Investigators

John Buse, MD, PhD    

John Buse, MD, PhD, Sue Kirkman, MD, Kate Bergamo, RN, MSN, FNP-C, Jean Dostou, MD, and Laura Anne Young, MD, PhD

Staff

Milana Dezube, BS, Ph.D., BSN, RN, CCRC, CDE, AARP

Milana Dezube is a certified Clinic Research Coordinator at the Diabetes Care Center. She joined the DCC in 2013 as a registered nurse. Her current studies investigate the cardiovascular outcomes from semaglutide and bexagliflozin although she is involved in nearly every study at the DCC. She has a depth of experience in research chemistry through her time at the FDA, the EPA, and GlaxoSmithKline, where she met fellow coordinator Julie Uehling many moons ago. Outside of research and recruiting for trials, she can most often be found at the beach or some distant part of the world on another adventure. She is looking forward to staying at the DCC for many years to come and continues to apply nursing practice to clinical trials to improve the outcomes for people with diabetes.

Megan Sweeney, MPH, RDN, LDN

Megan joined the UNC Diabetes Care Center as a clinical research coordinator and dietitian in 2018. Her areas of interest broadly include nutritional biochemistry, energy metabolism, weight regulation, and eating behavior, as well as the role of nutrition, exercise, and mindset in the prevention and management of diabetes, insulin resistance, and overweight/obesity. She takes a patient-centered, holistic, and collaborative approach to counseling, informed by her training and experience in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Prior to joining the team, Megan earned her MPH from the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. During her graduate studies, she completed over 1200 hours of internship in community, inpatient, and outpatient settings at the Orange County Health Department, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Brenner Children’s Hospital. She previously completed her undergraduate and post-baccalaureate studies at Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania. Megan is a member of the American Diabetes Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Diabetes Care and Education and Weight Management Dietetic Practice Groups. Outside of work, she enjoys staying active with yoga, weight-training, and hiking.

Alex Kass, BSN, RN, CDE

Alex graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing in 2012 with his BSN. He is currently pursuing a dual Masters in Business Administration and Nursing in Health Management at UNC-Greensboro. Before coming to the UNC Diabetes Clinical Trials unit, he worked at UNC Hospitals on an inpatient pediatrics floor. He left pediatrics in 2016 to pursue his passion for diabetes research as a nurse research coordinator at the DCT Department. He has since become a Certified Diabetes Educator and assumed the additional role of Unit Manager of the Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit. In his free time he plays adult kickball, studies for his master’s program, and watches an abundant amount of Netflix.

Sonia Guarda, MS

Sonia Guarda is the coordinator for the GRADE study (The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study) and has been with the Diabetes Care Center Clinical trials team since 2015. The purpose of GRADE is to compare the effectiveness of four commonly used diabetes medication in conjunction with metformin to effectively lower glycemia, in a patient centered approach.

Before joining the team, she worked as a lab technician studying phytoplankton at the internationally renowned Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, GA, then studied sediments in the Marine Sciences department at UNC and later worked in histology in the Biology department at UNC Chapel Hill. She switched focus to work as a Spanish interpreter at UNC Hospitals, where she greatly enjoyed working with people and her career in research with human subjects began. She worked on a newborn screening study for Fragile X syndrome at FPG Institute and then on a whole genome sequencing study in the School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. Outside of clinical trials, she can be found at a workout session at the gym, traveling as much and as often as she can, walking her dog or reading her favorite books.

Julie Uehling, MS, CCRP

Julie Uehling is a research coordinator for many clinical trials focused on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, specifically focusing on the effects of oral anti diabetic medications on bone density and renal function. She has been with the clinical trials team since moving back to North Carolina in 2017 from Toronto, where she worked on numerous studies investigating the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. She has a broad background in chemistry from her time at GlaxoSmithKline and Merck as a research chemist as well as valuable experience as a previous teacher and tutor in Chapel Hill and Ontario. When not conducting research she can often be found exercising at the gym, hiking, or spending time with her family and friends.

Katherine Schuch

Katherine Schuch is an NCSU alumna who has worked with the Diabetes Care Center for three years. She spends her time processing biological specimens, entering data for studies, keeping up with IRB regulations, and training new employees. In her spare time she is a martial artist, a dancer, a runner, and a dog-lover.

Rahul Kathard

Rahul is a recent graduate from the biomedical engineering program at NCSU and joined the team during his gap year before medical school. As the research assistant on a variety of studies on the effects of semaglutide or continuous glucose monitoring on glycemic control, weight loss, or cardiovascular outcomes. He is excited to attend the UNC School of Medicine in the fall of 2019. In his free time he enjoys playing jazz piano, lifting weights, cooking, and trying new hobbies with friends.

Rachael Fraser

Rachael Fraser is the research assistant for the GRADE study, and for other diabetes clinical trials investigating pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and lifestyle changes. She has developed a passion for diabetes care and is most interested in the cellular-scale effects of the condition. Before joining the Diabetes Care Center team in 2017, she received her degree in biomedical engineering from North Carolina State University. For her capstone project, she explored the complications associated with tracheal intubation and prototyped possible solutions to those issues. She was awarded the “Best Dog Mom” trophy from her peers in the biomedical engineering department. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her partner and dog, moseying around at food truck rodeos, painting and photography, and baking yummy treats!