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Photos of Dr. Rubinos and Sklerov who both received the UNC School of Medicine Physician Scientist Training Program Faculty Award.The UNC Department of Neurology is proud to announce that neurologists Clio Rubinos and Miriam Sklerov have both received UNC School of Medicine Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) Faculty Awards. The department nominated the two physicians for the award and a committee of UNC physician scientists selected awardees from 11 different departments after consideration of nominees from all other participating departments.

The PSTP program supports the career development of physician scientists at two stages: the resident/fellowship level and the early stage faculty level. The faculty award provides $55,000 per year support towards salary-related expenses and an additional $25,000 per year to support the awardee’s research projects.

The two trainees will enter a career development training program with peer-level physician scientists across multiple clinical disciplines. Each awardee will receive two years of support from the program and have at least 50% of their effort protected for research endeavors. In addition, each trainee will participate in program meetings and establish an advisory committee that includes a research mentor, the PSTP director, and two or three other scientists.

Research Project Descriptions:

Clio Rubinos, MD, MS

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a silent epidemic and affects about 1.7 million people in the USA and 69 million worldwide, causing extensive long-term disability and mortality. In addition to the primary brain injury received from a TBI, patients may develop acute symptomatic seizures (ASyS) and post-traumatic epilepsy. People treated by neurocritical care specialists in tertiary care centers have better chance of avoiding these secondary brain injuries, allowing for an improved recovery and reincorporation into society.

In an effort to help prevent these secondary injuries, Dr. Rubinos’ research project, “Neuroinflammatory Markers and the Risk of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy,” involves the quantitative analysis of critical care electroencephalography and neuroimaging for the detection of biomarkers associated with the development of ASyS and post-traumatic epilepsy in patients with TBI.

Miriam Sklerov, MD, MS

Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that is comprised of both motor and non-motor symptoms. There have been exciting developments in the treatment of motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease over the past 50 years. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that much of the morbidity and mortality seen in Parkinson’s disease stems from non-motor symptoms, which are often difficult to treat.

For her research project, Dr. Sklerov will recruit people with Parkinson’s disease to undergo electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation to better understand the underpinnings of Parkinson’s disease non-motor symptoms. The test results may potentially lead to the development of novel treatments for non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.