Neuroendocrinologist Dr. Atil Kargi joined the UNC Pituitary Center team as a Professor and Co-director of the Pituitary Center in the Department of Neurosurgery.
Dr. Kargi specializes in diseases of the pituitary gland including pituitary tumors, hypopituitarism, Cushing’s disease, Acromegaly, Prolactinoma, adult growth hormone deficiency, and diabetes insipidus. Dr. Kargi will work closely with UNC Health endocrinologist, Dr. Elizabeth Harris, to provide the best care possible for patients with pituitary disease. “Our goal is to be recognized regionally and also nationally as a destination for patients with complex pituitary disorders to be referred to for surgical and medical management of their conditions,” said Dr. Kargi.
Early in his medical school training, Dr. Kargi was fascinated by endocrinology. Dr. Kargi is a clinical neuroendocrinologist, focusing on the care of patients with diseases of the pituitary gland. The diagnosis and treatment of pituitary disorders is often more complex and challenging than other endocrine disorders. Dr. Kargi enjoys the complex thought process and decision making involved in caring for patients with pituitary disorders.
Diseases of the pituitary gland can cause dramatic changes in the physical appearance and the health of patients, many of whom have experienced symptoms for years before receiving a proper diagnosis. “I am excited to be able to offer the newest diagnostic modalities and medical treatments available to help our pituitary patients,” said Dr. Kargi.
Dr. Kargi’s research interests are focused on better understanding the biology of the pituitary gland and its hormones, and in improving diagnostic methods and medical therapies for patients with pituitary disorders. Dr. Kargi looks forward to being able to offer patients the option to join clinical trials for medications that are currently in development to better treat hormone disorders caused by pituitary tumors. “I have been involved in outcomes research developing databases of patients undergoing surgery for pituitary tumors with an aim to elucidate the factors affecting outcomes after surgery,” said Dr. Kargi. Dr. Kargi hopes to help grow the department’s outcomes research and clinical trials programs.
“I hope to collaborate with the many doctors and researchers here that make up our pituitary disorders program with a goal of building one of the top pituitary centers in the nation.”
Compared to other tumors, very little is understood about the mechanisms leading to pituitary tumor formation. “I am excited to collaborate with researchers at UNC Health to design and conduct research regarding the complex molecular biology that causes pituitary tumors to occur and grow.”
One unique aspect of caring for patients with pituitary tumors is that treatment requires a multidisciplinary team of physicians all working together to achieve the optimal outcome for each individual patient. The UNC Pituitary Center team includes physicians from specialties including neurosurgery, ENT, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, neurology, and ophthalmology. Dr. Kargi wants to continue to grow the pituitary tumor program, working alongside the other physicians that make up its multidisciplinary team. “I hope to collaborate with the many doctors and researchers here that make up our pituitary disorders program with a goal of building one of the top pituitary centers in the nation,” said Dr. Kargi.
Another unique aspect of caring for pituitary tumor patients is that some patients may require long-term hormone treatments. Dr. Kargi works hard to develop a positive doctor-patient relationship with each of his patients, especially those who will require long-term care. Dr. Kargi values involving the patient in the decision-making process, and has found that this can go a long way in improving a patient’s quality of life.
“Working with such a skilled surgeon who is equally dedicated to excellence in patient care and our academic mission is a dream come true for a neuroendocrinologist.”
Dr. Kargi is excited to join UNC Health and for the opportunity to work alongside giants in the fields of endocrinology and pituitary tumor surgery. “UNC Health has long been a nationally and internationally renowned medical institution, known for excellence in both patient care and cutting-edge research,” said Dr. Kargi. He followed the endocrinology division of UNC Chapel Hill for many years, personally benefitting from reading the publications and talking with Dr. David Clemmons, Professor Emeritus within the Division of Endocrinology. “Ultimately, the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Nelson Oyesiku, one of the world’s most experienced and accomplished pituitary surgeons, and to collaborate with the other specialists to form a highly cohesive multidisciplinary team to build a pituitary center of excellence, were the deciding factors that lead me to join UNC Health,” said Dr. Kargi. Dr. Oyesiku, who joined UNC Health as the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery back in the spring of 2021, is a renowned world leader in academic neurosurgery and a pioneer in the field of pituitary surgery. “Working with such a skilled surgeon who is equally dedicated to excellence in patient care and our academic mission is a dream come true for a neuroendocrinologist,” said Dr. Kargi.
Dr. Kargi is very fond of North Carolina as a state and looks forward to contributing to the health of the wonderful people in the region. He hopes to help provide a streamlined, well-coordinated experience for patients that may feel overwhelmed by having to see multiple specialists. The Pituitary Care Center coordinates all patient appointments so that each patient’s appointments are scheduled on the same day, eliminating the need for multiple trips to the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill. This is especially convenient for patients traveling from out of state for care.
In his spare time, Dr. Kargi enjoys playing tennis and guitar. He is an avid sports spectator, and enjoys hiking and snowboarding. He enjoys reading and watching documentaries, as well as traveling around the world and learning about other cultures.