr. Orringer and his team wrote UNC’s first successful Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) grant from the NIH, an award that is now in Year -13. This grant has enabled the UNC MD-PhD Program to grow from 12 students in 1995 to its current level of 75 students. In addition to the MSTP Award, Dr. Orringer is the PI of a K12 grant supported primarily by the Office of Research on Women’s Health that is entitled the: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (or BIRCWH) Award. UNC’s BIRCWH Program has just now begun its third five-year term after receiving an exceptional Priority Score of 10 on its recent competitive renewal. He was also the PI on two other K12 Awards: the Clinical Research K12 and the Multidisciplinary Clinical Research (Roadmap) K12, both of which were funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). These latter two K12 awards were folded into the CTSA grant after it was awarded to UNC in 2008. Dr. Orringer serves as the Director of the Education, Training, & Career Development Core of UNC’s CTSA Program. Under the umbrella of this core, Dr. Orringer has been able to bring together a number of programs for both pre-doctoral students (i.e., TL1, MD-PhD, Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, and the Howard Hughes Med-into-Grad Program) and junior faculty members (i.e., KL2, BIRCWH, Simmons [Minority] Scholar Program, the AHRQ-funded K12 Comparative Effectiveness Research, and the K2R Program). Finally, when he gave up the directorship and day-to-day management of the GCRC in 1999, he remained actively involved with this program, serving as the PI of UNC’s GCRC grant until 2008 when it too was subsumed within UNC’s CTSA. Based on all of these large NIH awards, Dr. Orringer has been among the highest of all NIH awardees in terms of NIH grant dollars received both here at UNC and nationally.

Dr. Orringer has served two terms as a member (and Chairperson) of the NIH Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee, as a member of the NIH GCRC Study Section, and as the President of the National GCRC Program Directors’ Association. He also served for 20 years on the North Carolina Governor's Council on Sickle Cell Disease, chairing the Medical Care & Research Committee. He is a member of the Steering Committee and the former Treasurer of the Clinical Research Forum, and he was a member of the NIH Advisory Committee for the Office of Research on Women’s Health. Finally, Dr. Orringer was the 2006 recipient of the Philip Hench Award, an honor given annually to that individual selected by the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh as its most distinguished alumnus.

Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD

Mohanish Deshmukh

Director of Basic Research, UNC MD-PhD Program
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Dr.  Mohanish Deshmukh recently joined the MD-PhD leadership team as Director of Basic Research.  Dr. Deshmukh has been a member of our Admissions committee since 2006 and brings invaluable basic sciences expertise to our program.  Dr. Deshmukh received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 where he studied yeast ribosome assembly and function.  He then went to Dr. Eugene Johnson’s lab in Washington University St. Louis for his postdoctoral research where he pursued his interests in apoptosis, focusing on this pathway in mammalian neurons.  Dr. Deshmukh came to the UNC Neuroscience Center and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in 2000 and was promoted to full Professor in 2011.

Dr. Deshmukh has a very active research program where he investigates the mechanism of apoptosis in a variety of models including neurons, stem cells and cancer cells. His lab also conducts translational research with projects that focus on strategies for preventing neurodegeneration, as well as for triggering apoptosis in brain tumors. His research on molecular pathways regulating cell survival and death has been well recognized with recent publications in Molecular Cell, Nature Cell Biology and Genes & Development.  He has also served on multiple and diverse study sections including the NIH, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program.  Dr. Deshmukh also currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Oncogene and Cell Death and Differentiation.

Prior to joining our leadership team, Dr. Deshmukh was the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.  Indeed, he is strongly committed to graduate training and education.  Dr. Deshmukh has trained 5 PhD students (with 5 PhD students currently in the lab) and three of these students, Yolanda Huang, Adam Kole, and Ayumi Nakamura (current) are from our MD-PhD program.  Dr. Deshmukh is the Course Director for the Advanced Cell Biology graduate level course and participates in medical and graduate teaching in multiple classes.  Indeed, he brings great commitment and passion to his teaching and mentoring activities.  In 2004, Dr. Deshmukh received a Teaching Excellence Award from UNC Medical School, and in 2012 was recognized by the Mentor of the Year Award from the Neurobiology Curriculum graduate students.

Mohanish Deshmukh's Lab Site

W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD

Kim Rathmell, MD, PhD

Translational Research Director, MD-PhD Program
Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

The focus of my research group is understanding the tumorigenesis of renal cell carcinoma. Our group takes a broad approach to this cancer, utilizing mouse models, molecular strategies, and translational studies. We have developed several strains of genetically engineered murine models bearing clinically important point mutations in the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene, which is mutated in over 80% of clear cell renal cell carcinomas (conventional kidney cancer). These mice provide a tool for the in vivo study of cellular VHL activity as well as the ability to generate a number of animal model systems for tumor growth and development. We also investigate the effects of VHL on processes integral to tumorigenesis including angiogenesis, vasculogenesis, hypoxic response signaling, extracellular matrix remodeling, and cell cycle signaling. We are also interested in specific molecules which define the risk for developing metastatic disease, and we explore imaging strategies to predict responses to therapy. Finally, our work extends to finding novel targets for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, and working to develop those therapies for eventual use in patients.

Kim Rathmell's Lab Site

MD-PhD Executive Committee

In addition to the leadership of Drs Orringer, Siderovski, and Rathmell, the UNC MD-PhD Program is lead by the MD-PhD Executive Committee. This small committee comprised of basic science and clinical chairs as well as current MD-PhD student mentors help guide the leadership on important programmatic issues and concerns.

Alison Regan

Alison Regan

Assistant Director

Ms. Regan joined the program in 2008, just after the submission of the program's second competitive renewal. In joining the MD-PhD Program, Ms. Regan brought with her prior experience in working with numerous institutional training and career development awards, including: 3 T32s, 1 T35, 3 K12s and 1 K30. In addition, Ms. Regan has also managed the Office of Medical Student Research, an umbrella program for five different funding sources that support approximately 50 medical students each summer to engage in biomedical research. Ms. Regan has a BA in Psychology from Indiana University and has over 12 years of experience in management and research administration.

Carol Herion

Carol Herion

Program Assistant