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Director of Research Operations
Research Managers
Research Coordinators/Specialists 

Director of Research Operations

Caroline Poulton, MSW, Director of Research Operations
caroline_poulton@unc.edu | 919-445-2636

Ms. Poulton earned her Master of Social Work degree with a macro concentration in broad based community services from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has over 15 years of research experience, particularly in observational research, data management, regulatory affairs, and multi-site study management.

Her research interests include research ethics, data quality improvement, research administration and keeping research subjects informed and engaged in research.

Please contact Caroline for questions regarding:

  • New research opportunities
  • Research protocol development
  • Development of study databases (RedCap, Access)
  • Research registries

Research Managers

Lauren Blazek, Clinical Research Data Manager
lmccabe@email.unc.edu | 919-445-2635
Expertise: Data Management, Registry Operations, Chart Abstraction, Data Entry

Lauren Blazek is a Social/Clinical Research Specialist in the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension. She has over 6.5 years of observational/translational research experience and manages the operations of the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network (GDCN). She received her B.A. in Psychology from North Carolina State University and began working for UNC following graduation.

Her research interests include project management, organization, and database development. She enjoys traveling to the coast, hiking, and baking desserts.

Please contact Lauren for questions related to the following topics:

  • General questions relating to the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network
  • Regulatory Affairs (IRB Submissions using GDCN data)
  • Staff support for research
  • Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network Annual Meeting information

Cassandra (Cassie) Bowman, MHA, Research Projects Manager
cassandra_bowman@unc.edu | 919-445-6790
Expertise: Patient-centered, Behavioral Health, Qualitative research studies

Cassie Bowman is a Research Projects Manager at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kidney Center. She earned her Master’s of Healthcare Administration from the McGowan School of Business at King’s College. She has over 6 years of experience working on chronic kidney disease (CKD) related studies, including: patient-centered, behavioral health, and qualitative research studies. She currently manages multiple dialysis related studies by overseeing research operations, regulatory requirements, and guiding stakeholder engagement and project workgroups.

Her research interests include supporting research initiatives focused on overcoming health inequities, education and advocacy for patients with CKD, implementation science research, and qualitative research methods. She enjoys hiking with her dog, playing tennis, and traveling.

Please contact Cassie for questions related to the following topics:

  • Dialysis related research
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Research operations

Anne Froment, MSW, Clinical Research Manager
anne_froment@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2622
Expertise: Clinical Trial Management

Anne Froment is a Clinical Research Manager in the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension. She has over 10 years of clinical research experience and likes to follow a clinical trial from budget negotiation to close-out. Ms. Froment studied economics and social work and learned all that she knows about clinical trials on the job at UNC.

Her research interests include nutrition and preventative medicine. She enjoys biking to work, hiking, and DIY projects.

Please contact Anne for questions in our department related to the following topics.

  • New clinical trials
  • Regulatory affairs (FDA Submissions, IRB Submissions)
  • Staff support for research

Julia Narendra, MPH, Dialysis Research Program Manager
julia3@email.unc.edu | 919-445-2686
Expertise: Qualitative research methods, dialysis

Julia Narendra is the Dialysis Research Program Manager at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kidney Center. She earned her Master’s of Public Health in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She manages multiple dialysis-related clinical research studies, including study planning, execution, and staffing, regulatory compliance, budgets, and data management and reporting. Her research interests include patient and stakeholder engagement, dialysis patient-reported outcomes, qualitative research methods, health services access, and digital health and peer support interventions. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to exotic locations, hiking, and cooking Indian food.

Please contact Julia for questions in our department related to the following topics:

  • Research in the dialysis population
  • Qualitative research
  • Educational interventions

Jill Powell, MPH, Kidney Education Outreach Program Manager
jill_powell@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2618
Expertise: community based research, chronic kidney disease education & prevention

Jill Powell is a Program Coordinator at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kidney Center. She received her Master’s of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her research interests include developing and disseminating health education material, improving health services access for underserved populations, understanding the patient experience and patient reported outcomes. She is also interested in digital health and qualitative research.

Jill coordinates the Kidney Education and Outreach Program (KEOP) at the Kidney Center, whose mission is to reduce the burden of kidney disease on patients, families and the community in North Carolina. KEOP conducts community education talks and community screenings for signs of kidney disease. Outside of work, Jill enjoys spending time at home with her family, running and cooking.

Please contact Jill for questions in our department related to the following topics:

  • Kidney education and outreach
  • Mobile Outreach Unit
  • Health education material
  • Community education talks

Research Coordinators/Specialists

Tashas Cameron-Wheeler
tcamero@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2898

Tashas Cameron-Wheeler is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UNC Kidney Center. In 2020 she received her Associates Degree in Clinical Trials Research. She has worked for over 25 years in the health care industry & has over 14 years of supervisory experience and training in regulatory compliance. Tashas is passionate about enrolling underrepresented groups into clinical trials to ensure new drugs and devices help all individuals. She is enthusiastic about ensuring diverse patient enrollment in research.

Mary Mac Collie
mary_collie@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2696

Mary Mac Collie is a Social/Clinical Research Assistant at the UNC Kidney Center. She completed her Bachelor’s in Science degree in Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research interests are in observational studies associated with the APOL1 gene and the COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised individuals. She also likes applying mathematics to different project data and interacting with GDCN patients in clinic. Outside of the lab and clinic, she enjoys cycling classes, learning to cook, and starting a DIY project.

Maggie D’Angelo, RN
maggie_dangelo@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2682

Expertise: Recruitment & retention, longitudinal research

Maggie D’Angelo is a registered nurse with over seven years of research experience. Ms. D’Angelo is the primary UNC study coordinator for the Cure Glomerulonephropathy (CureGN) Network, a multi-site, long term observational study. She enjoys getting to know all of her 200 plus research participants, performing chart abstraction and participating in CureGN study design and development. She has a bachelors degree in psychology from UNC Asheville, an associates degree in nursing for Charity Hospital School of Nursing in New Orleans, and a bachelors degree in nursing from Western Carolina University. Maggie enjoys spending time with her pets, swimming, reading, traveling and going to the movies.

Sandy ElmoreSandy Elmore
sandra_elmore@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2623

Sandy Elmore is a Research Specialist at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kidney Center. She completed studies in Medical Laboratory Technology at Elon University. Her background at UNC includes working in clinical laboratories, research laboratories and in research sample procurement and coordination. Her research interests include translational research that will impact future clinical patient care along with clinical trial sample management. Sandy enjoys spending time with her family and pets, as well as reading and hiking.

Phani Madhuri Gummadidala
phani_gummadidala@med.unc.edu | 919-966-2561

Yichun Hu, MS
yichunhu@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2680
Yichun Hu is a statistician at the Kidney Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She earned her master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at the Dalian University of Technology in China, and received her master’s degree of Statistics in the department of Statistics and Operational research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has more than 12 years of experience in statistical analysis of kidney disease, focused on sample size estimation, various statistical models for clinical medicine and lab research, and risk factor analyses for end-stage kidney disease (ESRD), ANCA-associated small vessel vasculitis and diabetes with kidney disease. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, staying active, and cooking.

Sara Kelley, MPH
sara_kelley@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2658
Expertise: Observational, interventional research

Sara Kelley is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UNC Kidney Center. She graduated with her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from East Carolina University. Currently, she manages several observational and interventional research studies related to kidney disease. She is interested in research related to diabetes as well as access to health care, exercise opportunities, and healthy foods among rural populations. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time with her dog and family.

Sora Lee
leesora@email.unc.edu | 919-445-2657

Sora Lee is a Social/Clinical Research Specialist at the UNC Kidney Center. She received her Associate Degree in Clinical Trials Research. She began working in research at Research Triangle Institute by conducting health surveys. She currently works on medical device clinical trials by recruiting and enrolling patients and collecting and managing study-related data. Her interest in research is enhancing diversity and increasing patient engagement in clinical trials.

LewisSarah Lewis
Sarah_Lewis@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2730

Sarah Lewis is a Research Technician at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kidney Center. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research interests focus on complement activation in patients with ANCA vasculitis, as well as the management and improvement of systems related to biospecimen collection and storage. Outside of the lab, Sarah enjoys traveling, hiking, and relaxing with a good book.

Young-Hyun Moon
Younghyun_moon@med.unc.edu | 919-445-6785

Young-Hyun Moon is a Research Technician at the University of North Carolina Kidney Center. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and has over four years of clinical experience working as a medical scribe in Nephrology and OB-GYN. His current research interests include studying antigen specific B-cells in ANCA vasculitis and regulatory B- and T-cells in IgA nephropathy. He is also enthusiastic about working with pediatric patients in clinic. He enjoys cooking, practicing the guitar, and playing sports.

Fernanda Ochoa Toro
ferochoa@email.unc.edu | 919-445-2671

Fernanda Ochoa Toro is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UNC Kidney Center at the UNC Medical Center. She previously served as a bilingual research assistant with the Postnatal Patient Safety Learning Lab. She is passionate about serving all patients and closing health care gaps for patients with limited English proficiency, and she has also served as a patient navigator in the UNC Cancer Center.

Rehnuma (Ria) Riana
Rehnuma_riana@med.unc.edu | 919-445-2654

Rehnuma Riana is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UNC Kidney Center. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been involved in clinical research for over three years. She has previously spent time working at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center helping aid in studies related to genomic cancer research. Her current research interests include implementation science, working to improve access to healthcare for minority populations and learning more about expanding research in resource limited settings.

Christine Wai
cwai@email.unc.edu | 919-966-1142