NameDepartmentResearch TypeFunded?ContactResearch ThemeResearch Description
Adam ZanationOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalyesazanatio@med.unc.eduOutcomes and Genomics in Head/Neck, Transoral Robotic and Skull Base SurgeryHead and neck tumors are a diverse group of neoplasms that are typically treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery in the standard fashion has a number of swallowing, breathing and speaking deficients that can occur. Novel surgical approach such as endoscopic resection and robotic resections are reducing surgical morbidity. My research goals include studying novel surgical techniques for tumor outcomes, quality of life, cost and complications. Also, since my practice involves a significant number of orphan tumors, the study of the genomics of these tumors is important for future treatment options and treatment stratification.
Adam ZanationOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgeryclinicalnoadam_zanation@med.unc.eduOutcomes and quality of life research for head and neck neoplasmsThe goal of the my research interests include clinical, neurocognitive and quality of life outcomes in head and neck tumor surgery and skull base surgery. My Skull Base Oncology fellowship and my current practice emphasize minimally invasive surgical techniques and I have actively published on both technical advancements and prospective outcomes research in the area of endoscopic skull base surgery. My current clinical research involves hypothesis driven prospective trials on tumor related outcomes but also cost and indirect health outcomes such as quality of life, neurocognitive outcomes, and olfactory/cranial nerve functional outcomes. I also have a clinical interest in studying the impact of multidisciplinary care (such as interactive tumor boards and combined inter-specialty clinics) on treatment planning. My translational research involves genomic analysis of rare skull base tumors and salivary tumors for future therapeutic targets.
Aida Lugo-SomolinosOtherclinicalnoalugosom@med.unc.eduVariousInterests: Psoriasis, Contact dermatitis, Hand dermatitis, Skin diseases in Hispanics
Ajay GulatiPediatricsbasicnoagulati@med.unc.eduMicrobial influences in inflammatory bowel diseasesMy lab is interested in developing safer therapies for the treatment of children with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Presently, most medications used to treat these patients rely on suppression of the immune system and have a high potential for side effects. However, the immune system is only one of the factors that drives intestinal inflammation in IBD. Both the gut microbiota (the normal bacteria that live in our gut) and the intestinal epithelium can modulate host inflammatory responses. One cell type that lies at the intersection of the gut microbiota and the intestinal epithelium is the Paneth cell. These are intestinal epithelial cells that secrete natural antibiotics known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs, in turn, are able to modulate gut bacterial communities. Our overarching hypothesis is that augmenting Paneth cell function will help control gut bacterial communities to reduce chronic intestinal inflammation. To test this hypothesis, we utilize specimens from 2 sources: 1) Genetically-engineered mice that are susceptible to intestinal inflammation; and 2) Tissue and stool specimens from children with IBD. Interestingly, we have found that both susceptible mice, and IBD patients have Paneth cell abnormalities that our lab is in the process of characterizing. We expect this work will lead to novel, minimally-toxic therapies for IBD.
Alice AmmermanNutritiontranslationalnoalice_ammerman@unc.eduNutrition and physical activity for obesity/chronic disease prevention in underserved communities. Local food systems and food access.Design and testing of innovative clinical and community-based nutrition and physical activity intervention approaches for chronic disease risk reduction in primarily low income and minority populations. Dr. Ammerman has strong research and practice collaborations across the state addressing childhood obesity and was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to serve on the Childhood Obesity Study Committee, charged with recommending legislative action around childhood obesity. She is also PI of the Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation, charged with identification, translation, and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for obesity and cardiovascular disease control and prevention. More recent research interests focus on school nutrition policy associated with childhood obesity, sustainable agriculture as it relates to improved nutrition, and social entrepreneurship as a sustainable approach to addressing public health concerns.
Alice ChuangObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalyesachuang@med.unc.eduAnalysis of maternal obesity with delayed delivery of the fetus in the setting of cesarean section for nonreassuring fetal statusA common indication for cesarean section is concern for fetal status that arises during intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring. Delays to delivery in this setting are associated with increased risk of fetal hypoxic acidemia. There are many reasons to believe obese women are at higher risk for longer delivery intervals. It is our goal to see if there are delays in obese women and how they contribute to neonatal complications. (as summarized by Dr. Warshak)
This study stems from the \"Obesity Cohort Trial\" IRB 20123231.
The PI is Dr. Carri Warshak at the University of Cincinnati. I am serving as a local administrator and mentor.
Alison StuebeObstetrics & Gynecologytranslationalnoastuebe@med.unc.eduThe psychobiology of pregnancy, lactation, and mother-infant attachmentMy research focuses on mechanisms of maternal-infant interaction, with an emphasis on lactation and postpartum depression. In the Mood, Mother and Infant study, we are quantifying the role of oxytocin and HPA-axis dysregulation in postpartum depression and impaired mother-infant attachment. Our hypothesis is that PPD is associated with reduced oxytocin and maternal HPA axis dysregulation. These changes reduce maternal sensitivity, impairing dyadic development and increasing risk for insecure attachment. Participants join the study in the third trimester of pregnancy, and mothers and infants present for lab visits at 2, 6 and 12 months postpartum. Medical students have the opportunity to participate in study visits at the MotherInfant Biobehavioral Lab, working with mothers and infants to collect biological samples, heart rate variability data, and videotaped mother-infant interactions.
Amir H KhandaniRadiologyclinicalnokhandani@med.unc.eduPET ImagingI am an expert in positron emission tomography (PET). My research interests lie in understanding the basic principles of PET imaging with various radiotracers such as FDG (radioactive glucose) or FLT (radioactive thymidine), what their uptake in the cell means and how the information can be translated to the disease process.
Amy WeilGeneral Mediicine & Clinical Epidemiologyclinicalnoamy_weil@med.unc.eduProjects involving depression in primary care, humanism in medical education and intimate partner violenceCurrently we are reviewing and improving our Depression Screening and Treatment Program in our Internal Medicine Clinic and are working on projects to do so, leading to publication, including developing an anxiety screening and treatment program. We have also recently added a psychiatrist consultant and will be looking at how she assists us with complex patients.
I am currently working to expand humanities education for medical students and there may be opportunity to develop programs/analyze reflective writing pieces leading to publication.
Finally, we are working on initiatives to improve our detection of both depression and intimate partner violence in our Latino clinic.
A later project may involve detection of human trafficking victims in Latino clinic and elsewhere in our hospital and community.
Amy ShaheenInternal Med-General medicineclinicalnoshaheen@med.unc.eduquality and safety in primary careThe quality of care that one receives is variable. Some of the determinants of health include race, gender, socioeconomic status and education. Unfortunately, sometimes it also depends on where and by whom one gets care. Even within our system we see huge variations in care. I have been working for the last few years on decreasing variation in primary care. We have done that in a number of ways, including establishing registries, developing electronic health alerts, and engaging in quality improvement work. Some of the recent projects with which I have been involved include studying the variation of care in benzodiazepine and narcotic prescribing in the UNC IM clinic, decreasing variation of care in acute low back pain, and reducing variation in the pre-authorization process.
While quality improvement research is not new, our understanding of what makes a project sustainable is less so. The current project will look at factors that determine a sustainable project in 10 practices. The project will involve surveying participants, evaluating QI data, and creating a checklist to be passed to the next group working on a QI project in the practice. While \"hand-off documents\" have been used for patient care, they have not been tried for QI. The study will involve identifying key elements and getting feedback from participants. We will also have access to the QI data through the primary care collaborative for the practices where the participants will do their QI work. This data will help determine success of the projects.
Andrew WangRadiation Oncology Nanomedicinetranslationalyeszawang@med.unc.eduNano-and Translational MedicineMy research focuses on applying advances in nanotechnology and biomedical engineering to oncology. Our current research directions are (1) utilizing nanoparticle therapeutics to improve chemoradiotherapy treatment of cancer, (2) tissue engineer ex vivo liver and lung metastases for cancer research studies.
Nanomedicine is a relatively new branch of science that holds high potential in improving the treatment of many diseases, including cancer. Nanoparticles preferentially accumulate in tumors and there is high interest in developing nanoparticle drugs for cancer treatment. There are many nanoparticle drugs in clinical development. My lab develops novel formulations of nanoparticle drugs and evaluate them in animal models of cancer. We also work with commercial formulations (from companies) to obtain the preclinical data for future early phase clinical trials. Our work is very translational and innovative. We have filed 3 patents in the last two years.
Our other research direction is to engineer ex vivo models of cancer metastasis. We collaborate with Dr. Lola Reid and have developed a new liver metastasis model.
I am looking for hardworking students who want to challenge themselves with cutting edge science. Hardwork will be rewarded with co-authorship on manuscripts.
Andrew WangRadiation Oncology Nanomedicinetranslationalnozawang@med,unc.eduDeveloping nanoparticle-based chemotherapeutics and tissue engineering colorectal cancer liver metastasisMy laboratory aims to translate technological advances in engineering to novel cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. We have two major research directions. First, we are interested in the development of nanoparticle-based chemotherapeutics to improve chemoradiotherapy and systemic treatment of GI cancers. We formulate our own nanoparticles and compare them to commercial small molecules in mouse models of cancer. We also collaborate with Drs. Joseph DeSimone, Wenbin Lin and Leaf Huang to take advantage of their nanoparticle platforms. The second research direction in our laboratory involves applying advances in tissue engineering to developing an ex vivo (in vitro) 3D model of liver metastasis. Using decellularized liver we tissue, we have generated 3D colonies of colorectal cancer cell lines. We are in the process of characterizing these colonies and evaluation their potential for clinical application.
Andrey BortsovAnesthesiologytranslationalnoabortsov@aims.unc.eduGenetics and epigenetics of post-traumatic painWe employ a variety of computational and statistical approaches to identify genetic and epigenetic predictors of chronic musculoskeletal pain after trauma. Those include analyses of genetic polymorphisms and genome-wide DNA methylation. Students interested in learning advanced statistical and computational techniques using SAS, R, Haploview, etc are encouraged to contact me at
Andy KiserSurgeryclinicalnoandy_kiser@med.unc.eduFluid shifts during myocardial ablationThere is early clinical evidence that fluid shifts which occur during endocardial and epicardial ablation of myocardium for the treatment of atrial fibrillation are greater than expected. Evaluation of weight gain, net fluid balance, and serum oncotic markers may contribute to our understanding of these fluid shifts. Further, a better understanding of these clinical findings may lead us to a better understanding of the influence atrial naturetic peptide (ANP) may have.
My research initially is the clinical examination and comparison of patients undergoing independent and concomitant endocardial and epicardial myocardial ablation. Further, through the collection and examination of human cardiac tissue and by evaluation of serum markers, we may better be able to identify the contribution of ANP to fluid retention and, perhaps, heart failure.
Anna Prospective, observational study on postoperative pain medication use in children following orthopedic trauma surgery: are we prescribing too much ?This will be a prospective, observational cohort study to determine how much pain medication is being used by children following surgical treatment of common pediatric fractures. The common practice amongst surgeons is to prescribe at least a week supply of narcotic pain medication for children after surgery, however, it is the author\'s experience that most children require only one or two days of medication and most do not require narcotics. We plan to enroll patients immediately after their surgery and follow them with phone calls at home during the first postoperative week to determine their pain levels and pain medication requirements. We hope to better understand postoperative pain in this cohort and offer surgeons better guidelines for prescribing narcotics.
Anne MounseyFamily Medicineclinicalyesanne_mounsey@med.unc.eduLearner Driven EducationBackground: This is a proof-of-concept project designed to assess whether a specific educational intervention is associated with improved knowledge of important clinical topics. The intervention is a simulated mobile app that identifies key questions (but not answers) about clinical topics and encourages users to research answers on their own. The simulated app also collects data on frequency and duration of use.
Project Requirements: The summer research student will join the project at a key point when we are transitioning from the pilot phase to the formal trial phase of the project, and will be expected to contribute to:
- collection of qualitative feedback from pilot participants
- preparation of a poster/presentation describing pilot outcomes
- final design of the simulated app’s look and feel
- design of data summary tables and reports
- design of the orientation for subjects in the trial phase
What we offer: During this summer research experience, the student will have the opportunity to learn about:
design and implementation of randomized, controlled trials, especially of educational interventions
web-based survey design and distribution using Qualtrics
collation and summarization of qualitative and quantitative data
presentation of research results through oral presentations, posters, and in written form
Anne PeeryGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnoanne_peery@med.unc.eduSigns and Symptoms of Acute Uncomplicated DiverticulitisAcute uncomplicated diverticulitis (AUD) is an intestinal condition characterized by inflammation of one or more colonic diverticula without abscess or gross perforation. Patients with AUD present with acute onset of moderate to severe abdominal pain, profound malaise, fever and anorexia. Episodes are associated with worse quality of life and work and activity impairments. Annually in the United States (U.S.), there are 2,000,000 clinic visits and 200,000 hospital admissions for acute diverticulitis. Diverticular disease is one of the most costly gastrointestinal diseases at $2.5 billion dollars per year.
There is urgent clinical trial work to be done to better define the appropriate use of antibiotics in AUD. There is no evidence that patients with AUD benefit from antibiotics and antibiotics are associated with significant risk, from potentially life-threatening complications to emerging bacterial resistance. Before trials can be done, research is needed to determine the appropriate inclusion criteria for AUD. While CT scan confirmation is the gold standard for a diagnosis whether or not a patient might also need to have a fever or leukocytosis is debatable and if required could severely limit trial enrollment.
The specific aim of this proposed summer project is to retrospectively assess whether patients with abdominal pain and CT confirmed AUD also typically present with leukocytosis or fever. I hypothesize that leukocytosis and fever in this population is rare and are not necessary for inclusion in a clinical trial of AUD.
Anne SteinerObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnoasteiner@med.unc.eduPhysical Activity and ConceptionPhysical Activity and Conception is an on-going research study designed to examine the association between physical activity and implantation success following in vitro fertilization. The project has 2 specific aims: 1) To determine the association between acute physical activity and implantation success and 2) To determine the association between past year physical activity and implantation success. Women undergoing in vitro fertilization are enrolled in this study. They complete a questionnaire including questions on demographics and past year physical activity. Following embryo transfer, women keep a daily diary and wear an accelerometer (an objective device to assess physical activity) until their scheduled pregnancy test. The accelerometer provides a precise measure of physical activity. Implantation success is defined as a positive pregnancy test. I am an NIH funded researcher and fertility specialist. My research focus is reproductive epidemiology. This project is a collaborative project between myself and Kelly Evenson in the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. This project is suitable for a short term research experience because it will allow the student to have a better understanding of research ethics and clinical research implementation including recruitment, consent process, enrollment, medical record abstraction, and data entry. She will learn about study design, data analysis, and data presentation.
Anthony CharlesSurgerytranslationalnoanthchar@med.unc.eduPredictors of Mortality and other outcome measures in Trauma PatientsThe purpose of this study is to ascertain risk factors for death from trauma. The large cohort allows for simultaneous evaluation of known mortality risk factors along with controlling for factors to assess the influence of each independently. Individually, base deficit, temperature, hypotension, age, and injury severity have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of death. However, in the English literature, there is no data on the independent predictive power and interaction of these risk factors.
Other outcome measures we are studying include, Hospital Length of stay, Intensive care unit length of stay. discharge destination and complications
In addition, as we have an aging population we are proposing to look at the influence of pre-existing cormorbid diseases on trauma outcome using the Charlson Co-morbidity Index.
The state of North Carolina has a developed trauma system, with hospitals with varying trauma verifications and capabilities. We are interested in the mortality effect of direct transportation of a trauma victim to a trauma center as opposed to transfer to the nearest hospital.
Data sources available for use include: National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), North Carolina Trauma Registry and the University of North Carolina Trauma Registry.
Ari IsaacsonRadiologyclinicalnoari_isaacson@med.unc.eduEmbolization and Advanced Vascular ImagingMy interests lie in utilizing embolization to treat common conditions in a minimally invasive manner. I am currently the PI for pilot studies evaluating prostatic artery embolization to treat BPH and geniculate artery embolization to treat knee pain secondary to osteoarthritis. I am slo interested in studying how to use advanced imaging tools for pre-procedural planning in order to make interventional radiology procedures safer and more efficient.
Asheley SkinnerPediatricstranslationalnoasheley@unc.eduChild MaltreatmentWe do a variety of research related to child maltreatment and, specifically, the Child Medical Evaluation Program. I am a PhD Health Services Researcher who works with MDs and other clinicians. Our goals are to improve the quality of medical evaluations of children with suspected maltreatment.
We are currently working on a project examining long bone fractures in children and the usefulness of skeletal surveys to identify other injuries.
Although the skeletal survey project is a current priority, I have many additional projects and interests, including child maltreatment, obesity, injury prevention, and substance use.
Balfour SartorGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicyesrbs@med.unc.eduHost/Microbial interactions in intestinal inflammation and homeostasisThe major focus of Dr. Sartor`s laboratory is to better define the role of commensal enteric bacteria in mediating immune-mediated chronic intestinal inflammation vs. mucosal homeostasis in genetically susceptible vs. resistant hosts, respectively. This research employs gnotobiotic rodent models in which the enteric bacteria can be precisely manipulated, using the National Gnotobiotic Rodent Resource Center (P40 RR018603) that he directs. Primary models are IL-10 deficient mice colonized with E. coli and Enterococcus faecalis and isogenic mutants of these species in which various bacterial virulence genes have been deleted to determine their functional role (RO1 DK 53347) and HLA B27/ï¢2 microglobulin transgenic rats colonized with Bacteroides vulgatus and other Bacteroides species (RO1 DK40249). In vitro mechanistic studies complement these in vivo investigations. These investigations explore both host and bacterial factors that mediate inflammation vs. homeostasis, particularly host immunoregulation and commensal bacterial virulence genes and the effect of inflammation on bacterial gene expression. Additional funded studies investigate the mechanisms by which diet, particularly dietary iron, aluminum and sucrose, potentiates experimental intestinal inflammation, exploring the effect of dietary components on enteric bacterial composition and gene expression (Crohn`s and Colitis Foundation of America Senior Research Award), the role of dietary iron on Bacteroides fragilis function (R21 AI079183), the role of enteric bacteria and bacterial TLR ligands on hepatic fibrosis and neoplasia (RO1 DK 076920), the therapeutic potential of probiotic bacterial species on hepatic inflammation and fibrosis (R21 AT003878) and the role of enteric bacteria and bacterial components on radiation-induced intestinal injury (U19 AI 067798).
Barry PopkinNutritiontranslationalnopopkin@unc.edudynamic changes in diet, activity, body composition and metabolic complications across the globehas a Ph.D. in economics, teaches in the nutrition epidemiology division,and is the Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Global Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He directs the UNC-CH\\'s Interdisciplinary Center for Obesity and is the are economist who works intensively in both the biomedical and social science worlds. He has developed longitudinal multilevel studies in many countries to study dietary change. More recently he developed the concept of the nutrition transition and used his series of cohort studies that focused on the factors underlying both dietary and physical activity/inactivity patterns and their effects on health. Again these are in both the US and globally. He is the PI of studies in both the US and abroad. He directs detailed longitudinal studies in China and Russia, initiated one in the Philippines that he no longer handles, and is involved in extensive research in Brazil, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and several other countries. His US work includes a series of NIH grants to study how socioeconomic change linked with shifts in the built environment affect diet, activity and obesity in the ADD Health and a second 20-year long longitudinal study CARDIA. He also does a extensive research on US dietary patterns and trends.
Beat SteinerFamily Medicineclinicalyesbeat_steiner@med.unc.eduPrimary Care Workforce Issues / Integration of Primary CareStudy integration of primary care with mental health care in single location for patients with severe mental illness and understand model to improve quality of care and reducing cost of care. Anticipated cost savings will come from avoidance of emergency room visits and inpatient admissions. The majority of emergency room visits and a significant proportion of inpatient stays for the seriously mentally ill are attributable to co-morbid medical conditions and not behavioral health conditions.
Benny Joyner, Jr.Anesthesiologyclinicalyesbjoyner@aims.unc.eduInvestigating health literacy level of communications between physicians and patients in teh Emergency DepartmentMy research has spanned the range of clinical and basic sciences. Initially, my research focused on pulmonary pathophysiology especially as it related to chronic conditions such as asthma and acute injury secondary to inhalation injury. While I still remain engaged in research as it relates to pulmonary pathophysiology, my interests have transitioned to more of an interest in systems-issues within the clinical arena-patient safety, communication among providers and communication between providers and patients. Currently, I have two ongoing projects examining the different factors that comprise the physician patient interaction in the hopes of identifying specific aspects of communication that can be targeted for intervention. The hope in initiating the proposed project with Mr. Robert Wiggins is that we can examine one component of the interaction with families, the level of literacy that physicians (specifically Emergency Medicine physicians) use when communicating discharge plans with their patients. We will attempt to demonstrate a relationship between literacy level of physician communication and rate of emergency room re-visits (i.e.-the more complex/higher the level of literacy of the discharge instructions the higher the rate of emergency room re-visits).
Benny JoynerPediatricsclinicalnobenny_joyner@med.unc.eduSimulation in Medical EducationResearch focuses on the use of simulation in health care, specifically pediatric acute and critical care. The Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center, we conduct training sessions with students and a variety of health professionals focusing on improving teamwork and inter professional communication with the goal of a reduction of errors and improved patient safety. Potential projects include, study of intra-team communication, patient-provider communication, examination of healthcare team performance in emergency situations, examination of emergency system activation within the health care system and identification of lateen errors within the healthcare system through simulation scenarios.
Boyce GriffithOthertranslationalyesboyceg@email.unc.eduComputer modeling and simulation of cardiovascular function and dysfunctionOur research focuses on mathematical modeling and computer simulation of cardiovascular function and dysfunction. Research topics include fundamental research on methods to enable physiological simulation, tools for medical image-based model construction, and applications in physiological simulation. This research falls within the scope of mathematical and computational biomedical engineering. We are actively working to develop computer simulation-based tools for modeling medical devices. For instance, with UNC clinicians, we are actively developing computer models of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) devices that can assist in device selection and device design. We envision that similar models will also be developed for emerging transcatheter devices for mitral valve repair and replacement. We are also developing computer models of cardiac electro-mechanical coupling that can be applied to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Finally, we are beginning work in collaboration with researchers at the FDA to simulate the performance of vena cava filters, prosthetic heart valves, and ventricular assist devices. We aim to demonstrate that our simulation tools are capable of providing regulatory grade evidence for a range of cardiovascular devices. Doing so will require careful validation using both in vitro and in vivo models.
Brian ButtonMedicinebasicnobbutton@med.unc.eduThe Biophysics of Mucus Hydration and Adhesion/CohesionThe goal of my research is understanding how altered mucus properties, including increased mucus adhesion and mucus cohesively, are responsible for slowed mucus clearance rates in persons with chronic bronchitis and cystic fibrosis. To address these questions, we utilize novel approaches which, for the first time, directly quantify the adhesive/cohesive strength of the mucus to the airway surface. As a model system, we utilize both an in vitro cell culture models of the human airway, as well as freshly excised tissue from chronic bronchitic and cystic fibrosis lungs. Finally, from a therapeutics point of view, we are actively testing the effect of several putative rehydrating and mucolytic agents on reducing mucus adhesion, and thus, stimulating clearance. As a physiologist with a background in airway epithelia, my research has been evolved with understanding various aspects of mucus clearance. As a biomedical engineer, my focus has to design, construct, and implement a number of unique experimental devices to measure the various properties of the mucus-cell interactions. Overall my work represents a culmination of this work to provide measures of the adhesive/cohesive strength of mucus in airway disease. Long-term, the goal of this work is the development of these approaches as biomarkers for the severity of lung disease and as a measure of therapeutic efficacy.
Carey AndersHematology & Oncologytranslationalnocarey_anders@med.unc.eduTranslational Research in Breast Cancer Brain MetastasesDr. Anders is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Her clinical interest is in breast cancer, specifically breast cancer arising in younger women and those who have developed brain metastasis. She is a translational researcher and the co-director for the multidisciplinary brain metastases clinic in the North Carolina Cancer hospital who is involved in the design of both clinical trials and preclinical, laboratory experiments within the Lineberger Cancer Center. She has developed several mouse models of breast cancer brain metastases, specifically to model triple negative and Her2+ disease. These models serve as the platform for the investigation of novel small molecule inhibitors and nanoparticle drug delivery systems in the laboratory with the goal of translating her work to the clinical arena. Ongoing work validating therapeutic strategies provides opportunities for young investigators interested in translational research for brain metastases.
Carlton ZdanskiOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalnozdanski@ med.unc.eduPredictive Modeling for Treatment of Upper Airway Obstruction in Young ChildrenThe project will examine computational fluid dynamic modeling of the pediatric airway in a multi-pronged effort to produce new tools to evaluate the pediatric airway and to create computer models which allow physicians and scientists to predict which medical or surgical intervention is most appropriate in specific children and with specific disease states. This study specifically examines infants and children up to 10 years old with Pierre Robin sequence (a condition characterized by small jaw and posterior displacement of the tongue causing airway obstruction) and subglottic stenosis (narrowing of the airway below the vocal cords), but the tools developed may be more applicable to other airway problems as well.
The three co-principal investigators of the R01 grant, awarded by the National Institutes of Health, are Stephanie Davis, MD, Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology in the School of Medicine, Carlton Zdanski, MD, Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and Surgical Director of the North Carolina Children\'s Airway Center, and Richard Superfine, PhD, Professor and Director of the NIH Center for Computer Integrated Systems for Microscopy and Manipulation in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in UNC\'s College of Arts & Sciences.
Celia ShiauOtherbasicnoshiauce@unc.eduFunction and development of brain microglia and other tissue macrophagesDevelopment and function of tissue-resident macrophages
Macrophages are highly dynamic and widespread blood cells that play many important functions in vertebrates. They are the main phagocytes throughout the body, responsible for clearing away dying cells, damaged tissue, and pathogens, to maintain tissue integrity. Macrophages circulate in the bloodstream as monocytes or are stationed in strategic locations of the body as tissue macrophages where their phagocytic roles are critical, such as microglia in the brain, Kupffer cells in the liver, Langerhans cells in the skin, and osteoclasts in the bone. Overall, the developmental process by which macrophages take residence and differentiate into tissue macrophages remains poorly understood. We are currently investigating the transcriptional and cellular regulation underpinning the differentiation of the diverse tissue macrophages.
Cell-cell interactions between macrophages and other systems
The influence of macrophages on the development and homeostasis of various organs can be far-reaching. Yet the normal roles and mechanisms of macrophages and microglia in the healthy body and brain, respectively, remain far less understood than their functions in disease and injury. Of particular interest is the function of microglia in the healthy brain. Although not well understood, they have been implicated in shaping brain circuitry and neuronal development as well as in possibly affecting behavioral outcomes. We are also focusing on the critical role of macrophages in preventing inappropriate activation of inflammatory processes that would otherwise damage healthy tissues. We are addressing fundamental areas of macrophage biology in the context of how macrophages participate in the nervous system as well as other areas of the body prone to inflammation.
Charles EbertOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalnocharles_ebert@med.unc.eduRhinology/OtolaryngologyMy research interests include investigating the impact of surgical intervention on the quality of life of patients and their care-givers before and after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. In addition, I am interested in the determining the inflammatory protein up or down regulation in patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis.
Cherri HobgoodEmergency Medicineclinicalnohobgood@med.unc.eduCompetency Assessment/ Consent to Participate in Emergency Medicine Research/ Simulation/ Difficult Communication skillsAlso Mentoring with Dr. Hobgood: Donald Woodyard and Francis Shofer
Educational and performance based research assessing team performance and communication competency in real and simulated patient, or simulated clinical settings. Current activities include development and scoring of teamwork training scenarios to assess individual and group performance and measuring competency in difficult communication skills such as error disclosure and death notification. Survey based research on Consent to participate in EM research.
A number of projects in these areas are available.
Chinyu WuAllied Health Sciencestranslationalyeschinyuwu@med.unc.eduMotivational Deficits and Activity Participation of People with Schizophrenia Who Live in the CommunityMy research interest is related to translating theoretical information into interventions to address difficulties experienced by people with schizophrenia, such as motivational deficits and boredom. Past research experiences allow me to appreciate the complexity of the illness and the process has transformed me from a quantitative researcher into one who starts to appreciate the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research. The most recent research project that I am working on is a community-based participatory research study, which intends to explore the subjective experiences of activity participation -or participation restriction- in people with schizophrenia who live in the community. A theoretical framework is expected to be yielded to describe any common patterns in these people`s experiences, associated subjective feelings, influencing factors, and impact on well-being. A measurement tool on activity participation for this patient group will be developed based on the resultant theory, followed by an intervention program for facilitating activity participation in the community.
Chris DekaneyOtherbasicyeschris_dekaney@ncsu.eduMechanisms and Function of Paneth Cell Expansion After Doxorubicin-Induced DamageWhile the intestinal epithelium has a remarkable capacity to repair and regenerate after injury, our understanding of underlying mechanisms of epithelial repair is incomplete. Intestinal stem cells (ISC) play a central role in repair of intestinal epithelium following damage and are under the influence of numerous factors which make up the ISC niche such as Paneth cells (PC) which reside at the base of small intestinal crypts intercalated among ISCs. This places PCs in an advantageous position to influence ISCs impacting survival, proliferation or cell fate decisions during epithelial repair. We recently reported dramatic PC expansion, associated with ISC expansion, in mice following intestinal epithelial injury by the commonly used chemotherapeutic drug, doxorubicin (Dox). Students involved in this project will take part in defining the mechanisms and mediators of PC expansion and the functional significance of PC expansion on enteric microbiota and ISC expansion following the damaging effects of chemotherapy on the intestinal epithelium. Students will be exposed to molecular biology (PCR, protein electrophoresis), histology and morphometry, cell culture, and flow cytometry.
Chris MackPathology & Laboratory Medicinebasicyescmack@med.unc.eduVascular disease and hypertensionAlthough we are interested in many areas of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, much of our work revolves around the question of how changes in gene expression in vascular smooth muscle affect the development of cardiovascular disease. Major projects include;
1)The genetics of hypertension – With the help of our clinical and bioinformatic colleagues, we generate and analyze genetic, gene expression, and clinical data sets to identify the mechanisms by which common genetic variations control vessel contraction, blood pressure, and the development of hypertension.
2)The epigenetic regulation of contractile gene expression in vascular smooth muscle – We use a variety of genome-wide approaches to identify the enhancer elements, transcription factors, and chromatin modifiers that drive the SMC-specific expression of many contractile genes.
3)Cytoskeletal and contractile signaling in vascular smooth muscle – We continue to characterize the RhoA-mediated signaling mechanisms that control actin polymerization, actin-myosin-based force generation, and myocardin factor nuclear localization in smooth muscle.
Chris DekaneySurgerybasicnodekaney@med.unc.eduRole of Paneth Cells in damage repair.Paneth cells make up part of the intestinal stem cell niche. Following damage we observe that the number and size of Paneth cells within this niche increase during regeneration concomitant with intestinal stem cell expansion. This lead us to ask why this increase in Paneth cells occurs and how this increase occurs. To these ends, we are investigating the roles Paneth cells play in intestinal regeneration and the mechanism(s) involved in expansion of the Paneth cells during repair. Understanding these areas will allow us to have a better understanding of the intestinal stem cell niche during repair, but will also provide us with valuable insight in how to control Paneth cell numbers and potentially Paneth cell secretory products. Participation in this project will provide students with exposure to molecular biology, histology, cell culture, microscopy, proteomics and data analysis.
Christian JobinGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicnojob@med.unc.eduHost bacteria interaction in health and diseasesThe intestine poses an interesting conundrum. It must peacefully cohabit with a sea of commensal bacteria (~100 trillion) and a high load of bacterial products but swiftly respond to the presence of pathogenic microorganisms that threaten its integrity. This task is especially challenging due to the presence of an abundant and complex lymphoid intestinal system and a high number of immune cells. A major clinical consequence of deregulated bacteria/host interaction in the intestine is the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In addition, a serious medical complication for patients suffering from IBD is the development of colitis-associated colon cancer. As a product of our co-evolution with bacteria, a communication system has developed that allow us to regulate one another and to maintain homeostasis in the face of this potentially highly antigenic milieu. An integral part of this communication system is performed by innate bacterial sensors known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Two main classes of PRRs have been shown to regulate communication between the intestinal epithelium and the microbiota. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and Nod-like receptors (NLRs) serve to alert the host to the presence of bacteria in the extracellular and intracellular spaces respectively. The long-term goal of our research is to define the molecular mechanism regulating bacteria/host interaction in the intestine. Using mice housed in germ-free conditions and tissue specific gene deleted mice (immune and epithelial specific deletion), we study the cellular contribution of TLR- and NLR-derived signaling on bacteria-induced colitis, intestinal injury (ischemia/reperfusion) and colitis-associated colon cancer.
Christine KistlerFamily MedicineclinicalnoChristine_Kistler@med.unc.eduUrinary Tract Infections in Nursing homes\'m looking to conduct a summer project from late May/start of June through the first week of August examining the work-up for urinalysis and urine cultures in 4 NHs in Central North Carolina. The goal is to get preliminary data for the development of a risk calculator for UTI in nursing home patients. We will be going to the sites and doing chart reviews at the 4 sites once a month over the course of the summer. Each NH may require two days to do the chart reviews, depending on the number of U/As and cultures done. The project includes chart review, data collection, and data entry. I will provide mentorship through the process and the student will be assisted in submitting an abstract for AGS and co-authoring a manuscript.
In general I conduct work on clinical decision making around the care of older adults. I have focused primarily on preventive services such as cancer screening and immunizations, but also am working on e-cigarettes and antibiotic use.
Christine KhandelwalFamily Medicineclinicalnochristine_khandelwal@med.unc.eduThe Elder And Caregivers’ Health (TEACH) Group Visits for the management of dementia and caregiver issuesOverall Objective of Study: To determine if The Elder And Caregivers’ Health (TEACH) Group Visits for the management of dementia can be a suitable model for delivering ongoing, problem-focused medical care for patients with dementia and their caregivers. The study aim is to assess not only the direct effect of participation in TEACH Group Visits for the management of dementia, but equally to assess the feasibility of study design, including the feasibility of administering caregiver support and patient care in a group clinic setting, and assessing the primary care provider knowledge in dementia quality indicators.
The Project: TEACH Group Visits will be developed and implemented in an outpatient academic clinical setting. The program format will be adapted from previous work on group visits for management of chronic conditions, including dementia (University of Washington). The content of visits will be structured on a chronic care model for dementia developed at the University of Washington Memory Disorders Clinic around four key domains: dementia as a brain disease process, behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, medical co-morbidities, and caregiver and psychosocial issues which will include advanced care directives and future planning.
Students Role: Student will learn about group visits in a primary care setting, gain a basic understanding of dementia and caregiver issues, learn to use health literacy concepts and how to apply them with educational material. A student will begin looking over at the observational data and interpreting dementia and depression screening tests to begin manuscript writing for the pilot. We have been invited by Dr. Soo Borson to present our work to her to be posted on the Innovations Exchange, website. The student will be involved in this process. This is to serve as a forum of sharing information on this concept involving group visits with caregivers. Also, based on final feedback from participants, the student will play a role in revising the TEACH Group Visits manuscript and they will help finalize a product. The student will have an opportunity to remain involved the next year at a one year mark to join with us in a follow up visit and the possibility of participating in these group visits in another clinical site.
Claire DoerschukPulmonary & Critical Care Medicinebasicnocmd@med.unc.eduLeucocyte function in pneumonia, acute lung injury and tobacco-related lung diseaseDr. Doerschuk\'s research interests address host defense mechanisms in the lungs, particularly the inflammatory and innate immune processes that are important in the pathogenesis and course of bacterial pneumonia and acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome. Basic and translational studies address the mechanisms of host defense during pneumonia in response to pathogens that cause common and clinically important community-acquired and nosocomial pneumonias. Her focus is in the mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment and function, particularly neutrophils and macrophages, neutrophil-endothelial cell interactions, and effector functions of neutrophils during inflammation and innate immune responses in the lungs. Studies of leukocyte kinetics include neutrophil production and release from the bone marrow and their sequestration, adhesion and migration into lung tissue. More recently, her studies address leukocyte kinetics, immune responses and host defense in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. A mouse model of tobacco product-induced lung disease facilitates studies of the immune response to smoke from combustible cigarettes, little cigars and cigarillos. The ultimate goal is to utilize this knowledge to develop therapies that enhance the inflammatory response when it is beneficial to the host and dampen this response when it is harmful.
Clare BarringtonPublic Healthtranslationalnocbarring@email.unc.eduHIV/AIDS preventionThe overall goal of my research program is to examine social and contextual influences on health and health behaviors to inform the development of culturally relevant population-level public health policies and programs. I draw on theories from across the social sciences and use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. I am particularly interested in examining the influence of social networks on sexual risk behaviors and how networks can be used as effective tools for HIV/AIDS prevention. Most of my research is in the context of concentrated HIV epidemics of the Caribbean and Central America, in particular the Dominican Republic where I have several ongoing collaborations. In addition to my work in the Dominican Republic, I am collaborating with researchers from the Center for Disease Control’s Global AIDS Program in Guatemala on two studies with men who have sex with men: the first is a comparison of sampling strategies used to obtain population estimates of HIV prevalence and the second is a formative evaluation of sexual health services for this population. I am also starting to do work on HIV among Latinos in North Carolina and have a small pilot study funded by the Center for AIDS Research to conduct life histories of Mexican men living with HIV/AIDS.
Craig BuchmanOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgeryclinicalnocraig_buchman@med.unc.eduEvoked Potential Measures of Auditory FunctionThe overarching goal of this project is to facilitate appropriate intervention among children with Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD) by identifying functional bio-markers of specific pathophysiologic substrates that predict successful use of a particular intervention strategy (i.e. hearing aids or cochlear implants). To accomplish this, a systematic cross-sectional investigation of the ANSD population at our institution will be undertaken using both early (electrocochleography) and late (cortical) auditory potentials elicited either acoustically or electrically as measures of auditory neural synchrony. Robust speech perception data that are available for these children using various intervention strategies will be used to gauge factor relevance.
Crystal SchillerPsychiatryclinicalnocrystal_schiller@med.unc.eduNeuroendocrinology of Reproductive Related Mood DisordersMy research focuses on the influence of sex steroids on brain function and affective regulation in women. I currently am conducting two NIH-funded projects in this area: First, we are examining the effects of a scaled-down hormonal model of pregnancy and parturition on neural reward processing, affective processing, and depressive symptoms in women with and without a history of postpartum depression (NIMH R21). Second, I am measure activity in the neural reward system in perimenopausal women with and without MDD using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at baseline and following estradiol treatment (NIMH K23). In addition, I am collaborating on NIH and foundation-funded projects examining 1) stress physiology in premenstrual dysphoric disorder, 2) hormone influence on eating pathology in perimenopausal women, 3) genetic biomarkers of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and 4) acceptance and commitment therapy group treatment for perinatal women with mood and anxiety disorders. Ultimately, I hope my primary line of research will 1) advance our understanding of the effects of ovarian hormones on the brain and how these effects contribute to the triggering of and susceptibility to mood disorders in women; and 2) help to identify neural and endocrine markers of depression risk, thereby improving our ability to predict illness onset and develop novel approaches to prevention and treatment.
Cynthia BulikPsychiatrytranslationalnocbulik@med.unc.eduEating DisordersThe Bulik lab conducts a variety of federally funded research projects ranging from clinical to basic research in eating disorders with an emphasis on translational science. We have a rich team of investigators ranging from senior faculty to undergraduate research assistants. Ongoing clinical trials include: couple based intervention for anorexia nervosa, comparisonof face to face with web-based intervention for bulimia nervosa, chromium in the treatment of binge eating disorder, and a parenting intervention for mothers with histories of eating disorders. We are the lead institution in a global consortium conducting a genomewide association study of anorexia nervosa. We study the impact of maternal eating disorders on offspring growth and development in a cohort of 100,000 Norwegian mothers. We conduct twin studies on eating disorders and related topics on large population data bases in Sweden and Norway. We are currently conducting a large genetic collection as well as studies designed to identify biomarkers and biosignatures of anorexia nervosa. We also study individuals recovered from anorexia nervosa. We also have a prevention arm that conducts research with college students and a program for fathers to promote healthy communication and prevent eating disorders. We are also currently adapting our interventions and conducting research on eating disorders in the Latino population in North Carolina.
Dana NeutzeFamily Medicineclinicalnodana_neutze@med.unc.eduQuality Improvement in Primary CareMy work involves improving various preventive and chronic disease metrics for our patients at the Family Medicine Center. I participate in a collaborative of Primary Care Practices across the UNC Healthcare center. I am looking at non-traditional approaches to delivering care.
Daniel Del GaizoOrthopedicsclinicalnoddelgaizo@gmail.comorthopaedic surgery researchI am currently completing a 1 year orthopaedic surgery/adult reconstruction fellowship in Chicago. I have signed on with UNC Department of Orthopaedics to start as a new assistant professor in August 2011. I have many planned research projects where a medical student could actively participate and be productive. I am most interested in adult reconstruction (hip and knee replacements) but I also have interests in health policy (cost containment, evidence based practices, patient education). On the basic science side, I have project ideas involving the study of articular cartilage (creating a reproducible traumatic model, studying the effects of caloric restriction, and response to exposure of chemicals such as nicotine). If a student were to have his or her own idea or something that they felt should be studied (involving the hip, knee, or any orthopaedic basic science), I would welcome the opportunity to work together as I could facilitate and assist with organization, study design, IRB approval, and obtaining funding.
Daniel Del GaizoOrthopedicsclinicalnoDaniel_DelGaizo@med.unc.eduOrthopaedicI am a orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee arthroplasty. I have a number of clinical projects that students could be involved in as well as ideas for new projects that a student could \"make their own\", particularly if they were interested in dedicating a year to research. Also, if a student has a particular interest in a specific field of orthopaedic research we can work together to devise a study utilizing resources here at UNC that will be successful at answering a pertinent question and ultimately be published in a peer reviewed journal. I do not have any open funding for students but I can assist in applying for numerous funding opportunities that are available.
David RansohoffGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnoransohof@med.unc.eduEvaluating markers for cancerMy research focuses on evaluating diagnostic tests for cancer, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC). Current work includes evaluating colonoscopy for CRC screening and surveillance; evaluating stool DNA markers for CRC screening; and developing proteomic assays for a variety of cancers. Another interest is in evaluation of the process of guidelines-development for policy-making.
David GerberSurgerybasicnodavid_gerber@med.unc.eduHepatic and Pancreatic Progenitor Cell CharacterizationOur lab is focused on the fields of stem biology and tissue engineering as they come together in the area of Regenerative Medicine. We have identified stem cell sub-populations from both the liver and pancreas that can potentially differentiate to mature cells. By integrating novel technologies from the area of tissue engineering we have placed an emphasis on developing the matrix or template that would support the growth and differentiation of selected stem cell populations into functional tissues. This effort is impacted to factors including ischemia-reperfusion as it relates to cell recovery, proliferation and differentiation. A complementary arm of our experiments includes the study of the immune responses as they potentially affect the development of these novel organs-tissues.

We have been analyzing cell signaling pathways that are critical to hepatic progenitor cell proliferation, survival and subsequent death. This has involved a series of experiments focused on the cellular niche (including the extracellular matrix and cytokines present in the cellular microenvironment).

We are currently studying the presence of a persistent pancreatic progenitor-stem cell population beyond the fetal stage in both human and animal models.

We are currently working on incorporating microfluidics in the design of an bioartificial organ device that would have both in vitro and in vivo applications.
David ChesnuttOphthalmologyclinicalnodavid_chesnutt@med.unc.eduRelationship between intraocular and intracranial pressureAnother clinical research theme that I have is exploring the relationship between intraocular pressure and intracranial pressure and evaluating ways to measure the relationship and ways to alter the relationship for therapeutic benefit.
Deborah LoveSocial Medicineclinicalnodeborah_love@med.unc.eduPilot study to describe the methods and processes for discussing, documenting, retrieving and interpreting advance care plans for adult inpatients at UNC HealthcareCare at end of life for hospitalized patients often fails to affirm patient values and preferences; yet the primary means for capturing and documenting patient preferences – advance directives (ADs) – appears to have several pitfalls. What is not clear is whether ADs and other means of advance care planning are inherently flawed. We hypothesize that they are rendered less effective by flawed processes used for creating, documenting and retrieving them – particularly in the inpatient setting. Furthermore, it is probable that these process defects are compounded by knowledge and skills gaps on the part of clinicians and staff involved in discussing and interpreting advance care plans.
This is a mixed methods study that includes qualitative interviews with clinicians and staff involved in the discussion, documentation, retrieval, and interpretation of advance care plans. In addition data from the CDW will be used to examine AD incidence in admitted patients and decedents during a one-year period. Finally, a sample of decedent medical records will be examined to determine how patient expressions of advance care plans are discussed, documented and honored in care provided at end of life. The review of decedent medical records will be conducted in the summer of 2014 and offers substantial opportunity for framing issues related to concordance between patient wishes and care provided. Mentoring from Dept of Social Med. faculty with clinical ethics interests and background will be offered.
Denniz ZolnounObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnodenniz_zolnoun@med.unc.eduOpen Label Trial of Thalidomide for the Treatment of Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain Associated with EndometriosisThis project studies the use of Thalidomide in the treatment of endometriosis and CPP. This research is based on the understanding that Thalidomide has the potential to reduce endometriotic cells’ ability to adhere and establish new blood supply by targeting cells which are resistant to apoptosis, neoangiogenesis, and cell surface adhesion. Coupled with documented benefits observed in the treatment of neuropathic pain, Thalidomide may have the potential to provide local and systemic pain relief in sufferers of CPP and endometriosis. IRB approval and data collection for 9 participants has already taken place. Data collection included participant interviews, physical exams, gaining of blood samples, and participant pain level analysis.
Individuals involved in this project will run blood assays, statistically analyze cytokine levels in relation to other clinical results over time, compile and organized data for presentation, and lastly gain greater understanding of the regulatory aspects of human subject research, specifically reporting of the final findings to FDA.
Diana PerkinsPsychiatrytranslationalyesdiana_perkins@med.unc.eduInvestigating schizophrenia vulnerability with peripheral blood biomarkers, genetic vulnerability, and patient derived stem cellsSchizophrenia and related psychotic disorders are common, affecting 1 out 50 people. The onset is typically in adolescence and early adulthood, with a chronic course. Schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability in young people. Our lab is working to understand vulnerability to psychosis with an eventual goal of prevention. We focus on persons at the earliest, prodromal stages, or at the first psychotic episode. We are examining blood biomarkers, including those derived from plasma (proteins, RNA, small molecules) and DNA. In addition we are developing a disease state model using patient derived stem cells.
Diego BohorquezOtherbasicnodiego.bohorquez@duke.eduLaboratory of Visceral Sense NeurobiologyThe biology of visceral feelings has captivated us for centuries. Even Charles Darwin wrote about it in his treatise The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. At Duke, our laboratory takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand how stimuli in the gut affect our brains and behavior.
We recently discovered that, like taste cells in the tongue, the gut has a sensory neuroepithelial circuit (The New Yorker - Listening to the brain below). This circuit may be the point of integration of signals from food, bacteria, or viruses in the gut and behaviors in the brain.
We study the behaviors, neural links, and cells connecting the gut and the brain. These connections are at the core of disorders such as autism, anorexia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. Our goal is to unveil targetable gut-brain neural circuits to treat behavioral disorders from the gut. If you would like to know about specific student projects in our lab please contact us or visit
Donna EvonGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalyesdonna_evon@med.unc.eduTreatment for Chronic Hepatitis C: Patient Outcomes and InterventionsDr. Evon is a clinical psychologist by training and behavioral researcher with the UNC Liver Center. She has several currently active projects in which students or residents may participate:
Training opportunities on the following projects:
A PCORI-funded prospective observational study (\"PROP UP\")to evaluate patient-centered outcomes (harms and benefits) measured before, during and up to 1 year post Hep C treatment;
An NIH-funded RCT to evaluate an integrated alcohol treatment versus brief physician counseling on alcohol abstinence among patients with chronic Hep C (\"HEP-ART\");
An industry-sponsored mixed methods qualitative and quantitative pre-post study design to understand patients anticipated and actual benefits of being cured from Hep C (\"Treatment Benefits\").
Douglas MorganInternational Opportunitiestranslationalyeskatmandu@med.unc.eduCancer Prevention in Latin AmericaClinical translational research in cancer prevention in Latin America. The specific cancer focus is gastric cancer, the second leading cause of cancer mortality globally, and the tenth leading cause of all-cause mortality in the near future. The scientific focus relates to host-environment interactions in the development of gastric cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases in the developing nation setting. Research sites include Honduras and Nicaragua. Other sites are possible through an existing Latin America cancer prevention consortium.
Douglas FitzpatrickOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalyesdcf@med.unc.eduTranslational Projects with Cochlear ImplantsDespite hearing loss requiring a cochlear implant, in almost patients the cochlea still shows responses to sound that can be measured with an electrode at the round window during surgery. In addition to providing important information about cochlear physiology in each subject, the responses can also be used to monitor and avoid trauma to the delicate cochlear structures during surgery. Parallel recordings are made using an animal model to help understand the complex and varied responses obtained from humans. The project is a collaboration between attending surgeons and auditory system scientists in the ENT department. Medical students have and continue to make substantial contributions, and we welcome any who have an interest in a summer project or in a year of research.
Eliana PerrinPediatricsclinicalnoeliana_perrin@med.unc.eduObesity prevention and treatment in childrenI do research on obesity prevention and treatment in children and specifically what the primary care pediatricians can do to stem the tide. Projects include how to determine the best ways for pediatricians to counsel children on healthy lifestyles (nutrition and physical activity). We do a lot of clinical research in the outpatient clinics-- talking to parents and children and observing physician/patient interactions. We also answer questions using large data sets (NHANES- National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) and epidemiological models to determine risk of health outcomes for being overweight. Some of our research also includes preventing injuries in children age 0-2.
Elisabeth DellonPediatricsclinicalnoepdellon@med.unc.eduPalliative care in cystic fibrosis/pediatric palliative careI am a pediatric pulmonologist and palliative care physician. My primary research focus is treatment decision making for patients with advanced cystic fibrosis lung disease. I am interested in various aspects of palliative care for people with cystic fibrosis, particularly as disease-modifying therapies emerge. I am also interested in the intersection of lung transplant and palliative care. General projects in pediatric palliative care would also be options for interested students.
Elizabeth GellerObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnoelizabeth_geller@med.unc.eduPelvic floor disorders and post-surgical complicationsMain research interests are pelvic floor disorders, such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), and surgical management. Past research has been in areas including clinical outcomes after sling placement, comparative effectiveness of robotic-assisted versus abdominal surgery, the effect of anticholinergic therapy on cognitive function in the elderly, pelvic floor trauma after vaginal delivery, effect of sacral neuromodulation on pudendal nerve and sexual function, and obesity and pelvic floor function.
I am currently interested in researching chronic pelvic pain following mesh surgery for the treatment of POP and SUI. The student will be involved in retrospective chart review and administering questionnaires to consenting patients who have undergone treatment using surgical mesh for POP and/or SUI. Past clinical research experience is not necessary.
Eric KlettEndocrinology & Metabolismbasicnoeklett@med.unc.eduRole of intracellular fatty metabolism in mouse pancreatic beta-cell insulin secretionType 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM), which accounts for 90 to 95% of diabetes worldwide is characterized by resistance of peripheral tissues to the actions of insulin, together with a relative deficiency of insulin secretion. Both insulin resistance and pancreatic ß-cell dysfunction are present early in the development of T2DM, but hyperglycemia (i.e. diabetes mellitus) does not develop without ß-cell dysfunction. Insulin secretion is a complex process initiated by nutrient secretagogues, including glucose and fatty acids (FA). Glucose and FA are essential to glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), though the exact molecular mechanism by which FA augments GSIS remains unclear. Using beta-cell models and rodent islets, my research aims to understand the role of intra-pancreatic beta-cell FA metabolism in FA augmented GSIS.
Erin FraherFamily Medicinetranslationalnoerin_fraher@unc.eduUnderstanding specialization trends in Family Medicine training and practiceOur health workforce research program is seeking a medical student interested in health policy and health workforce issues. Led by Erin P. Fraher, PhD MPP, the mission of the Program on Health Workforce Research and Policy is to provide timely, objective data and analysis to inform health workforce policy in North Carolina and the United States. This summer, we will be using data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to investigate the magnitude and timing of residents who switch specialties during training. We’ll also use data from the American Board of Medical Specialties to examine trends in certificates of additional qualification (CAQs) by FM physicians. We will test the hypotheses that:
1. FM residents are much less likely than General Internists to specialize but that a non- insignificant portion of FM residents switch specialty during residency training
2. FM residency programs gain a not insignificant number of residents from other specialties
3. Family medicine physicians are increasingly specializing in sports medicine, sleep medicine, pain medicine etc.
This project requires strong data analysis and writing skills, familiarity with Excel and an interest in health policy and health workforce.
eva antonCell Biology & Physiologytranslationalnoanton@med.unc.eduMechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disordersImpaired primary cilia function in cortical neurons and the resultant changes in neural circuitry may lead to the emergence of neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities. We are testing this hypothesis by examining how disrupted primary cilia signaling affects the formation and function of neuronal circuitry, dysfunction of which is widely implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. We employ a powerful combination of mouse genetics, electrophysiology, in vivo live cell imaging, behavioral assays, and chemogenetic manipulation of ciliary signaling to decipher the convergent mechanisms underlying neuronal connectivity. By determining the changes in cortical neuronal connectivity and function following primary cilia dysfunction, in the context of patient mutations in ciliary genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, the outcome of these studies will help pinpoint the signaling pathways highly relevant to circuit malformations in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Evan DellonGastroenterology & Hepatologytranslationalnoedellon@med.unc.eduEpidemiology and diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitisMy research focuses on enhancing the diagnosis, characterizing the epidemiology, and optimizing the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), with the overall goal of improving patient care and outcomes. EoE is a newly described disease which has been increasing in incidence and prevalence over the past decade, and is now a major cause of upper GI morbidity. This condition disproportionately affects younger patients, and trouble swallowing and food impaction are the hallmark symptoms in adults. I have both prospective and retrospective studies of EoE which are ongoing, with existing databases that would provide a good opportunity for clinical and translational research to further characterize patients with EoE, assess for risk factors, or optimize diagnosis.
Frank ConlonGeneticsbasicnofrank_conlon@med.unc.eduPathways and mechanisms of congenital heart disease.Our lab is talking an integrated approach using proteomic and genetics strategies to identify the molecular networks that are required for normal embryonic and adolescent cardiac development and how perturbations in these pathways lead to congenital heart disease. Projects in the lab would include genetic interrogation of cardiac transcriptional repressor complexes in mice and the isolation and characterization of endogenous cardiac interactomes. These projects are supported by RO1 grants HL112618 and HL127640.​
Frank ChurchHematology & Oncologybasicnofchurch@email.unc.eduContribution of Senescence to the Age-Associated Risk of Venous ThromboembolismThrombosis is a life-threatening condition affecting thousands of men and women in the United States each year. The risk of venous thrombosis or venous thromboembolism (VTE) increases as we age, although the precise mechanism is not known. Expression of the tumor-suppressor gene p16ink4a (p16) increases with age and is associated with cellular senescence. However, it is not known if p16 is involved in the relationship between aging, senescence and the increased risk of venous thrombosis. We are testing a hypothesis that senescence (and aging) is associated with impaired hemostasis and will contribute to a prothrombotic phenotype. We are performing several different studies: (a) transgenic mouse model of p16 over-expression has a mild prothrombotic phenotype; (b) aged mice (1.5-2 years old) naturally up-regulate p16 expression and show age-related senescence; (c) in vitro model of human endothelial cell expression that become senescent (with several compounds used in drug-coated stents that promote localized cellular senescence); and (d) we would like to gather translational data regarding p16 expression linked to the risk of deep vein thrombosis. The contribution of senescence in the vasculature to the age-associated risk of venous thromboembolism is still a new field. We are beginning to better understand the role of cellular senescence linked to arterial disease occurrence; by contrast, we understand very little about the influence of senescence to venous thromboembolic diseases. Thus, we are trying to better understand the pathophysiological link between the occurrence of VTE with age and senescence.
Fred SparlingInfectious Diseasesbasicnozman@med.unc.edupathogenesis of infectious diseasesI no longer run a personal lab but direct two centers-one for emerging infections and select agent pathogens, the other for sexually transmitted infections-and am happy to steer students with interests in infectious diseases basic science research to appropriate labs and mentors
Gabriel DichterPsychiatryclinicalnog.dichter@gmail.comClinical Affective NeuroscienceMentor Name: Gabriel Dichter
Theme: Functional Brain Imaging
Research Description: As Director of the UNC-CH Clinical Affective Neuroscience Laboratory (, my research interests are geared towards understanding the pathophysiology of autism and mood disorders using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), psychophysiology, eyetracking, and behavioral assays. Our work is funded via a range of private and federal grants and the lab includes post-docs, medical students, graduate students, and research coordinators. Our fMRI research takes place at the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center (, a state-of-the-art facility with two research-dedicated 3T scanners and a dedicated staff of physicists, engineers, and programmers. The broad strategy of the lab is to first validate clinical neuroscience methods in non-clinical contexts, then to apply paradigms in acute psychiatric conditions, and finally to test our assays as potential biomarkers of treatment response
Gabriel DichterPsychiatrytranslationalnodichter@med.unc.eduFunctional Brain Imaging of Psychopharmacolgic Treatment for Autism Spectrum DisordersAs Director of the UNC-CH Clinical Affective Neuroscience (CAN – Laboratory, my research interests are geared towards understanding the pathophysiology of a range of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Specifically, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), psychophysiological tools, eyetracking technology, and behavioral assays to examine how individuals with autism spectrum disorders and affective disorders differ from unaffected counterparts as well as to understand the normalization of brain function following effective interventions for these conditions. Our work is funded via a range of private and federal grants and is conducted by a team of post-docs, medical students, graduate students, and research coordinators. The fMRI research takes place at the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center (, a world-renowned, state-of-the-art facility with two research-dedicated 3T scanners and a dedicated staff of physicists, engineers, and programmers. I am also an Investigator within the UNC Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), and as such benefit from the recruitment and diagnostics tools of this P30-funded autism research center. The board strategy of the lab is to first validate clinical neuroscience methods in non-clinical contexts, then to apply paradigms in acute psychiatric conditions, and finally to test our assays as potential biomarkers of treatment response
George StoufferCardiologyclinicalnorstouff@med.unc.eduPersonalized medicine - Using pharmacogenomics to choose anti-platelet medicationsA patient\'s response to clopidogrel, a P2Y12 inhibitor, can be estimated based on genotype of CYP2C19 genotype. This is an ongoing project looking at the effects on outcomes and economics of using a genotype guided strategy to choose anti-platelet medications after intracoronary stent placement.
Hae Won ShinNeurologyclinicalnoshinhw@neurology.unc.eduEpilepsyOur UNC comprehensive epilepsy center has multiple unique clinical research interests and opportunities, including epilepsy moniotring unit (EMU) safety, epilepsy surgery outcome, resting fMRI and DTI in epilepsy surgical evaluation, and more. These areas are my main interest as well.
Hans HerfarthGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnohherf@med.unc.eduDevelopment and Implementation of a Patient SurveyPatients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have access to multiple sources of information about their disease on the Internet. The aim of this project is the development of a questionnaire to find out how, when and why patients use what kind of Internet resources about IBD. After the development phase the questionnaire will be distributed to patients visiting the IBD Multidisciplinary Center at UNC and the results analyzed accordingly.
Hyman MussHematology & Oncologyclinicalyesmuss@med.unc.eduCancer Care in Older PatientsThe Geriatric Oncology Program at UNC`s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researches different aspects of cancer treatments within the elderly population receiving care at UNC. The risk of developing cancer increases with age yet cancer research for older patients has not received enough attention. It is important to find the best treatment practices for this growing group as the US population ages so that physicians can effectively address their unique needs. Current projects include the `Carolina Senior` registry, an initiative to complete a Geriatric Assessment with all incoming senior patients at the UNC cancer hospital and a study to measure and compare the expressions of p16, a molecular biomarker of aging, in breast cancer patients 65 and older who have completed primary cancer therapy. Many other studies are in development or pending. Our group is also working with new technology, namely Teleform which is software that allows direct transfer of data from specific forms into a computer database. We have plenty of opportunities for a medical student who is interested in developing a project that explores the genetic, social or technological aspects and challenges of treating cancer in older patients.
Ian DavisGeneticstranslationalyesian.davis@email.unc.eduGene regulation, epigenetics and chromatin in human cancerMutations in proteins that regulate the packaging of DNA and protein into chromatin in the nucleus has been identified in an increasing number of childhood and adult cancers. How these changes result in cancer development remains a major question with the potential to inform our understanding of basic biological mechanisms and to ultimately impact the treatment of cancer. My lab uses molecular biological, genomic and computational approaches to explore the consequences of these mutations in human and murine model systems.
Ian DavisPediatricstranslationalyesian_davis@med.unc.eduIdentifying mechanisms of cncogenic transcription in childhood cancersAberrant gene regulation is a hallmark of virtually all cancers and is particularly linked to the development of hematopoetic cancers (like leukemias and lymphomas) and solid tumors characteristic of children and young adults (typically sarcomas). The characterization of recurrent genomic events associated with specific cancers has implicated a number of transcriptional regulators. Our lab uses genomic and proteomic strategies to understand how developmentally regulated transcriptional regulators are transformed into critical oncogenes. We hope that these molecular insights will help lead to novel biologically targeted treatment approaches. Ongoing projects include molecular biology and tissue culture based experiments, bioinformatic analyses and murine modeling.
Ian CarrollGastroenterology & Hepatologytranslationalnoian_carroll@med.unc.eduEnteric microbial regulated adiposity and behavior in anorexia nervosaThe goals of my research are to determine the mechanisms through which specific members of the intestinal microbiota influence gastrointestinal physiology, weight regulation, and behavior. My laboratory has developed and validated techniques to collect and store biological human and murine samples for microbiological analyses. We have also developed a technique for isolating bacterial DNA from human fecal and colonic mucosal samples. Our research team used in vivo and in vitro methods to determine the functional impact of enteric microbes and the metabolites they produce on diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, and anorexia nervosa.
Irving HoffmanInfectious Diseasesclinicalnohoffmani@med.unc.eduThe prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseasesConducted primarily in Malawi, my research involves a phase III malaria vaccine trial and malaria surveillance, clinical trials to test the use of antiretrovirals in the HIV infected and uninfected for prevention, validation of point of care tests for CD4 and HIV viral loads and the identification of patients co-infected with traditional sexually transmitted diseases abd acute HIV for HIV vaccine development and HIV prevention.
J Keith SmithRadiologytranslationalnojksmith@med.unc.eduNeuroradiologyBrain tumor imaging, Traumatic brain injury, Normal brain development
J. Duncan PhillipsSurgeryclinicalnoduncan_phillips@med.unc.eduRevisional abdominopelvic surgery in a surviving ischiopagus tetrapus conjoined twin40 year follow-up of above patient (previously reported in surgical literature, in 1968). Now needs to be written up as follow-up case report and digital video film (already shot) should be put together and edited into an educational movie (including the original operation and the followup operation done 40 years later).
J. Victor GarciaInfectious Diseasestranslationalyesvictor_garcia@med.unc.eduIn vivo analysis of HIV persistence: towards a CURE for AIDSSince the beginning of the AIDS epidemic almost 40 million people have been infected. Many that receive appropriate medical care including antiretroviral therapy live highly productive lives. However, these patients live with the stigma of being HIV infected and the need to continue treatment for life. Our goal is to elucidate the molecular basis of HIV latency and persistence with the long-term goal of eradicating the virus from the host. For this we use highly innovative in vivo models that permit the in vivo analysis of HIV replication and presistence.
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Garcia, JV J. Clin. Invest. 2016.
Olesen et al. J. Clin. Invest. 2016.
Swanson et al. Cell. 2015.
Kovarova et al. PloS Path. 2015.
Abedini-Nassab et al. Adv. Mater. 2015
james faberCell & Molecular Physiologytranslationalnojefaber@med.unc.eduHuman Retinal Vascular Patterning and Palmar Collateral Blood flow as Non-Invasive Predictors of Pial Collateral CirculationMy laboratory’s interests concentrate on the collateral circulation (“endogenous bypass vessels”) in brain, heart and peripheral limb. Compared to the general arterial-venous and lymphatic circulations, much less is known about collateral vascular biology. For example, until our work nothing was known about when or how these unique anastomosing vessels form or the molecular mechanisms involved. We have that discovered that these vessels form late in gestation after the general and lymphatic circulations have become established. Our studies have also found that the extent (ie, density, diameter, length—thus conductance) of the native pre-existing collateral circulation in healthy individuals (inbred mouse strains) varies dramatically from naturally occurring genetic polymorphisms, and showed that these differences have a major impact on tissue injury and collateral flow recovery in mouse models of occlusive disease, including middle cerebral artery occlusion. We have also identified the first two genes (Vegfa and Clic4) whose expression significantly impacts formation of the native collateral circulation, and have used quantitative trait loci and SNP association mapping to identify additional candidate genes responsible for genetic variation in extent of the collateral circulation. Besides genetic factors, we are also studying the effect of environmental factors, disease risk factors, and gene-environment interactions for adverse effects on formation and maintenance of the collateral circulation in utero, perinatally,and during growth to adulthood and thereafter, as well as effects on extent of collateral remodeling in occlusive disease.
Available funds will be necessarily devoted to costs of retinography and ultrasonography.
Jane BriceEmergency Medicineclinicalnobrice@med.unc.eduEmergency Medical Services and Disaster ResearchMy research focuses on aspects of care that occur before the patient reaches the hospital. In particular, my research examines stroke care provided by emergency medical services (EMTs and paramedics), access to care issues, and disaster preparedness. I have also done work with health literacy issues, access to care for minority populations, and EMS workforce issues. I am open to student-initiated ideas as well.
Janet YoungEmergency Medicineclinicalnojanet_young@med.unc.eduHIV Testing in the ED / ED UltrasoundCurrently working with Infectious Diseases on HIV testing in the ED and in progress with Epidemiology of sexual assault cases in North Carolina. I also am involved with ED Ultrasound.
Janey PhelpsAnesthesiologybasicnojphelps@aims.unc.eduUtilization of general anesthesia for MRI studies in pediatric patientsThis is a retrospective study examining both the patient\'s age and type of MRI scan that children are being anesthetized for scan completion. This study is relevant because there is a growing body of literature that general anesthesia can have potential long term cognitive effects in children <3 years old. Pediatric patients often require general anesthesia in order to complete MRI scans. This study will utilize a database through the UNC pediatric pain sedation and consult service and EPIC following IRB approval to determine patient demographics, patient diagnosis, general anesthesia time, ordering service, and type of MRI scan performed. Children are receiving numerous studies that expose them to general anesthesia that may not alter their diagnosis or change their treatment plan. We anticipate follow up studies after this initial data gathering to further examine if a diagnosis was altered or a treatment plan was changed based on the MRI findings.
Janey McGeeAnesthesiologyclinicalnojmcgee@aims.unc.eduHigh Dose Dexmedetomidine in Pediatrics for Procedural SedationAs a pediatric anesthesiolgist and the Medical Director of the Pediatric Sedation Service at UNC I have an interest in pediatric sedation and pain management. I have conducted a few clinical research studies in these areas. I am interested in working with Ali Russell to complete a chart review and analysis of the experience with high dose dexmedetomidine for pediatric procedural sedation at UNC and compare our results with those published previously.
Pediatric patients often require sedation in order to perform noninvasive procedures such as imaging studies. In January 2011, UNC’s Pediatric Sedation Service adopted a noninvasive procedure sedation protocol designed by Dr. Keira P. Mason of Children’s Hospital of Boston. The protocol uses high dose dexmedetomidine in children in order to achieve sedation for procedures like radiological imaging studies, specifically Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). One of the key benefits of Mason’s design was the fast recovery time which allowed patients to be discharged sooner and suffer lower risk of sedation-related morbidity. However, the recovery times that Mason has published are inconsistent with what has been observed at UNC. This study aims to compare measured dexmedetomidine recovery times achieved through the Pediatric Sedation Service at UNC with the recovery times previously published. The hypothesis of this study is that pediatric patients treated with high dose dexmedetomidine for noninvasive procedures have longer time to discharge than previously published.
Jen Jen YehSurgerytranslationalyesjjyeh@med.unc.eduGenomics and therapeutics in pancreatic cancerDr. Yeh is a physician-scientist with an active surgical oncology practice focused on endocrine and pancreatic cancers. Her research and surgical oncology practice has focused on identifying vulnerabilities in pancreatic cancer in order to develop better treatment for patients using a combination of translational approaches. Using her surgical expertise she initiated a large Patient-Derived Xenograft Program with a major emphasis on the establishment of both primary and metastatic pancreatic tumors in order to use this platform for therapeutic and biomarker evaluation. Recently her group identified new subtypes for pancreatic cancer that was published in Nature Genetics. Pancreatic cancer is a particularly difficult cancer to analyze because of its confounding and dense stroma and low tumor content. To solve that problem her group used a computational approach to separate the normal from the cancerous tissue and the stroma. These results help understand some of the controversy in the field regarding pancreatic stroma and will set the groundwork for future clinical trials, allow treatments to be assigned based on the subtypes, and guide the development of new therapies. The multidisciplinary nature of her work highlights her ability to meld disparate disciplines for pancreatic cancer research.
Jennifer NelsonSurgeryclinicalnojennifer_nelson@med.unc.eduGeographic risk factors and patient reported outcomes in tetralogy of FallotThis research aims to evaluate the geographic distribution of UNC tetralogy of Fallot patients during early gestation to identify possible environmental risk factors associated with disease severity, prematurity, and low birthweight. The second part of this work seeks to define symptoms in patients after tetralogy of Fallot repair, and aims to correlate patient-reported symptoms with objective data such as cardiac MRI heart volumes, echocardiogram findings, and exercise tests over time.
Jessica BakerPsychiatrytranslationalnojessica_baker@med.unc.eduRisk factors and correlates of eating disordersThe student would have the opportunity to work with Drs. Jessica Baker or Melissa Munn-Chernoff in the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders.
Broadly, our research focuses on the biological and genetic vulnerability for eating disorders; the genetic overlap between eating disorders and other comorbid disorders; and defining biological and genetic markers of eating disorder recovery. Additionally, our research focuses on the risk for eating disorders in a college student population and how the risk for eating disorders and substance use disorders interacts during the college years. Ultimately, these findings would be translated to improve and individualize eating disorder treatment programs as well as to develop intervention and prevention programs for college students.
Jimena GiudiceCell Biology & Physiologybasicnojimena_giudice@med.unc.eduAlternative splicing in development and diseasesAlternative splicing is a posttranscriptional mechanism that explains how individual genes can produce more than one transcript due to the inclusion or exclusion of specific regions originating multiple protein isoforms with diverse features. More than 90% of human genes undergo alternative splicing. During development multiple transcriptional networks are coordinately regulated to drive organ maturation, tissue formation, and cell fate.
A wide variety of human diseases are caused by mutations within cis-acting sequences of pre-mRNAs that produce aberrant splicing and alter function of the mutated allele (Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Cystic fibrosis, among others). In addition, certain splice isoforms are depleted or induced in cancer, diabetes, or muscular dystrophies suggesting specific physiological roles. Defects in functions or expression of RNA-binding proteins and core spliceosome constituents induce splicing mis-regulation in multiple severe diseases.
Tissue specific alternative splicing is critical to maintain tissue identity. Brain, heart, and skeletal muscle are the tissues where the most tissue specific splicing takes place raising the questions of: how developmental stage- and tissue-specific splicing influences protein function and how this regulation occurs. To investigate this big-picture question, our research program has three angles:
- the molecular mechanisms that explain how alternative splicing regulates the expression of trafficking and membrane dynamics proteins in normal development and diseases.
- how alternative splicing impacts on the functions of membrane trafficking proteins in internal cell architecture and physiology.
- the roles of epigenetic dynamics on alternative splicing regulation in postnatal striated muscle development.
Jing WuNeurologytranslationalnojwu@neurology.unc.eduDeveloping novel therapy in primary brain tumor and improve quality of life of brain tumor patientsAs a fellowship-trained neuro-oncologist, I am interested in taking care of patients with primary CNS tumors; developing investigator-initiated clinical trials to examine new combined therapies and overcome treatment resistance in malignant gliomas. I am also interested in clinical studies to improve brain tumor patients’ quality of life and symptoms control. My research involves in both translational and clinical research in CNS tumors. In the laboratory, I am studying molecular mechanisms of IDH mutation in gliomagenesis by using in vivo and in vitro models. I am also collaborating with other UNC scientists specializing in cancer genome bioinformatics and drug development with a goal to translate the bench discoveries into novel and personalized treatments for malignant brain tumor patients.
Joan TaylorPathology & Laboratory Medicinetranslationalnojmt3x@med.unc.eduDevelopment of Human Hypertension; Discovery of Novel Means to Mitigate Cardiac NecrosisWe have two projects to chose from
1) Translational: Although several large GWAS identified a novel locus in the ArhGAP42 gene that was associated with blood pressure (BP), no causal link has been established between these SNPs and the pathogenesis or outcomes of hypertension. Our group has shown that ArhGAP42 is specifically expressed in smooth muscle and negatively regulates BP in mice by inhibiting RhoA activity and that the minor allele at rs604723 was associated with increased ArhGAP42 expression in human arterial samples. Our genotype/phenotype analysis revealed that the minor BP allele increases ArhGAP42 expression and protects against the development of hypertension in Caucasians. Interestingly, the protective allele is under-represented in African Americans. This project we will use DNA samples from case-controlled studies to determine if allelic variations in ArhGAP42 affect genetic risk for hypertension in African Americans and will explore associations with clinical manifestations(i.e. hypertensive arterionephrosclerosis)in both races.
2) Basic Science: Hearts are vulnerable to a multitude of pathological insults including ischemia-induced necrosis. Previously, necrosis was viewed as a passive/irreversible cell death and was ignored as a target for clinical intervention. However, recent work indicates that necrosis is a reversible cell signaling process. We recently performed a novel genome wide siRNA screen to identify new modulators of calcium induced necrosis. This project would focus on determining which of these factors promote survival of cardiomyocytes in response to ischemia in the hopes of identifying new therapeutic targets to treat ischemic heart disease.
Jodi RoqueFamily Medicineclinicalyesjroque@email.unc.eduLong Acting Reversible Contraception in a Health Center PopulationCome work with UNC faculty and residents who see patients at Prospect Hill Community Health Center in Prospect Hill, NC and help us reach our female population to provide more patients who desire pregnancy prevention with long acting reversible contraception. We need to increase awareness of LARC in our population. We can discuss which specific population you would like to focus on (chronic diseases, patients on depoprovera injections, or adolescent patients). Narges Farahi, MD and Jodi Roque, MD will help you develop a meaningful project to reach a very underserved population. Spanish skills would be helpful.
Jodi RoqueFamily Medicineclinicalnojodi_roque@email.unc.eduLong Acting Reversible Contraception in a Health Center Population Come work with UNC Faculty and residents who see patients at Prospect Hill Community Health Center in Prospect Hill, NC and help us reach our female population to provide more patients who desire pregnancy prevention with long acting reversible contraception. We need to increase awareness of LARC in our population. We can discuss which specific population you would like to focus on (chronic diseases, patients on depoprovera injections, or adolescent patients). Narges Farahi and Jodi Roque will help you develop a meaningful project to reach a very underserved population. Spanish skills would be helpful.
Jodi RoqueFamily Medicineclinicalnojodi_roque@med.unc.eduLong Acting Reversible Contraception in a Health Center PopulationCome work with UNC Faculty and residents who see patients at Prospect Hill Community Health Center in Prospect Hill, NC and help us reach our female population to provide more patients who desire pregnancy prevention with long acting reversible contraception. We need to increase awareness of LARC in our population. We can discuss which specific population you would like to focus on (chronic diseases, patients on depo-provera injections, or adolescent patients). Narges Farahi and Jodi Roque will help you develop a meaningful project to reach a very underserved population. Spanish skills would be helpful.
John VavalleCardiologyclinicalnojohn.vavalle@unc.eduTAVR - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement: Improving patient selection and clinical outcomesOver the last several years, there have been rapid advances in our ability to perform minimally invasive heart valve replacements and repairs using catheter-based devices. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) provides a life-saving procedure for those who are high risk for surgical valve replacement. There is a very large and growing unmet need for percutaneous valve replacement and repair due to the aging US population. Severe symptomatic aortic valve stenosis carries a very poor prognosis without valve replacement. However, many of the patients in need of valve replacement are at high risk for surgery. Therefore, transcatheter aortic valve replacement becomes the best therapy for them.
Since this technology is so new, there are many unanswered questions about the best use of this technology. Complications such as paravalvular leak, heart block, and vascular injury remain a big limitation to this therapy. Much research is needed to best identify which patients will benefit the most from this technology and to improve the application of these new devices. There are robust clinical databases that are stored at UNC and beyond that can be accessed to ask these important questions. Given that this field is so new, the opportunities for research are wide open and a motivated student would be able to lead a research project under the mentorship of the UNC Heart Valve Team.
John van AalstSurgerybasicyesjohn_vanaalst@med.unc.eduManipulation of mbilical cord derived stem cell populations for complex craniofacial defectsOur laboratory is interested in tissue engineered solutions to craniofacial defects, including bone, cartilage and skin. We have developed an expertise in manipulating stem cell populations collected from the umbilical cord, and generating these tissue types. Our primary scaffolding for this bioengineered tissue is comprised of nanofibers, which mimic the extracellular matrix environment of cells in vivo.
Johna Register-MihalikOtherclinicalnojohnakay@email.unc.eduTraumatic Brain Injury in Sport and RecreationOver the past 10 years, I have studied many aspects of sport-related traumatic brain injury ranging from knowledge and behaviors around these injuries to the mitigation of negative effects of these injuries on cognition and coordination across physically active individuals of all ages and in various settings. My research has focused on athletes of all levels with a specific interest in the pediatric student-athlete. My clinical background as a Certified Athletic Trainer and previous research experiences provide me with a framework for continuing to investigate concussion-related issues in a variety of settings. I have a specific interest in the role specific symptoms and presentation patterns, such as headache, may have in the recovery and clinical management of concussion. These experiences provide the framework to further develop studies concerning both concussion assessment and management. Much of my research is housed in the Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center and the Injury Prevention Research Center which are great learning and collaborative environments for student learning.We are current expanding our research to area practices, including Raleigh Neurology. The projects in these settings, given our current relationships with them, their high patient volumes, and and the systematic settings provide opportunities for student initiatives and involvement. We currently do not have specific stipend funds set aside, but may have some in the near future.
Jonathan HansenGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicnojjhansen@med.unc.eduHow normal intestinal bacteria respond to inflammation and cause Crohn\'s disease and ulcerative colitisCrohn\'s disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD\'s)are chronic intestinal inflammatory disorders that cause substantial morbidity. Despite decades of intensive research, the pathogenesis of IBD\'s is not completely understood and medical cures remain elusive. The prevailing hypothesis is that IBD\'s are due in part to dysregulated immune responses to normal intestinal bacteria. While much is known about how bacteria affect the host immune system, relatively little is known about how inflammation in turn affects the bacteria. We hypothesize that inflammation induces changes in commensal gut bacteria that alter their virulence and colitogenic potential. We are currently testing this hypothesis using novel mouse models of IBD\'s and genetically-engineered commensal bacteria. Our ultimate goal is to identify microbial functions that can be targeted for therapeutic purposes in patients with IBD\'s.
Jonathan BergGeneticstranslationalnojsberg@med.unc.eduApplication of genome-scale sequencing to gene discovery and clinical careAs a clinician and researcher, I am deeply interested in the development and application of genetic tests in patients and their families. The recent revolution in genetic sequencing technology has led to an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the underlying etiology in families with genetic conditions, ranging from the discovery of novel disease susceptibility genes in large pedigrees, to the application of genome-scale sequencing in a clinical context.
I am a board certified medical geneticist in the UNC Adult and Cancer Genetics clinic. My clinical effort involves the evaluation of individuals and families with Mendelian disorders, including hereditary cancer syndromes, connective tissue disorders, and other rare genetic conditions. My ongoing research efforts extend directly from my clinical activities.
My laboratory is enrolling probands with a strong family history of cancer but negative results on clinically available genetic tests. We hypothesize that these families harbor rare deleterious mutations in potentially novel cancer susceptibility genes and we are utilizing high-throughput sequencing to identify candidate disease-causing mutations.
I am also co-PI of an NHGRI-funded U01 Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) project called “NCGENES” that examines the utility of whole exome sequencing (WES) in a clinical context. This project will examine the diagnostic utility of WES as well as the impact of incidental findings discovered during the course of testing.
Both of these projects provide ample opportunities for students to explore either bench science, informatics approaches, or both.
Jonathan JulianoInfectious Diseasestranslationalnojjuliano@med.unc.eduGenomics and Molecular Epidemiology of Malaria and other Tropical DiseasesMy lab focuses on the evolution of drug resistance and antigenic variation in Plasmodium sp. We leverage new genomics tools in order to better understand how evolution occurs in malaria. We are particularly interested in resistance to artemisinin combination therapies and strain specific immunity to vaccine candidates.
Jonathan SerodyMicrobiology & ImmunologytranslationalyesJonathan_Serody@med.unc.eduBasic biology and translational approaches to understanding graft-versus-host disease and tumor immunologyI have been involved in research as a principal investigator into the basic biology and translational approaches to improve our understanding of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and tumor immunology for over ten years. Our laboratory was the first to demonstrate that migration was critical to the pathophysiology of GvHD. Approaches that we pioneered for evaluating GvHD such as in vivo imaging and the use of fluorochromes to track donor and recipient cells have become critical tools for all researchers in this field. Our laboratory has made fundamental contributions toward understanding (1) cellular migration and GvHD (2) regulatory T cell function in GvHD and (3) T cell subsets critical to the pathophysiology of GvHD. Several of our initial findings such as the role of NF-κB in GvHD have been directly translated to the clinic in the past ten years. In addition to our GvHD work, our group completed the largest trial of dendritic cell vaccination in the treatment of breast cancer, has pioneered the use of viral vectors as vaccine platforms for solid tumors and has made critical observations into the function of fibrocytes as mediators of tumor metastasis.
Jonathan SchislerPharmacologytranslationalyesschisler@unc,eduTargeting pathologies related to protein quality control in the heart and brainThe Schisler Lab works on the integration of complex genomic-biologic data to elucidate risk relationships in both murine and human systems with a focus on cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and protein quality control mechanisms. My primary focus is to develop models to integrate datasets derived from clinical genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics allowing our lab to further interrogate gene and protein function in health and disease using molecular, cellular and biochemical approaches. The Schisler Lab is keenly interested in cellular regulatory mechanisms including post-translational regulatory pathways, such as protein ubiquitination, in both health in disease. E3 ligases are enzymes that modify substrate proteins via ubiquitination, the addition of a small ubiquitin protein, that can either alter protein function or target the substrate protein to the proteasome for degradation. Our research in this field initially focused on the role of the E3 ligases CHIP and MuRF1 in cardiovascular function. Recently we identified the first human causal mutation in CHIP that results in cerebellar ataxia and hypogonadism; as such, my laboratory expanded its ability to include neuro and neuro-endocrine approaches in our mouse and cell-based models to complement our cardiovascular research program.
Joseph EronInfectious Diseasesclinicalnojeron@med.unc.eduAntiretroviral therapy of HIV infected patientsMy research is includes clinical trials, epidemiological and translational studies of HIV infected patients in domestic and developing world settings with a focus on antiretroviral therapy, treatment outcomes, resistance and prevention. Current projects include comparative clinical trials of novel antiretroviral combinations, clinical and translational studies in individuals with acute HIV infection, comparisons of treatment outcomes between clinical trial patients and patients treated in the context of clinical care and outcomes of second line therapy in individuals treated in sub-Sarahan Africa (in collaboration with primary investigators in Malawi).
Joseph TuckerInfectious Diseasestranslationalnojdtucker@med.unc.eduCrowdsourcing HIV test promotion in ChinaCrowd wisdom may be a powerful force to transform sexual health campaigns. My research focuses on this and related sexual health research bringing together infectious diseases, innovation, and social science. I have sixteen years of experience undertaking HIV/STI research in low and middle income country contexts. Much of my research has focused on China because of the pronounced resurgence of syphilis in addition to a strong capacity for coordinated public health responses. My team’s ongoing research uses crowdsourcing to promote HIV testing and linkage to care (PI, NIAID 1R01AI114310-01), examines the social science and ethics of curing HIV (PI, NIAID 1R01A108366-01), explores the health of African migrants in Guangzhou, and helps rebuild trust in patient-physician relationships (Harvard China Fund, China Medical Board). Our collaborative research brings together US trainees (Fogarty, Fulbright, Doris Duke) and Chinese trainees (PI, FIC 1D43TW009532-01) to work on joint sexual health research. Our project on the social roots of syphilis in China helped catalyze policy change. Since 2008 I have worked with the Guangdong Provincial STD Control Center, the provincial authority responsible for STD control and prevention, to form a UNC-South China STI Research Center. I serve as Chairman of the Steering Committee for SESH (Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health), a research project focused on tapping crowd wisdom to promote sexual health. Our SESH project was identified as one of the top 25 global innovators by the WHO-TDR Social Innovation in Health Initiative.
Julia KimbellOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerybasicnojulia_kimbell@med.unc.eduComputational Models of the Upper AirwaysMy research on computational models of the upper airway focuses mainly on medicine and therapeutics in which three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are used to predict surgical effects on nasal airflow, heat, water vapor, and particle transport. We also use CFD models of the nasal passages of laboratory animals to test hypotheses about the role of dose in respiratory tract responses to inhaled materials, and to support risk assessments in which animal responses are extrapolated to humans on the basis of dose predictions in the respiratory tract. In this research, we use CT or MRI scans or cross-sectional images of tissue specimens to build three-dimensional, anatomically-accurate CFD models of the nasal passages of laboratory mice, rats, primates, and humans. We have recently completed studies using these models on the deposition of particles in the primate airways, and the use of combined nose-and-lung models of the respiratory tract to compare inhaled dose in rats and humans. We also recently used human CFD models to study objective ways to measure and predict improvements in patients’ symptoms when surgical interventions are used to treat nasal airway obstruction, and how surgery may affect the distribution of sprayed medication in the nasal passages of patients being treated for nasal airway obstruction or chronic rhinosinusitis.
Julie MonacoFamily Medicinebasicyesjulie_monaco@med.unc.eduMedical Director Roles in North Carolina County Health DepartmentWith the growing need for primary and preventive health care services, county health departments are in a position to play a critical role in meeting the needs of local populations. Family physicians are the majority of medical directors of North Carolina health departments and are uniquely suited to provide leadership in these settings. However, both systematic data on medical director roles and opinions, and formal guidance for medical directors are lacking in the family medicine literature. This project proposes to address this gap. This information will better inform policy makers who deal with health department roles and the overall medical safety net, helping them better meet the primary care needs of local populations. It will also help Departments of Family Medicine better train and support medical directors who are family physicians.
Karen MohlkeGeneticsbasicyesmohlke@med.unc.eduHuman genetic susceptibility to cardiovascular risk traitsMy research goals are to understand the genetic basis of cardiovascular risk, including traits related to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidemia. My human genetics and genomics lab has expertise in mammalian complex traits, functional studies, and diabetes genetics and includes both bench and computational scientists. We work with samples and data from the Finland United States Investigation of NIDDM Genetics (FUSION) study, the Cebu (Philippines) Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS), and the Metabolic Syndrome in Men (METSIM) study, and we collaborate with several large consortia performing genome-wide association meta-analysis and sequencing. We are identifying novel disease loci; evaluating the interactive effects of age, sex, physical activity and dietary intake with genetic variants; using cellular assays to recognize underlying genes at novel association signals; and identifying the molecular mechanisms by which DNA variants affect gene function leading to disease. We have identified allele-specific regulatory effects of cholesterol- and diabetes-associated SNPs in open chromatin predicted regulatory regions. At type 2 diabetes loci, we have identified genes that influence glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Taken together, these studies make the molecular and biological links between human DNA variants and the diseases to which they contribute.
Kari NorthPublic Healthtranslationalnokari_north@unc.eduGenetic EpidemiologyI am an expert in the genetic epidemiology of complex traits, and I lead multiple large-scale genetic studies in collaboration with multiple international genetic consortia. I am the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Genetic Epidemiology of Causal Variants across the Life Course study (CaLiCo), a consortium of population-based studies that have entered a partnership with the Population Architecture and Genomics in Epidemiology (PAGE) study. I am also a PI on a grant exploring the genetic epidemiology of obesity in large cohort studies (R01 DK075681); a grant evaluating the impact of exome variants influencing adolescent weight gain in the ancestrally diverse National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (R01 HD057194); and a grant leveraging ancestry to map genes for adiposity in Hispanic descent individuals (R01 DK101855). I also direct a T32 NHLBI training grant (T32 HL129982) The Genetic Epidemiology of Heart, Lung, and Blood traits training grant. At the University of North Carolina, I lead the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Genetic Epidemiology group, whose research takes place at the intersection of human genetics, epidemiologic methodology, statistical techniques, and interdisciplinary translational research. The environment and infrastructure that I have built at UNC-CH has provided a fertile ground for innovation and the rapid development of my lab’s research agenda. We are performing genome wide association studies and whole genome sequencing studies, as well as methylation and gene expression studies, primarily in populations most burdened by CVD. This comprehensive approach will lead to a more complete understanding of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors.
Katherine GarmanGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicnokatherine.garman@duke.eduUpper Gastrointestinal Tract Injury, Repair and CarcinogenesisThe Garman lab studies upper gastrointestinal tract injury, repair and carcinogenesis. We combine expertise in stem cell biology with new models we have developed of epithelial damage, allowing us to study the process of esophageal repair. The major motivation for our work emerges from the understanding that upper gastrointestinal cancers arise in the context of injury and abnormal repair. As part of esophageal repair, developmental pathways are activated that result in cellular proliferation and that may in some cases, support persistence of a more primitive progenitor cellular phenotype. Our models include an in vivo model of porcine injury with collaborators at NC State and an in vitro model of esophageal submucosal gland proliferation and differentiation. These models can be used to test clinical exposures relevant to esophageal disease. In addition, the in vitro model can be used to target specific genes using viral transduction.
Kathleen CaronCell & Molecular Physiologybasicnokathleen_caron@med.unc.eduGenetic Models of Cardiovascular Development and DiseaseAdrenomedullin and its receptors are highly expressed in endothelial cells and are required for the normal development of the cardiovascular system, including the heart, lymphatic vessels and placenta. Using a variety of gene targeted animal models we have characterized a novel role for adrenomedullin and its receptors in the development and function of these cardiovascular organs. Our interests in cardiovascular biology are broad and highly integrative, since we have discovered that the functions of adrenomedullin signaling are largely influenced by other angiogenic and endocrine factors, hypoxia and innate immune responses. Therefore, our current studies are geared toward providing novel insights into the complex processes that govern the establishment of lymphatic and placental vascular beds and how perturbations in these specialized vessels can have deleterious consequences such as lymphatic disorders or poor pregnancy outcomes. We are currently focusing on the effects of perturbed lymphatic function on the absorption of lipids from the digestive tract. Elucidation of these integrated signaling pathways may ultimately form the basis of GPCR-targeted approaches for the therapeutic amelioration of cardiovascular conditions, including lymphedema and associated intestinal lymphangiectasia and preeclampsia.
Kathleen BradfordPediatricsclinicalnokbradfor@med.unc.eduImproving Mean Hospital Discharge Time at the North Carolina\'s Children HospitalMy continued focus is the delivery of efficient, high-quality care of children including those with complex and chronic health diseases. I have a specific interest in patient outcomes, coordination and communication of care, the hospital discharge process, patient satisfaction, and patient safety. My quality improvement training includes completion of the Cincinnati Children’s Advanced Improvement Methods course, Six Sigma Yellow, and Blue Belt training and LEAN training. I am member of the UNC Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement and recipient of a 2015 Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement seed grant to improve the discharge process at UNC. Currently, I am working as a Quality Improvement Coach for Population Health Partners to support the CDC’s EMPower initiative by coaching several hospitals throughout the United States on their journey to Baby Friendly designation.
Katrina DonhueFamily Medicinetranslationalyeskdonahue@med.unc.eduPractice Based Research at UNC, how busy clinicians can engage in research in their practice settings. The North Carolina Network Consortium (NCNC) is a network of 8 primary care practice based research networks, consisting of over 300 practices in 62 counties with over 40million in grant funding since 2007. Current studies include:
a) Comparative effectiveness study of home glucose monitoring in patients with type 2 diabetes. In the “real world” clinic setting does routine glucose self-monitoring improve glycemic control and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes not on insulin.
b) Enhancing an iteratively developed office based Tobacco treatment intervention by partnering with both patients and practices.
These studies involve engaging with community/patient stakeholder groups to enhance the impact and patient centeredness of the interventions. We are examining the ways community and patient stakeholders engage with research teams and practices to create stakeholder informed approaches to enhancing care delivery. As stakeholder involvement in the research process is a newer concept we also will share the lessons learned as these partnerships are created.
The student will be involved in different aspects of research, including interviewing patients, performing chart reviews, entering data and performing and interpreting simple data analysis.The research experience offers: a training module in ethics and patient oriented research methods; experience in survey data collection and chart review in primary care practice sites; opportunity to spend several days shadowing a clinician in the office if desired; mentorship and support from experienced investigators and.
Kenneth AtagaHematology & Oncologyclinicalnokenneth_ataga@med.unc.eduSickle Cell DiseaseI am a hematologist with a clinical and research interest in the area of sickle cell disease (SCD). My primary interest is in the development of new treatments for patients with SCD. In addition, I have research interests in the vasculopathy of sickle cell disease, with a particular focus on pulmonary vasculopathy and glomerulopathy. Finally, I have an interest in coagulation and platelet activation in SCD.
Kenneth KimObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnokenneth_kim@med.unc.eduThe impact of BMI on treatment and outcomes in cervical cancerIn this country, the incidence of cervical cancer persists, but has been drastically reduced since the advent of routine screening with Pap smear testing. Research has demonstrated associations between obesity and various types of cancer, including virtually all types of gynecologic cancer, and furthermore can negatively impact the management of these cancers. With increasing levels and increasing incidence of obesity, and particularly with increasing obesity in cervical cancer patients, we seek to study the impact of varying levels of obesity on the treatment and the survival outcomes on cervical cancer patients. We postulate that obesity will have a negative impact on the primary treatment of cervical cancer, particularly early stage cervical cancer where the standard of care is typically radical surgery to remove the cancer. With increasing levels of BMI, these patients may not be surgical candidates to undergo surgical management and thus must be treated with radiation therapy compared to patients with lower BMI levels. Furthermore, treatment planning with radiation can be negatively affected by extreme obesity as well. We hypothesize that this will translate to worse outcomes for obese patients with cervical cancer.
To determine this, we will construct a retrospective database of cervical cancer patients, and divide these patients into 3 separate groups based on BMI: 40. Then we will analyze their treatment and their outcomes, and utilize comparative statistics to analyze differences. We will also evaluate for whether there are increased complications and comorbidities based on BMI levels.
Kevin BieseEmergency Medicineclinicalnokbiese@med.unc.eduGeriatric Emergency and Acute Care.We collaborate with the Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Dr Jan Busby-Whitehead, as well as Dr J. S. Kizer to enhance care for elderly patients in the UNC Emergency Department as well as redefine the standards of care for this vulnerable population in Emergency Departments throughout the United States. We are currently investigating triage of the elderly, communications with local nursing homes, facilitated admission of the elderly, improved discharge planning for the elderly, and education for both nurses and physicians in geriatric acute care. We have multiple publications, presentations, and grants already and have had many students work with the group. These students have presented their work both regionally and nationally and are co-authors on publications. It is a unique, multi-disciplinary clinical research and care improvement learning experience for interested students and we welcome your participation.
Kevin GuskiewiczOrthopedicsclinicalnogus@email.unc.eduSport ConcussionI was the founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center (2010) and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes (2001) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Over the past 18 years, my clinical research program has focused on sport-related concussion. Our research team, which includes neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, epidemiologists, biomedical engineers, athletic trainers and team physicians, has investigated the effect of sport-related concussion on balance and neuropsychological function in high school and collegiate athletes, the biomechanics of sport concussion, and the long-term neurological effects of concussion in retired professional football players. More recently, we have expanded our research to the military, to compare neurocognitive and neuroimaging (DTI) results in soldiers pre and post blast-injury. Additionally, we have begun studying the effects of North Carolina\'s recently passed Gfeller-Waller Concussion Act on the way physicians manage concussion. As background, our research team typically mentors 8-9 graduate students, 4 undergraduates, and 2 residents/fellows in a given year. I have received 24 funded research grants, and published over 130 journal articles and 8 textbook chapters on sport concussion. I have presented over 250 national and international lectures on the topic of sport-related concussion. In 2010 I was named to the NCAA’s Concussion Committee and the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee. In September 2011, I was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, given annually to individuals who \"show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.\"
Kevin CarneiroPhysical Medicine & Rehabilitationclinicalnocarneiro@med.unc.eduSleep and activity in Postconcussion syndromeWe are looking at the effect of sleep and activity have in postconcussion syndrome. We are also looking at a nutritional strategy for lumbar radiculitis
Kristy RichardsHematology & Oncologytranslationalnokristy_richards@med.unc.eduGenetic and Genomic Approaches to Understanding Lymphoma Biology and Improving TreatmentsMy research is focused on genetic/genomic approaches to understanding the biology and treatment of hematologic malignancies. We apply genetic approaches to understanding drug resistance to a variety of agents used to treat hematologic malignancies, as well as molecularly characterize pet dogs as a model organism to study non-Hodgkin lymphoma. One example of our work in human patients is with the FCGR3A gene, which has been shown in retrospective studies to predict responses to rituximab, a monoclonal antibody frequently used in the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We are conducting retrospective and prospective clinical trials eventually seeking to translate these observations into clinically useful treatment algorithms. At the same time, while establishing this clinical pharmacogenetic proof-of-principle using the known FCGR3A polymorphism, we seek novel polymorphisms that likewise will improve and individualize future lymphoma therapies. To do this, my laboratory is utilizing an unbiased genetic approach, rather than the candidate gene approach that was used to identify FCGR3A and most other known clinically relevant polymorphisms. We are mapping polymorphisms that determine rituximab sensitivity, as well as a variety of other drugs used to treat hematologic malignancies, using an ex vivo genetic mapping strategy with the lymphoblastoid cell lines from both related (traditional linkage mapping) and unrelated (GWA studies) individuals. We have mapped candidate genes and are in the process of characterizing them further. The eventual goal of our work is to bring genetically tailored therapies to lymphoma patients.
Laura HansonOtherclinicalyeslhanson@med.unc.eduGeriatrics and palliative careOur research team includes expertise in Geriatrics, Palliative Care and Public Health. We conduct research to improve care for elderly and seriously ill patients. Current projects include descriptive and interventional research studies to measure and to improve the quality of healthcare in serious illness, using principles of palliative care and the conceptual framework of shared decision-making. Studies enroll vulnerable populations including frail nursing home patients with dementia, African-Americans facing advanced cancer, and patients and families in hospice care. Dr. Hanson is a site Principal Investigator and member of the national Steering Committee for the Palliative Care Research Cooperative, a clinical trials network for palliative care. Current research projects include a randomized trial of a Goals of Care decision aid for advanced dementia care, and a clinical quality improvement project for hospital-based palliative care patients.
Laurence KatzEmergency Medicineclinicalnolkatz@med.unc.eduInfrared imaging to evaluate resuscitation during shockShock is insufficient tissue blood flow (perfusion) and oxygen delivery to body tissues, a leading cause of death from trauma. The decrease in perfusion and oxygen availability result in organ failure or patient death unless perfusion and oxygen deficits are recognized and treated. It is difficult to evaluate if adequate perfusion and oxygen have been restored during resuscitation from shock since there are no reliable methods to detect hypoperfusion or changes to perfusion during resuscitation. Assessments of peripheral circulation have been shown to be indicators of hypoperfusion and shock. However, most measures of peripheral circulation are subjective and difficult to monitor dynamically. Skin temperature decreases as peripheral circulation decreases, but it has not been measured during shock and resuscitation. As a result, we propose to longitudinally measure skin temperature with infrared thermography during shock and resuscitation. We hypothesize that infrared thermography, a non-invasive, non-radiation technology may provide a tool to detect shock and guide resuscitation.
Laurence DahnersOrthopedicsbasicnoldahners@gmail.comFracture healing and operative repair, ligament healing and contractureI have a research fund that lets me undertake many small projects that are suited for medical students. My preference is to describe to students a number of issues that might be addressed with small research projects and have the student choose one of those projects to be their very own. This will mean reviewing the literature for a project, planning it out with my help, undertaking it, and then writing up the results for publication as first author if it is successful. I am interested in a large variety of Orthopaedic projects and they change from month to month depending on the results of current work so come talk to me if you are interested. I cannot put here what is available as it will change soon.
Li QianPathology & Laboratory Medicinebasicyesli_qian@med.unc.eduCellular Reprogramming for Heart RegenerationOur laboratory is interested in developing innovative approaches to regenerate or repair an injured heart. Our goal is to understand the molecular basis of cardiomyocyte specification and maturation and apply this knowledge to improve efficiency and clinical applicability of cellular reprogramming for treating heart disease. To achieve these goals, we utilize in vivo modeling of cardiac disease in mouse, including myocardial infarction (MI), cardiac hypertrophy, chronic heart failure and congenital heart disease (CHD). In addition, we take advantage of traditional mouse genetics, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and newly developed reprogramming technologies (iPSC and iCM) to investigate the fundamental events underlying the progression of various cardiovascular diseases as well as to discover the basic mechanisms of cell reprogramming.
Lisa CareyHematology & Oncologyclinicalnolisa_carey@med.unc.eduOutcomes and prognostic factors of neoadjuvant chemotherapy by breast tumor receptor subtypeDr. Carey\'s research intersts focus upon breast cancer, including examination of different subtypes of breast cancer, evaluation of new chemotherapy agents in early breast cancer, and examination of tumor characteristics that predict response to therapy.
The Office of Clinical/Translational Research (OCTR) was founded by Dr. Lisa Carey, MD to advance correlative science in breast cancer research. The OCTR primarily manages correlative breast cancer research studies, however, its services may also be available to investigators from other clinical concentrations. Services provided by the OCTR include:
• Comprehensive study management for correlative trials initiated by OCTR investigators and others
• Recruitment support (screening, consenting, blood and tissue collection, administration of questionnaires, follow-up)
• Data management
• Study monitoring and quality assurance
• IRB and PRC submission
• Biospecimen tracking
• Honest broker services for investigators wishing to mine data from OCTR studies
• Breast rapid autopsy program
• Collaborate with treatment trials for correlative science management
• Clinical research personnel management
• Student mentoring
• Grant writing
• Protocol development
Lola ReidCell Biology & PhysiologybasicnoLola.M.Reid@gmail.comGenetic signatures of stem/progenitor populations in the network for hepatic and pancreatic organogenesisWe have identified maturational lineages of cells emanating from primitive endodermal stem cell populations, biliary tree stem cells (BTSCs), which are found within Brunner’s Glands, in peribiliary glands (PBGs) throughout the biliary tree, and in the crypts of villi of the gall bladder. They give rise to hepatic stem cells (HpSCs) and hepatoblasts (HBs), located in or near the canals of Hering within liver acini, and to committed pancreatic progenitors in pancreatic duct glands (PDGs) found throughout the pancreas. These in turn give rise to the mature cells of the liver (hepatocytes, cholangiocytes), and pancreas (acinar cells, islets).
The maturational lineages progress along radial and longitudinal axes. The radial axis begins with primitive BTSCs in the centers of bile ducts and transitions to mature cells at the bile duct lumens. The longitudinal axis begins with high numbers of primitive BTSCs within Brunner’s Glands in the duodenum and in the PBGs in the hepato-pancreatic common duct next to the duodenum, and transitions to mature cells in the liver and along a separate branch to mature cells in the pancreas. The lineages constitute networks of niches that collectively participate in organogenesis for liver and pancreas throughout life. We have identified many of the major stages within the hepatic pathway (at least 10), and we are part way towards defining those for pancreatic fates (so far, at least 7).
We are defining transcriptomic signatures (global RNA-seq analyses) of each of these stages and have done a number, but not all, of the critical ones in the hepatic pathway and, so far, none in the pancreatic pathway. However, we intend to complete the process for all of the major stages and do the initial analyses over the coming year. Given that such transcriptomic signatures will comprise up to 30,000 genes as well as long, non-coding RNAs per maturational stage, it will take longer than the time of this funded proposal to fully understand the resulting data using bioinformatics. However, even the initial studies should enable us to know to what stage(s) the grafted stem cells have matured and for what functions they are capable. Also, from the gene expression landscape in each of the distinct stages, we will learn of signals that might be used to regulate the cells towards full maturity. In addition, in studies completed over the past year, critical changes were identified that can occur with malignant transformation, information important in the design of grafting strategies to avoid such changes.
The hepato/pancreatic organogenesis model systems being used consist of those in mice, humans and pigs. As background, we have characterized basic stem cell and maturational lineage biology in all of these species and established methods of isolation of the relevant cell sub-populations, serum-free, wholly defined organoid culture methods, and serum-free cryopreservation and thawing protocols for organoids and cells. In addition, we have defined the graft composition and the surgical procedures that optimize engraftment into target sites with minimization of complications such as adhesions. We hope to transition within a few months to functional studies to assess the extent to which transplanted stem cells have matured into relevant adult fates. The global transcriptomic studies to be done on freshly isolated cells will serve as the controls for the transcriptomic signatures to be analysed on transplanted cells.
We have organized to obtain “enblock tissues” from human neonatal donors and to consist of the liver, biliary tree (including the gall bladder), duodenum, hepato-pancreatic common duct and pancreas from each donor. By having all of the tissues from the same donor, we will be able to eliminate confounding inter-individual variations. The tissues from at least three human donors will be obtained and, in parallel, porcine tissues, and used by the Reid lab (Drs. Wencheng Zhang and Xianwen Yi, and others) to isolate purified cell populations of the major stages of the hepato/pancreatic network. In addition, they will isolate mesenchymal (CD146+), endothelial (CD31+) and hemopoietic (CD45+) cell subpopulations. These samples will be prepared for sequencing by the Sethupathy lab (Dr. Lisa Kurtz and an MD/PhD Student, Mr. Timothy Dinh) and provided to core services at UNC or at commercial labs to generate the raw data for conventional RNA sequencing, small RNA sequencing, and methyl sequencing. The raw data will be analysed by Dr. Sethupathy and his associates with the help of a bioinformatics specialist, Dr. Wendy Pitman, and by Mr. Dinh. The findings from these studies will provide the control data that will guide us in analysing the fate of transplanted cells.
Luis DiazOtherbasicnoldiaz@med.unc.eduAutoimmune Diseases of the SkinThe aims of my two RO1s are focused on the etiological and pathogenetic mechanisms of three human autoimmune diseases of the skin: bullous pemphigoid (BP), pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF). Our laboratory pioneered the development of animal models for the three diseases by passive transfer of human anti-epidermal autoantibodies from patients. We have characterized the relevant epidermal antigens. Currently we are conducting epitope mapping studies to disclose the regions of the epidermal antigens responsible for binding pathogenic autoantibodies. In addition, we are conducting research in an endemic form of PF seen in Brazil, where the epidemiology suggests that this disease is triggered by an environmental factor(s). We are following an Amerindian population with a high prevalence of the disease and determined the preclinical stage of the disease by seroepidemiological studies. These studies are shedding light on the progress of autoimmune diseases from the normal state (preclinical) to the disease state using highly sensitive autoantibody markers. A combined use of these serological markers, the epidemiological data generated in the abovementioned Amerindian Reservation, and the study of environmental factors provide us with the opportunity to identify etiological agents of this human autoimmune disease.
Luke ChenGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicnolchen@nccu.eduMechanism of gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett\'s esophagus and esophageal cancerThe goal of this research direction is to study the roles of gastroesophageal reflux, genetic and epigenetic pathways in the development of GERD, BE and EAC, in cell culture, animal models, and humans. In addition, we are also interested in the molecular aspect of esophageal development.(
Luther BarteltInfectious Diseasestranslationalnoluther_bartelt@med.unc.eduIntestinal pathogen influences on malnutrition, gut function, and immunityMalnutrition continues to affect >162 million children worldwide. Longterm sequelae of malnutrition include increased risk of infection-related mortality, poor neurocognitive development, and impaired vaccine responses. Recurrent intestinal pathogens, including parasites, are syndemic with childhood malnutrition in low-resource settings. How these environmental microbial exposures promote gut dysfunction or modulate host immunity are poorly understood, and therefore current treatments for malnutrition are of limited benefit. Using novel murine infections models of human enteric parasites, we aim to understand the pathogenesis of parasite-induced chronic intestinal dysfunction and the impact of intestinal parasitic infections on host immunity, co-infections, and adaptations to nutrient deficiency. Our studies dissect environmental, resident microbial, dietary, and host influences on these outcomes in order to improve restorative interventions in malnourished children.
Mae Lynn“Fotonovelas”: Raising Eating Disorders Awareness among Latinos/asThe focus of my research is on the development of culturally appropriate interventions for Latinas with eating disorders with a specific emphasis on developmentally and culturally appropriate incorporation of family members into treatment. Studies with Latinas have underscored the importance of the family as a cultural value affecting recognition of the eating disorders as well as the centrality of the role of the family and its relationship to food and body image in Latino culture. My current work builds on my experience working with adults with bulimia nervosa in Puerto Rico which underscored the importance of incorporating the family early in treatment as a necessary cultural adaptation for Latinas. A second line of my research is to develop culturally sensitive psychoeducational materials that raise awareness and educate the Latino population about eating disorders. Considering that Latinos regularly delay treatment until symptoms are severe, tend to underutilize mental health services, and often terminate treatment prematurely, awareness and education could lead to early detection and be particularly helpful in reducing mental health care disparities. The development of fotonovela scripts (graphic novels) about eating disorders tailored for adolescent and adult Latinos will be used as a culturally sensitive way to raise awareness about these disorders in the Latino population.
Marcie RichesHematology & Oncologyclinicalyesmarcie_riches@med.unc.eduClinical Research in Hematopoietic Stem Cell TransplantationMy clinical interest is the treatment of hematological malignancies using immunotherapy and hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). I have special interest in treatment and prevention of HCT complications including infections and GVHD. I am a scientific director for the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) which facilitates observational research from a data repository from more than 450 transplant centers worldwide. I have developed and managed multiple prospective clinical trials, both single center and multicenter which have led to publications. At UNC, I direct our BMT clinical research program and I serve as Chair for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Protocol Review Committee. I have published more than 50 papers focused on clinical outcomes following HCT.
Margaret L. GulleyPathology & Laboratory Medicinetranslationalnomargaret_gulley@med.unc.eduMolecular Oncology Laboratory Test ValidationGastric cancer is the second leading cause of global cancer mortality with nearly one million new cases per year. Early diagnosis and improved outcome rely in large part on identifying genomic profiles predictive of malignant progression, level of tumor burden, and druggable biochemical pathways. Pertinent laboratory technology is now available to facilitate relevant analytic and clinical validation studies towards implemeting genomic tests to improve patient diagnosis and management. These tools involve multi-analyte tests of DNA, RNA and microRNA in small biopsies to identify the genetic profiles that characterize the four major classes of gastric cancer and their precursor lesions. Our assay development program builds on prior discovery work to macrodissect small lesions from formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded biopsies and to define the histo-molecular correlates underlying cancer progression. We are also examining blood plasma for circulating tumor markers that likewise inform early diagnosis, monitoring tumor burden in response to therapy, and finding actionable gene variants to improve drug selection. In addition to analyzing human genome targets, we assay for virulence factors in two carcinogenic pathogens, helicobacter pylori and Epstein-Barr virus. This line of research is critically important for future pathologists and for academic oncology or microbiology/virology practice. Your role in the project involves accessioning and processing samples, lab benchwork (sequencing and array technology), and data analysis alongside our team of physicians, technologists, and fellows.
Marsha DavenportPediatricsclinicalnomld@med.unc.eduTurner SyndromeMy research concerns Turner syndrome, a term used to describe females who as a result of missing all or part of an X chromosome are at high risk for multiple problems including short stature, gonadal failure, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and nonverbal learning disabilities. I have a large population of children with Turner syndrome (TS) who I care for in my pediatric endocrinology clinic.
Active research projects include:
The natural history of brain development in girls with TS between birth and 2 years of age - correlating growth and hormonal status with structural MRI and neurodevelopmental attributes.
The effect of growth hormone therapy on brain development in girls with TS between 1 and 2 years of age. (Growth hormone is used in TS to accelerate growth and increase final adult stature. Little is known about its effects on early human brain development).
Comparison of sex steroids and gonadotropin levels (LH and FSH) in the normal population and individuals with sex chromosome abnormalities between the ages of 0 and 2 years. (Although it is known that sex steroid levels rise postnatally and the fall to prepubertal levels, normative values using a sensitive and specific assay (LC/MSMS) are not known. Because we are interested in the effect of sex steroid replacement on brain development, normative values and those in individuals with TS and other sex chromosome abnormalities must be known first.)
Maternal perceptions of prenatal counseling received for pregnancies with TS.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in girls with TS.
Matt EwendSurgeryclinicalyesewend@med.unc.eduTreatment of Brain TumorsThe UNC Brain Tumor or Neuro-Oncology team has had successful participation from a number of medical students in the past 10 years. For each student, we identify a specific question based upon our database of patients that can answered by the student through clinical-translational research. The scope of the problem-question is determined by the time available to the student. Recent examples include: 1. What is the incidence of Diabetes Insipidus after Endoscopic Pituitary Surgery. 2. What is the response as measured by MRI to CyberKnife Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases. Students receive mentorship and guidance from Neurosurgery-Neuro-Oncology faculty and residents, but each student is asked to take ownership of their question and they receive the credit for the findings they uncover. We would be pleased to talk with you about how you could participate in the Neuro-Oncology Program. While the School of Medicine Student Funding has been our main source through for suppot of the student, the could be some addition sources of funding from the Brain Tumor Research Fund.
Matthew RedinboBiochemistry & Biophysiologybasicnoredinbo@unc.eduStructural and Chemical Biology of Targets Relevant to Human HealthThe laboratory examines the molecular basis of human disease using structural biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemical biology and genomics. Currently we are focused on lung diseases and GI enteropathy and on human proteins and factors encoded by the GI microbiota.
Matthew CavenderCardiologyclinicalnomatt.cavender@unc.eduAdvanced coronary artery and peripheral vascular diseaseMy research work involves the design and analyses of prospective randomized clinical trials and observational studies designed to better characterize patterns of disease,understand the effectiveness of novel or current therapies, and optimize the outcomes of patients with atherosclerosis.
Matthew ScholerEmergency Medicineclinicalnomscholer@med.unc.eduEmergency Medicine/Public Health Informatics ResearchMembers of the Carolina Center for Health Informatics within the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine work with large datasets to address research topics in the areas of Emergency Medicine and Public Health Informatics. Projects focus on disease surveillance and population based emergency medicine research using de-identified statewide Emergency Department data. We provide analytical support, web access and data storage for the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT, In addition to Emergency Department data, there is an opportunity to work with other data sources including EMS, poison center, urgent care and wildlife data. Educational activities include CCHI team meetings and weekly Emergency Medicine research meetings with frequent extramural speakers. Shadowing in the Emergency Department can be arranged.
Matthew LaughonPediatricsclinicalnomatt_laughon@med.unc.eduNeonatal Clinical Research1. Neonatal clinical trials

2. Neonatal clinical pharmacology
3. Neonatal pharmacoepidemiology
Maureen SuPediatricstranslationalyesmasu@email.unc.eduGenetics of AutoimmunityAutoimmune disease affects more than 8 million Americans, including 1 in 100 children. Despite its prevalence, the complex, polygenic inheritance of most autoimmune disorders has been an obstacle in understanding the pathogenesis of these diseases. Autoimmune Polyendocrinopathy Syndrome (APS) Type I is unusual among autoimmune diseases in that it is due to a defect in a single gene, Autoimmune Regulator (Aire). Aire plays an important role in preventing autoimmunity by upregulating the transcription of a variety of peripheral self-antigens in medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) of the thymus, and the expression of these peripheral self-antigens drives the deletion of self-reactive T cells in the thymus.
We have utilized mice with defects in the Aire gene to understand how Aire is important in preventing autoimmunity. We are currently focused on studying a mouse model with a dominant point mutation (G228W) in Aire which results in spontaneous autoimmunity in a number of organs, including the thyroid gland, peripheral nerves, and pancreatic islets. The G228W mouse model provides a unique opportunity to study the role of central tolerance in preventing autoimmunity toward these organs. We are also utilizing the G228W mouse model to inform us on how Aire functions. The ultimate goal is to translate our findings to human autoimmunity both in terms of understanding the mechanisms underlying human disease as well as in developing therapeutics for treating autoimmunity.
maurice landersOphthalmologyclinicalnomaurice_landers@med.unc.eduStudy the pathophysiology of retinal vascular diseases, including retinal vein occlusions, and diabetic retinopathyWe plan to study the changes in retinal oxygenation in clinical patients suffering from retina vein occlusions, during their course of treatment with anti-VEGF drugs. These anti-VEGF drugs will have been injected into their eye as treatment for the retinal edema which occurs during the healing phase following the onset of their retinal vein occlusion.

Anti-VEGF drugs work to decrease retinal edema. Oxygenation of the retina does the same thing. However, the concurrent effects of intravitreal anti-VEGF drugs on the oxygenation of the retina via the retinal circulation is currently unknown.
Using a non-invasive technique, called retinal oximetry, we will take (risk free)fundus photographs of the retina in these patients throughout the course of their treatment with anti-VEGF injections, and record changes in retinal oxygenation during this period.
We will determine the effect, either positive or negative, of injected anti-VEGF drugs on the normal oxygen supply to the retina during a course of treatment of a retinal vein occlusion using the current standard of care anti-VEGF injections.
Maya StynerEndocrinology & Metabolismtranslationalnomstyner@med.unc.eduExercise regulation of marrow adipose tissueModern man has rapidly adopted a high fat/high caloric diet and this, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, results in a great detriment to global health. Our preliminary data shows that fat accumulates within the bone when mice are fed a high fat diet, and that this fat depot is significantly decreased when mice exercise. We propose to use running exercise as a tool to understand the function of marrow fat, informing our understanding of the relationship between obesity and bone health.
Melissa BausermanPediatricsclinicalnomelissa_bauserman@med.unc.eduThe Affect of Trial Characteristics on Consent Rates of Neonatal Clinical TrialsWe are analyzing rates of parental consent in neonatal clinical trials. We would like to review the published literature to determine if trial characteristics determine the rates of consent to neonatal clinical trials. The student will have primary responsibility for the literature search, data analysis and preparation of the resultant manuscript.
Michael FriedGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnomfried@med.unc.eduTranslational Studies and Clinical Trials for Chronic Viral HepatitisMy research focuses on clinical and translational studies of chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C. We have several federally funded clinical trials for HBV and HCV and we also participate in industry-sponsored clinical trials. We are particularly interested in studying mechanisms of HCV treatment response and development of biomarkers related to treatment and disease progression.
Michael KappelmanPediatricsclinicalyesmichael_kappelman@med.unc.eduPediatric Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseDr. Kappelman has interests in health services research and clinical epidemiology in the area of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Interested students will work with Dr. Kappelman to develop a research plan to answer a focused clinical question in this area. The project may involve patient or family interviews, surveys, chart reviews, or an analysis of data contained within a research database.
Michael PignoneGeneral Mediicine & Clinical Epidemiologyclinicalnopignone@med.unc.eduPrevention and clinical decision makingDr. Pignone`s research is focused on chronic disease prevention and treatment, as well on physician patient communication and decision making in clinical settings. His main areas of interest include heart disease prevention, colorectal cancer screening, and management of common chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart failure. He has developed and tested interventions to mitigate literacy-related health disparities and to improve the use of appropriate preventive services.

His current research focuses on the development, testing, and implementation of patient decision aids for colon cancer screening and on testing an educational intervention to enhance self-care in heart failure. He was recently awarded a K05 Established Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute to mentor junior investigators in cancer-related decision making.
Michelle CabreraOphthalmologyclinicalnomimitcabrera@gmail.comRetinopathy of Prematurity and Telemedicine: A Tool for Training Ophthalmologists in ChinaIn China, a developing country, neonatal intensive care units are rapidly improving the survival of premature infants. Training of ophthalmologists to perform the screening and treatment of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is not keeping up with these changes. Proper ROP training is expensive and time consuming, however. In the USA, training typically takes a year throughout a retina or pediatric ophthalmology fellowship. Telemedicine in ROP has been previously validated using RetCam photographs. In this study, we will pilot the use of telemedicine as a teaching tool in ROP. The study involves designing a schedule for ROP image transfer, establishing the parameters for validating the teaching method, coordinating the transfer and storage of RetCam images, and creating a feasible infrastructure for providing feedback and teaching. The study may involve a 2 week trip to Lanzhou, China to help train nurses and ophthalmologists in the proper use of the RetCam device, coordinate proper ROP screening and treatment infrastructure, and establish the Chinese side of telemedicine transfer. During that trip, other ophthalmologic clinical and surgical teaching will take place, whereby the student can observe and participate. Skills in Mandarin would be particularly useful. If the pilot proves successful, this study could serve as a model for telemedicine ROP training in China and beyond.
Mihai MehedintNutritiontranslationalnomihai_george@unc.eduImplications of dietary choline availability in neuronal progenitor cell biologyMaternal choline availability is crucial for perinatal neurodevelopment and alterations in choline metabolism has direct implications for brain structure and function. We are investigating the mechanisms whereby choline deprivation, supplementation or genetic defects leading to altered choline metabolism modulate neuronal progenitor cell biology.
Millie LongGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnomillie_long@med.unc.eduClinical Outcomes Research in Inflammatory Bowel DiseasesI have the expertise, training and mentorship experience to successfully lead a student research project. I have a background in internal medicine, gastroenterology and preventive medicine. I also have advanced training in inflammatory bowel diseases. I have a MPH in epidemiology, with experience in biostatistics and pharmacoepidemiology. I have completed numerous studies in the arena of health services research, including studies using deidentified claims data to investigate signals (malignant, infectious, etc) for complications of therapies used in the treatment of IBD.

I have previously mentored medical students and fellows with a successful publication record, for them, including first author papers at major GI journals. As a co-PI for the CCFA Partners online cohort study of patients living with IBD, I am actively involved in survey development, cohort retention, management and ongoing prospective and cross-sectional studies within the cohort. Based on prior experiences, I recognize the importance of a realistic research plan for a summer medical student, and will work with students to develop an individualized research plan and summer training experience. The goals will be 1) to learn the componenets of successful clinical research, 2) to complete a project suitable for publication from start to finish (project conceptualization, grant prepartions, IRB approcal, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparations, presentation and publication),
Monte WillisPathology & Laboratory Medicinetranslationalyesmonte_willis@med.unc.eduProteotoxicity in heart failure and the development of new therapeutic interventionsThe overarching theme of our work is to investigate protein quality control and proteotoxicity in genetic and non-genetic forms of heart failure. We dissect out the molecular regulation of signaling networks that mediate disease in genetic and pathological heart failure models. In parallel, we develop targeted therapies that reduce or block proteotoxicity in the hopes of developing new clinical treatments for heart failure.
Project 1: The broad, long-term goal of this project is to delineate the mechanisms that Muscle Ring Finger (MuRF) ubiquitin ligases regulate PPARα, PPARβ/δ, and PPARγ1 activities, mitochondrial dynamics, and autophagy in the context of heart failure. Our central hypothesis is that the MuRF1 ubiquitin ligase inhibits PPARα, reduces mitochondrial ROS production, and enhances autophagy to contextually protect cardiomyocytes in heart failure.
Project 2: As part of the Leducq Foundation TransAtlantic Network of Excellence, this project investigates proteotoxicity as an unappreciated mechanism of heart disease and its potential for novel therapeutics. This project investigates the two major pathways of protein breakdown: 1) the autophagy-lysosomal pathway; and the 2) ubiquitin-proteasome system. Defects in either one can lead to the toxic buildup of misfolded proteins and, ultimately, heart failure. Our projects involve identifying MuRF1’s regulation of autophagy and more recently identifying the causes of cardiac dysfunction resulting from human mutations in Bag3. Using a Bag3 P209L cardiac-specific mouse model, we’re investigating how pre-amyloid oligomers alter redox and MAPK signaling pathways to induce cardiac dysfunction.
Myra RochePediatricstranslationalnoMyra_Roche@med.unc.eduNCGENES: A Next-Generation Sequencing Platform for Genetic Diagnosis and ResearchOur current project investigates the application and utility of Whole Exome Sequencing as a diagnostic too by identifying critical clinical characteristics to guide its diagnostic application and assess how it influences patient care. We will address expectations, understanding and the impact of diagnostic information on providers, patients and families.
One major goal of the project is to develop novel and engaging patient education materials to prepare families for the kinds of results they may receive from this new kind of genetic testing. This includes education about the range of potential results, their possible implications for the individual and their families, and the predicted benefits and harms of testing. These materials should enhance patient understanding of genetic information, be understood by a population of patients with a wide range of science literacy levels, and be created with a plan to make them more widely accessibility. This portion of the project would be suitable for a short-term research project for a student with a marketing/advertising background and who has had experience with media creation and development.
Nanette Nascone-YoderOtherbasicnonmnascon@ncsu.eduMechanisms of Digestive Tract DevelopmentIntestinal malrotation is a potentially life-threatening congenital deformity that afflicts 1 in 500 births. The underlying causes of this common birth defect are unknown. Summer research students will have the opportunity to participate in a transcriptome profiling study designed to identify the genes that control the rotation of the embryonic digestive tract. The project involves in vitro fertilization and embryo culture in vertebrate animal models, in situ hybridization, basic molecular biology techniques (cloning, PCR, gel electrophoresis, in vitro transcription) and bioinformatic analyses.
Natasha SniderCell Biology & Physiologytranslationalnontsnider@med.unc.eduLiver Disease Mechanisms and Drug TargetsDr. Snider’s lab studies the molecular basis of liver diseases and disorders linked to intermediate filament gene mutations. Her team uses biochemical, cell-based and in vivo approaches to identify potential disease targets and to understand their function and regulation. The major goal of Dr. Snider’s work is to promote the discovery of pharmacological agents that can slow or halt the progression of these diseases.
Liver disease development and progression are dictated by the individual and combined contributions of different genetic and environmental factors. Our previous work in mouse models linked liver injury susceptibility to the function of energy metabolism regulators, including the glycolytic enzyme GAPDH and the purine metabolizing enzymes nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK) and ecto-5\'-nucleotidase CD73. Current efforts in the lab are aimed at understanding the regulation and cell-specific functions of CD73 in various stages of liver disease, including fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Intermediate filaments (IFs) are cytoskeletal structures that perform important mechanical and signaling functions. IF gene mutations are linked to a vast number of human pathologies, including skin fragility disorders, neuropathies, myopathies, liver diseases, metabolic dysfunctions, and premature aging syndromes. Effective treatments for diseases caused by IF gene mutations are lacking. Our long-term goal is to define the proteostasis network of IF proteins and to identify key features that are compromised by disease-causing or disease-promoting mutations. We are currently focused on various post-translational modifications (PTMs) and their cross-talk mechanisms.
Nicholas ShaheenGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalnonshaheen@med.unc.eduPrevention of Esophageal CancerOur group has been at the forefront in research in cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions of the esophagus. Esophageal cancer is a highly lethal cancer, with less than 15% five-year survival, and its incidence is rapidly increasing. Patients who develop esophageal cancer often have a precursor condition, Barrett\\'s esophagus, also known as BE. Many people have BE - as many as 2-3 million Americans. If BE goes bad, it does so through a series of steps, called dysplasia. Our goal has been to identify those whose BE will progress to cancer, and to make an intervention to stop death from cancer.

Our center is one of several in the U.S. that have been dedicated to developing technologies to reverse the malignant degeneration in BE, while sparing the esophagus. We recently led a national consortium of centers in a sham-controlled, randomized trial of radiofrequency ablation, an endoscopic technology which destroys BE. This study, published in New England Journal of Medicine in May, 2009, demonstrated that subjects treated with the therapy had greater than 75% reversion to normal squamous epithelium, and a decrease in their risk of cancer of greater than 80%. We also are the lead U.S. center on a study of endoscopic cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen to ablate Barrett\\'s esophagus.

We are currently working on biomarkers, or early indicators, of progression to cancer in these patients.
Nigel MackmanHematology & Oncologybasicyesnigel_mackman@med.unc.eduThe role of tissue factor, coagulation, proteases, PARs and microparticles/microvesicles in hemostasis, thrombosis, and inflammation.The focus of the Mackman laboratory is a protein called tissue factor (TF). This transmembrane receptor is the primary cellular activator of the coagulation protease cascades. TF is expressed constitutively on perivascular cells and initiates clot formation. After vascular injury, factor VIIa (FVIIa) binds TF and the complex initiates the clotting cascade by cleavage of FX to FXa and FIX to FIXa. Subsequent amplification of the clotting cascade by the intrinsic pathway produces large amounts of thrombin that cleave fibrinogen, activate FXIII and activate platelets. Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) and activated protein C (APC) act to attenuate the clotting response. Coagulation and inflammation are linked through activation of protease-activated receptors (PARs). Activation of the clotting cascade leads to the generation of proteases that can cleave and activate PARs. PAR-1 is activated by thrombin and FXa, PAR-3 and PAR-4 are activated by thrombin, and PAR-2 is activated by FVIIa and FXa. This allows cross-talk between coagulation and inflammation.
Nigel MackmanHematology & Oncologytranslationalnonmackman@med.unc.eduTissue FactorThe focus of the Mackman laboratory is a protein called tissue factor (TF). This transmembrane receptor is the primary cellular activator of the coagulation protease cascades (Figure 1). TF is expressed constitutively on perivascular cells and initiates clot formation. After vascular injury, factor VIIa (FVIIa) binds TF and the complex initiates the clotting cascade by cleavage of FX to FXa and FIX to FIXa. Subsequent amplification of the clotting cascade by the intrinsic pathway produces large amounts of thrombin that cleave fibrinogen, activate FXIII and activate platelets. Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) and activated protein C (APC) act to attenuate the clotting response.

Main focuses:
Role of tissue factor in hemostasis
Role of tissue factor in arterial and venous thrombosis
Regulation of LPS induction of gene expression in monocytic cells
Cross-talk between coagulation and inflammation
Role of TF and PARs in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion
Nirmal VeeramachaneniSurgeryclinicalnonirmalv@med.unc.eduOutcomes of thoracic surgery.I am interested in evaluating the outcomes of surgical therapy in patients with thoracic malignancies.
Thus far, our division has conducted retrospective analysis of local and distant tumor recurrence in patients who have undergone \"curative resection\" at UNC.
This is an effort to analyze our institution\'s outcomes, and to formulate prospective studies involving patients with thoracic malignancies.
Nobuyo MaedaPathology & Laboratory Medicinebasicnonobuyo@med.unc.eduDifferentiation of bone marrow derived mouse mesenchymal stem cells into cardiomyocytes in cultureMy research interest is in the genetics and molecular pathology of common, complex diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes and cardiac hypertrophy, the major cause of death and disabilities in modern societies. Our approach consists of a series of experiments with mice carrying modifications in various genes specifying components important for maintenance of vascular health. Recent projects also include exploration of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells as tools for studying pathogenesis of complex diseases and for cell-based therapies.
The short-tem project for a medical student will be to study the transdifferentiation processes of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adult tissues to cardiomyocytes in a culture system. The basic knowledge of similarities and differences between normal heart muscle cells and those grown in culture would facilitate the development of safe and effective procedures.
Odette HoughtonOphthalmologyclinicalnoodette_houghton@med.unc.eduCystoid Macular Edema and Retinal ImagingSeveral conditions are associated with cystoid macular edema (CME) including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusions, uveitis, cataract surgery, vitreous traction, retinal dystrophies and drug reactions. Macular cysts are a major cause of central vision loss in these diseases. I am currently investigating the clinicopathologic correlation of the appearance of CME in biomicroscopy, spectral domain ocular coherence tomography (OCT), fluorescein angiography and a novel imaging technique using a scanning laser ophthalmoscope in retro-mode. I am also validating a unique automated method of segmenting cystoid fluid volume for use in clinical investigations. Qualitative analysis of macular cysts may be used to objectively evaluate treatment and could provide a sensitive outcome measure in interventional studies.
In addition to correlating the morphology of cysts using various imaging modalities, I am planning 1) an investigation of the morphologic features of macular cysts on OCT in response to the treatment; 2) a cross sectional study on the morphology of macular edema on OCT in diabetic patients with concomitant hypertension and/or end-stage renal disease and; 3) a retrospective study investigating the progression of preexisting ocular conditions in patients requiring multiple intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents. The latter two studies will require the extraction of data and interpretation of images using existing department of ophthalmology patient records.
I am also working with other investigators in the department of ophthalmology to determine the effect of vitreoretinal surgery on oxygen saturation in retinal vessels using a retinal oximeter.
Oliver AdunkaOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalyesoadunka@mac.comNear real time measurement of hearing in an animal model for cochlear implantationWe have established an animal model for atraumatic cochlear implantation with hearing preservation. We currently record early intracochlear potentials as an indicator of cochlear function. We will study cochlear micromechanics and electrophysiologic parameters as well as histologic data. The projet will involve animal handling, microsurgical preparations, and electrophysiologic recordings during the experiments. The student will also be involved in tissue processing.
Oliver AdunkaOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalyesofa@med.unc.eduTranslational work to improve cochlear implant electrode placement.This research involves both animal and clinical work centered around electrode placement during cochlear implantation. This basic science aspect of this research is conducted in Dr. Fitzpatrick\'s lab and uses an animal model to simulate cochlear implantation. We have been able to collect data since 2006 and current efforts focus on translating the knowledge learned in the lab to the human stage.
Each year, about 2 medical students have helped with this research. Animal work will include surgical cochlear implantation, electrophysiologic testing, and subsequent histological evaluation via microdissections. Human work will involve obtaining measurements in the operating room ~ twice a week. Both human and animal work require thorough data analysis. Typically, students have also completed a clinical projects besides their lab work. Please contact us and we would be happy to provide a more detailed description.
Otto ZhouPhysics and Astronomybasicnozhou@physics.unc.eduApplications of Carbon nanotube x-ray sourcesWe develop biomedical applications of carbon nanotube x-ray sources including imaging and radiotherapy devices.
Paola GehrigObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalyespam68@med.unc.eduGynecologic OncologyWe have a myriad of opportunities in Gynecologic Oncology. Interested students can be involved in retrospective chart reviews covering ovarian, endometrial, cervical and other gynecologic malignancies. These can have a real impact on treatment recommendations. We have translational research opportunities that include bench research and an animal vivarium through the lab of Dr. Victoria Bae-Jump. Previous students have also conducted prospective work and prospective trials. Skills that can be learned include IRB submission preparation, database development, chart abstraction, statistical analysis, translational research skills. Funding for one position is available for Dr. Bae-Jump\'s lab through the efforts of Below the Belt.
Patrica ChangCardiologyclinicalnopchang@med.unc.eduheart failure (epidemiology/outcomes research)Active clinical research projects include peripartum heart health, heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support outcomes.
Patricia ChangCardiologyclinicalnopatricia_chang@med.unc.eduheart failureI have a broad background in heart failure cardiology and epidemiology with a Masters in Health Sciences in Clinical Epidemiology. I also have an adjunct appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. My research is focused on heart failure. In particular, as a co-investigator of the NIH-funded Atherosclerosis Risks in Communities (ARIC) Study, my research seeks to better understand the epidemiology of heart failure in a biracial population. I also conduct clinical investigations in specialized populations, such as heart transplant recipients, patients supported with mechanical circulatory support, and pregnant patients.
Paul DaytonBiomedical Engineeringtranslationalyespadayton@email.unc.eduFunctional Microvascular and Molecular Imaging in DiseaseThe Dayton lab develops and applies novel ultrasound imaging tools to assess angiogenesis and molecular markers of disease, mostly cancer. We also apply focused ultrasound for targeted therapeutic approaches. Our technology spans basic science to clinical applications.
Paul WatkinsGastroenterology & Hepatologytranslationalnopbwatkins@med.unc.eduHuman hepatocyte cultures from induced pluripotent stem cellsIt is now possible to create stem cells from blood drawn from patients, and differentiate these \"induced pluripotent stem cells\" (iPSC) into various cell types. The goal of this research is to prepare liver cultures from iPSC derived from patients who have experienced severe drug-induced liver injury and are participants in the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN) funded by the NIDDK. The current project will utilize a liver cell line derived from iPSC. The student will work with an internationally recognized research team at the Hamner University of North Carolina Institute for Drug Safety Sciences in Research Triangle Park. The goal will be to optimize differentiation of this cell line towards the adult hepatocyte phenotype and thereby pave the way to patient-specific liver cell cultures. In addition, the student can participate in the process of obtaining blood for iPSC from subjects in the DILIN network who have undergone whole exome sequencing.
Paul WeinholdOrthopedicsbasicnoweinhold7@gmail.comVibration Exposure as a Potential Therapy in Reducing Tissue Contracture in Suspended Rat Tail Tendon FasciclesA prime research interest of mine is investigating applications where low magnitude, high frequency vibration may be used to accelerate rehabilitation after musculoskeletal injury including: osseointegration of orthopaedic implants, fracture healing, tendon healing, prevention of joint contracture and disuse atrophy effects, and improvement of proprioception and neuromuscular performance after acute knee injury.
Paul WeinholdOrthopedicstranslationalnoweinhold@med.unc.eduBasic/translational Orthopaedic ResearchCurrent work is investigating local delivery of an angiogenic compound to accelerate healing of dense collageneous tissues in animal models. Other work is investigating pharmacological and biophysical therapies for prevention of joint contracture in animal and in vitro models. Finally, additional work is investigating new therapies to accelerate bone ingrowth and skin-implant integration in transcutaneous osseointegated implants.
Paul ManisOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerybasicyespmanis@med.unc.eduCentral auditory information processing mechanisms in normal and hearing-impaired rodents.We study the neurobiology of auditory information processing in the central auditory system. We are investigating hypotheses regarding normal auditory information processing, and also the changes that occur with hearing loss induced by noise exposure, cochlear ablation, or genetic mechanisms. Our work also touches on the mechanisms underlying tinnitus caused by hearing loss. Studies are generally physiological in nature, and analyze electrical excitability, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, and circuit organization. We use rodent models, brain slice preparations, patch clamp, optical methods (calcium imaging, neurotransmitter uncaging), and many studies are complemented by computational models. We also measure hearing loss, evaluate auditory startle responses, and perform controlled noise exposures. Previous medical students and residents in the lab have studied changes in transmitter release with hearing loss at the central auditory nerve synapse, synaptic plasticity in auditory cortex, and the role of neuromodulators in cortical function. The lab is funded by two active NIH R01 grants, and lab members have individual grants from NIH and private foundations. Stipend support is available through an NIH training grant.
Pauline Kay LundCell & Molecular Physiologybasicnoempk@med.unc.eduObesity, intestinal stem cells and colorectal cancerCurrent views suggest that inappropriate survival and expansion of genetically damages intestinal epithelial stem cells (IESC) is critical to tumor initiation in the colon. Obesity, an epidemic in the western world, promotes colorectal cancer (CRC) but mechanisms are not defined. Furthermore, small but growing evidence suggests that obese or type 2 diabetic patients show reduced responsiveness to radiation therapy for CRC and potentially worsened adverse effects of radiotherapy on gastrointestinal function. This summer project will provide an opportunity to participate in a project using intestinal stem cell reporter mice, expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) specifically in stem cells to test the hypothesis that:
a) obesity expands the number of colonic stem cells and b) favors enhanced survival of genetically damaged colon stem cells after radiation therapy. Opportunities will be available to gain experience in one or more of the following methods or experimental approaches: a) mouse models of gastrointestinal disease, b) genetically manipulated mice and stem cell reporter mice, c) histopathology of the gastrointestinal tract (normal, after radiation or tumors), d) intestinal stem cell culture, e) immunofluorescence, f) assays of apoptosis and proliferation by histology or flow cytometry and g) real time PCR to follow-up on transcriptomic analyses of stem cells. Level of prior experience will determine which specific projects and methods will be feasible in a summer project. Up to two students will be considered.
Philip SloaneFamily Medicinetranslationalyespsloane@med.unc.eduResearch foot care issues in older persons and develop a training videoTwo medical student positions are available to participate in development, creation, and evaluation of an educational video on foot problems in older persons. Foot care is important but rarely gets much attention in medical education. Nearly a quarter of seniors report restricting activities because of foot pain; many turn to medical professionals for foot care because of impaired vision, arthritis, diabetes, or other problems; arterial and venous problems in the lower extremity are very common; and infected foot ulcers are the leading cause of leg amputation.
The project will be under the direction of Philip Sloane, MD, MPH. Dr. Sloane is the Elizabeth and Oscar Goodwin Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and a specialist in geriatric medicine. Also working with the students will be two nurses who specialize in foot care and a video education company.
During the first 4 weeks of this summer experience, a student will review the literature on foot problems in older persons; work 2 days a week with clinicians providing foot care; develop (with faculty assistance) a curriculum and plan for a training video; assemble photographs of foot problems and pathology; and begin drafting a video script on foot problems and care for nurses and other medical professionals-in-training. During week 5 the script will be finalized and plans for a formal evaluation developed. During weeks 6-8 the student will work with a production company to create a 50-minute training video, finalize the evaluation questionnaire, and work with faculty mentors to set up the project evaluation. During weeks 9 and 10 the student will present the video to 30 practicing nurses, nurse practitioners, and geriatricians for a formal evaluation, and will write a report on development and evaluation of the training video.
This combination of activities will assure that a student participating in this summer project will finish not only with skill development in educational program development and evaluation, but also in the clinical evaluation and care of foot problems in older adults. A poster and/or presentation will result and for the very motivated student the opportunity to co-author a manuscript.
Prashant KaulCardiologyclinicalnopkaul@med.unc.eduCardiovascular and Peripheral Vascular DiseaseMy research interests include:
Management of coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndromes
Systems of care in primary PCI
Appropriate use of cardiovascular imaging
Trans-radial coronary angiography and interventions
Percutaneous ventricular support devices
Peripheral endovascular interventions
I have been involved in a number of site based clinical trials and served as the site principal investigator for the SAFE-PCI, ADVISE II, EUCLID, RACE and the AZ TIGRIS trials.
Puneet JollyOthertranslationalnopuneet_jolly@med.unc.eduUse of Intralesional 5-Fluorouracil to Treat Non-Melanoma Skin CancerOver the past four years we have worked to establish a clinic where we use numerous non-surgical techniques to help treat skin cancers. We have focused on these techniques because certain patients may not be able or willing to tolerate surgical intervention. For example, solid organ transplant patients can see their risk of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) increase by as much as 200-fold. It is often necessary to treat numerous concerning lesions at a time in order to contain risk of spreading. One such technique we have focused on involves using the chemotherapeutic agent, 5-fluorouracil (5FU) which can be injected directly into cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. We have used this technique successfully to treat hundreds of skin cancers and we are looking to analyze the data in order to publish it within the next year. I hope that my background in basic science research as well as my clinical niche will allow me to thrive in my new role as director of cutaneous oncology here at UNC Dermatology. I have the support of our chairperson, Dr. Nancy Thomas who is a collaborator on several project which we will be working on in the coming months and years.
R. Jude SamulskiPharmacologytranslationalyesrjs@med.unc.eduGene TherapyDr. Samulski\'s research focuses on the study of the dependent parvovirus adeno-associated virus. AAV is the only known DNA animal virus which requires co-infection by a second unrelated virus in order to undergo productive infection. The DNA tumor viruses, adenovirus and herpes simplex virus provide the necessary helper functions for AAV. AAV not only utilizes gene products from these tumor viruses, but it interferes with their growth and with oncogenicity of cells transformed by these viruses. In the absence of a helper virus, AAV is able to integrate into host cell DNA and maintain a latent infection. Superinfection of these cells with a helper virus results in the rescue and replication of the AAV genome. The ability of AAV to integrate and maintain itself in host cells and subsequent rescue and replication of its viral sequences is of considerable interest. In some respects, this behavior is similar to phenomena observed with bacterial transposons, yeast movable genetic elements, Drosophila copia sequences, P elements, and the RNA tumor viruses. For this reason AAV has recently been described as a type of replicating transposon. Dr. Samulski has cloned the AAV genome into the bacterial plasmid pBR322 and demonstrated that this recombinant clone is infectious when introduced into human cells co-infected with a helper virus. This recombinant clone has provided a manipulatable system for the analysis of mechanism(s) involved in excision and integration of the adeno-associated virus genome. Based on these observations, he has been able to test AAV as a alternative viral vector for gene delivery. The ability to generate non-pathogenic viral vectors for current basic research have the long term potential of serving as reagents for use in clinical settings. He has established successful and long term gene expression over a year, which directly addresses the issue of molecular therapy required for genetic disorders. One of Dr. Samulski\'s current goals of research is to continue to derive delivery systems for use in gene therapy.
Ravi JhaveriPediatricstranslationalyesravi.jhaveri@unc.eduInfluenza C Epidemiology-Insights into Flu PathogenesisInfluenza viruses are a major cause of human infection and mortality. While Influenza A and B are the primarily associated with this burden, Flu C is increasingly recognized as a cause of human infections with a burden that has a seasonally distinct pattern when compared to Flu A and B. Each year, we have patients that are admitted to UNC with severe respiratory infections that go undiagnosed despite our best efforts. If we could better understand which patients get infected with Flu C and how it is transmitted, we could begin to prevent and treat these infections.
Our intial studies will encompass an anaylsis of human samples sent to the Molecular Microbiology lab at UNC that were previously tested using the Respiratory Virus Panel. We will test all samples as Flu C can cause infection alone but can also be observed co-infecting with other viruses. These samples will be batch tested by real-time PCR using Flu C-specific primers reported in the literature and validated in our hands using cloned plasmids. We will examine the patient characteristics of samples that test positive: age, geography, symptoms, co-morbid conditions, month/season. These results will define the burden of Flu C at UNC and provide us with real-world diagnostic experience using clinical samples.
The student will learn to isolate RNA from clinical samples, conduct the real-time PCR testing and will collect the clinical data. The student will meet regularly with the study team to discuss subsequent studies.
Reid DraegerOrthopedicstranslationalnoreid_draeger@med.unc.eduOrthopaedic Hand Surgery ResearchOur lab performs a wide variety of basic science and clinical research projects relating to Orthopaedic Upper Extremity Surgery.
Renae StaffordSurgeryclinicalyesrstaff@med.unc.eduMedical Profesionalism and Social media use: Are we missing an opportunity for educationThe concept of medical professionalism is engrained in both medical student and graduate medical education. Beginning with the ABIM professionalism charter and closely followed by the addition of the competency of professionalism to the evaluation of graduate medical trainees by the ACGME, it has become a topic for much debate. It is often difficult to define and hard to measure. Students often enter medical school with out any prior knowledge of what will be expected of them and how they will be evaluated. As students enter the clinical world, what they have been taught in lectures or group discussions about professionalism may be seen to be at odds with what happens on the clinical wards. This dichotomy may be further widened in residency. The advent of the internet, blogs, media sharing sites such as You Tube and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace has changed how students and residents interact with educators, their colleagues, the outside world and with patients. This creates challenges to professionalism and opportunities for education and engagement of trainees in discussions about this topic.

1) Perform a needs assessment of medical students, residents and faculty with respect to knowledge and attitudes surrounding medical professionalism

2) Examine students’, residents’ and faculty social media use and attitudes toward social networking sites

3) Examine students’, residents’ and faculty attitudes regarding appropriateness of on-line content with respect to medical professionalism

4) Develop an interactive curriculum on medical professionalism based on aims one to three above.
Rich DavisOphthalmologyclinicalnorichdavis@unc.eduDry Eye Outcomes ResearchDry Eye Disease (DED)is a highly prevalent disease effecting people of all age groups; the etiology is multifactorial. DED has two main types, autoimmune-based or aquesous deficient, of the common type called evaporative dry eye. DED is a chronic disease for which there is not cure. Treatment is palliative. For eye care providers, the treatment conundrum is that signs and symptoms don\'t correlate. Conseequently, the focus of treatment is symptoms and not necessarily signs. Our research team has developed a new patient-reported outcome, the UNC Dry Eye Management Scale, UNC DEMS, that has been recently published to help guide physicans\' treatment The publication valiated the UNC DEMS against the gold standard, the Ocular Surface Index or ODSI. Current research is focused on validating the UNC DEMS in Spanish, French, and Arabic. Other research is focused on the develpment of a UNC DEMS App.
Please see related publications:
Richard WeinbergCell & Developmental Biologybasicnorichard.weinberg@gmail.comimmunocytochemical organization of synapse-related proteins in rat brainI lead a productive research program using light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry to identify the molecular architecture of synapses in the rodent forebrain. This basic research may prove important to gain a better understanding of normal synaptic function and the pathological basis of neuropsychiatric disease. A student in my lab would gain exposure to contemporary neuroscience basic research and could get considerable hands-on experience in neurohistology, immunocytochemical methods, and electron microscopy.
Richard MurrowNeurologytranslationalnomurrowr@neurology.unc.eduDeep brain stimulationuncovering the mechanism of action of DBS
Richard WardropPediatricsclinicalnorichard_wardrop@med.unc.eduHigh Value Care in Medical Education and PracticeThe importance of teaching value-based care, or High Value Care (HVC) has recently been emphasized throughout medical education by a variety of prominent organizations. This is due in large part to the large amount of wasted or inefficient health care delivery in the United States that totals nearly $800 billion of the 2.7 trillion or ~40% of total healthcare expenses in our nation. This is felt to be potentially remediable by better educational and systems approaches to training and healthcare delivery.
Since 2013 we have been conducting a variety of educational interventions and clinical studies aimed at educating students, residents and faculty how to incorporate high value care practices into educational environments. Several projects around the overuse of telemetry, laboratory testing, and other technologies are ongoing. Educationally we have introduced HVC as an area of concentration in the TEC curriculum and other department specific resident education and faculty development.
Research as to the effects of these interventions both educational and clinical are ongoing but with room for expansion and new project development.
Robert OstrumOrthopedicsclinicalnorobert_ostrum@med.unc.eduThe effects of orthopaedic implants on travelOur study is investigating patients with orthopaedic trauma implants and their experiences with airport metal detectors and backscatter scanners, and recording the results of their travel. Although there is some literature on metal detectors, there is very little on airport scanners and their ability to detect orthopaedic implants. Specifically, we would use de-identified patient information to establish the baseline demographics for the patient and we will analyze patient radiographs, BMI, side of implant, metallurgy, size of implant, and number of screws inserted. The time from surgery to travel will also be considered and a comparison will be made with the patient\'s experience in airport detection.
Robert ArisPulmonary & Critical Care Medicinetranslationalnoaris@med.unc.eduResearch Opportunities in Pulmonary Medicine: Pulmonary Hypertension, Cystic Fibrosis. and Lung TransplantationOur group (3 faculty members, 2 research coordinators, and 1 fellow) is interested in research in Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), Cystic Fibrosis. and Lung Transplantation. We do research from basic to translational and to clinical. No real prior training is required. Projects are adjusted to meet the time frame available for research and the interest of the participating researcher. We have mentored >25 medical students over the past 15 yrs. One project is studying biomarkers (proinflammatory and procoagulant proteins among others) for PH from pulmonary arterial blood (obtained at the time of right heart catheterization) and comparing these markers to peripheral venous blood as well as blood from healthy controls (translational research). Another project looks at the effect of immunosuppressants on airway epithelial cells in vitro to better understand how inhaled immunosuppressants might work to prevent lung transplant rejection (basic/translational research). This project has multiple potential spin offs. Another series of projects is looking at improving bone healthy and systemic inflammation in Cystic Fibrosis (clinical and translational). In general we focus on innovative ways to use basic and translational research to improve health outcomes for people with complex lung diseases. Interested students are encouraged to participate in any/all aspects of our work or to design feasible studies that they can do mostly on their own with our assistance.
RObert BuckmireOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgeryclinicalnorbuckmir@unch.unc.eduVoice and SwallowMy research revolves around clinical outcomes following voice and swallowing surgical intervention using validated outcomes measures.
Ronald FalkNephrology & Hypertensiontranslationalnoronald_falk@med.unc.eduANCA Glomerulonephritis: From Molecules to ManGlomerulonephritis and vasculitis caused by anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) is the most common form of rapidly progressive glomerular disease. To improve the lives of patients with ANCA disease, we aim to elucidate the underlying immunologic and pathogenic mechansisms and translate this knowledge into improved patient care. We are currently investigating epigenetic regulation of neutrophil genes and genes that modify the phenotype of ANCA disease. We are exploring the biology of relapse and remission in a unique cohort of patients from the perspective of epigenetic regulation of autoantigen genes, B cell autoreactivity and T cell dysregulation. Using animal models of ANCA disease, we are studying involvement of the alternative complement pathway and Fcy receptors in pathogenesis, induction of disease by different antigens, and the genetic basis for variations in disease severity. Providing translation of our more basic research into clinical invesigations to improve ANCA disease outcomes, we will use our discoveries about pathogenic roles for epigenetic regulation and complement activation by treating patients with retinoic acid to alter myeloid gene expression and with anti-C5 antibodies to block complement activation. As an extension of the discovery of anti-plasminogen antibodies, we will determine if venous thrombosis in ANCA disease patients is attributable to these antibodies. Through the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network, we have followed patients with ANCA disease for almost a quarter century, obtaining crucial clinical and pathological information and biological specimens for our research studies. What we learn about ANCA disease pertains also to autoimmunity and inflammation in general.
Ronald ChenRadiation Oncology Nanomedicineclinicalnoronald_chen@med.unc.eduProstate cancer outcomes researchI do clinical research mainly focused on prostate cancer. Various aspects of my research include clinical trials, quality of life assessment, patterns of care (including using SEER/Medicare data), and survivorship.
Rosalind ColemanNutritionbasicnorcoleman@unc.eduLipid metabolism in liverOur lab studies lipid metabolism in liver. We particularly want to understand the controls on triacylglycerol synthesis, fatty acid oxidation, and acyl-CoA partitioning. These processes are impaired in conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Using recombinant forms of enzymes, knockout mice (mice bred with inactivation of specific genes), and cell culture models, members of our lab are identifying the control mechanisms that explain how acyl-CoAs, a group of fatty acid metabolites, are directed into the mitochondria for energy production or stored in lipid droplets as complex lipids.
Successful adaptation to a prolonged fast requires the liver to increase its production of glucose and its oxidation of fatty acids. Our studies of a new knockout mice provide strong evidence that the response to fasting requires a specific lipid; without the ability to synthesize this lipid, mice become hypoglycemic and their body temperature drops. We are now investigating the mechanism that underlies this phenotype.
Ross SimpsonCardiologyclinicalyesross_simpson@med.unc.eduOut-of-hospital sudden unexpected deathI am the principal investigator of SUDDEN, a complex project investigating sudden unexpected death, an event with complex, multifactorial causation. SUDDEN has a rich dataset of data from North and South Carolina and is currently expanding its data collection and analysis efforts more broadly across the United States as well as globally. Over the past two years, I have helped structure SUDDEN into a world class epidemiology investigation of sudden death and an effective and productive platform to teach students and junior faculty clinical research methods. SUDDEN students have successfully published papers based on their research as well as presented at several national and international conferences. I have a long history of successfully teaching medical students and physicians in preventive cardiology, epidemiology methods and quality of care. The diversity of my research background makes me uniquely well-suited to guide this project: I have established research expertise in epidemiology, clinical cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology, and quality of care. For myself, the development and implementation of a research and teaching program to understand the magnitude and causes of sudden death and eventually to implement prevention paths has been a life’s dream.
Ryan MillerPathology & Laboratory Medicinetranslationalyesrmiller@med.unc.eduTargeting the glioma kinome for personalized diagnosis and therapyDr. Miller is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Neurology whose research and clinical efforts are focused on primary brain tumors, particularly gliomas. His work has established that the genomic landscape of human gliomas consists of multiple molecular subtypes with distinct genomic profiles and therapeutic responses. However, the paucity of models that faithfully recapitulate its genomic heterogeneity has prevented this knowledge from significantly impacting patient management. His laboratory is one of the few nation-wide that has developed both conditional, inducible and non-germline genetically-engineered mouse models to investigate the pathogenetic role of glioma mutations and the cellular lineages in which they occur. His lab utilizes these models, comparative genomics, proteomics and drug profiling, to develop novel combination therapies to combat resistance to single agent kinase inhibitors. His work will aid development of new strategies to personalize the diagnosis and treatment of gliomas.
Sai ChavalaOphthalmologytranslationalnoschavala@med.unc.eduNovel therapies for retinal stem cells and retinal detachmentThe specific focus of the Chavala lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern self-renewal and differentiation of multipotent retinal stem cells. The overall goal is to develop a viable approach to replace damaged retinal cells for patients who have retinal degenerations. We are also interested in developing novel tools for enhancing retinal detachment repair. Both of these projects will include animal work. The latter project may be more suitable for a summer experience and a proof of concept project could be initiated by a motivated student.
Sam WeirFamily Medicinetranslationalyessweir@med.unc.eduImproving Clinical Efficiency in Outpatient Primary Care PracticeThis project will be a follow on to a project to improve clinical efficiency done by Matt Oettinger, a third year resident in Family Medicine. Matt’s project, to be completed in April and May of 2013, includes:
1. Researching the literature on clinical efficiency in primary care, including patient flow in different clinical models;
2. Reviewing and analyzing data from the FMC clinical flow efficiency study;
3. Continuing to improve personal clinical efficiency skills in day to day clinical practice
4. Testing specific improvements suggested from literature search in both personal and team PDSA mini-projects
5. Producing a scholarly work (short paper or poster) demonstrating efficiency/flow lessons learned, and
produce to the FMC R&R committee for further augmentation of practice redesign process
The summer research project would be to develop, implement, and evaluate a spread strategy so that the improvements in clinical efficiency learned by Matt become available to other FMC faculty and residents who see patients in the FMC. Resources on spread strategies from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement will be utilized to structure the work. The hope would be to submit this work as a poster for presentation at a national meeting.
Sam LaiMicrobiology & Immunologybasicnolai@unc.eduImmune protection based on interactions between IgG-Fc and mucinsMost infections transmit at mucosal surfaces, and our immune system secretes more antibodies into mucus than either the blood or the lymph. My lab uses various tools from biophysics and molecular biology to elucidate immune defense mechanisms at the mucosa. Specifically, we are discovered a novel mechanism of antibody protection at mucosal surfaces: trapping individual pathogens in mucus. Ongoing studies include quantifying the potency of this protective mechanism, the biochemistry governing antibody-mucin interactions, quantifying protection against both viral and bacterial pathogens in human secretions and different animal models across various mucosal secretions, and screening antibodies that may provide more effective protection. We welcome students with a keen interest in methods that improve protection against infectious diseases at mucosal surfaces for a short, 3-month research experience in our lab. The students will gain exposure to techniques in biophysics (high resolution fluorescence microscopy), Luminex multiplex ELISA, molecular biology, viral/bacterial cell cultures, animal studies, and studies with human specimens. Examples of our work in this area can be found at and
Lab website:
Samantha Meltzer-BrodyPsychiatryclinicalnomeltzerb@med.unc.eduEpidemiological and Biological Predictors of Postpartum DepressionMy research is focused on understanding the epidemiological and biological risk factors and underlying mechanisms of postpartum mood disorders (PMD). PMDs are the most common complication of childbirth and cause significant morbidity and mortality. Postpartum depression (PPD) has a prevalence of 10-15% and is the most frequent type of PMD. Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a rare but severe form of PMD that can result in tragic consequences including suicide and infanticide. The relationship between PPD and PP is uncertain, as is their relationship to major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BIP). We currently have a poor understanding of who will develop PPD or PP, and whether and how the two disorders are related. Research focused on this line of inquiry could provide new knowledge crucial to understanding the risk factors and course of PMD that could eventually also prove to be key to understanding the etiology of mood disorders outside the perinatal period. This new knowledge will be significant because it will define the epidemiological and mechanistic predictors and course of PMD, thereby identifying a potentially modifiable risk factor for PPD and PP. Ultimately, this work will support strategies to identify women at risk and implement interventions to prevent PPD and PP and their adverse sequelae for mother and child.
Samuel McLeanAnesthesiologyclinicalnosmclean@aims.unc.eduDevelopment of Pain and Psychological Sequelae after Exposure to Stress or Trauma.The goal of the TRYUMPH Research Program is to advance understanding of the biological processes mediating recovery after exposure to stress and trauma, and to use the latest scientific technology to develop individually tailored interventions that promote rapid recovery and prevent chronic symptom development. Types of trauma that are areas of active study in the research program include motor vehicle collision, sexual assault, major traumatic injury, major burn injury, and several different surgical models.
Sandra KimPediatricstranslationalyesskim@med.unc.eduCommensal bacteria and associated virulence genes in children and adolescents with IBDOur laboratory group is interested in the relationship between E. coli and E. faecalis, two commensal organisms associated with IBD in both humans and animal models of colitis, and associated virulence factors that mediate bacterial mucosal adherence, invasion, and intracellular survival. We hypothesize that both bacterial prevalence and virulence gene expression are increased in children with Crohn`s disease with genetic polymorphisms that mediate bacterial killing versus children with Crohn`s disease without these genetic polymorphisms or ulcerative colitis and healthy individuals. Ultimately, the induction of Crohn`s disease requires both host genetic susceptibility and expression of specific bacterial virulence genes. We will address these hypotheses by

(1) characterizing the frequency of mucosally - adherent bacteria and associated relevant virulence genes from intestinal mucosa of children with IBD and within different regions of the intestinal tract of these children and by

(2) determining whether polymorphisms of host genes that regulate bacterial processing and killing are associated with mucosal colonization with bacteria.

Our studies will delineate host genetic interactions with functionally altered E. coli and their associated virulence genes. Therefore, this information moves us closer to our clinical goal of better individualizing therapy; understanding the relationship between patient genotype and microbial profile will help us individualize therapy and avoiding complications both from the natural course of disease as well as medication toxicities.

Ultimately, these studies will help us develop a better understanding of the relationship between commensal organisms such as E. coli and E. faecalis, the genetically susceptible individual`s ability to process and kill these organisms, and metabolic pathways involved in disease pathogenesis.

Students who work with our group will have the opportunity to be involved in different aspects of translational research patient recruitment and data entry/analyses as well as the acquisition of skills in molecular microbiological techniques. There is ample opportunity to plan associated projects depending on individual interests and experience.
Sarah LinnstaedtAnesthesiologytranslationalnoslinnstaedt@aims.unc.eduDefining molecular mechanisms involved in chronic pain development following traumatic/stressful eventsWe are currently using ED based clinical cohort blood samples to examine molecular mechanisms involved in the transition from acute to chronic pain after motor vehicle collision (MVC). We are particularly interested in the role that microRNA play in this process, and how these microRNA molecules interact with other pain mediators to cause pain pathogenesis. The lab uses a combination of experimental and analytical techniques including next generation sequencing, reporter assays, bioinformatics, and statistical analyses. Summer projects would include the ability to learn how clinical cohorts are collected, how to analyze data from large observational studies, and how to conduct small scale bench research projects that both stand alone and also fit into the scope of the larger research question we are trying to answer.
Saskia NeherBiochemistry & Biophysiologybasicnoneher@email.unc.eduRegulation of Lipoprotein Lipase ActivityMy lab studies multiple aspects of lipase regulation. Mammalian lipoprotein lipase (LPL) plays a critical and complex role in lipid metabolism. In humans, deficient levels of LPL can cause hypertriglyceridemia and associated disorders, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. LPL cannot efficiently exit the ER and achieve appropriate levels without a transmembrane protein whose identity was only recently discovered, lipase maturation factor (LMF1). In cells lacking LMF1, inactive LPL is retained in the ER as large eaggregates that are subject to degradation. We use biochemistry and cell biology to study how LMF1 promotes LPL exit from the ER. Once secreted into the blood, LPL activity is also regulated. LPL activity is inhibited by a protein known as ANGPTL4, which is induced in adipose tissue in response to fasting. We study the mechanism of ANGPTL4 inhibition of LPL.
Scott RandellCell Biology & Physiologytranslationalyesrandell@med.unc.eduAirway Epithelial Cell BiologyResearch in my lab is currently focused on five areas where a greater knowledge of basic cell biology can be applied towards overcoming clinical lung disease problems.
1) Identification of Airway Epithelial Stem Cells. Our goals are to identify and isolate airway epithelial stem cells and to understand molecular mechanisms regulating airway epithelial cell proliferation and fate.
2) Micro RNA Regulation of Human Airway Epithelial Phenotype. We have determined the miRNA and mRNA repertoire of human airway epithelial cells and are testing the ability of miRNAs to alter cell structure and function.
3) Innate Immunity in the Airway. Our goals are to better understand airway epithelial adaptation to chronic injury and infection and to understand the relationship of adaptation to the pathogenesis of airway disease.
4) Post-lung Transplant Ischemia Reperfusion Injury and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome. We are examining mechanisms of lung injury relevant to transplantation and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, the leading cause of lung allograft failure.
5) UNC CF Center Tissue Procurement and Cell Culture Core. This Core provides primary and passaged human airway and alveolar epithelial cells, lung microvascular endothelial cells, media and expertise to UNC CF Center investigators and collaborators. This facility is a nationally and internationally recognized resource whose services are sought for collaboration, contract research, and training by academics, non-profit organizations, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry.
Scott MagnessGastroenterology & Hepatologybasicnomagness@med.unc.eduIntestinal Stem CellsThe primary focus of my research is to understand the genetic mechanisms underlying stem cell maintenance and differentiation with the goal of translating this information into therapeutic strategies. We have identified that distinct levels of the transcription factor, Sox9, differentially mark stem cells and progenitor cells in the small intestine epithelium. Using a novel Sox9EGFP mouse model, cell surface markers, and FACSorting we are able to specifically enrich for single multipotent intestinal epithelial stem cells that are able to generate ‘mini-guts’ in a culture system. Our studies are now focused on manipulating, in vitro, the genetics of stem cell behavior through viral gene therapeutics and pharmacologic agents. Additionally, we are developing stem cell transplantation and tissue engineering strategies as therapies for inborn genetic disorders as well as damage and disease of the intestine. A new area of research focus is on cancer stem cells. Using novel animal models and tissue microarrays from human colon cancers, we are investigating the role of Sox9 in colorectal cancer and assessing Sox9 expression patterns as a predictor of outcomes.
Scott BultmanGeneticsbasicyesScott_Bultman@med.unc.eduDietary Fiber, Gut Microbiota, and Epigenetic Events that Prevent Colorectal CancerDue to variables that are difficult to control in human-epidemiological studies, it is unclear whether a high-fiber diet protects against colorectal cancer (CRC). To circumvent these limitations, we are utilizing mouse models of CRC in the Gnotobiotic Facility to test the following hypothesis: dietary fiber has a chemoprotective effect because it is fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is the primary energy source of the colonic epithelium and also functions as a histone deacetylase inhibitor to regulate gene expression. Butyrate is known to confer chemopreventive properties on CRC cell lines based on decreased cell proliferation and increased differentiation or apoptosis. To test our hypothesis, low- and high-fiber diets (FOS/inulin or wheat bran) are being provided to C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice that have been treated with AOM or AOM/DSS to induce CRC in the absence or presence of inflammation. Some mice will be maintained in a germfree (GF) state, while others will be colonized with several ASF-strain bacteria that occupy specific niches of the GI tract and restore normalcy. More importantly, other mice will be colonized with a wild-type butyrate-producing strain (B. fibrisolvens) or a mutant that produces 5-fold less butyrate, both alone and in combination with the ASF. Scoring tumor number/grade of mice from the different experimental conditions will allow us to determine unequivocally whether fiber/microbes/butyrate influence tumor initiation or progression. Gene expression profiling, MeDIP-seq, ChIP-seq, and other molecular studies will investigate the pathway(s) and molecular mechanism.
Scott EltonOtherclinicalnoselton@med.unc.eduEvaluation of Shunt infections at UNC 2000-2015To evaluate the trends and changes in CSF shunt placement over 15 years, attempting to identify factors that have reduced infection rates with consideration of a surgical algorithm to continue to reduce infection rates.
Sean McLeanSurgerybasicnosean_mclean@med.unc.eduBasic Mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension in Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.Pulmonary hypertension in patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia is highly lethal. Presently no definitive treatment exists for pulmonary hypertension in CDH and other forms because the pathogenic mechanisms are complex and not understood. Pulmonary vascular remodeling is the central cause of pulmonary hypertension, and smooth muscle cells drive this process. Our laboratory investigates smooth muscle cell related mechanisms in the development of pulmonary hypertension. Specifically we focus upon the protein Slit-3 as a mediator of smooth muscle cell differentiation and migration in the development of the pulmonary circulation. We believe alterations in Slit-3 signaling contribute to alterations in smooth muscle cell function and phenotype that lead to the development of pulmonary hypertension. In our laboratory, we work with a mouse model for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, Slit-3 null mouse, to investigate the mechanisms related to pulmonary vascular remodeling in the context of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. In our laboratory, we use advanced cell and molecular biology techniques and small animal physiology techniques in our investigative efforts. Students in thhe laboratory will have the opportunity to become engaged in a basic science laboratory exploring a clinical problem that presently has no answers. Please contact Dr. McLean for questions related to the laboratory or other areas related to surgical-science.
Seema GargOphthalmologyclinicalnosgarg@med.unc.eduRetinal imaging, diabetic retinopathy telemedical screening, ophthalmic geneticsI have been interested in the applications of technology in medicine for many years. I have piloted the diabetic retinopathy (DR) telemedicine program at UNC in which we have increased DR screening rates from 30% to 70%. I am also interested in novel retinal imaging modalities. I am currently supervising research with a novel imaging device called the retinal oximeter. It is a non-invasive method based on a traditional fundus camera, to measure retinal oxygen saturation in retinal vessels based on the differential light absorbency of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin. At UNC, our research group has produced a normative database of retinal oximetry, studied the repeatability of the instrument and has evaluated this technology in a variety of disease states such as diabetic retinopathy and radiation retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding microvascular disease characterized by progressive retinal ischemia. Our research group is studying the relationship of retinal oximetry and fluorescein angiography in order to characterize the retinal oxygenation status in various stages of diabetic retinopathy. If we can determine a non-invasive marker for pre-clinical diabetic retinopathy such as decreased retinal oxygenation, retinal oximetry may potentially serve as a screening device for patients who are at higher risk for retinopathy. I am also interested in hereditary eye disease. Nearly half of the patients in our ophthalmology/genetics clinic have negative clinical genetic testing. Our goal is to employ emerging genetic technologies such as next-generation whole-exome sequencing to determine a molecular diagnosis for these patients.
Seth GlickmanEmergency Medicineclinicalyesswglick@med.unc.eduHealth care quality in acute and emergency care settingsMy research generally focus on patient safety and health care quality, including the role of organizational structure and management, physician behaviors, and financial incentives in health care delivery. I also study ethical issues related to participation of human subjects in clinical research and health implications of geographic regionalization of care for patients with acute, time-sensitive conditions such as acute myocardial infarction, trauma, and stroke. My work is currently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the National Institutes of Health.
Seth CrockettGastroenterology & Hepatologyclinicalyesseth_crockett@med.unc.eduEpidemiology and natural history of serrated colorectal polypsMy research interests are broadly in the field of colorectal cancer screening and prevention. I\'m particularly interested in serrated polyps, a relatively under-recognized type of precancerous polyp.
I am involved in several studies of the epidemiology and natural history of serrated polyps, as well as studies of colonoscopy screening and other clinical trials in GI. Specific projects available for student participation include characterization of risk factors of serrated polyps, studying the molecular and other pathologic features of serrated polyps, and determining risk of future polyps and cancer among patients with serrated polyps.
Students will have the opportunity to learn about colonoscopic screening and premalignant lesions of the colorectum. They will also gain experience with clinical research including study design, IRB interface, data collection, basic data analysis, scientific writing of abstracts and manuscripts, and working with a research team.
Seth NoarOthertranslationalnonoar@email.unc.eduIndoor Tanning among Adolescents and Young AdultsIt is a well-established fact in the scientific community that ultraviolet (UV) radiation, including that from artificial sources such as tanning beds, causes skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and affects more than two million Americans. The International Association for Research on Cancer found that people who engage in indoor tanning before the age of 30 are 75% more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Despite this, nearly two million Americans participate in indoor tanning every day.
Dr. Noar recently conducted a study among sorority women at UNC-CH to assess the attitudes and beliefs associated with indoor tanning. This first study is currently being validated via an additional study at Wake Forest University. The proposed survey research will examine adolescents – a critical population in this area - in terms of their indoor tanning behavior with regards to the social cognitive theory constructs of outcome expectations and self-efficacy (temptations). These theoretical factors have been found to be highly predictive of other health and risk behaviors, but limited research applying these theoretical concepts to indoor tanning currently exists. This research will lay the groundwork for the development and evaluation of health communication interventions to encourage young women to not participate in indoor tanning.
Seth GlickmanEmergency Medicineclinicalnoseth_glickman@med.unc.eduHealth Care Qualityeth W. Glickman, M.D., M.B.A. is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholar. His research focus is determinants of health care quality, including the role of organizational structure and systems management, physician behaviors, and financial incentives. He also studies ethical issues related to participation of human subjects in clinical research and health implications of regionalization of care for patients with acute, time-sensitive conditions such as acute myocardial infarction, trauma, and stroke. He has research opportunities available in these areas for interested students.
Shannon CarsonPulmonary & Critical Care Medicineclinicalnoscarson@med.unc.eduOutcomes in Critical CareDr. Carson is interested in long-term outcomes for critically ill patients. Ongoing studies focus on clinical predictors of long-term physical and cognitive function for patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation. Dr. Carson also conducts clinical trials of interventions for acute delirium and ARDS. He has conducted clinical trials of communication interventions to relieve emotional distress for families of critically ill patients and maintains databases for patients and families enrolled in those trials which are available for secondary data analyses.
Shuman HeOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgerytranslationalyesshuman_he@med.unc.eduProgramming cochlear implants and predicting the benefit of cochlear implantation in children with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorderAuditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is an important form of hearing impairment in which patients show evidence of cochlear function but have an aberrant auditory neural system. This project focuses on improving the programming of cochlear implants in children with ANSD using electrical measures such as ERP and ESR. The students will draw correlations between these measurements and the device setting on the cochlear implants of ANSD patients. Students will also investigate possible predictive factors for the degree of benefit that ANSD children will receive from cochlear implants.
Silvia RamosObstetrics & Gynecologybasicnosramos@med.unc.eduFemale InfertilityI have developed a unique mouse model of female sterility that may represent a significant proportion of unexplained infertility seen in women. The DeltaN-Zfp36l2 mouse model is linked to the disruption of the earliest stages of embryogenesis the only one of its kind demonstrating the involvement of an mRNA destabilizing protein in the progression of the embryo beyond the two-cell stage (Ramos et al, Development 2004). Zinc Finger Protein 36 Like 2, ZFP36L2, belongs to the TTP (ZFP36) family of proteins that destabilize certain mRNA containing ARE elements. Although TTP has been involved in modulation of inflammatory and autoimmune responses; ZFP36L2, which is ubiquitously expressed, affects only the earliest stages of embryogenesis (Ramos et al, 2004) and hematopoiesis (Stumpo et al, 2009). Therefore it is my goal to investigate the mechanism which ZFP36L2 leads to female infertility. This basic research will lead to molecular insights on this important condition for which no direct diagnosis method is currently available.
Stefanie SarantopoulosHematology & Oncologytranslationalnostefanie_sarantopoulos@med.unc.eduB-cell Pathology in Patients with Chronic Graft versus Host DiseaseAdult hematopoietic stem/bone marrow transplantation (HSCT) involves the transfer of donor cells to patients/recipients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma or other blood/bone marrow cancers. Our primary laboratory interest is study of the significant immune pathology that develops in patients who have undergone HSCT. While HSCT offers the possibility of cure for many patients with hematologic diseases, the full potential of HSCT has not been realized because of transplant-related complications. Chronic GVHD has an adverse impact on survival that has not improved significantly over the last 30 years. Targeted therapy for chronic GVHD has been difficult to develop due to limited understanding of immunopathologic mechanisms in human cGVHD. Our lab has shown that B cells play a role in cGVHD, but the mechanisms that promote and sustain B cell involvement have not been elucidated. These studies of human B cells will elucidate immune tolerance mechanisms. Better understanding of chronic GVHD will result in novel targeted therapeutic agents so that we can decrease morbidity and mortality in our HSCT patients.
The summer student would work with a post-doctoral fellow or research assistant on a project aiming to identify activated B cells in lesional tissue in patients with chronic GVHD. The following techniques will be employed: 1) ELISA to determine presence of BAFF and autoantigen(s) in HSCT patient plasma 2) Analysis of patient skin by immunohistochemistry for specific B-cell subsets and 3) Flow cytometry of patient whole blood, examining B-cell subsets.
Stephen TilleyPulmonary & Critical Care Medicinebasicnostephen_tilley@med.unc.eduAsthma PathogenesisOur laboratory has a number of ongoing studies looking at the mechanisms by which environmental pollutants contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma. Ozone, endotoxin, and diesel exhuast particles are combined with environmentally relevant models of asthma (housedust mice, cockroach)to study the role of selected biological pathways in search of new drug targets. Such pathways include nucleotides and nucleosides (e.g. adenosine), lipid mediators of inflammation, and innate immune receptors (TLRs, NLRs) to name a few. Short-term research projects for undergraduatse and medical students are available in a number of these areas.
Stephen TilleyPulmonary & Critical Care Medicinetranslationalnostilley@med.unc.eduAsthma and CRS pathogenesisOur laboratory investigates the pathogenesis of upper and lower airway diseases, including asthma,chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), and COPD using animal models and human tissues in search of new drug targets. Presently we are investigating the mechanisms by which ozone causes asthma attacks; the role of SPLUNC1 in asthma, allergic rhinitis, and CRS; and the contribution of cigarette smoke and new and emerging tobacco products to the pathogenesis of these diseases. Students interested in ENT, allergy and immunology, pulmonology, and internal medicine may find these projects interesting.
Stergios MoschosHematology & Oncologytranslationalnomoschos@med.unc.eduUnderstanding the Biology of Melanoma Brain MetastasesOver the last 2 years my research focus has been to study the biology of melanoma brain metastases, in hopes to understand why melanoma is the cancer that most frequently goes to the brain, why it has the highest propensity to bleed, and why its prognosis is poor in general. The long term focus is to develop rational therapies for this disease site group, the incidence of which will exponentially rise over the next few years given the advent of new effective, recently F.D.A-approved therapies for metastatic melanoma (e.g. vemurafenib, ipilimumab).
As part of this effort, and during the last 2 years of my tenure as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh SPORE-funded Melanoma program I established a tissue database that consists of 101 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor blocks obtained from patients who underwent craniotomy for melanoma brain metastases. Following detailed histopathologic, whole genome expression, and immunohistochemical analysis, we identified that high immune infiltrate, low intratumoral hemorrhage, and high melanin are associated with prolonge survival. In addition, genes involved in Notch, Wnt, HIF1alpha, G-protein coupled receptor, and Tubby signaling are associated with worse prognosis.
My plan is to validate these findings in the UNC-CH melanoma brain metastases cohort and in addition perform whole genome exon sequencing on brain melanoma metastases, extracranial metastases, and primary melanoma from the same patients to identify metastasis-specific genes that are distinct from ones that have already described (B-Raf, N-Ras).
Steven ParkHematology & Oncologytranslationalyessipark@med.unc.eduPretargeted delivery of nanoparticles using strepavidin fusion protein and biotinylated nanoparticlesMy research is primarily focused on targeted therapy and imaging for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). My group has developed a pretargeted approach to effectively target NHL using nanoparticles. We are currently evaluating the efficacy of pretargeting with anti-CD20 antibody-streptavidin fusion protein followed by biotinylated nanoparticles in functional imaging of NHL. If this pretargeted approach against NHL proves successful, highly specific nanoparticle compounds could be utilized to enhance the specificity of traditional imaging modalities in NHL. Furthermore, this approach can be applied to many other tumors expressing cancer-specific markers.
Steven ZeiselNutritiontranslationalyessteven_zeisel@unc.eduLiver mitochondrial function in BHMT-/- miceCholine is an essential nutrient and humans deprived of choline develop fatty liver. BHMT catalyzes an important step in choline metabolism, and mice in which this gene has been deleted develop characteristic metabolic abnormalities including increased fat oxidation. They also develop liver cancer. In this summer project a student will isolate liver mitochondria from these mice and assess their function using a Seahorse Bioscience XF analyzer.
Susan HenningCell & Molecular Physiologybasicnosjh@med.unc.eduResearch of Instestinal Stem CellsThe current goals of the Henning lab are to isolate and characterize intestinal stem cells. If successful, we envision these cells to be of significant clinical value in promoting repair of damaged intestine (e.g., following radiation or chemotherapy). A summer student could participate in ongoing work in mouse models exploring the roles of active as compared with quiescent stem cells in: a) postnatal growth of the intestine; b) the rejuvenative response of the adult intestine following damage. If interested, contact Dr. Henning at 843-4969 or
Temitope KekuGastroenterology & Hepatologytranslationalnotokeku@med.unc.eduTranslational studies of colorectal cancerMy research involves translational research combining basic science with epidemiology to gain a better understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. My research interests are: genetic and molecular epidemiology of colorectal cancer; assessment of the contribution of genetic and lifestyle/dietary factors to colorectal cancer susceptibility; identification of germ-line or tumor characteristics associated with cancer risk and clinical outcomes; identification of novel biomarkers for early detection to define risk groups for prevention; cancer health disparities; defining the role of gut microbiome in etiology of colorectal cancer. Current studies are focused on evaluating the gut microbiome and interactions between microbiome, diet, and inflammation in relation to colorectal adenomas and cancer. Our findings suggest that there is a microbial signature associated with colorectal adenomas. This finding has potential clinical impact that could lead to development of novel strategies to manipulate the gut microbiota in order to prevent colorectal adenomas and cancer.
There are opportunities to plan associated projects depending upon individual interests and experience. Summer students will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing microbiome studies and be involved in high throughput analysis of the microbiome and correlations with diet, inflammation and adenomas. Existing datasets from previous studies are also available for students who wish to look at other aspects of colorectal cancer etiology.
Thomas IvesterObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnotivester@med.unc.eduQuality improvement and patient safety in obstetricsThe department of obstetrics is undertaking a comprehensive patient safety and quality improvement program that will support numerous projects in these arenas. The primary emphasis will be on inpatient obstetrics / labor and delivery, though outpatient options are also available. Projects will evaluate impact of newly launched patient safety programs, including in-situ drills and simulation, in addition to rapid cycle improvement projects involving clinical processes. We will recommend brief training in quality improvement prior to project start, or during the 1st week.
Thomas EganSurgerytranslationalnoltxtme@med.unc.eduIschemia-Reperfusion Injury and Lung Transplant from Non-Heart-Beating DonorsIschemia-Reperfusion Injury (IRI) occurs when blood flow to an organ stops (ischemia) then resumes (reperfusion). IRI is a feature of organ transplants, and other clinical scenarios, including myocardial infarction and stroke. Lung tissue remains viable for hours after circulatory arrest. We are investigating the possibility of using lungs for transplant, even if recovered hours after death. Reperfusion of lungs after retrieval results in IRI. We have cell culture models of IRI, in vivo murine and rat models of lung IRI, a rat lung transplant model, and a model of ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) followed by lung transplant (LTX) in rats. We are also studying EVLP of human lungs. IRI is mediated by toll-like receptors (TLRs) of the innate immune system. IRI is associated with early edema in the lung and activation of a variety of inflammatory signaling pathways, including NF-kb and MAP kinases. Projects suitable for short term research include performing cell culture experiments of simulated IRI and looking at the effects of pathway inhibitors or other potential therapies. Other molecular biology techniques we use are protein and RNA extraction, Western blots to identify proteins, RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Because our research explores mechanisms and identifies potential therapies that can be introduced clinically, it is very translational.
Thomas EganSurgerytranslationalnothomas_egan@med.unc.eduIschemia-Reperfusion Injury in Lungs Retrieved After Death for TransplantIschemia-Reperfusion Injury (IRI) occurs when blood flow to an organ stops (ischemia) then resumes (reperfusion). IRI is a feature of organ transplants, and other clinical scenarios, including myocardial infarction and stroke. Lung tissue remains viable for hours after circulatory arrest. We are investigating the possibility of using lungs for transplant, even if recovered hours after death. Reperfusion of lungs after retrieval results in IRI. We have cell culture models of IRI, in vivo murine and rat models of lung IRI, a rat lung transplant model, and a model of ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) followed by lung transplant (LTX) in rats. We are also studying EVLP of human lungs, and we are using EVLP to evaluate function of lungs retrieved post-mortem. IRI appears to be mediated by toll-like receptors (TLRs) of the innate immune system. IRI is associated with early edema in the lung and activation of a variety of inflammatory signaling pathways, including NF-kb and MAP kinases. Projects suitable for short term research include performing cell culture experiments of simulated IRI and looking at the effects of pathway inhibitors or other potential therapies. Other molecular biology techniques we use are protein and RNA extraction, Western blots to identify proteins, RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Because our research explores mechanisms and identifies potential therapies that can be introduced clinically, it is very translational.
Tim CareyGeneral Mediicine & Clinical Epidemiologyclinicalnotim_carey@unc.eduEvidence based practice, comparative effectiveness researchI am involved in a variety of activities in clinical and translational research. These include work on prioritization of research activities so that scarce funds can be expended on the most pressing clinical problems. I am particularly interested in comparative effectiveness research: determining which tests, treatments and policies are most effective in improving health for patients. Use of informatics tools to address these CER questions is becoming more common, and has the potential to allow addressing clinical questions become less expensive, more generalizable, and more timely.
Timothy Platts-MillsEmergency Medicineclinicalnotplattsm@med.unc.eduEmergency care for older adultsOur research concerns the care of older adults in the emergency department (ED). Although our primary interest is improving the outpatient management of acute musculoskeletal pain, we have recently expanded our interest to other important and under-recognized conditions. Current projects include:
1) a multi-site observational study of the determinants of persistent pain and functional decline among older adults experiencing motor vehicle collision.
2) an assessment of physical activity during the recovery after acute musculoskeletal pain in older adults.
3) a randomized trial examining the effect of a brief educational video on pain symptoms and side effects among older adults discharged from the ED following evaluation for musculoskeletal pain
4) a study on the prevalence and determinants of malnutrition among older ED patients
Clinical exposure to patients in the ED and learning research methods are emphasized.
Timothy FarrellSurgeryclinicalnotfarrell@med.unc.eduOutcomes after bariatric or minimally invasive upper GI surgery/surgical educationWill be glad to mentor students on clinical research ideas based on chart review.
Tracy ManuckObstetrics & Gynecologyclinicalnotmanuck@med.unc.eduIdentifying clinical and genetic factors involved in preterm birthI am a leading translational researcher in obstetrics, focusing on genetic etiologies of preterm birth, and how this affects preterm birth prevention and treatment. My research to date has focused on examining clinical and genetic differences between individuals that may explain differences in outcomes with regards to medications used to treat preterm birth. I have extensive experience with large-scale, biospecimen-heavy projects studying the complex phenotype of preterm birth. My Masters degree afforded formal training and skills in advanced genetic analyses and translational research; this formal training was enhanced by real world training obtained during my K23. I am nationally recognized for my efforts, and my research has twice received the prestigious March of Dimes Award for the Best Research in Prematurity (in 2009 and 2014).
Travis MeredithOphthalmologyclinicalnotravis_meredith@med.unc.eduRetinal and vitreous diseasesMy research has focused for over 30 years on retinal and vitreous diseases. I have extensive experience in clinical trials for ocular disorders. I have served as Principal Investigator for many of the major clincal trials that now inform and guide the treatment of rretinal disorders. Additionally I am interested in characterization of specific retinal entities and have written a number of papers describing new clinical findings in recognized diseases, and have described several new disorders. As a clinical trialist I have extensive experience in hypothesis generation, protocol design, data interpretation, and manuscript preparation. My current interests are focused in clinical trials in the ocular complications of AIDS, management of diabetic retinopathy, and prevention and treatment of macular degeneration.
Victoria Bae-JumpObstetrics & Gynecologytranslationalnovictoria_baejump@med.unc.eduObesity and Ovarian/Endometrial Cancer PathogenesisI am a gynecologic oncologist and a translational cancer researcher at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) in the Clinical Research Program. My research focuses on understanding the impact obesity has on ovarian and endometrial cancer development and progression which may invariably dictate different risk reduction strategies and treatment options for this particularly high-risk patient population. We hypothesize that obesity gives rise to biologically and metabolically different cancers than those that arise in a non-obese environment; and thus, obesity-driven cancers may have unique vulnerabilities that could be targeted for treatment. In this pursuit, I have investigated many novel targeted therapies for the treatment of obesity-driven ovarian and endometrial cancer, including mTOR inhibitors, arsenic, a human monoclonal antibody to the insulin growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), soy, genistein, cox-2 inhibitors, statins and metformin. My pre-clinical work has led to several investigator-initiated clinical trials, including pre-operative window studies of metformin and atorvastatin in obese endometrial cancer patients, a pilot study of meformin for the treatment of endometrial hyperplasia, a phase II trial of metformin in combination with the levonorgestrel-intrauterine device in endometrial hyperplasia/cancer patients, a phase II trial of metformin (plus paclitaxel/carboplatin) in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients and a randomized phase II/III evaluation of paclitaxel/carboplatin/metformin versus paclitaxel/carboplatin/placebo in advanced and recurrent endometrial cancer patients.
William WhiteheadGastroenterology & HepatologyclinicalnoWilliam_Whitehead@med.unc.eduImpact of Accidental Bowel Leakage (Fecal Incontinence) on Coping, Quality of Life, and Consulting for TreatmentAccidental bowel leakage (ABL) affects 8% of adults but fewer than 30% of them consult a physician despite availability of effective treatments. Providing care to these patients is a priority of the NIDDK.
Aims: This survey will attempt to answer the following questions:
1. How do people with ABL cope? Preliminary data suggests some maladaptive ways of coping such as not eating before going out.
2. Does severity of ABL and its impact on quality of life influence how people cope with ABL?
3. Does coping style influence whether people consult for ABL?
Methods: An internet survey will collect data from approximately 200 people with ABL. This database will be completed before May 2016. Medical student will be mentored in analyzing the data, preparing an abstract for submission to the annual meeting of the Am Gastroenterol Assoc, and preparing a manuscript for publication in a journal.
William KimHematology & Oncologytranslationalyeswykim@med.unc.eduGenetics of Bladder and Kidney CancerThe Kim Lab is focused on understanding the genetic and epigenetic events involved in the initiation and progression of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and bladder cancer. Through NextGeneration sequencing of primary human tumors and the use of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs), as well as in vitro systems, our goal is to identify the critical genomic and epigenetic changes that are drivers of RCC and bladder cancer. Our ultimate goal is to elucidate the functional consequences of these genomic events in order to pinpoint novel, high impact therapeutic targets for therapy.
Lab Website:
William ShockleyOtolaryngology Head & Neck Surgeryclinicalnoshockley@med.unc.eduSystematic review of major auricular avulsion injuries with recommendations for managementMajor auricular a avulsion injuries (greater than 70% of the external ear) are relatively uncommon but represent a devastating and disfiguring injury. There are several treatment methods that are recommended for the acute management of these injuries. Many of them are outdated and scientifically unsound. As a result, this clinical scenario continues to represent a therapeutic dilemma. This systematic review will highlight the success rates of various treatment options and the dispel many of the myths that are associated with the management of these injuries. We plan to survey practitioners in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery as well as experts in auricular reconstruction about their current treatment patterns. The major goal of this project will be to recommend practice guidelines for this specific injury.
This will be an ideal study for medical students. It will involve an in-depth review of the literature, creating a survey for practitioners as well as experts, gathering and tabulating data, and putting together a systematic review. As the mentor I will be working with a student weekly in order to provide guidance for the study, survey, and manuscript. My associate, Dr. Madison Clark will also be involved and will also be available as a mentor. We would anticipate that this will lead to a podium presentation at a national meeting as well as a publication in one of the major otolaryngology/head and neck surgery or facial plastic and reconstructive surgery journals.
Zongchao HanOphthalmologybasicyeszongchao@med.unc.eduDrug and Gene Therapy for Retinal DisordersNanoparticle (NP)-based large genomic DNA delivery.
Developing antioxidant NPs.
Developing injectable hydrogels for ophthalmic applications.
Tumor-directed NP delivery.
Drug-gene design and optimization.
DepartmentFunding Source/NIH Institute
NeurosurgeryBrain Aneurysm Foundation
Emergency Medicine
Pediatric GastroenterologyCommitment funds
Medicine, GI Division
MedicineNC TraCS institute
McAllister Heart InstituteNIH-NHLBI
McAllister Heart InstituteNIH-NHLBI
MedicineNIDDK, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation
Biomedical EngineeringNIH, NIDDK and NHLBI; LCCC
DepartmentFunding Source/NIH Institute
NeurosurgeryBrain Aneurysm Foundation
Emergency Medicine
Pediatric GastroenterologyCommitment funds
Medicine, GI Division
MedicineNC TraCS institute
McAllister Heart InstituteNIH-NHLBI
McAllister Heart InstituteNIH-NHLBI
MedicineNIDDK, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation
Biomedical EngineeringNIH, NIDDK and NHLBI; LCCC
Michelle MeyerEmergency MedicineClinicalNomichelle_meyer@med.unc.eduCardiovascular EpidemiologyI am starting a feasibility study to compare heart failure risk prediction tools in the emergency department. The overarching goal of this project is to compare the clinical performance of three published heart failure risk prediction tools in the emergency department for 7- and 30-day mortality and adverse events, and to evaluate the predictive value of additional assessments relevant to older adults.
Michelle MeyerEmergency MedicineClinicalNomichelle_meyer@med.unc.eduCardiovascular EpidemiologySex differences in heart failure (HF) emergency department (ED) visits and disposition in North Carolina. The purpose of this study is to evaluate sex differences in ED visits and ED disposition for patients with HF. The main study aims include evaluating sex differences in chief complaint reported by patients with HF in the ED and assessing factors associated with ED disposition.
Michelle MeyerEmergency MedicineTranslationalNomichelle_meyer@med.unc.eduCardiovascular EpidemiologyMy research focuses on understanding cardiovascular risk factors for pulse wave velocity (PWV) and how arterial stiffness relates to adverse health outcomes among older adults. Particularly, I am interested in understanding early impairments in cardiovascular structure and function and their role in end-organ damage to the brain. I am involved in an ongoing NIA-funded R01 study investigating changes in arterial stiffness, cognition and dementia risk in members of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a population-based cohort study.
Arlene DavisSocial Medicine/Center for BioethicsBasicNodavisam@med.unc.educlinical ethicsPractical Ethics in Medical Education: We will be examining the results of two studies in order to create a coherent model for teaching clinical ethics at various points in the educational process. One study, on ethics education for medical students and trainees, is completed and includes survey data and ethnography, examining both confidence in identifying issues and ability to apply ethical concepts to real cases. The other study will be completed June 30, 2018. It employs simulation and standardized patients to assess ethics in the context of ACGME professionalism milestones for resident trainees. While the use of an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE), via simulation, is a well-developed tool in other parts of medical education, there is limited data on the use of OSCEs at the resident level for assessing ethical skills and professionalism. Our summer project will be directed at analysis of the simulation data and refinement of our professionalism module using data from the ethics education study to inform our findings.
Giselle Corbie-SmithSocial Medicine, MedicineTranslationalYesgcorbie@med.unc.eduHealth Equity Research on Cardiovascular Disease RiskOur NHLBI-funded R01 project, Heart Matters, provides student-researchers the opportunity to investigate research questions about cardiovascular disease risk, stress, health behavior, social support, environmental risk, health care use, etc. in a predominantly African American sample in rural, eastern North Carolina. Our team's projects all center on health equity and community-engaged research, and we welcome applications from student-researchers who are committed to this foci and wanting to conduct quantitative analysis on existing data from Heart Matters.
Montika BushEmergency MedicineTranslationalNombush8@unc.eduHealth Services ResearchWhile clinical trials often emphasize the efficacy of an intervention in a selected population, my research goals are to assess the real-world effectiveness of interventions across a wide variety of clinically important subgroups. My research interests include investigating the effectiveness of health care services and synergies of pharmaceutical products in combination with other health care services on clinically relevant outcomes including investigating any heterogeneity of effect by sub-populations. My current research is focused on post-MI cardiac rehabilitation utilization and surveillance of mental health patients in the Emergency Department.
Nina JainPediatric EndocrinologyClinicalNonjain@med.unc.eduPediatric diabetes and endocrinologyMy focus includes all pediatric endocrine patients. My specific interests include diabetes (primarily Type 1) and patients with gender incongruence. Regarding our patients with Type 1 diabetes, I am interested in assessing health literacy and numeracy and using this information to help tailor individual patient education to optimize diabetes care. We are also interested in transition of care and preparing patients for adult medicine. Our Pediatric and Adolescent Care for Gender Wellness clinic is relatively new but we are seeing a steady stream of patients and may have opportunities for medical student research.
Jean-Claude MwanzaOphthalmologyClinicalNojean-claude_mwanza@med.unc.eduComparison of Visual Field Using a Tablet-based Perimeter and Humphrey Field AnalyzerBACGROUND
Glaucoma is the second case of blindness worldwide. It is a slow progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting the optic nerve. It is characterized by the dysfunction and then death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons, leading to morphological changes to the optic nerve head (ONH) and visual field deficits. If left untreated or inadequately treated glaucoma slowly leads to irreversible blindness. Both medical and surgical treatment are effective in controlling intraocular pressure (the main risk factor) in most cases and slow considerably the progression of the disease and therefore prevent visual impairment. In the United States, the number of people with glaucoma rose from 2.2 million to 2.7 million from 2000 to 2010,[1] with projections to increase to 4 million in 2030 and 6.3 million in 2050. The prevalence of glaucoma varies across regions, but it is highest in Africa[2-6] More importantly, of all people with glaucoma in the United States, approximately 50% are undiagnosed. Such rates are even higher in low-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa for example, 87.1% to 98.5% of people with glaucoma diagnosed in population-based surveys were not aware that they have it.[5-11] Thus the key to preventing visual impairment and its consequences such as falls, bad quality of life, is early detection of glaucoma, particularly in populations at risk.
There have been several attempts to develop glaucoma screening various methods such as those focusing on intraocular pressure measurement, appearance of the optic nerve head or questionnaires, but those methods proved to be less sensitive and less specific. Because glaucomatous visual field deficits are specific, a screening method based on visual field testing may help detect glaucoma in population at risk.
However such a screening cannot be performed using the method of visual field testing used in the clinical setting (Humphrey Field Analyzer, HFA) because it is time-consuming. A good method screening method should be inexpensive, portable, easy to use, administer, and interpret, and comfortable for the subjects.

TestFlight is a tablet-based application called MRF for Melbourne rapid Field on the iPad platform that has been developed with the ultimate aim of facilitating perimetry outside the traditional clinical setting. It features a blind spot monitor, reliability tests, and fast thresholding using Bates logic. It provides the same testing modes and outputs as the HFA. In addition to the test pattern used on HFA (which allows comparison), it also has its own specific testing pattern with more test points. It is easy to use, it only take about 2 minutes per eye. Prior to using it in population screening, it needs to be tested in clinic to see how it performs in real glaucoma patients

1) To compare the perimetric results from the iPad-based app (Melbourne Rapid Fields or MRF) to those of HVF 24-2 SITA Standard testing mode.
2) To evaluate accuracy of the MRF, an iPad app, for performing perimetric screening
3) To correlate the results of MRF and HFA.

Consecutive patients attending their clinical appointment in the glaucoma clinic and scheduled for HFA will be recruited for the study. They will qualify for the study if they are at least 18 years old, have diagnosed with glaucoma in at least one eye, are willing to perform the tablet-based visual field prior of following the HFA, have best corrected visual acuity of 20/40 per qualifying eye. Patients with diabetic proliferative retinopathy, neurological disorders, or those on medication that may affect visual field will be excluded. A total of 80 patients with glaucoma at different stages (early, moderate, advanced) will be enrolled in the stud. Each patients will undergo both tests the same day, in no particular order although we prefer MRF first while they are waiting for HFA. 30 0f these patients will also undergo spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the ONH and the macula
Because HVF testing is usually performed once a year, patients will be perform both tests a year later the day HFA is scheduled.
Study parameters on both tests will include 1) mean deviation, 2) pattern standard deviation, 3) number of missed locations, 4) false positive rates, 5) false negative rates, 6) time to complete the test, 7) the number of points worse than 5% probability level of total deviation map.

The analysis will include comparison of the study parameters from the two tests (paired t-test) and correlating them (Pearson correlation). Person correction of deviation and pattern standard deviation with OCT parameters ( retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness, rim area, vertical cup-t-disc ratio) will also be performed.

1. Quigley HA, Broman AT. The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020. Br J Ophthalmol 2006; 90:262-267.
2. Tham YC, Li X, Wong TY, et al. Global prevalence of glaucoma and projections of glaucoma burden through 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology 2014; 121:2081-2090.
3. Kyari F, Abdull MM, Bastawrous A, et al. Epidemiology of glaucoma in sub-saharan Africa: prevalence, incidence and risk factors. Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol 2013; 20:111-125.
4. Ashaye A, Ashaolu O, Komolafe O, et al. Prevalence and types of glaucoma among an indigenous African population in southwestern Nigeria. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013; 54:7410-7416.
5. Budenz DL, Barton K, Whiteside-de Vos J, et al. Prevalence of glaucoma in an urban West African population: the Tema Eye Survey. JAMA Ophthalmol 2013; 131:651-658.
6. Ntim-Amponsah CT, Amoaku WM, Ofosu-Amaah S, et al. Prevalence of glaucoma in an African population. Eye (Lond) 2004; 18:491-497.
7. Buhrmann RR, Quigley HA, Barron Y, et al. Prevalence of glaucoma in a rural East African population. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2000; 41:40-48.
8. Ekwerekwu CM, Umeh RE. The prevalence of glaucoma in an onchoendemic community in South-Eastern Nigeria. West Afr J Med 2002; 21:200-203.
9. Kyari F, Entekume G, Rabiu M, et al. A Population-based survey of the prevalence and types of glaucoma in Nigeria: results from the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey. BMC Ophthalmol 2015; 15:176.
10. Rotchford AP, Johnson GJ. Glaucoma in Zulus: a population-based cross-sectional survey in a rural district in South Africa. Arch Ophthalmol 2002; 120:471-478.
11. Rotchford AP, Kirwan JF, Muller MA, et al. Temba glaucoma study: a population-based cross-sectional survey in urban South Africa. Ophthalmology 2003; 110:376-382.


the Student will be responsible for recruiting and enrolling study patients as well as administering the tablet visual field test. The HFA test will be performed by the hospital technician. The student will also be responsible for managing the data. He will taught proper methods of data management and basic statistical data. analysis
Deanna Sasaki-AdamsNeurosurgeryClinicalYesdeanna_sasaki-adams@med.unc.eduAneurysmsWe are looking at the correlation between inflammatory changes and aneurysm development in a rabbit model. This research is funded through a grant from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

A second project is looking at the functional outcomes with respect to psychiatric and cognitive issues that arise after patients suffer from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Mehul PatelEmergency MedicineClinicalNomehul_patel@med.unc.eduEmergency Medical Services and Systems of Acute CareMy research focuses on the role of emergency medical services (EMS) in providing prehospital care to acute myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke patients. Currently, I am developing two major research programs: (1) effectiveness of remote ischemic conditioning delivered by EMS to acute MI patients in the prehospital setting and (2) regionalization of acute stroke care systems. These and other projects will provide opportunities to assist with study design and planning, subject recruitment and enrollment, data collection, statistical analysis, and preparation of abstracts, manuscripts, and grant applications. Emphasis is placed on learning research design and methodology and obtaining hands-on experience with clinical and population health data. If interested, please feel free to contact me for more information.
Richard FeinsSurgeryClinicalNorfeins@med.unc.eduSimulation Based Education in SurgeryThe 2018 summer program will build upon the 10 year history of our laboratory in developing and testing simulation models for teaching surgical skills and decision making. The student will become familiar with a specific surgical procedure and/or skill by observing in the operating room and then build a realistic simulator to teach that skill. The specific procedure will be decided upon by the student and Dr. Feins after identifying the student\'s interest and the clinical need for the simulator. Examples of possible procedures for simulation model development include robotic hysterectomy, endovascular stent placement, internal mammary take-down and preparation, fluoroscopic orthopedic bone fixation, robotic bowel resection, and thoracosopic/robotic thymectomy. The developed model will be validated by an IRB approved research study which would hopefully lead to presentation and publication. The summer experience is intended to provide an important project which can be accomplished in the time frame given with the results translating into teaching clinical skill and decision making. The experience puts a high premium on creativity, ingenuity, and initiative.
Rupali ShahOtolaryngologyClinicalNorupali_shah@med.unc.eduVoice, Swallowing, and Airway Disorders; Education based researchWe have a large database of patients presenting to the UNC Voice Center. These patients undergo a variety of medical, behavioral, and surgical procedures for treatment of voice, swallowing, and airway disorders. Our research is focused on patient specific tailoring of treatment. In order to do this, we must be vigilant in our study of multidimensional outcome measures. These include analysis of patient reported outcomes (survey based), perceptual data (our grading of severity), objective data of voice from our voice lab, quality of life, depression/anxiety scores, general health outcomes, and anatomical data (trach dependency, aspiration scores, airway caliber) after various interventions.

In addition, as the associate residency program director and director of ENT curriculum for the medical school, we study a variety of teaching methods including simulation based teaching, effect of Epic on training, how to pick the right applicant, and more.

We have a variety of projects that can be completed in the allotted time in the above categories.
Jennifer LawPediatricsClinicalNolawj@med.unc.eduTurner Syndrome and FertilityTurner Syndrome (TS) affects 1 in 2,000 girls and nearly all women with TS are unable to spontaneously conceive a pregnancy. I am the Director of the UNC Turner Syndrome Clinic and member of the Pediatric Fertility Preservation team. I am working with reproductive endocrinologists to preserve fertility before ovarian failure and to explore assisted reproduction techniques when appropriate. To date, there are few studies exploring fertility preservation and assisted reproduction in TS. However, there is a national database tracking reproductive endocrinology outcomes which can be used to describe outcomes of assisted pregnancies in TS. Also, there is little literature describing how to best measure fertility in TS as well as predictors of ovarian failure in TS. These two areas could be studied via UNC medical record review.
I am also a general pediatric endocrinologist who sees children with various hormone problems such as problems with growth, puberty, thyroid function, bone health, and diabetes. Many unusual and interesting cases present to UNC Pediatric Endocrinology clinic which provide opportunities for writing case reports.
Yueh LeeRadiologyTranslationalNoleey@med.unc.eduTranslationalMy areas of research interest are focused on translational medical imaging - bringing techniques developed by myself or in research labs on campus into clinical applications.
I work with two major imaging modalities for a number of clinical applications:
First, I work extensively with the carbon nanotube x-ray source invented on campus. Our current applications include breast, cardiac and chest tomosynthesis.
We have extended this work into novel radiation therapy approaches.
Second, I work extensively with F19 (non-radioactive) based MR imaging for Cystic fibrosis (human) and cell tracking (pre-clinical). We also have a few novel F19 applications that are in development.
Francisco SylvesterPediatric GastroenterologyTranslationalYesfsylvester@unc.eduGrowth and skeletal health in children with digestive disordersWe are interested on how chronic inflammation affects growth and skeletal health in children with chronic gastrointestinal disorders.
Ferris, MariaPediatricsClinicalNomaria_ferris@med.unc.eduSlef-management and Health Care TransitionWe measure self-management and health care transition from pediatric- to adult-focused care among adolescents and young adults with chronic health conditions. Our tools and interventions are designed to improve this process
Richard DavisOphthalmologyClinicalNoRichdavis@unc.eduCorneal ResearchRetrospective and Prospective clinical trials to inform ophthalmologists o current practice. Medical student participation on publications is required.
Donna CultonDermatologyTranslationalNoculton@med.unc.eduAutoimmune disorders of the skinI study autoimmune disorders of the skin and mucous membranes including pemphigus, pemphigoid and oral lichen planus.
M. Andrea Azcarate-PerilMedicine, GI DivisionTranslationalNoazcarate@med.unc.eduModulation of the gut microbiome by probiotics and prebioticsThe overall goal of my research is to investigate the impact and mechanisms involved in the beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota by prebiotics (functional foods that stimulate growth of gut native beneficial bacteria) and probiotics (live bacteria that benefit their host). I specifically aim to develop prebiotic and probiotic interventions as alternatives to traditional treatments for microbiota-health related conditions, and to advance microbiota-based health surveillance methods.

Prebiotics are resistant to digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract, arrive at the colon intact and increase the abundance of specific primary and secondary degraders with the final result of an expanded probiome, beneficial members of the intestinal microbiota. We have shown that pure prebiotics modulate gut microbiome composition and activity in humans and animal models increasing gut beneficial bacteria. In humans, the modulatory influence of pure galactooligosaccharides significantly improved clinical outcomes for lactose digestion and tolerance. Our current research investigate prebiotics as gut microbiome modulators of age-associated diseases to identify mechanisms of prebiosis in vulnerable populations.

Probiotics can reduce the risk of common infectious and acute diarrheal illnesses, and can be an alternative to treatments with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. Large-scale microbiome studies have established that most of the bacterial diversity contained in the gastrointestinal tract is represented at the strain level. Hence genomic and physiological characterization of isolates of probiotic potential is essential to determine unique attributes that will allow for personalized interventions. Our lab is conducting functional genomics studies to determine genetic components contributing to probiotic survival in the gastrointestinal tract and capability to metabolize prebiotics.
Crystal Wiley CeneMedicineTranslationalYescrystal_cene@med.unc.eduPatient and Family Engagement in Heart Failure CareClose to 40% of older adults in general and heart failure patients specifically, are accompanied to medical visits by a family member. These family members are very influential in supporting patients as they manage their heart failure, yet their contribution is often under-appreciated by health care providers. The quality of communication between patients, family members, and health care providers greatly influences how well heart failure patients take care of their illness at home (i.e. self-management). Our prior study demonstrated, using analysis of audiotaped data from actual visits, that heart failure patients and family members are not actively engaged during visits, as indicated by asking fewer questions and giving less information. This is disturbing given known knowledge deficits among heart failure patients and family members about heart failure.

Strategies such as pre-visit prompt lists can enhance engagement by encouraging patients and family members to ask relevant questions and discuss sensitive topics with health care providers. A prompt list is a structured list of questions or topics related to illness, treatment, and support that is developed from interviews with patients, family members, and health care providers. Prompt lists are completed by patients and family members before a visit. Prompt lists have been shown to increase the number and relevance of questions asked by patients and family members. However, several important gaps in the literature exist. First, the effect of prompt lists on self- management behaviors has not been tested. Second, few studies have used them with family members. Lastly, prompt lists have not been tested in heart failure patients. Most of the research on their use has been conducted in cancer patients facing oncology-specific clinical decisions. To address these gaps, we developed a pre-visit prompt list for use with heart failure patient-family member dyads (using cognitive interviews). We are currently conducting a pilot randomized trial in 30 heart failure patient-family dyads. We randomize participants to receive the prompt list vs. usual care and assess feasibility, acceptability, and effects on behavioral outcomes.

A student participating in this project would have the opportunity to assist with: data collection in the clinic and writing abstracts and manuscripts to be submitted for publication (on which the student could be a co-author). The student could also have the opportunity to work on other related projects lead by Dr. Cene focused on developing practical tools to enhance engagement among patients with multiple chronic conditions and their family members.
Victoria BautchMcAllister Heart InstituteBasicYesbautch@med.unc.eduVascular Function and DevelopmentWe study vascular responses to physiological signals such as blood flow and to developmental signals such as VEGF. We use preclinical mouse and zebrafish animal models of development, wound healing, and tumorigenesis, as well as cell-based assays to test mechanisms. Our work is well-funded by NIH and American Heart Association, and we have several projects that investigate aspects of vascular signaling responses in disease and development.
Victoria BautchMcAllister Heart InstituteBasicYesbautch@med.unc.eduVascular Function and DevelopmentWe study vascular responses to physiological signals such as blood flow and to developmental signals such as VEGF. We use preclinical mouse and zebrafish animal models of development, wound healing, and tumorigenesis, as well as cell-based assays to test mechanisms. Our work is well-funded by NIH and American Heart Association, and we have several projects that investigate aspects of vascular signaling responses in disease and development.
Robert SandlerMedicineClinicalYesrsandler@med.unc.eduEpidemiology of chronic digestive diseasesMy research concerns the epidemiology of chronic digestive diseases. We are currently conducting several studies of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) with a special focus on patient reported outcomes using data from a large Internet-based cohort and a consortium of 7 academic medical centers. We have completed a study on asymptomatic diverticulosis. An ongoing study is looking at risk factors for microscopic colitis.
Seth CrockettGastroenterologyClinicalYessethc@med.unc.educolorectal cancer screening and preventionI'm involved in a number of research projects pertaining to colorectal cancer screening and prevention including comparative efficacy of fecal immunochemical tests, use of stool DNA testing, population health screening approaches, and colonoscopy quality. I also do research on detection and management of serrated polyps via colonoscopy and other screening tests.
Caterina GallippiBiomedical EngineeringTranslationalYescmgallip@email.unc.eduUltrasound Elasticity ImagingMy laboratory's research focuses on developing novel medical ultrasound imaging technologies and translating those technologies to clinical applications. More specifically, my group develops novel ultrasound-based methods for interrogating the mechanical properties of tissue, and our methods are currently being evaluated in clinical studies for diagnosing and monitoring carotid atherosclerosis, renal disease, musculoskeletal disorders, stroke, and breast cancer. To enable such clinical translation and to support assessment of clinical relevance, we collaborate closely with an interdisciplinary group of clinical investigators.
Kim BoggessObGynTranslationalYeskboggess@med.unc.eduMedical complications of pregnancy1. Medical Optimization of Management of T2DM In Pregnancy. Randomized clinical trial of insulin/placebo versus insulin/metformin in T2DM in pregnancy. Changing clinical practice to optimize outcomes in pregnancies complicated by T2DM requires that data be generalizable to the majority of pregnant women with T2DM. This trial is being conducted at 10 centers with a wide geographic reach and patient diversity to optimize generalizability. Considering the current prevalence of T2DM and the expected increase over the next decade, even a modest reduction in composite neonatal morbidity would result in significantly fewer medically compromised infants as a result of overt T2DM complicating pregnancy.
2. Phase II Study of Nicotinamide Supplementation in Early Onset Preeclampsia. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3-amide) is a nontoxic water-soluble amide of vitamin B3 that lowers blood pressure and mortality in a mouse model of preeclampsia, probably via its inhibitory action on ADPR-cyclase. We are testing the ability of nicotinamide to lower maternal blood pressure and reduce risk of development of severe hypertension in women with early-onset preeclampsia. Such effects would demonstrate feasibility of studying nicotinamide as a therapeutic in early onset precclampsia to prolong gestation and reduce medically indicated preterm birth..
3. Non-destructive Isolation of Trophoblast Subtypes. Abnormalities in trophoblast (TB) development are associated with recurrent loss of pregnancy and preeclampsia. In collaboration with scientists at NC State we are isolating trophoblast (TB) subtypes from heterogeneous human placental samples to characterize TB biology.
Christopher SayedDermatologyClinicalNocsayed@med.unc.eduHidradenitis suppurativaThis project is intended to review our experience performing unroofing and local excision procedures in hidradenitis suppurativa in a subspecialty clinic focused on this devastating disease. We plan to analyze safety, effectiveness, and patient satisfaction. It will be designed as a retrospective chart review using Carolina Data Warehouse and pre-selected patient lists to identify patients. Telephone and mailed surveys may also be used.
Brian DiekmanBiomedical EngineeringTranslationalYesbdiekman@email.unc.eduCartilage aging and regenerationThis project utilizes animal models (mouse and rat) to understand the role of aging in limiting the potential for cartilage regeneration. The inability of cartilage to heal effectively after injury is one driver of the development of osteoarthritis. There is evidence for regenerative potential in immature cartilage tissue that is lost upon maturity. Our hypothesis is that signals present in mature cartilage limit the proliferative capacity of chondrocytes. By altering the signaling pathways through genetic manipulation, we hope to identify targets for therapies that would not only boost cartilage regeneration but also protect tissue from the effects of aging that predispose cartilage to become dysfunctional during aging.
Thomas CaranasosSurgeryBasicNoThomas_caranasos@med.unc.eduStem Cells and BiomaterialsThis is a project that is building on earlier projects looking at Stem Cell upregulation with different biomaterials that are delivered to the heart.