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Alex Kass, MSN, MBA, RN, CDCES

Alex-kass-endocrine-clinical-trialsAlex is the research manager 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 a study coordinator for clinical research trials involving type 1, type 2, and atypical diabetes. 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.

sara-adams-endocrine-clinical-trialsSarah Adams

Sarah Adams is a clinical research coordinator at the UNC Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity Clinical Research Unit who works primarily on pharmaceutical trials focused on weight loss and the treatment of diabetes. She started here in January of 2020 as a research assistant, but transitioned into her new role in early 2021.  She is a graduate of NC State University with a BS in Biological Sciences, with a concentration in Human Biology, and minors in Nutrition and Psychology.  Sarah enjoys learning about the physiology and treatment of diabetes and obesity through working on clinical trials.  Her favorite part of the job is working with participants to ensure a positive research study experience.  In her free time, Sarah enjoys baking bread, cooking new recipes with her husband, and going to Barre3 classes. A fun fact about her is that she was a co-founder of the Beekeepers Club at NC State.

carlos-velez-endocrine-clinical-trialsCarlos Velez

Carlos Velez is the research coordinator for the Rhythm study, and for other diabetes clinical trials investigating pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Before joining the team in 2021, he previously worked with UNC Neurology Clinical Trials Unit working on studies from Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy bodies, and other neurological pathologies. He graduated from Alliant International University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from San Diego, California in 2017. He served in the U.S Army active duty for 5 years and gained citizenship during his time. In his free time he likes to cook for his family, practice Muay Thai, gaming, and keep up with podcasts that include Joe Rogan, Dr. Jordan Peterson, Elon Musk, and watch stand up comedy.

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

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 is currently pursing the 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!