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Welcome New Faculty!


Vinay Chaudhry, MBBS Vinay Chaudhry, MBBS, MD, will join the department at the end of March as a professor in the Neuromuscular Medicine Division. Dr. Vinay Chaudhry received his medical degree in 1980 from the All-India Institute of Medical Services in New Delhi, India. He then pursued a residency in pediatric surgery (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 1981); served as house officer/senior house officer in internal medicine (Preston Hospital & Tynemouth Victoria Jubilee Infirmary, North Shields, England, 1982-1983, and Llanelli Hospital, Wales, UK, 1983); and completed his residency in neurology (University of Tennessee College of Medicine, 1984-1985, and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, 1987).

Dr. Chaudhry completed clinical and research fellowships in neuromuscular diseases from Johns Hopkins University in 1989. He is board certified in neurology, clinical neurophysiology, and neuromuscular medicine.

Monica Diaz, MD Dr. Monica Diaz joined the Department of Neurology in early January 2021 as an assistant professor in the Multiple Sclerosis/Neuroimmunology Division. She completed medical school at the State University of New York Downstate in 2014, followed by neurology residency at Yale University in 2018. She completed a fellowship in neurological infections and neuroimmunology/MS at University of California, San Diego in 2019. She then was a global health research fellow through the National Institute of Health Fogarty Institute based in Lima, Peru where she currently leads several studies on neurological complications of HIV. Dr. Diaz is board certified in neurology.
Suzette LaRoche, MD Suzette LaRoche, MD, joined us in early February as a professor in the Epilepsy Division. Dr. LaRoche received her medical degree from Indiana University in 1997, followed by an internal medicine internship and neurology residency at Emory University. She then completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology and epilepsy in 2003. Dr. LaRoche is board certified in neurology, epilepsy, clinical neurophysiology, critical care EEG, and epilepsy monitoring.

Departmental News

Dr. Greenwood and nurse Betty AllenUNC Neurology was deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved child neurology nurse, Betty Allen, RN, who passed away on December 17, 2020. Betty shared her warmth, kindness and wisdom with UNC patients, families and colleagues for nearly 30 years. Read more about Betty’s life.

All UNC Neurology ACGME-accredited programs  ̶̶  two residencies (adult and child neurology) and four fellowships (neuromuscular medicine, epilepsy, vascular neurology, sleep medicine)  ̶̶  have been approved with continued accreditations for year 2021-2022.

Honors / Awards / Accomplishments

William J. Powers, MD, received the American Academy of Neurology’s 2021 A.B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award. This annual award recognizes excellent teachers for their contributions to improving neurology.

Both Yael Shiloh-Malawsky, MD, and Rebecca Traub, MD, received promotions to associate professor of neurology.

Carolina Care Excellence logoDrs. Nina Browner and Richard Murrow were recipients of the 2020 UNC Health and UNC Faculty Physicians Award for Carolina Care Excellence. When surveyed, their patients gave them the highest possible rating, placing them in the top quartile nationally.

In its December 2020 issue, Business North Carolina published a list of North Carolina’s Top Doctors as identified by doctors. Six UNC Neurology physicians were selected including Drs. Nina Browner, Michael Forbes, Daniel Roque, Heidi Roth, Bradley Vaughn and Hae Won Shin.

Gary Jay, MD, was appointed to the Practical Pain Management editorial board.

Angela Wabulya, MBChB, was appointed as the Epilepsy Fellowship Director.

JoJo (Qian-Zhou) Yang, MD, was appointed as the Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Khyati Patel, DNP, FNP-BC, MBA-Leadership, received her Doctor of Nursing Practice and an MBA certificate in leadership development from UNC in December 2020. Her doctoral project was “Quality Improvement Project to Enhance Onboarding of New Advanced Practice Providers at a University-Based Outpatient Neurology Clinic.”

Outpatient RehabilitationThe UNC Movement Disorders Division would like to acknowledge and promote the exceptional work of the UNC Rex Interdisciplinary Movement Disorders Team. Their 15 highly trained, Parkinson’s-specialized physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists treat patients in their Raleigh, Cary and Wakefield clinics, as well as their inpatient rehabilitation centers in Raleigh and Apex. The team closely adheres to the guidelines outlined by the Parkinson Foundation to provide cutting-edge, comprehensive, interdisciplinary care. The clinic accepts referrals from all physicians or non-physician practitioners through Epic or by fax at (919) 784-4697. For more information, please contact Julie Huffman.


Angela Wabulya, MBChB, received a $10,000 Junior Faculty Development Award, an internal fellowship that provides an opportunity for junior, untenured faculty to concentrate exclusively on advancing or completing an important professional or scholarly project.

Nicole Short, PhD, received the 2020-2021 Sleep Innovative Research Grant from our department and from the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Short aims to study the link between sleep and trauma, particularly among women.

Embrace Detection DevicePediatric clinical social worker, Alyssa Draffin, plans to apply for a 2021 Carolina for the Kids grant to purchase several Embrace2 seizure detections watches for patients in need following the success of a 2020 effort. If you have a patient success story related to the device, please contact Alyssa so that she can include it in the grant application.

Published Research / Clinical Trials

MicroscopeJames F. Howard Jr., MD, co-authored:

  • “COVID-19-associated risks and effects in myasthenia gravis (CARE-MG): Development of an international physician registry and initial data,” The Lancet Neurology, December 2020.
  • “Post-intervention status in patients with refractory myasthenia gravis treated with eculizumab during REGAIN and its open-label extension,” Neurology, January 2021. (Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers)
  • “Reduced plasmablast frequency is associated with seronegative myasthenia gravis,” Muscle Nerve, December 2020. (Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers)

Researchers from UNC and Duke led by Tim Gershon, MD, PhD, revealed that antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins influence progenitor survival and proliferation during postnatal cerebellar neurogenesis in their research published in Nature, December 2020.

Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, was a co-author of the paper, “CSF SERPINA3 Levels Are Elevated in Patients With Progressive MS,” published in Neurology Neuroimmunology Neuroinflammation, March 2021.

Gary Jay, MD, co-authored:

  • “Diagnosis and Treatment of Associated Neurotrophic Keratopathy in Neuropathic Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” Cornea, February 2021.
  • “Research design considerations for chronic pain prevention clinical trials: IMMPACT recommendations,” PAIN Reports, January 2021.

In addition, Dr. Jay published two articles:

  • “Post Herpetic Neuralgia Hub: Re-Evaluation,” Practical Pain Management, December 2020.

Jamie Capal, MD, was senior author on research published in Epilepsy and Behavior: “Genetic testing in patients with nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder and EEG abnormalities with or without epilepsy: Is exome trio-based testing the best clinical approach?” January 2021.

Clio Rubinos, MD, co-authored, “Neuromuscular medicine and COVID-19,” Practical Neurology, January 2021.

In December, principal investigator Rhonda Cadena, MD, and study coordinator Luigi Troiani, PA, MHS, enrolled their first participant for the BOOST-3 trial. BOOST3 is a research study to learn which of two strategies for monitoring and treating patients with TBI in the intensive care unit (ICU) might be more effective.

The Child Neurology Division enrolled their first participant of a medication trial for trofinetide as a treatment for Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Yael Shiloh-Malasky, MD, is the principal investigator, and co-PIs are Jane Fan, MD, and Diana Cejas, MD, MPH. The study coordinator is Yulissa Gonzalez.


Neurology Education logoDr. Fazila Aseem (PGY3) completed the 2020-21 Teaching As a Resident: Highlighting the Evidence and Enthusiasm of Learning (TARHEEL) Program, offered by the UNC Academy of Educators. The TARHEEL program is a standardized program to improve cross-department collaboration, enhance engagement between faculty and residents, and increase academic scholarly projects and publications, beneficial to enhancing faculty educational scholarship.

Dr. Sidd Ninan (PGY3) and Dr. Xiaoyang Li (PGY3) were selected to participate at the 2021 ACTRIMS Neurology Resident Summit in Multiple Sclerosis. The resident summit will provide a historical perspective on the management of MS, an overview of future directions in MS therapeutics, an expert panel discussion and breakout sessions to discuss careers in clinical and investigative neuroimmunology.

Dr. Mariko Hanson (PGY3) is the neurology resident recipient of the Class of 2000 Kaiser Permanente Excellence in Teaching Award. This award honors the interns and residents deemed by the third-year class to be the most outstanding in each of the seven core clerkships.

Carolyn Tsai, MD, (PGY3) presented a poster, “A Case of Musk Myasthenia Gravis Presenting with Isolated Respiratory Insufficiency” at the 2020 Scientific Session of Myasthenia Gravis Foundation on October 3, 2020. Her mentors were James Howard, MD, and Anahit Mehrabyan, MD.

Dr. Zuleyma Toledo-Nieves (PGY4) received a Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care Physician Fellowship, which will support her training at the University of South Florida Neuroimmunology Fellowship.

The Sepsis Core Team and the Office of Quality Excellence commended Drs. Diana Ontiveros (PGY1) and Dan Panebianco (PGY3) for recognizing that patients under their care had sepsis and implementing all required elements of the sepsis bundle per CMS guidelines.

Thank you to all the faculty, residents and coordinators who dedicated their time to the 2020 virtual recruitment season. We look forward to announcing our new residents soon.

Invited Lectures / Presentations

Alzheimers neuronsJames F. Howard, Jr, MD, presented via webcast:

Invited Lectures:

  • Neurology Grand Rounds, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, “Myasthenia Gravis: The Dawn of a Therapeutic Revolution,” Great Neck, NY, December 2020.
  • Research Webinar, Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, “The RAISE & RAISE XT Studies,” Westborough, MA, December 2020.
  • Kuwait Synaptic Club, “Refractory Myasthenia Gravis: No Longer an Enigma,” Kuwait City, Kuwait, December 2020.
  • Emirates Neurology Society, “Targeted Therapies for the Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis,” Dubai, UAE, January 2021.
  • Alexandria Neurology Conference 2021, “Targeting the Neuromuscular Junction in Myasthenia Gravis; A Rationale Approach to Treatment,” University of Alexandria, Alexandria Egypt, February 2021.

Presentations at Meetings:

  • “Efgartigimod in generalized myasthenia gravis: Update on clinical development and phase 3 ADAPT study.” Poster presented at the 14th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology (CONy), October 29-November 1, 2020. (Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers)
  • “No change in risk of infection among NMOSD and refractory gMG patients related with eculizumab: findings from two phase 3 studies and their extensions.” E-poster presented at the 93rd DGN-Kongress 2020 (German Society of Neurology), Berlin, November 4-7, 2020. (Co-author)

 Gary Jay, MD, presented a virtual talk: “Take Me to the River: The Agony of Cluster Headaches” at PainWeekEnd in December 2020.

Jamie Capal, MD, presented, “Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex” at the III Academic Conference on Rare Diseases 2021 held virtually in February by the Autonomous University of Yucatan in Mexico. Dr. Capal was also the invited speaker for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TS Alliance) 2021 E-Webinar Series, TAND: ADHD/OCD on January 21.

On February 17, Robert Smith III, PhD, and Bryant Murphy, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Development and Professor of Anesthesiology, presented principles of culturally competent leadership to the Academic Career Leadership Academy in Medicine (ACCLAIM) cohort in conjunction with the Office of Faculty Affairs & Leadership Development.

Diversity Corner

Senyene Hunter, MD, PhD

Read the Spotlight interview on our inspiring colleague, Senyene Hunter, MD, PhD.

The department held a one-hour unconscious bias training on January 14. If you were unable to join us, or would like to explore other DEI-related trainings, check out the courses offered through the UNC Office of Inclusive Excellence.

The Department was represented at the 40th annual MLK Lecture and Awards Ceremony held on January 26.

During grand rounds on February 4, Jorge Almodóvar-Suárez, MD, and Casey Olm-Shipman, MD, MS, explored health care disparities within our neurology practices.

Gwenn Garden, MD, PhD; Robert Smith III, PhD; and Angela Wabulya, MBChB, joined other leaders at a DEI leadership retreat on February 18.

Upcoming activities:

  • Special residency session to discuss recent events at Tulane University on March 1, 5:30-6:30pm  with Winnie Lau, MD; Nina Browner, MD; and Angela Wabulya, MBChB.
  • Quarterly Diversity Department meeting on March 12, 12-1pm, with possible guest speaker, Kimberley R. Nichols, MD, FAS, on the topic of mentorship. Contact Dr. Wabulya for the Webex link.
  • Disparities in Stroke Care – possible grand rounds on March 25 by Fazila Aseem, MD (PGY3) and William Powers, MD.

Keep up to date on DEI activities through the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion and this external resource: 2021 Diversity Calendar – Multicultural Religious Holidays, Ethnic Inclusion.


Dr. Sklerov on WRALMiriam Sklerov, MD, MSc, was interviewed by WRAL on February 18 regarding a young onset Parkinson’s disease event hosted by the Parkinson’s Foundation on February 27 where she was the expert speaker.

Michael Forbes, MD, discusses the importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a transient ischemic attack in this UNC Health Talk article.

Bradley Vaughn, MD, discusses how to use the supplement melatonin to help with sleep in this Food Network story.


Miriam Sklerov, MD, MS and Jessica Shurer, MSW, LCSW, presented at an online symposium, “Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease: You Are Not Alone” held on Saturday, February 27. The event was a collaboration between UNC, Duke and the Parkinson’s Foundation Carolinas Chapter.

In addition, Dr. Sklerov discussed how telemedicine in the age of COVID affects people with MSA for Cure PSP’s “Ask the Doctor” webinar held on December 15, 2020.

Mary Locklear MS WalkFor the last four years, the sister of a former MS patient has organized a multiple sclerosis awareness walk in memory of her brother, Rhett Anthony Locklear. Due to COVID-19, the walk is not possible this year, but Mary Locklear has set up a fundraiser to support MS awareness and research at the UNC Neurology Clinic if you would like to support her efforts.