The UNC Child Neurology Clinic has moved to Carolina Pointe II, 6011 Farrington Road, Suite 100, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. Thanks to all who helped to make it happen!
Dr. Robert Smith, Associate Chair for Administration, will begin his new role as the Vice Dean of the Gillings School of Public Health in March. Dr. Smith will retain his adjunct appointment as a lecturer and will also serve as an operations consultant for UNC Neurology to help guide the completion of several strategically important initiatives. We are thankful for his exceptional leadership over the past ten years. Daily Tar Heel article >
The Faculty Satisfaction Committee is accepting Wellness Mini-Grant proposals for the funding of enjoyable activities to be shared by small groups of staff. Please submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more >
The NC School of Science and Mathematics Mentorship Program finds researchers to mentor students in often their first experience in real world research. Opportunities to mentor a student this summer and/or academic year 2022-2023 are now available. NCSSM mentorship students applied to participate and were granted admission based on merit. Learn more >
Honors / Awards / Recognition
Neurology Today lists the article by James F. Howard, Jr, MD, and other researchers, “Safety, efficacy, and tolerability of efgartigimod in patients with generalised myasthenia gravis (ADAPT): a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial” as a top editorial pick for “The News That Mattered in 2021.” The Lancet Neurology, July 2021
In January, William J. Powers, MD, was appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry as Commissioning Editor in charge of soliciting review articles.
UNC Neurology has been invited to join Epi25 through the efforts of Senyene Hunter, MD, PhD, and the Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative team. Epi25 is an NHGRI-funded collaborative committed to curing genetic epilepsies. Patients who meet the broad enrollment criteria will receive sponsored whole genome sequencing.
Monica Diaz, MD, MS, is the lead PI for her recently funded project, “A vulnerability index for cognitive impairment risk in Latin America.” The Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity offers $150,000 over three years starting July 1. In collaboration with colleagues from the Peruvian Neurological Institute in Lima, Peru and UCSF Memory & Aging Center, the study seeks to evaluate the epidemiology of neurocognitive disorders in two districts of Lima, Peru (one socioeconomically vulnerable and one affluent), assessing individual-level data pertaining to social, behavioral and environmental determinants of brain health. This will be the first large-scale door-to-door study seeking to expand our understanding of cognitive resilience and potentially modifiable neurocognitive disorder risk factors in Latin America.
Steven Trau, MD, is coinvestigator of “A novel perspective on mental illness in children: Investigation of the association between Bartonella and Borrelia infection and pediatric Tourette’s disorder using serology and a novel droplet digital PCR approach.” Grant amount: $75,192.
Ian Shih, PhD, and two Duke researchers were awarded with a $50,000 Duke/UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Norins Pilot Award. The team will work to establish preliminary data exploring the interaction of P. gingivalis infection (the keystone bacteria associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease) and the APOE genotype (recognized as one of the largest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s Disease) in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
NC TraCS awarded funding for a $5K-50K grant application submitted by Rebecca Traub, MD, and Xiaoyan Li, MD, PhD, (former UNC Neurology resident) titled, “Predictive modeling of disease-modifying immunophenotypes in ALS patients.” Learn more >
UCB Biosciences announced positive top line results for its study, “RAISE: A Phase 3, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Confirm the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Zilucoplan in Subjects with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis.” James F. Howard, Jr, MD was the global principal investigator for the trial. Manisha Chopra, MBBS, was the study coordinator. Learn more >
Yael Shiloh-Malawsky, MD, is the principal investigator for two multicenter studies:
- Ataxia UK grant for UNC site of the international DRPLA (Haw River disease) natural history study;
- UNC site for clinical trial of fenfluramine in genetic epilepsy associated with CDKL5 gene.
James F. Howard, Jr., MD, was co-author of three articles:
- “Clinical and Genetic Characteristics in Young, Glucocorticoid-Naive Boys With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” Neurology, December 2021.
- “Pathogenic TNF-alpha drives peripheral nerve inflammation in an Aire-deficient model of autoimmunity,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, January 2022.
- “Identification of genetic risk loci and prioritization of genes and pathways for myasthenia gravis: a genome-wide association study,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, February 2022.
Timothy Gershon, MD, PhD, was a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center team that demonstrated that a nanoparticle-formulated drug combination is effective in medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain tumor. The team believes this laboratory success could be translated into a less toxic treatment. Science Advances, January 26, 2022; Lineberger News article
Claudia Testa, MD, PhD, co-authored a book, “Tremors” to be published by Oxford University Press in March 2022. The book includes a chapter with first authorship by PGY2 resident, Laura de Lima Xavier, MD.
Miriam Sklerov, MD, MS; Nina Browner, MD; David Rubinow, MD; Eran Dayan, PhD; and Flavio Frohlich, PhD, co-authored “Autonomic and depression symptoms in Parkinson’s disease: clinical evidence for overlapping physiology” in Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, February 2022.
Gary Jay, MD, co-authored “Trigeminal neuralgia and persistent idiopathic facial pain (atypical facial pain),” Disease-a-Month, January 2022.
Monica Diaz, MD, MS, co-authored, “HIV and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Current HIV/AIDS Reports, January 2022.
Dr. Diaz also co-authored an abstract, “Cognitive Predictors of Everyday Functioning in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study,” presented as a poster at the Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Feb 12-16, 2022.
Jamie K. Capal, MD, co-authored, “The research landscape of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex-Associated Neuropsychiatric Disorders (TAND)—a comprehensive scoping review,” Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, February 2022.
James F. Howard Jr – Invited Lectures / Visiting Professor
- Lecturer, Nancy Law Inaugural Keynote Address to the Annual National Patient Conference of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, “Hear My Voice, Hear Our Voices,” February 10.
- Lecturer, 14th Annual Neuroscience Conference (ANC), “Targeting the Acetylcholine Receptor in Myasthenia Gravis” (by webcast). University of Alexandria, Alexandria Egypt, February 23.
Clio Rubinos, MD, MS, gave an online talk on encephalogram monitoring in the critical care setting during the Spanish Symposium at the American of Clinical Neurophysiology Society Meeting in January.
Monica Diaz, MD, moderated the online Global Neurology panel, “Are Lessons Learned from Global Neurology Research applicable to the Local Reality in the U.S.?,” at the Neurotherapeutics Symposium 2022: Integrating Equity within Translational Research on January 29, 2022.
Miriam Sklerov, MD, MS, presented “Management pearls in parkinsonism – typical and atypical” at the North Carolina Neurological Society meeting in February.
Xiaoyang Li, MBBS, (PGY4) presented a poster, “Recurrent Primary Cutaneous Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma in a Multiple Sclerosis Patient Treated With Fingolimod,” at the 2022 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 24. Authors: Xiaoyang Li, Anne Beaven (Hem/Onc) and Dr. Li’s mentor, Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD.
Diana Cejas, MD, MPH, presented “Writing as Rehabilitation: Creativity’s Role in Survivorship” during UNC Palliative Care’s grand rounds on February 16.
Heidi Roth, MD, presented “Sleep, Memory and Dementia” during UNC Psychiatry’s grand rounds on February 9.
Yasmeen Rauf, MD, presented “CAR-T for GBM at the UNC Chapel Hill” during UNC Neurology’s grand rounds on January 6.
Steven Trau, MD, presented:
- “Pediatric Movement Disorders” at the Neurology Teaching Conference on February 23.
- “Investigating the Link between Tics and the COVID-19 Pandemic” at UNC Neurology’s grand rounds on February 10.
- “Tourette Syndrome” at Duke Neurology’s noon conference on February 2.
- “Tourette Syndrome” at the UNC Department of Psychology’s teaching conference on January 31.
Susan Wilson, DNP, ANP-C, FAHA, presented “Secondary Stroke Prevention Recommendations and the Role of the Nurse” at the International Stroke Conference Nursing Symposium on February 8.
Thank you to the organizers and panelists of the UNC Neurology Career Forum hosted by the DEI Committee on March 3. Thirty-six students in attended from over 100 registrants from high schools, colleges and universities from across the state. Sessions offered included talks by our neurodiagnostic technologists, neurologists, residents, APP’s and researchers. We hope the event influenced some bright young minds from diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in the neurosciences.
Thanks to Yasmeen Rauf, MD, Neurology team leader, and everyone who participated or donated to the Head for the Cure 5K Run/Walk on February 27 in Southern Village, Chapel Hill. UNC Neurology and Neurosurgery, along with the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative, will receive a portion of the $40,000 raised.
Join the UNC Neuro-Heels team and support the Walk MS on April 2 in Raleigh! This event brings together a community of passionate people to connect and raise funds. LaShonda Meadows, LCSW, is this year’s team captain. Register/Donate >
The next ADRD IDEAS Forum will feature Dr. Rashmita Basu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at ECU who will be speaking about the psychological wellbeing of dementia patients and caregivers, and the promise of music therapy. All trainees (fellows, postdocs, junior faculty, residents, research associates, etc.) interested in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) are invited to attend the Interaction- and Discussion-Enablers for Alzheimer’s disease Science (IDEAS) Forum. Join the ADRD IDEAS Forum listserv to receive future announcements directly.
The first Symposium for Learning about Alzheimer’s disease-related Medical research at Duke and UNC (SLAM-DUNC) will be held Friday and Saturday, June 24 – 25 at the Duke Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center. The symposium is open to researchers, clinicians, and trainees from Duke, UNC, NCCU, UNC-Pembroke, and ECU and will include research presentations from REC Scholars and trainees, a poster session, networking sessions, information about ADRC core resources. A call for abstracts will be sent out in the coming weeks.
James F. Howard, MD, was interviewed by Neurology Live as part of Rare Disease Day: Expert Interviews on Rare Neurological Diseases. In addition, Dr. Howard was interviewed by CheckRare on Treatment Options for Myasthenia Gravis.
Bradley Vaughn, MD, contributed to an AARP article, “Five Bad Health Habits and How to Break Them.”
Yasmeen Rauf, MD, was interviewed for a Head for the Cure Spotlight Article on February 7.
Steven Trau, MD, was interviewed for a UNC Health article, “Tics are uncontrollable, and completely normal” that was later published on the WRAL website.