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Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

First Year Fellows

karthik-subbu-endocrine-fellow
Karthik Subbu, MD

Karthik Subbu, MD

Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School
Residency: Indiana University

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career? 

I have always been fascinated by science, particularly biology and chemistry, and knew from my school days growing up in North Carolina that I wanted to build this into a career as a physician. I moved to India for high school before coming back to the US for college and medical school and now I am happy to be back in North Carolina for Endocrine fellowship.

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology? 

Having grown up in North Carolina, I have always wanted to move back. At UNC, there is a good balance of outpatient and inpatient time and a unique aspect of the program is that patients are scheduled directly with you and patients consider you to be their provider, instead of the attending endocrinologist. All in all, I could tell from my interview day that I would fit in really well here.

What is your favorite hormone and why? 

Somatostatin, so many different roles and it keeps everything in check!

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you involved in? 

I have always been drawn towards quality improvement. I am currently working on a project to potentially use virtual reality technology to help improve diabetes education.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC? 

It is a very supportive atmosphere – I am never worried to ask my attendings or co-fellows for help.


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Jalal El-Akawi, MD

Jalal El-Akawi, MD

Medical School: Jordan University of Science and Technology
Residency: Washington Hospital Center/Georgetown University

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I was always fascinated by the physiology of the human body, cell biology, and the cause of disease. As a school student, my interest was enriched and grew not only by learning human biology at school but also by learning from my father, who has an MD/Ph.D. degree. I like the intellectual challenges medicine gives in its daily practice; it’s also rewarding to see the impact of successful treatment in patients’ lives. Medicine is the profession that fits my personality the most. Applying science and knowledge to care for people when they are vulnerable is such a great honor! My decision to study medicine was the easiest decision I had to make!

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

UNC is one of the most respected academic institutions in the US. The Department of Endocrinology has many pioneers in the field who endeavor to invest in their fellows. The program leadership tailors each fellow’s training experience to their future goals. Finally, our culture is diverse and collegial, and everyone is fun to be around.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Adrenaline! It’s the fight or flight hormone, its’ rush in the bloodstream turns you into a superhero…

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you involved in?

I am mostly interested in inpatient Endocrinology, Endocrine emergencies and thyroid cancer.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

The people! Also, the triangle area is a beautiful area to live in, and it is named the second-best place to live in the US by US News and world report.


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Eduardo Lopez Martinez, MD

Eduardo Lopez Martinez, MD

Medical School: Ponce School of Medicine
Residency: Baylor College of Medicine

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I’ve always been intrigued by the question “why?”. From the simplest to the most complex of things, this is a question that has driven me to become the kind of professional that I am. This, combined with my love for helping people, led me to medicine and ultimately to Endocrinology.

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

I’ve always been drawn to healthcare systems that treat the uninsured and underinsured. Systems that serve as a safety net for all people, no matter income, race, color, or background. UNC seemed to be a great place where my passion to help the disadvantaged and thirst for knowledge could flourish together. My interactions with faculty and fellows, made me realize that UNC had kind and humane people that shared similar values.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

I would say that my favorite hormone is thyroxine because I think it’s the protype for understanding how everything in endocrinology works. It’s produced in the thyroid, but it exerts change in every part of your body, from your brain to the tip of your toenails.

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you involved in?

Currently looking to identify ways of improving “no show” rates in endocrinology clinic for Hispanic patients. I’m passionate about breaking the language barrier between providers and patients, in hopes of improving physician-patient relationship and providing more humane care.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

The program is genuinely invested in your personal and professional goals as a future endocrinologist. They don’t limit your aspirations and try their best to provide the necessary tools so that each fellow can meet their career goals. The responsiveness to feedback and implementation of changes by leadership is very efficient. UNC is a place where kindness meets brains, and together these are used to best serve the people of North Carolina.


Second Year Fellows

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Thomas Cameron, MD

Thomas “Cary” Cameron, MD

Medical School:  University of Arkansas
Residency: University of North Carolina

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I have always loved math and science and pursued an undergrad degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas. During my sophomore year of college I developed type 1 diabetes and became more interested in the field of medicine. Medicine not only provided an outlet for my math and science interest, but also afforded me the ability to help people live healthier lives. After lots of reflection, I started on the path towards a career in medicine and now a career in endocrinology.

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

I have been at UNC for 7 years. First as a resident in Internal Medicine and then as a hospitalist attending. The consistent theme at UNC Healthcare is a culture that supports its residents/staff and has patient care at the forefront. The endocrinology group is the exact same. The faculty are supportive, available and will help in any way possible. The training allows you to have your own panel of clinic patients and to really learn how to be a skilled, caring endocrinologist.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Glucagon, gets no respect in day to day endocrinology practice but comes in clutch in times of crisis.

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you involved in?

During the past several years I have been involved in medical student and resident education, which I plan to continue while in fellowship.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

First and foremost, the people. The current class of fellows (first and second years) all have diverse backgrounds, personal and professional interest. They are also just great people. The clinic experience is also wonderful. You mostly have continuity clinic and take care of a wide variety of endocrine diseases as the primary provider.  The faculty are there to teach and support you.


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Nick Fiacco, MD

Nick Fiacco, MD

Medical School: Mercer University School of Medicine
Residency: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

The leadership and the culture of service were key to this decision. This program has several giants in the field of endocrinology who have humbly committed to the success of their trainees. Finally, I started my interview day with a self-guided run around campus and was reminded of the beauty of Chapel Hill and central North Carolina. The hospital is on the undergraduate campus so the energy of the university is never far away.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Ghrelin – because it keeps me hungry…

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

The people! Everyone is focused on your success and creating a warm and inviting learning environment. Also, this part of North Carolina is great for young families as well. There are many great outdoor activities locally and the beach or mountains are a short drive away.


sirisha-thambuluru-endocrine-fellow
Sirisha Thambuluru, MD

Sirisha Thambuluru, MD

Medical School: University of Central Florida
Residency: University of Alabama Birmingham

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I was in interested in science and puzzles since I was a kid. I started to volunteer in hospitals during my high school and undergrad years, which is when I learned that my curiosity and passion for science can be applied to help others. The combination and service and constant pursuit of knowledge are the two things that attracted me to medicine.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Insulin! Can’t live without it!

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you interested in?

I am interested in exploring health disparities in the care of endocrine patients.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

Excellent faculty and staff who are very supportive and invested in the fellows so that we can succeed.


Third Year Fellow

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Klara Klein, MD, PhD

Klara Klein, MD, PhD

Medical School: University of North Carolina
Residency: University of North Carolina

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

As a high school student, I spent several summers working in basic science laboratories. I loved the challenges of bench research, but having grown up around physicians, I knew from an early age that patient care was integral to my career path. I explored other research areas during college, where I worked in organic synthesis and drug discovery, but I continued to want to have a true connection with patients. I therefore decided to pursue an MD/PhD program with the goal of having a truly translational career.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Clearly, my favorite hormone is insulin because you cannot live without it (and it is essential to allowing you to eat carbs!), and its physiology is so complex. I feel like I learn something new about insulin every day, and there is so much more to be discovered.

What are your research interests? What projects are you working on?

My primary research interest is in diabetes. I am making the challenging transition from being a basic scientist into the world of clinical trials. Under the mentorship of Dr. Buse, I will spend the next several years learning what it means to be a clinical trialist, which will involve working with pharmaceutical companies, our clinical trials unit, and working with many wonderful colleagues. I will also be working to design a project around steroid induced diabetes, which I hope will lead me to designing a small clinical trial that I can run during fellowship.

Why do you like living in the Triangle?

The triangle provides such an intellectual community. We are surrounded by people doing such interesting things! But more importantly, the Triangle is a great place to live. It has a continuously growing foodie vibe, wonderful places to hike, easy access to mountains and the beach, and a wonderful community feel. It’s also a truly great place to raise a family.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with my wonderful family, Evan, a current nephrology fellow, my three sons, and our incredible community of friends and family. We particularly love to hike around the area. I also love to bake. My current passion for making sourdough has only made me love the pancreas more.