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Welcome new Faculty and APP’s!

Gwenn A. Garden, MD, PhD Gwenn Garden, MD, PhD, joined UNC Neurology as the department chair in August. Dr. Garden comes to us from the University of Washington where she was serving as the Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology. Garden completed her undergraduate education at Northwestern University and received her MD and a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington. Following residency training and a research fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Longwood Neurology Training Program, Garden joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 2000. Learn more >
Matthew Field Sharrock, MD Matthew Field Sharrock, MD, is an assistant professor of neurology in neurocritical care. Dr. Sharrock received his MD from the University of Illinois and finished his residency at the University of Kansas in 2017. Last June, he completed both research and clinical fellowships in neurocritical care at Johns Hopkins University. His research is focused on improving the accuracy and limiting the uncertainty in critical measurements at inflection points in the course of patient care. Dr. Sharrock is board certified in neurology.
Jorge L. Almodóvar-Suárez, MD Jorge L. Almodóvar-Suárez, MD, joined the Division of General Neurology in July as an associate professor. Dr. Almodóvar-Suárez received his MD at the University of Puerto Rico, interned in internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, and finished his residency training at Boston University. He completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at the University of Rochester in 2011, and moved on to the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine where he was an assistant professor of neurology, medical co-director of the MDA clinic, medical director of the EEG laboratory and ALS clinic, and neurology residency site coordinator. Dr. Almodóvar-Suárez is board certified in neurology and neurophysiology.
Steven Trau, MD Steven P. Trau, MD, is an assistant professor with the Child Neurology Division. Dr. Trau received his MD from Emory University and interned in general pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. He continued at EVMS for a residency in general pediatrics and then completed a child neurology residency at Duke University. Dr. Trau is board certified in general pediatrics.


Erin Carrier, LCSW, is the new social worker for the Division of Epilepsy. Erin completed a BA in English from the College of William and Mary in 1993, and a Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill in 2007.

Margaret Macomson, AGNP, recently joined the Division of General Neurology. She received her BS in finance and international business management from UNC Wilmington. She later received a BS in nursing from UNC Greensboro in 2015, and a Master of Nursing from Duke University in 2018.

The Division of Neurocritical Care has four new members:

Kathryn Roach, MSN, APRN, AGACNP-BC, graduated from Belmont University in 2012 with a BS in biology. She received a MS in nursing from Vanderbilt University in 2018.

Nathan Steiner, MSPAS, PA-C, received a BS in biology in 2014, and an MS in physician assistant studies in 2016 from the University of Mount Union.

Blythe Strickland, MS, AGACNP, RN, CCRN, graduated with a BS in nursing from Cedar Crest College in 2004, and an MS in nursing from Georgetown University in 2017.

Jessica Werdel, MSN, ACNP, received a BS degree in nursing from the University of Rhode Island in 2006, and a MS in nursing from Duke University in 2011.

Department News

Winnie Lau, MD, assumed responsibilities as the Associate Program Director for the Adult Neurology Residency program on October 7.

Rhonda Cadena, MD, will serve as Interim Chief for the Division of Neurocritical Care upon Dr. Dedrick Jordan’s departure at the end of 2019.

Quality Improvement Patient Advisory CouncilThe UNC Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery are recruiting patients and caregivers to serve on the Patient and Family Advisory Council as part of our Quality Improvement program. Contact Caroline Kegerreis at for more information.

UNC Neurology is hiring and we welcome your referrals. Ask potential candidates to visit this web page for links to all available faculty, advanced-practice provider, research and staff opportunities.

Grants / Gifts / Honors

Hillsborough Hospital
UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus

UNC Neurology is proud to announce the establishment of the Bodford Family Transverse Myelitis Center thanks to a generous gift from the Alvin M. Bodford family. Projected to open this fall on the UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus, the Center will offer a multidisciplinary team of experts who will develop an individualized treatment strategy for each patient. Future plans for the Center include clinical research, patient education, and professional training on all aspects of transverse myelitis care. Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, will staff the clinic one day a week.

Todd Cohen, PhD, and his lab were awarded a Department of Defense ALS grant to study a drug that may treat ALS in an animal model. The award is for $500,000 over two years in collaboration with NC State investigator, Dr. Michael Bereman.

NIH HEAL Initiative grant recipient Weili Lin, PhD, will lead a $524,813 project to enhance outcomes for infants and children exposed to opioids in multiple ways. Learn more >

James F. Howard, Jr, MD, was selected as one of the winners of the EAN Investigator Award 2019 for his presentation at the 5th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Oslo, Norway.

Carolyn Zook Lewis, MSN, CPNP-PC/AC, PMHS, and ketogenic dietician, Jennifer Wills-Gallagher, wrote and received a $1,400 grant from Carolina for the Kids. The funds are being used to provide supplies to families of children who are starting the ketogenic diet.

The Kevin Robertson Clinical Research Award was created last July in memory of Kevin Robertson Ph.D. An award of $500 will be given annually to the UNC Neurology resident judged by the award committee to have undertaken the best clinical research project. To contribute, please visit: Professor emeritus Colin Hall, MD wrote this remembrance of his dear friend and colleague.

Rhonda Cadena, MD, was elected into the Society of Critical Care Medicine Neuroscience Steering Committee.

Congratulations to our Employee of the Month award recipients! Thank you for all that you do for the department!

  • June – Angie Glover
  • July – Lindsay Corder
  • August – Sue Field
  • September – Wendy Sitero
  • October – LaToya Lyons


The late Kevin R. Robertson, PhD, was co-lead author of a study published in the July 15 edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study found that nearly half of the cells sampled from the cerebrospinal fluid of HIV patients had viral DNA, even though the patients had been on antiretroviral treatment for several years.

James F. Howard, MD, along with other researchers published:

  • MG Study Group: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of FcRn antagonist efgartigimod in generalized myasthenia gravis. Neurology
  • Management of myasthenia gravis without significant exacerbation during nivolumab therapy for metastatic melanoma: a case report and review of the literature. Annals of Clinical Oncology
  • Clinical Outcome Measures Following Plasma Exchange for MG Exacerbation. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Manisha Chopra, MD, co-author
  • Estimating Degree of Mechanical Anisotropy in Dystrophic and Control Rectus Femoris in Boys Using VisR Ultrasound. Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium. Manisha Chopra, MD, co-author

Little Black BookRecently graduated residency alumni – Drs. Luke Barr, Pola Chojecka and Fausto Ordonez –  contributed to the widely known and well-respected, The Little Black Book of Neurology (6th edition).

Susan Wilson, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, and Luigi Troiani, PA, MHS, published an article in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners titled, Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Management by the Advanced Practice Provider.


Dr. Roque - Congress of PD and MD 2019
Daniel Roque, MD

Two members of the Movement Disorders team and one of our residents traveled to Nice, France in late September for the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Posters and presentations included:

  • Daniel Roque, MD, presenting investigator initiated data on Reducing ataxic side effects from VIM DBS implantation in essential tremor: advantages of directional stimulation; 
  • Miriam Sklerov, MD, presenting Hypothalamic functional connectivity correlates with autonomic symptom burden in patients with Multiple System Atrophy.
  • Chief Resident Amalia Peterson, MD, presenting Differences in resting state fMRI can help distinguish multiple system atrophy and Parkinson disease.

James F. Howard, Jr., MD, presented multiple lectures around the world:

  • Visiting Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Department of Neurology Grand Rounds, September 27
  • Visiting Professor, University of Vermont School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience Grand Rounds, Burlington, VT, October 4
  • Invited Lecturer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Complement – the New Strategy for Autoimmune Disease, Tarrytown, NY, September 6
  • Invited Lecturer, Annual Muscle Study Group Meeting, Complement Inhibition in Myasthenia Gravis, Snowbird, UT, September 22
  • Wismer Lecture on Myasthenia Gravis, Complement, A New Paradigm for the Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, September 27
  • Keynote Address at the 10th Annual Myasthenia Gravis Patient Education Day, Emerging Therapies for the Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, September 28
  • Presentations at 5th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, Oslo, Norway, June 30;
    2019 Muscle Study Group Annual Scientific Meeting, September 21, Snowbird, Utah;
    92nd Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurologie (DGN), September 25–28, Stuttgart, Germany;
    IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS), Glasgow, Scotland, October 8;
    and upcoming presentations at the Annual Scientific Session of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Austin, TX, October 16. Learn more >

Presentations made by Gary Jay, MD, during the PAINWeek Conference at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas in early September include:

  • When Darkness Falls: Managing Pain in Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Blinded by the Light: Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
  • The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight: Reconsidering the CDC Guidelines

Nansi Greger-Holt, RN, MPH, MSN, made three presentations including:

  • A keynote talk titled, Best Practice for Quality Care for People with FTD at the NC Dementia Alliance on July 12;
  • An interview on a Stitcher podcast titled, Stages of FTD and assessing when and how to intervene on August 22;
  • A talk titled, Dementia Quality Measures and Best Practices on September 14 at the annual conference for the Southeast Chapter of the Aging Life Care Association.
Dr. Kaufer at Lewy Body Dementia Seminar
L to R: Jessica Ferrall; Johanna Silbersack, MSW; Daniel Kaufer, MD; Carlos Velez

Daniel Kaufer, MD, and his team – Jessica Ferrall; Johanna Silbersack, MSW; and Carlos Velez – attended the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina’s Lewy Body Dementia Seminar on August 16 at the Archie Davis Center in the Research Triangle Park. Dr. Kaufer presented clinical and research updates on LBD.

Dr. Kaufer also presented a public lecture titled, Minding Your Brain and Brain Health Registry on October 7 at the Meadowmont Wellness Center.

Rhonda Cadena, MD, presented an EMS fellow lecture titled, Emergency Medical Response to Neurological Emergencies on September 17.

Robert Smith III, PhD, presented a talk on physician leadership at the Hematology/Oncology Scientific Retreat at the Rizzo Center on October 4.


Gary Jay, MD, contributed to an article on the Practical Pain website titled, Fibromyalgia: What’s New in Diagnosis and Pain Management. Dr. Jay was also quoted on the MedPage Today website in an article titled, Pain Specialists Pile on CDC Opioid Guidelines.

Diana Cejas, MD, was quoted in an article on MedPage Today titled, More Attention Needed on Misdiagnosis, Experts Say.

Kaufer news story 2019Dan Kaufer, MD, gave advice on how to help safeguard loved ones with memory disorders in this ABC Channel 11 video interview (embedded within a story).

Hae Won Shin, MD, and two of her patients share their experience with the RNS system by Neuropace in this nationally syndicated video.


NMO Patient Day

Organized by Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD, and a planning team, UNC Neurology hosted North Carolina’s first Neuromyelitis Optica Patient Day on Sept. 28 with experts from UNC, Duke Neurology, Raleigh Neurology Associates, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Neurology Consultants of Tidewater. Participants learned about the latest treatments and made new social and professional connections within the NMO community.

NMO Patient Day 2019
NMO Patient Day participants
NMO Patient Day - Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD
Irena Dujmovic Basuroski, MD

Parkinson’s Workshop

The UNC and Duke Movement Disorders Centers co-hosted “Love and Parkinson’s: Maintaining Strong Partnerships for Couples” on September 13. Twenty-five couples impacted by Parkinson’s attended this five-hour workshop which focused on staying connected through the Parkinson’s journey through education and hands-on activities. Topics included coping with the diagnosis and challenging symptoms for Parkinson’s, sex and intimacy, and practicing honest and effective communication.

Family Day

On October 5, the Neurology Department shared a day of community, food and fun at Cedar Grove Park in Hillsboro. It was beautiful day to gather together and meet the families. More photos >

Family Day 2019 

Family Day 2019  Family Day 2019

Upcoming Event

Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Care for Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis on Nov. 7-8 in at Eastern AHEC in Greenville, NC. Register >