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Recipient of the fellowship is Dr. Elizabeth Brant.

UNC Kidney Center Fellow Elizabeth Brant, MD has been awarded the first-ever Vasculitis Foundation Fellowship, which will support her continuing research fellowship for two years, beginning July of 2013.

The Vasculitis Foundation (VF) is an international organization for patients with vasculitis, their families, friends and health care professionals who care for them. The VF partners with researchers to learn more about vasculitis, with hopes to determine the cause and discover the cure for the disease.

The purpose of the VF Fellowship is for the researcher to develop “in-depth experience on the diagnosis and management of patients with vasculitis” as well as “an opportunity to foster research endeavors in the conduct of clinical and translational research.”

Dr. Brant earned her bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill, then a Master of Music in voice performance at The Boston Conservatory. Following her musical career, Brant graduated from medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NY. She completed her residency training at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Currently Dr. Brant is in her second fellowship year at UNC.

The research fellowship will fund Brant’s studies of ANCA vasculitis patients who experience venous thromboembolism (VTE), and her investigations of identifying those patients at greatest risk of VTE in order to guide clinicians toward intervention.

Dr. Brant explained that vasculitis is a disease that is not fully understood, and the challenge that physicians have in trying to educate patients, when there are many unanswered questions about vasculitis.

“Patients and their families are asking why they have this disease, and this is a question for which we just don’t have a clear answer most of the time in cases of vasculitis. “

Dr. Brant says that it’s an exciting time for vasculitis research, as interest is high and there is a growing understanding of the mechanism of the disease, or the basic understanding of how the disease occurs in the body.

“As is so often the case, I think figuring out the basic mechanisms of these diseases will help us understand other diseases. And, of course, the more we know, the more avenues of treatment we can pursue,” said Brant.