UNC Adult Neurology now offers Ambulatory E-Consults to referring providers. The new e-consult service allows referring primary care providers to receive comprehensive and timely recommendations from UNC Department of Neurology specialists. Learn more >
Duke and UNC have joined forces on an ambitious new program called the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Collaborative, which aims to detect, delay or even prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Learn more >
The Department is excited to announce our new residents and fellows!
- Adult Neurology Residents: Kelby Brown, Jr.; Xem Biu; Amanda Crooks; Claire Hall; Nikoloz Karazanashvili; Luke Kupcha; Aaron Meller
- Child Neurology Residents: Stacey Chung; Holly Phillipe
- Sleep Medicine Fellows: Katelyn Bricker; Shakeel Tabish
- Neuromuscular Fellow: Eric Creed
- Epilepsy Fellows: Marium Jamil; Hazem Albandar
- Neurocritical Care Fellows: Grace Dehoff; Mark Sayegh
Information about UNC’s Pediatric Clinic for Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders is now available online.
Kayla Moore, MHA, former Neurology Clinic Manager, is now a business practice improvement manager with the UNC Medical Center’s Clinical Operations Support team.
Awards / Honors / Achievements
James Howard, MD, received the 2021 Medical Professional of the Year award by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. MGF gives this award to a medical professional who consistently achieves high standards in the practice of MG medicine, and who is a leader and role model by their peers. The recipient exemplifies excellence and dedication towards advancing the field while sharing expertise to educate the medical and patient community.
Monica Diaz, MD, was named as a UNC School of Medicine Simmons Scholar. The Simmons Scholars Program offers support to faculty members from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine, while also placing an emphasis on building a community of scholars that spans multiple disciplines.
Suzette LaRoche, MD, FACNS, was elected as president of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.
Susan Wilson, DNP, RN, MSN, ANP-C, was nominated for the University Managers Association (UMA) 2021 Manager of the Year Award. The award is based on university career accomplishments, both within and beyond normal job responsibilities, or a specific accomplishment made within the previous twelve months that has been of major significance. The final recipient of the award will be announced at the Annual UMA Meeting on May 27.
Miriam Sklerov, MD, was appointed as CME Director for UNC Neurology Grand Rounds, effective July 1.
Congratulations to our new Adult Neurology Chief residents: Sidd Ninan, MD; Fazila Aseem, MD, MPH; Dan Panebianco, MD; and our new Child Neurology Chief Resident Sonia Varghese, MD, MPH, MBA.
Kacynta Gardner, an EEG technologist, recently obtained her R. EEG T. through the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET).
NC TraCS awarded funding for a $5K-$50K grant application submitted by Yen-Yu Ian Shih, PhD, titled, “A new fMRI method with superior sensitivity, no geometric distortion, and negligible acoustic noise.”
The Carolina for the Kids Foundation accepted the grant proposal submitted by pediatric clinical social worker, Alyssa Draffin, MSW, LCSW, for eight Embrace2 seizure detections watches. Selection criteria include financial need, the presence of convulsive seizures, and ability to pay $10 for a monthly subscription. Please contact Alyssa if you have a patient in need.
Research / Publications
William Powers, MD, published “Clinical Utility of Echocardiography in Secondary Ischemic Stroke Prevention,” Chapter 31 in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, “Heart and Neurologic Disease,” Elsevier, 2021.
Dr. Powers also co-authored, “Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism: Regulation and Pathophysiology in Cerebrovascular Disease,” Chapter 3 in “Stroke: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management,” Elsevier, 2021.
The UNC Stroke Center participated in an international retrospective study studying the impact of COVID on global acute stroke care. David Huang, MD, PhD, co-authored the resulting article, “Global Impact of COVID-19 on Stroke Care and Intravenous Thrombolysis,” Neurology, March 2021.
Susan Wilson, DNP, RN, MSN, ANP-C, co-authored, “Care of the Patient with Acute Ischemic Stroke (prehospital and acute phase of care): Update to the 2009 Comprehensive Nursing Care Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association,” Stroke, March 2021 (online).
James F. Howard, Jr., MD, co-authored:
- “ Zilucoplan: an investigational complement C5 inhibitor for the treatment of acetylcholine receptor autoantibody–positive generalized myasthenia gravis,” Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, April 2021.
- “Reduced plasmablast frequency is associated with seronegative myasthenia gravis,” Muscle Nerve, April 2021. (Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers)
Jui-Heng Tseng, Aditi Ajit, Zarin Tabassum, Niyati Patel, Xu Tian, Youjun Chen, Rick Meeker, and Todd Cohen along with other researchers co-authored, “Tau seeds are subject to aberrant modifications resulting in distinct signatures,” Cell Reports, April 2021.
Monica Diaz, MD, co-authored:
- “Neurological manifestations of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 attending a public hospital in Lima, Peru,” eNeurologicalSci, June 2021 (senior author).
- “Paresthesia Predicts the Development of Incident Neuropathic Pain in Older People with HIV-associated Sensory Polyneuropathy,” Pain Medicine, February 2021 (first author).
- “Aging with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean: A systematic review,” Current HIV/AIDS Reports, February 2021 (co-first author).
- “Detection of toxoplasmic encephalitis in HIV positive patients in urine with hydrogel nanoparticles,” PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, March 2021.
- “Neurocognitive impairment in Spanish-speaking Latinos living with HIV in the US: Application of the neuropsychological norms for the US-Mexico border region in Spanish (NP-NUMBRS),” Clinical Neuropsychologist, February 2021.
- “Los desafíos en la continuidad de atención de personas viviendo con VIH en el Perú durante la pandemia de la COVID-19,”[Challenges to the continuity of care of people living with HIV throughout the COVID-19 crisis in Peru]. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica, February 2021.
Jane Fan, MD, co-authored, “A Voluntary Statewide Newborn Screening Pilot for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Results from Early Check,” International Journal of Neonatal Screening, March 2021.
Anahit Mehrabyan, MD, and alumnus Steven Palmer, MD, co-authored with other researchers, “Defining the Diversity of HNRNPA1 Mutations in Clinical Phenotype and Pathomechanism,” medRxiv, February 2021.
In April, the Movement Disorders Division became a study site for PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease, a national initiative that offers genetic testing for clinically relevant Parkinson’s-related genes and genetic counseling at no cost for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Adult Neurology resident, Laura de Lima Xavier, MD, co-authored, “Association of Sinonasal Inflammation with Functional Brain Connectivity,” JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, April 2021.
Invited Lectures / Presentations / Panels (Virtual)
William Powers, MD, presented three invited talks:
- “Meet the Expert” and “Case Vignettes from the 2019 Update of the Guidelines for the Early Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke” at the AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference, March 18, 2021.
- “StrokeLore: Pearls Made of Clay” Annual Endowed Kaplan Lecture, Department of Neurology Grand Rounds, New York University School of Medicine, March 9, 2021.
James Howard, MD, presented:
- UCB Industry Forum for the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) 2021 Spring Virtual Conference, “The balancing act in generalized myasthenia gravis management,” March 4, 2021.
Presentations at Meetings
- “Safety of eculizumab in MG and NMOSD – analysis of the phase 3 studies REGAIN and PREVENT and their extensions.” Eposter presented at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Virtual and Clinical Scientific Conference, March 15-18, 2021. (Co-author)
- “Real-World Use of Eculizumab in Generalized Myasthenia Gravis in the United States: Results From a Pilot Retrospective Chart-Review Study.” Eposter presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, April 17-22, 2021. (Co-author)
- “Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Efgartigimod in Patients With Generalized Myasthenia Gravis: Analysis of the Phase 3 ADAPT Study.” Paper read at the Clinical Trials Plenary Session of the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, April 20, 2021. (Co-authored with Manisha Chopra, MBBS, and other researchers)
- Interview with Neurology Today Editor-in-Chief Joseph E. Safdieh regarding the clinical implications of the new Efgartigimod research presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.
Monica Diaz, MD, presented:
- “Characterization of cognitive impairment among Peruvians living with HIV” at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Annual 2021 Meeting during the “Training the Next Generation of Global Health Researchers: The NIH-Fogarty Global Health Fellows Programs” scientific session; March 12, 2021.
- Stroke in the setting of COVID-19 infection among patients attending a public hospital in Lima, Peru. E-poster at American Academy of Neurology Annual 2021 Meeting, April 17-21, 2021 (co-author)
- “Knowledge and impact of COVID-19 on middle-aged and older people living with HIV in Lima, Peru.” E-poster at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Annual 2021 Meeting, March 12-18, 2021. (co-first author)
Bradley Vaughn, MD, presented, “Sleep and Epilepsy” at the 2021 North Carolina Academy of Sleep Medicine virtual conference on February 27.
Rebecca Traub, MD, will be a panelist for the Southeastern US Amyloidosis Support Groups Webinar on ATTRv and ATTRwt Amyloidosis on May 15.
Resident presentations at the 2021 virtual North Carolina Neurological Society Annual Meeting on February 27-28 included the following:
- Siddarth Ninan, MBBS, (PGY3) presented, “Anti-CD20 immunotherapy in MS: Challenges in the age of COVID-19,” under the mentorship of Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD.
- Xiaoyang Li, MD, (PGY3) presented, “String of pearls in the spinal cord: a novel magnetic resonance imaging sign in spinal cord sarcoidosis,” under the mentorship of Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD.
- Carolyn Tsai, MD, (PGY3) and Abigail O’Reggio, MD (PGY2) presented, “Two Cases of Cocaine Induced Bilateral Hippocampal Infarction,” under the mentorship of Anahit Mehrabyan, MD, and Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD.
- Fazila Aseem, MD, MPH, (PGY3) Timothy Landis, MD, (PGY2) Israel Saramago, MD, (Neuroradiology fellow) presented, “Osmotic Demyelinating Syndrome Secondary to Glycemic Fluctuation” under the mentorship of Anahit Mehrabyan, MD.
- Timothy Landis, MD, (PGY2) presented “An Atypical Presentation of Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like Episodes (MELAS),” under the mentorship of William Powers, MD, and William Hannah, MD (Department of Genetics).
Additional Resident Virtual Poster Presentations:
- Xiaoyang Li, MD, (PGY3) presented, “Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis in a pediatric patient with spinal arteriovenous malformation, at the ACTRIMS Forum, February 25-27, 2021 under the mentorship of Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD.
- Carolyn Tsai, MD, (PGY3) presented, “An Adult Case of Leptomeningeal Enhancement in H1N1 Associated Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis” at the AAN 2021 Annual Meeting, April 7-22, 2021 under the mentorship of Anahit Mehrabyan, MD.
- Dr. Tsai also presented, “Brain Responsive Stimulation for Treatment of Refractory Frontal Lobe Epilepsy” at the AAN 2021 Annual Meeting under the mentorship of Hae Won Shin, MD.
The Duke/UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Collaborative is hosting an online Alzheimer’s Disease Symposium: “Infection and Inflammation: New Perspectives on Alzheimer’s Disease” on Thursday, May 27, 9am – 5:30pm. More information >
Representatives of the MS/Neuroimmunology Division and the UNC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation teamed up as “UNC Neuro-Heels” to support Walk MS Raleigh, an interactive online experience held on April 10, 2021. Fifty team members raised $3,310, earning the 14th highest amount out of 92 total teams.
Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, virtually participated and supported a MS Walk-A-Thon on March 20, 2021, organized by the Locklear family in Maxton, NC. The event raises funds and generates awareness of MS in the local community. Ms. Mary Locklear and her family have donated funds in the past to support UNC educational projects for people with MS.