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PCORnet interviews TraCS' Co-PI, Dr. Tim Carey

Meet a PCORnet Team Member: Tim Carey

Dr. Tim Carey

What is your name? Where do you live and what is your PCORnet affiliation and role?

Tim Carey. I live in Chapel Hill North Carolina (go heels) and I am a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I'm co-PI of the Mid-South CDRN and also co-PI of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program at UNC. Our hub institute is called, the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS ) Institute. I'm a member of the PCORnet research committee.

What do you appreciate most about being part of PCORnet?

It's a great learning community and wonderful to see different ways of thinking about engaged research come together in a common goal of improving the health of Americans. People share their experiences and we are learning a tremendous amount regarding how care in delivered in this rapidly-changing health care environment. It's been a lot of fun.

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UNC labs awarded Emerging Challenges in Biomedical Research grants

The UNC School of Medicine and NC TraCS announced that three labs were selected for $50,000 pilot grants to further Alzheimer’s Disease research being conducted at UNC.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – In an effort to bolster Alzheimer's disease research efforts at UNC, the School of Medicine Office of Research, in partnership with NC TraCS, is funding three neuroscience research teams working in this critical area.

Jennifer Brennan, PhD, director of the UNC School of Medicine's Office of Research, recently announced the three winners of the School of Medicine's Emerging Challenges in Biomedical Research (ECBR) grants, which are one-year, $50,000 grants awarded to teams of scientists working in strategic research areas.

Graphic by Christ-Claude Mowandza-Ndinga/ UNC Health Care

"There's been decades of research and we're still trying to get at the basic mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and develop potential therapies," Brennan said.

According to Blossom Damania, PhD, Vice Dean for Research at the UNC School of Medicine, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was created in 2013 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance research in the neurosciences. Accelerating research on Alzheimer's Disease is featured prominently in the BRAIN initiative, and the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed by Congress in December 2016, highlighted the need for additional funding for Alzheimer's Disease.

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CTSA Program Investigators Collaborate to Enhance Newborn Screening

Don Bailey, Ph.D., director of the Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, had been on a quest to collect evidence to support the inclusion of fragile X syndrome and other rare genetic diseases in standard newborn screenings. These efforts had stalled because adding a new screening test to the set of these screenings requires that an effective treatment be available for the specific disease.

It's a catch-22 situation and a translational bottleneck: Without evidence that a treatment is more effective when started earlier, a test for a genetic disease cannot be included in the standard newborn screening panel. But the evidence cannot be collected without a screening program. Rare disorders, like fragile X syndrome, pose an even greater challenge because of the tremendous difficulty identifying enough cases to conduct studies, especially before symptoms appear.

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Symposium Gathers Teams of Researchers to Address Opioid Addiction and Overdose

Drug overdoses are among the few causes of death on the rise, and now kill more people than guns or motor vehicles. From 2014 to 2015 alone, the number of drug deaths in North Carolina increased by 22%, over half attributed to opioids, a class of drugs that includes both illegal (such as illicit heroin) and prescription (such as morphine, hydrocodone, and prescription fentanyl) substances.

Steve Marshall, PhD
Steve Marshall, PhD

At a recent symposium, UNC epidemiologist Steve Marshall urged some 100 physicians, public health researchers, basic scientists, and pharmacists, to put their heads together to come up with solutions for what many call the worst drug crisis in American history.

"Think about how much was done to prevent motor vehicle deaths — seat belts, modifications to roads and cars, driver training," said Marshall, who directs the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. "We need to build up that kind of commitment to prevent drug overdoses, from a research standpoint. If one of us was going to solve this on our own, that would have happened a long time ago. That is why team science is so important."

Marshall made his comments at "Combating Opioid Addiction and Overdose: Advancing Science and Policy," a five-hour symposium held on Thursday, May 25 in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Auditorium at Rosenau Hall on the UNC campus.

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Michelle Maclay, Communications Director