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New treatment shows promising improvements for women with postpartum depression

Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH, director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at the School of Medicine and the Ray M. Hayworth Distinguished Professor in Mood and Anxiety Disorders, led the three clinical trials leading up to the FDA approval of the first treatment of postpartum depression. UNC Health Care was a study site for these trials, supported by our TraCS Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) nursing staff. In the most recent Phase 3 trial, study participants were admitted to the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit (PPIU) while CTRC nursing staff traveled to the PPIU to conduct study dosing visits. Additionally, study screening and follow-up visits were conducted in the CTRC outpatient unit.

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After three clinical trials led by a Carolina researcher, a new injection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat postpartum depression.

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New grant allows Vora to collaborate with Duke to identify novel genes critical to human brain development

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Neeta Vora, MD

Neeta Vora, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of maternal-fetal medicine, and Erica Davis, PhD, at the Duke University Center for Human Disease Modeling, have been awarded an exploratory/developmental research grant (R21) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Dr. Neeta Vora, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Dr. Erica Davis at the Duke University Center for Human Disease Modeling have been awarded an exploratory/developmental research grant (R21) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Their research was initially funded by a $50,000 Duke/UNC-Chapel Hill CTSA Consortium Collaborative Translational Research Pilot Grant to model novel candidate genes in zebrafish to shed light on genes critical to human development.

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NY Times highlights NC TraCS-supported Monitor trial

A UNC study supported by a wide variety of NC TraCS services and personnel received attention in a NY Times OpEd piece this week.

The Monitor trial, which took place in 15 primary care practices in North Carolina, found no measurable differences in how patients with type 2 diabetes fared, whether they checked blood sugar or not. Drs. Katrina Donahue and Laura Young oversaw the involvement of the practices in the trial, the latest to indicate that self-monitoring of blood sugar is unnecessary for a large proportion of diabetes patients.

Read more: A Diabetes Home Test Can Be a Waste of Time and Money (NY Times)

225 Years of Tar Heels: Francis Collins

A graduate of the UNC School of Medicine, Francis Collins led the Human Genome Project, which identified and mapped all of the genes of the human genome.

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD

Editor's note: In honor of the University's 225th anniversary, we will be sharing profiles throughout the academic year of some of the many Tar Heels who have left their heelprint on the campus, their communities, the state, the nation and the world.

It is known as the instruction book for human DNA, and we have the team led by Dr. Francis Collins to thank for it.

A physician and geneticist trained at UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Medicine (Class of 1977), Collins successfully led the Human Genome Project, which in 2003 was found to have identified and mapped all of the genes of the human genome — two years ahead of the project's schedule. This landmark discovery provided a blueprint for the body's genetic makeup, revolutionizing how human health is studied and paving the way for precision medicine.

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Michelle Maclay, Communications Director