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What’s new in the Department of Neurology


Staffing Announcements

William Powers, MD, Chair of the Department of Neurology will be entering part-time phased retirement beginning July 1, 2018. Over the next three years, Dr. Powers will work part-time as an attending neurologist for inpatient services and participate in the educational programs of the Department. We are immensely grateful to Dr. Powers for presiding over significant clinical and research advancement during his time as Chair, including the opening of the 16 bed Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit in 2010 and the opening of UNC’s first Epilepsy Monitoring Units. In addition, UNC Hospitals has become a nationally recognized leader in stroke care. Read more >

William Powers, MD
William J. Powers, MD
Daniel Roque, MD Daniel Roque, MD, has been assigned as the Vice-Chair for Out-Patient Neurology as a result of his stellar work as the Medical Director of the Prestwick clinic. In his new role, Dr. Roque will oversee the Department’s plans to expand its outpatient activities to Hillsborough and Wake County. He will also help to implement the new UNC Health Care system policies for the Child Neurology Clinic.
Octavio De Marchena, MD Octavio De Marchena, MD, retired from the Department of Neurology on December 31, 2017. Dr. De Marchena joined UNC in 2012 as a stroke and general neurology specialist, receiving high accolades from his patients over the years. Dr. De Marchena was also a skilled instructor for our residents and won the Faculty Teacher of the Year award in 2015/16 and 2016/17. We will miss the many contributions Dr. De Marchena made to the Department, but wish him the best in his retirement.
Adeel Yousaf, MD Adeel Yousaf, MD, FAAP, recently completed his UNC Pediatric Neurology residency and started as a faculty member in March.
Yael Shiloh-Malawaski, MD Yael Shiloh–Malawsky, MD, is the Residency Program Director for the UNC Child Neurology Division, effective February 1.
Mark Vavrousek Our dedicated IT manager, Mark Vavrousek, transitioned out of the Department on April 9 into a bigger role as the Technical Support Specialist – POB Hub Lead. Don’t fret – Mark will still be around supervising four technicians who will be responsible for providing excellent IT services to the tenants of the Physicians Office Building, Radiation Oncology and Family Medicine. Faculty and staff will be able to access the 24-hour IT team through a simple phone call to 962-HELP. A big thank you to Mark for his timely responses to our many panicked calls over the course of his 15 years of service with the University.
 Residents and Fellows We are pleased to introduce our incoming adult and child neurology residents as well as our fellows in neuro-critical care, sleep, epilepsy and neuromuscular disorders. Our new team members will begin on July 1, 2018, with the exception of epilepsy fellow, Matthew McConnell, MD, who joined us in February. Meet the new team >

Research & Presentations

William Powers, MD, was Chair of the writing group for the “2018 AHA/ASA Guidelines for the Early Management of Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke.” The guidelines were published online on January 24, 2018. Learn more >


Dr. Powers presenting at the AHA/ASA’s International Stroke Conference
Dr. Powers presenting at the AHA/ASA’s International Stroke Conference.

In addition, Dr. Powers gave the following invited lectures:

  • Acute Ischemic Stroke Guidelines
    AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference, Los Angeles, CA, January 24, 2018
  • 2018 Guidelines for Early Stroke Management
    South Carolina Neurological Association, Hilton Head, SC, March 16, 2018

Dedrick Jordan, MD, PhD, along with other researchers, published Vancomycin Pharmacokinetics in Neurocritically Ill Patients with Central Nervous System Infection” in the Journal of Drug Design and Research.

Dedrick Jordan, MD, PhD, and Winnie Lau, MD, were part of the research team for an article published in Neurosurgery CNS: “Neoplastic Cerebral Aneurysm from Metastatic Nonsmall Cell Lung Carcinoma.”

Casey Olm-Shipman, MD, MS, and Dedrick Jordan, MD, PhD, were part of a UNC team that published research in the Journal of Intensive Care: “Early versus late tracheostomy after decompressive craniectomy for stroke.”

Drs. Jordan and Olm-Shipman, along with other UNC researchers, also published “Influence of Single-Dose Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Early-Onset Pneumonia in High-Risk Intubated Patients” in Neurocritical Care.

Bradley Vaughn, MD, gave two invited lectures:

  • Epilepsy Foundation and Frontiers
    South Carolina Neurological Association, Hilton Head, SC, March 16, 2018
  • The Foundations of Sleep and Sleep Medicine
    UNC School of Dentistry International course on Sleep Medicine in Dentistry, Chapel Hill

Two posters were presented at the AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference held in Los Angeles, January 23-26:

  • “Implementation of a Stroke Response Nurse to Improve Door to Groin Puncture Times in Patients Undergoing Endovascular Therapy for Acute Ischemic Stroke” – Nicole Burnett, David Huang, Sharmila Soares, Ann Waller
  • “S3TOP for Stroke: Improving In-Hospital Stroke Alert Activation Criteria” – Pola Chojecka, Jason Richards, Nicole Burnett, Luke Barr, Ann Waller, Susan Wilson, Anne Beckwith, David Huang

Three posters were presented at the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses in March:

  • “Breathing new life into patient education: A win for patients and staff” – Nicole Burnett, Sonya Lester (NSICU), Ann Waller, Joyce Kern (6NSH)
  • “Autoimmune Epilepsy: A Case Study” – Joyce Kern, Erieka Peyton, Viola Monmany (all 6NSH)
  • “Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures: Cease the Stigma” – Heather Alico Lauria, Jennie Livingston

Awards & Achievements

 National Assoc of Epilepsy CentersThe Department of Neurology has again received NAEC level 4 accreditation as a combined adult and pediatric epilepsy center which is the highest designation representing the most complex forms of diagnostic evaluations and treatment options.

Dr. Xiaoyan Li received the NC Translational and Clinical Science Pilot Award for $2,000. Under the mentorship of Drs. Todd Cohen and James F. Howard, she will explore the mechanism of a critical protein TDP-43 in the pathogenesis of ALS. Understanding TDP-43 pathology may lead to new therapies that prevent neurodegeneration and motor deficits in patients with ALS.

Dedrick Jordan, MD, PhD, and Jake Cannon, MHA Intern for the Neurosciences, received the inaugural award for Outstanding Achievement in Quality from UNC Health Care for their work, Mortality Reduction in the Neurosciences. The award was created to recognize the efforts from the Neurosciences community to provide the highest level of care for our patients.

Ammar Hussain, MD, Assistant Professor in Child Neurology, recently received Board certification in Epilepsy, in addition to his Child Neurology certification.

Anahit C. Mehrabyan, MD, Assistant Professor in Neuromuscular Disorders and recent UNC Neurology resident, received Board certification in Neurology.

Nathan Morgan, R. EEG T., recently passed testing and obtained his Registry in EEG from ABRET.


Dan Kaufer, MD, was the co-sponsor and faculty for a conference entitled, “Primary Progressive Aphasia: Increasing Awareness, Improving Care” that took place on January 26 in Research Triangle Park. The event was funded through a donation from the family of Woody Durham. During the conference, nearly 100 speech-language therapists learned how to assess and provide therapy for patients with PPA, and caregivers were informed about available community and academic resources.

Dr. Kaufer was also the director and faculty for a symposium on “Progressive Aphasia: Insights into How Language Is Wired in the Brain” at the annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association on March 21 in Boston.

Pembroke MS Walk 2018The UNC Neurology MS Division supported the Pembroke MS Walk-a-Thon on March 24 with a talk presented by Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD. The Locklear family from North Carolina organized the annual fundraising event and generously made a donation to support UNC educational projects for people with MS.

In addition, Dr. Dujmovic Basuroski organized a team, the UNC Neuro-Heels, to support the Raleigh Walk MS on April 7. The 26-person team included members of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Departments. A few members of the group also tabled a UNC Neurology booth at the event to extend outreach to patients and caregivers.

Walk MS Raleigh 2018 Walk MS Raleigh 2018

Media & Outreach

Dan Kaufer, MD, provided commentary for the following:

  • A neurology paper for using zonisamide to treat motor signs in Lewy body dementia;
  • Reader’s Digest article on vitamin supplements for brain health;
  • Population-based study of long-term sequelae of traumatic brain injury;
  • US News and World report article, “Concussions tied to rise in dementia risk decades later;”
  • US News and World report article, “Seizure drug may help ease symptoms of major form of dementia.”

Dr. Kaufer was also interviewed on WRAL-TV as part of their coverage of the PPA Conference. In addition, he was interviewed for a sleep aids article for the UNC Health Talk website.

William Powers, MD, was quoted in multiple media outlets following his presentation at the AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference, Los Angeles, CA, on January 24.

Richard Murrow, MD, discussed how deep brain stimulation can dramatically improve the lives of some Parkinson’s patients in a UNC Health Talk article.

James F. Howard, Jr, MD, was quoted in a Neurology Today Article in Brief regarding eculizumab as treatment for patients with generalized myasthenia gravis.

David Huang, MD, PhD, described a specialized stroke intervention using a retrievable catheter-based device in a UNC Health Talk article.

Zheng (Jane) Fan, MD, shared tips for addressing pediatric sleep issues in a UNC Health Talk article. She also discussed some of the most common causes of sleeplessness in a separate Health Talk article.

Gary Jay, MD, was interviewed for an article in Reader’s Digest, “The Doctor-Approved Guide to Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments.”

Heidi Roth, MD, was interviewed in an article for the online publisher, Popsugar: “Why You Should Exercise Caution When Taking OTC Sleeping Pills.”