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Alex Kass, MSN, MBA, RN, CDCES

Alex-kass-endocrine-clinical-trialsAlex is the Research Program Director for the clinical research unit. He grew up in Kinston, NC, and has been in the Triangle since 2008. He has type 1 diabetes which has fired his passion for patient care and the advancement of care for endocrine diseases. Prior to joining the team in 2016, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with his BSN and worked in inpatient pediatrics. Since joining the team, he has received his Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) certification, and completed graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with his MSN and MBA. In his free time, he plays competitive kickball, spends quality time with friends & family, and watches an abundant amount of Netflix. Recommendations of good shows to binge on are welcome!


Rachael Fraser

Rachael FraserRachael Fraser is the Lead Clinical Research Coordinator for clinical research trials involving type 2 diabetes, atypical diabetes, and obesity. She moved to the Triangle area from Pittsburgh in 2002 and has not left since! She earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Biomaterials and then started with this unit in 2017 as a research assistant for the GRADE study. Over the years, she has worked on various other interventional trials investigating medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and lifestyle changes. The aspects of being a part of this unit that she enjoys the most are working to improve the health of each participant while making an impact on the greater population and continuously learning about diabetes and obesity from the impressive cohort of providers she interacts with. When not in the office, she enjoys baking, creating art pieces, going to see live music, and spending time with her dog and loved ones.

Emily Curlin

Emily Curlin is a research coordinator and registered dietitian who joined the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit in 2022 following 4 years working in community health. She earned of B.S in Nutrition from Texas Christian University in 2015. She later made the move from her home state of Texas to North Carolina to complete her dietetic internship and Master’s in Nutrition at Appalachian State University. She later earned her Master of Public Health from George Washington University.  She is also a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). Her clinical rotations during grad school and her work in community health have illustrated the substantial impact social determinants and health literacy have on patient’s health outcomes. She is passionate about empowering patients to make diet and lifestyle changes through education and counseling and is an advocate for her patients to ensure they are linked to the best resources available.  Her current work in clinical research offers her amazing opportunities to work one-on-one with research participants to do just that, while also learning from leading experts and contributing to a larger body of knowledge that will benefit the population at large.  In her free time she enjoys both practicing and teaching yoga, being outside, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Cassie.

Franziska Gassaway

Franziska is a clinical research coordinator at the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit. Before coming to the endocrine team she worked as a Medical Assistant with UNC Healthcare in various specialties including Endocrinology. She is a graduate of East Carolina University with a BS in University Studies, with a focus in administration, human behavior and minor in psychology, as well as a degree in Healthcare Administration from Wake Tech and an associate degree in healthcare administration.  In her free time, she enjoys baking/cooking, weightlifting, playing soccer, and hanging out with her dogs.

cassandra-donahue-endocrine-clinical-trialsCassandra Donahue, RDN, LDN, CDCES

Cassandra Donahue joined the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit as a clinical research coordinator and dietitian in 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from James Madison University, where she also minored in Chronic Illness. She went on to complete her dietetic internship through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She recently received her certification to become a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and has an interest in availability of resources and nutrition to those with diabetes in relation to management of care. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group. After graduating, Cassandra started working in long term care, where she loved forming relationships with the residents and seeing how something as simple as a good meal could make their day (especially amid a pandemic). As someone living with type one diabetes for over 20 years, she can honestly say she never thought that she would end up working in diabetes research—but she is thrilled at the opportunity to be on the other side of diabetes care!  In her free time, Cassandra enjoys spending time with her pup, visiting with family, going to live events, and trying all the new foods.

karla-fulghum-endocrine-clinical-trialsKarla Fulghum, RN, IBCLC

Karla Fulghum is a certified Research Nurse Coordinator at the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit. She joined the team in 2021 as a registered nurse with a strong interest and passion for Type I diabetes. Before coming to the team, she worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse and as an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant at UNC Health.  Karla is excited to work with a new population of patients at the DCC to optimize their healthcare outcomes and disease management. When Karla is not conducting research, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching her daughters play soccer, spending time at the beach, and cheering for the Carolina Tarheels!

Catherine Morba

Catherine is a research assistant at the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit. Catherine grew up in Upstate New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a degree in Speech & Communication Disorders, and later pursued Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical coursework at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining EnDOCRU, she worked for three years as a program coordinator for food-access nonprofit organizations in both New York and North Carolina, where she taught community gardening and nutrition education to individuals at risk of hunger and in many cases living with chronic health conditions. She has also worked as a direct patient care aide in palliative elder care and perioperative surgical settings. She will be attending medical school 2024 and is excited to be spending time with EnDOCRU beforehand to learn more about how impactful treatment options are made widely available to patients through the clinical trial process. In her free time, Catherine enjoys growing vegetables, cooking, and hiking the many lovely trails of North Carolina!


Jazmine McQueen

Jazmine McQueen is a Social/Clinical Reseach Assistant at the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit. She recently joined this unit in October 2023 and is excited for what this department will teach her. She is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a BS in Bioengineering, with a focus in Biomaterials and Biomedicine. Jazmine enjoys learning about human physiology and researching all the methods of medicine technology. Outside of work, Jazmine enjoys cooking for friends/family, spending time with her loved ones and her dog, further exploring the Triangle area, and binge watching tv shows.