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Zolnoun at the departmental reception held in her honor on Thursday, May 12.
The SWHR Medtronic Prize is given to a female scientist in her early to mid career who has devoted a significant part of her work to sex differences research and has served as a role model and mentor for both colleagues and students.
Zolnoun specializes in women and gynecological pain. She received her BS in Biophysics from the University of California, her MD from the University of Illinois, and her MPH in Health Care Prevention from the UNC.
Zolnoun’s area of research is pain mechanism, especially gynecological pelvic pain. Although persistent pain affects millions of women across the U.S., little is known about it in women. Zolnoun discovered that sensory nerves, perception, and dysfunction are well described and traced in men but not in women. Even anatomy books lack descriptions of these nerves, their point of origin, termination, and clinical perception, as they pertain specifically to women. Zolnoun has dedicated her research to closing this knowledge gap. She now strives to identify how sex differences affect sensory nerves in order to help determine the cause of women's pelvic pain and important clinical implications of this work.
“On behalf of millions of women with intractable pelvic pain I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to SWHR for their support of sex difference research while championing a higher standard in women’s health,” said Zolnoun. “I am honored and privileged to be an SWHR Medtronic Prize winner and look forward to continuing my research into pelvic pain and closing the gender gap in medical research.”
Zolnoun has over 20 peer reviewed publications in journals including: The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Clinical Journal of Pain, and The Annual Review of Sex Research and has authored several book chapters. Currently, she reviews nine journals and serves on the North Carolina Medical Board as the Expert External Reviewer.
Along with the SWHR Medtronic Prize, Zolnoun’s research has been supported by grants from the National Vulvodynia Association, NC TraCS Institute, and the Center for Neurosensory Disorders.
Zolnoun was also honored by the Department of OB/GYN at UNC for this award on Thursday, May 12.