Shaheen named co-PI of NC TraCS

Nicholas Shaheen, MD, MPH, a world-renowned gastroenterologist and epidemiologist, will take up the mantle held by longtime TraCS leader Tim Carey, MD, PhD.

Nicholas Shaheen, MD, MPH, the Bozymski-Heizer Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named co-PI of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute.

Shaheen's appointment took effect July 1. He will take over leadership from Tim Carey, MD, MPH, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine, who has had a leadership role in NC TraCS since its inception in 2008. Carey will remain involved with NC TraCS through his roles as Chair of the NC TraCS Pilot Program Study Section and assisting with informatics and mentoring. John Buse, MD, PhD, the Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor of Medicine, will continue in his role as co-PI and director of NC TraCS.

"NC TraCS is a dynamic, multifaceted institution full of talented, creative people," said Shaheen. "They work every day to make the research environment at UNC the best it can be. I am looking forward to working with the terrific TraCS staff, as well as the other faculty of the Institute, to support researchers at UNC and our partners RTI, NC State, and NC A&T."

Carey was instrumental in the initial application to the NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program (CTSA), which funded NC TraCS in 2008. With his help, the CTSA grant was successfully renewed in 2013 and again in 2018.

"Tim's contributions to NC TraCS have been foundational," said Buse. "He helped build and then supported the vision of NC TraCS to provide training and services to accelerate the translation of science to health. There have been few if any UNC faculty who have given so generously of their time and effort to make UNC a better place across the spectrum of research, care, administration, and teaching."

Carey is a practicing physician and health services researcher who has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles related to evidence-based medicine, access to care, health disparities, and medical outcomes. A UNC faculty member for nearly 35 years, he was appointed associate PI of NC TraCS in 2013 and co-PI in 2015.

"Working with the TraCS team for over a decade has been incredibly rewarding," said Carey. "When UNC's CTSA program was just getting started, we weren't certain what the 'value added' would be for research at our university and its partners. I've worked with a number of other CTSA sites around the country, and UNC is one that I think makes a difference to our university and the people of our state."

Under his leadership, the institute strengthened its relationship with UNC Health, enabling it to engage more patients in research that has the potential to make their lives better.

"Tim Carey is a fount of knowledge and wisdom," said Shaheen. "He knows clinical and translational research, he knows our regulatory and funding agencies, and he has a deep understanding of our institution. He has been exceptionally effective in his role, and leaves NC TraCS well-positioned to face the challenges ahead."

Shaheen joined the UNC faculty in 1998 and became Division Chief of Gastroenterology in 2014. Until recently, he served as Director of the NC TraCS Collaboration and Team Science Program.

"I have known Nick for 30 years and really look forward to working with him more closely," said Buse. "He brings a lot of new ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the 15-year NC TraCS story that will newly inspire investigators and trainees as well as our funders."

Shaheen is a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist known for his groundbreaking research on Barrett's esophagus. Over the course of his career, he has developed and tested new endoscopic methods for treatment of patients with Barrett's and has served as the PI on several large, multi-center trials testing novel endoscopic technologies that have fundamentally changed the care of patients with early esophageal neoplasia. He is also a member of several national consortia that are conducting translational studies of Barrett's patients.

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