Yael Shiloh-Malawsky, MD
Clinical Core Leader, Co-founder
ENGI Research Projects
Yael Shiloh-Malawsky, MD, is a board-certified child neurologist and epileptologist. She co-founded the Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative (ENGI) and the pediatrics neurogenetics workgroup in response to new clinical needs in this fast-evolving field. Dr. Shiloh-Malawsky teamed with neurologists Dr. Senyene Hunter (a physician-scientist with clinical and research focus in epilepsy genetics) and Dr. Jane Fan (trained in child neurology, genetics, and sleep medicine), metabolic-genetics specialist Dr. Muge Calikoglu, and with genetic counselor Tom Felton (oversees UNC Health cytogenetic testing).
Together, these specialists established a multidisciplinary expert team to maximize the benefits of scientific advancement in epilepsy genetics and patient care. The Clinical Core collaboration led by Dr. Shiloh-Malawsky focuses on three main objectives:
- Improving the process and efficiency of genetic testing in pediatric epilepsy;
- Complex case resolution, bi-monthly round table consultations of challenging clinical cases by a multidisciplinary expert panel that reviews, discusses and recommends to referring physicians the best plan of care, and
- Standardizing and updating epilepsy genetics evaluations and consults, through a process of continual review and response to new advances and emerging resources in the field.
The ENGI Clinical Core places UNC as a leader in epilepsy genetic care. It provides patients across North Carolina access to specialized neurogenetics services, resources, and consultations.
Senyene Hunter, MD, PhD
Research Core Leader, Co-founder
2020 Broyhill Research Award in Child Neurology
American Epilepsy Society Sergievsky Scholar
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Spotlight article
Senyene Hunter MD, PhD, a physician-scientist, is co-founder of the Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative (ENGI). As the Research Core leader, Dr. Hunter partners with research collaborators and basic scientists to study best practices and guide future implementation of genomic technologies. The Research Core basic science collaborations aim to improve the understanding of cellular, molecular and nervous system function underlying epilepsy genetics and identify pathogenic gene variants and candidate risk genes.
In addition, the Research Core aims to provide patients with state-of-the-art care by improving patient access to clinical trials and translational research, connecting families to local, regional and national studies, and linking patients to genetic-specific treatment clinical trials.
Thomas Felton, MS, CGC
Genetic Testing Coordinator
Thomas Felton, MS, CGC, is the Laboratory Genetic Counselor for UNC Health, McLendon Clinical Laboratories. As the Genetic Testing Coordinator, he oversees the development of genetics testing protocols and individualized patient testing progression. The Genetic testing coordinator aims to assure standardized, efficient, patient-centered testing while providing patients access to cutting-edge molecular testing and laboratory resources. Evaluations are tailored to individual patient’s needs, and testing is personalized to the patient in the context of previous results and case discussions. Evaluation protocols are continuously examined and updated to keep with advances in the field and monitor utilization, efficiency, and compliance with practice guidelines.
Meet Our Team
Child neurologists who specialize in genetic epilepsies and neurogenetic disorders
- Jane Fan, MD – Professor of Child Neurology: Pediatric Sleep Medicine, Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders
- Jamie Capal, MD – Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology: Child Neurology, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
- Diana Cejas, MD, MPH – Assistant Professor: Child Neurology
- Qian-Zhou (Jojo) Yang, MD – Assistant Professor: Child Neurology and Epilepsy
Pediatric geneticists with expertise in metabolic and neurogenetic disorders
- Muge Calikoglu, MD – Associate Professor: Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics; Assistant Director, Medical Genetics Residency Program
- Elizabeth Jalazo, MD – Fellow, Post-doc, Pediatric Genetics & Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics
Genetic counselors with experience and specialization in pediatric neurogenetic disorders
- Kimberly Foss, MS, CGC – Clinical Assistant Professor, Genetics
- Kristin Clinard, MS – Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism
Patient and Family Support:
Dietary Treatment – Expertise in ketogenic diets and pediatric nutrition
- Carolina Sodano, MPH, RD, LDN, CNSC
Referrals and Care Coordinators
- Stacey Ferguson, RN
- Brenda Broadman, RN
Additional Support and Resources:
- Peter Duquette, PhD, ABPP-CN – Expertise in cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes of epilepsy, neurogenetic conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)