Welcome New Residents, Fellows and Staff!
We are pleased to welcome our incoming adult and child neurology residents as well as our fellows specializing in epilepsy, sleep medicine, neurocritical care, neuroimmunology and vascular neurology. Learn more about our new team members >
Farewell to and best wishes to our amazing graduates who are all moving on to exciting new opportunities!
- Fazila Aseem, MD: Neurocritical Care Fellowship, UNC
- Mariko Hanson, MD: Epilepsy Fellowship, University of Miami
- Xiaoyang Li, MBBS-MD: Autoimmune Neurology Fellowship, Mayo Clinic
- Siddharth Ninan, MBBS: MS Fellowship, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Daniel Panebianco, MD: Hospitalist, Tampa, Florida
- Carolyn Tsai, MD: Epilepsy Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic
- Luke Van Ells, MD: Hospitalist, Myrtle Beach, SC
- Sonia Ann Varhese, MD, MPH, MBA: Private practice, THINK Neurology, Houston, Texas
Jenna Lea, MS, joined the department as a genetic counselor for the Division of Precision Neurology in late May. She has a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center at the UT Health Graduate School of Biomedical Science in Houston. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens.
Hailey Houska Segall, MS, started in June as a genetic counselor for the Division of Precision Neurology. She received her Master of Science in Genetics and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in clinical psychology from The Ohio State University.
We also welcome UNC medical student Rizk Alghorazi as a Mauricio Castillo MD Diversity and Inclusion Scholar this summer. Rizk will work closely with Angela Wabulya, MBChB, as their departmental faculty liaison for the summer program. The Castillo Scholars program was designed to address the racial and gender disparities present in many medical specialties and provides educational, research, and mentorship opportunities for current minority medical students. Recipients will receive a $5,000 stipend for participating.
Awards and Recognition
Senyene Hunter, MD, PhD, was one of two grantees to be named as an American Epilepsy Society Sergievsky Scholar. The Sergievesky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity, provides support for early career physicians and scientists who identify as members of groups historically underrepresented in medicine and science and/or who are researching issues that affect medically underserved individuals with epilepsy or seizures or related aspects of health equity. Read more >
Jamie Capal, MD, was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
The Child Neurology Division has published a new web page to promote their Health Care Transition Clinic. Special thanks to Diana Cejas, MD, MPH for coordinating and developing the site. The clinic helps to prepare adolescents and young adults with chronic physical and medical conditions to move from a child-centered health care system to an adult-focused one.
Winnie Lau, MD, is the new UNC Adult Neurology Program Director and Dena Williams, DO, is the Associate Program Director. Many thanks to Nina Browner, MD, for her dedicated and enthusiastic work over the past nine years as Program Director.
The UNC Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship Program was approved by the ACGME to expand from one to two fellows per year.
Jamie Capal, MD, is a co-investigator on a cross-institution collaboration with Andrew Liu, MD, MS, (Duke Neurology), who was awarded the Ann B. Bussel award for the project, “Tuberous Sclerosis Complex as a novel Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Tauopathy.” Starting on July 1, 2022, the researchers will receive $100K per year for two years in support of their research as part of the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Alyssa Draffin, LCSW, secured Carolina Cares grants for both the Embrace2 seizure detection devices and adaptive strollers for neurology patients in need. Please contact Alyssa if you know of a low-income patient who you think might qualify.
Ian Shih, PhD, and the CAMRI team, Lindsay Walton, PhD; Matthew Verber, MS; Sung-Ho Lee , DVM, PhD; Tzu-Hao Harry Chao, PhD; and R. Mark Wightman, PhD, received NeuroImage’s 2022 Paper of the Year Award for their paper, “Simultaneous fMRI and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry bridges evoked oxygen and neurotransmitter dynamics across spatiotemporal scales.” The team won by a large margin topping 1,000 published papers and 3,500 submissions. View paper >
James F. Howard, Jr., MD, co-authored:
- “Terminal Complement Inhibitor Ravulizumab in Generalized Myasthenia Gravis,” NEJM Evidence, April 26, 2022. Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “Selected clinical and demographic factors and all-cause mortality among individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the Muscular Dystrophy Surveillance, Tracking, and Research Network,” Neuromuscular Disorders, May 2022.
James F. Howard Jr, MD; Rebecca Traub, MD; Steven Trau, MD; and Jose Sanchez co-authored “Electrodiagnostic Findings in Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency Type 2,” Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease, June 1, 2022.
Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, and other researchers co-authored, “Paraneoplastic Optic Neuropathy in a Patient with Glioblastoma,” Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, June 14, 2022.
UNC Neurology residents, Carolyn Tsai, MD, and Abigail O’Reggio, MD, mentored by Anahit Mehrabyan, MD; Dena Williams, DO; and Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, co-authored “Bilateral Acute Hippocampal Ischemia in Two Patients Abusing Cocaine: What is the Outcome?,” Cureus, June 29, 2022.
Jamie Capal, MD, authored “Describing Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tuberous Sclerosis: Challenges and Future Opportunities,” a commentary on “The autism spectrum disorder phenotype in children with tuberous sclerosis complex: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Rebecca Mitchell, et al. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. May 28, 2022.
Monica Maria Diaz, MD, MS, co-authored:
- “HIV and Substance Use in Latin America: A Scoping Review,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, June 12, 2022.
- “A Functional Assessment Tool to Distinguish Controls From Alzheimer’s Disease in Lima, Peru,” American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, June 3, 2022.
- “Toward Composite Pain Biomarkers of Neuropathic Pain-Focus on Peripheral Neuropathic Pain,” Frontiers in Pain Research, May 11, 2022.
- “Validation of Picture Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test for Illiteracy in Lima, Peru,” American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, April 24, 2022.
Clio Rubinos, MD, MSCR; Carolyn Tsai, MD; and Susan E. Wilson, DNP co-authored “SARS-CoV-2 infection and seizures: The Perfect Storm,” Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, June 2022.
Clio Rubinos, MD, MSCR; Fazila Aseem, MD, MPH; Winnie Lau, MD; Casey Olm-Shipman, MD, MS; Matthew F. Sharrock, MD; Rhonda Cadena, MD; and Courtney Blodgett, AG-ACNP along with other researchers co-authored “Dermat-Neur Syndrome in a COVID-19 patient with well-controlled scleromyxedema,” The Rheumatologist, June 2022.
Clio Rubinos, MD, MSCR, co-authored “Predicting Shunt Dependency from the Effect of Cerebrospinal Fluid Drainage on Ventricular Size,” Neurocritical Care Journal, June 15, 2022.
Diana Cejas, MD, MPH, co-authored, “Health Equity for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs: A Vision for the Future,” Pediatrics, June 1, 2022.
In The News
Alexion Astrazeneca published a news release, FDA Approval of ravulizumab (Ultomeiris) with quotes from James Howard Jr, MD, lead principal investigator, April 28, 2022.
In addition, Dr. Howard discussed the need to better educate physicians about myasthenia gravis in this CheckRare video. In a video produced by The Video Journal of Neurology, Dr. Howard discussed the long-term efficacy and safety results from the Phase III CHAMPION MG open-label extension of ravulizumab.
PGY-1 Rusudan Goletiani, MD, was featured in Neurology Today on May 5. Read about her journey to neurology and reflections on practicing medicine outside of United States.
Gwenn Garden, MD, PhD, and Heather Whitson, MD (Duke) co-directors of the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, along with Dean Brenner of the Alzheimer’s Association and Steve Clark and Adam Rowe of 247Sports discuss Alzheimer’s research, fundraising, and support systems in this Duke Athletics Podcast.
Dena Williams, MD, was featured on two news stations, WCNC and WRAL, in May as a commentator on stroke after Attorney General Josh Steiner suffered from a stroke.
Dr. Diana Cejas’ essay, In The Blood, published in Ecotone was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize.
James F. Howard, Jr, MD:
Invited Lectures / Visiting Professor
- UCB MG Day, “Therapies in Myasthenia Gravis, Past, Present and Future” (by webcast), March 29, 2022.
- Clinical Immunology Society Meeting, “The Role of Complement Inhibition in Treating Myasthenia Gravis with Comments on an Emerging Antibody Therapeutics,” Charlotte, NC, March 30, 2022.
- Antibody Engineering & Therapeutics Europe meeting, “Data from the ADAPT Phase 3 Study of Efgartigimod in Generalized Myasthenia Graves Patients,” Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 9, 2022.
Presentations at Meetings
Posters presented at the 14th MGFA International Conference on Myasthenia and Related Disorders, Miami FL, May 10-12, 2022. Co-authored:
- “Prevalence of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders and Insomnia Complaints in MuSK Antibody Positive and Negative Myasthenia Gravis”
- “Long-term efficacy and safety of ravulizumab, a long-acting terminal complement inhibitor, in adults with anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody-positive generalized myasthenia gravis: Results from the phase 3 CHAMPION MG open-label extension.” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “MGFA Task Force for Standardization of Myasthenia Gravis Outcome Measures in Clinical Practice”
- “Consistent Efficacy of Ravulizumab Across Sex and Age Subgroups of Patients With Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: A Post Hoc Analysis of the CHAMPION MG Study,”Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “Efficacy of Ravulizumab Treatment According to Time from Diagnosis in Patients with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: A Post Hoc Subgroup Analysis of the CHAMPION MG study,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “Study Design of Intravenous Efgartigimod in Juvenile Myasthenia Gravis”
- “Long-term Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Efgartigimod in Patients with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: Interim Results of the ADAPT+ Study,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Efgartigimod in Acetylcholine Receptor Autoantibody Seronegative Patients With Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: Interim Analysis of the ADAPT and ADAPT+ Studies,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “A Multicenter Pilot Trial Adapting Disease Specific Outcome Measures for Telehealth in Myasthenia Gravis”
- “Outcomes from RAISE: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, Phase 3 trial of zilucoplan in generalized myasthenia gravis,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “Phase 1b/2a study of autologous mRNA-engineered anti-B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells for treatment of severe generalized myasthenia gravis,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “A prospective Natural History Study and Biorepository for Patients with Myasthenia Gravis,” Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
- “MGNet Outcome Measures Working Group”
- “Long-term Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Efgartigimod in Patients With Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: Interim Results of the ADAPT+ Study.” ePoster presented at the 22nd Francophone Days of ElectroNeuroMyoGraphy, Marrakech Morocco, May 19-21, 2022. Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers.
Monica Maria Diaz, MD, MS, co-authored “Evaluation of a functional assessment tool in patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease in Lima, Peru.” Presented as an oral platform presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association Latino & Alzheimer Symposium 2022, April 25-26, 2022; Bonita Springs, Florida.
Dr. Diaz also presented an invited lecture at the AHEC Long COVID Symposium: “Recovery and Rehabilitation Using a Multidisciplinary Approach – Neurological Implications of COVID-19 Infection.” May 13, 2022 (virtual).
Clio Rubinos, MD, MSCR, presented a livestream webinar lecture, “Management of status epilepticus,” for the Latin American Brain Injury Consortium on June 16, 2022.
Yasmeen Rauf, MD, was a guest speaker for the UNC Health Foundation’s May 2002 Impact Series virtual event featuring UNC Health brain tumor treatment leaders.
Diana Cejas, MD, MPH:
- Invited lecturer, “Writing as Advocacy: Personal Reflections on Disability in Medicine” at the Johns Hopkins Equal Access in Science and Medicine Lecture Series.
- Invited lecturer, “Leadership and Disability in Medicine” at the AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disability) Leadership Academy.
- Panelist, “The Intersection of Racism and Disability in Medicine” for the Stanford Medicine Alliance for Disability Inclusion and Equity Intersectional Discussion Series.
- Keynote speaker, Coalition for Disability Access’s 8th annual Symposium, July 18, 9 am.
- Speaker on ableism and intersectionality for the National Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home (NRC-PFCMH) Live Education Course “Addressing Health Equity for Black Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs,” July 12, 10 am.
The first Symposium for Learning about Alzheimer’s disease-related Medical research at Duke and UNC (SLAM-DUNC) sponsored by the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center was held on Friday and Saturday, June 24 – 25 at the Duke Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center. Over 80 researchers, clinicians, and trainees from Duke, UNC, NCCU, UNC-Pembroke, and ECU gathered for research presentations, poster sessions and networking.
Keynote speaker Todd Cohen, PhD, presented, “Our aging brains: a tug-of-war between pathology and resiliency.” Jui-Heng “Henry” Tseng, PhD, presented “Deciphering the aged tau species that evolve during normal aging.” Seven other researchers from five other schools also presented. Basketball coach legends from UNC and Duke, Coach Roy Williams and Coach “K” Michael Krzyzewski, expressed their support for the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in recorded videos.
Photos courtesy of Lindsey Womack