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UNC Research Week: Giscombé tests a variety of stress management tools that may reduce the risk of chronic cardiometabolic illnesses among African American women.

To celebrate UNC Research Week, we are highlighting just a few of the incredible nursing scientists here at SON.  Project The Harmony Study — A Culturally-Relevant, Randomized Controlled, Stress Management Intervention to Reduce Cardiometabolic Risk in African American Women Principal Investigator Cheryl Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN African American women have disproportionately high rates of disability and death from chronic cardiometabolic illnesses — including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke — compared to other groups of women in the U.S. Gender- and race-specific factors that lead to elevated risk for cardiometabolic … Continued

UNC Research Week: Thoyre seeks to prevent infant feeding issues from becoming chronic disorders

To celebrate UNC Research Week, we are highlighting just a few of the incredible nursing scientists here at SON.  Project Symptom Trajectories in Infants and Toddlers at Risk for Chronic Feeding Problems Principal Investigator Suzanne Thoyre, PhD, RN, FAAN It is not uncommon for infants who spend time in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) — whether due to illness or prematurity — to struggle with developmental complications such as feeding. For some, that problematic feeding issue will escalate into a full-blown chronic feeding disorder that continues into childhood and jeopardizes … Continued

UNC Research Week: Yeo finds that stretching has the power to lower the risk of heart disease for pregnant women

To celebrate UNC Research Week, we are highlighting just a few of the incredible nursing scientists here at SON.  Project Promoting Stretching Exercise to Reduce Cardiovascular Health Risk in Late Pregnant Women with Obesity Principal Investigator SeonAe Yeo, RNC, PhD, FAAN For most pregnant women, regular aerobic exercise — as much as 30 minutes, five days a week — is a recommended part of a healthy pregnancy. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy can put both mother and baby at risk for complications such as preeclampsia, which is a … Continued

UNC Research Week: Santos looks to epigenetics to identify factors that effect cognitive development in preterm children

To celebrate UNC Research Week, we are highlighting just a few of the incredible nursing scientists here at SON.  Project Genetic and Epigenetic Effects on Childhood Cognitive Trajectories Principal Investigator Hudson Santos, PhD, RN Children born extremely preterm exhibit much higher rates of cognitive function impairment — such as trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating or making decisions — during early childhood and through to adulthood when compared to those born full-term. Ranging from mild to severe, cognitive function impairment can significantly impact an individual’s day-to-day life. Hudson Santos’s study … Continued

UNC Research Week: Shawn Kneipp takes aim at heath disparities with NC Works4Health

To celebrate UNC Research Week, we are highlighting just a few of the incredible nursing scientists here at SON.  Project NC Works4Health: Reducing Chronic Disease Risks in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, Unemployed Populations Principal Investigator Shawn Kneipp, PhD, RN, ANP, APHN-BC, FAANP Health disparities faced by those living in poverty can be exacerbated by the realities of unemployment — a period of stress and worry that can trigger a host of unhealthy coping mechanisms. These behaviors can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and psychological distress, which are all common risk … Continued

Zègre-Hemsey tests drone delivery for defibrillators, featured in NC TraCS video

Dr. Jessica Zègre-Hemsey and her team published results of their drone study in The New England Journal of Medicine (September 17, 2020). The study was supported by a grant from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, National Institutes of Health, and was a collaboration with UNC School of Public Health, UNC School of Medicine, and North Carolina State University. This study examined the feasibility of drone delivery of an automated external defibrillator in simulated out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).  Dr. Jessica Zègre-Hemsey and her team conducted a randomized … Continued

Santos awarded R01 grant for research on genomics and child development

Congratulations to Hudson Santos, PhD, RN, who has received almost 2 million dollars in funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research for his research in genomics and child development. The 5-year project, titled “Genetic and Epigenetic Effects on Childhood Cognitive Trajectories”, focuses on identifying interactions between genetic factors, neonatal inflammation, and epigenetic factors predict trajectories of cognitive development from birth to age 17 years among children born extremely preterm. You can read the project narrative below. Dr. Santos is an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing, as well … Continued

Cortés receives NIH Loan Repayment Program Award

Dr. Yamnia Cortés, Assistant Professor, has been awarded an NIH Loan Repayment Award through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for her research in cardiovascular disease risk in midlife Latinas. About the NIH Loan Repayment Award: “The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The escalating costs of advanced education and training in medicine and clinical specialties are forcing some scientists to abandon their research careers for … Continued

Categories: Awards, Faculty, News, Research

Santos elected to ISONG Board of Directors

Dr. Hudson Santos, Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Biobehavioral Laboratory has been elected to the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG) Board of Directors. Dr. Santos’s work in symptom science, genomics, early life adversity, and child neurodevelopment makes him a great representative for ISONG’s mission to “foster and advocate for the scientific and professional development of its members and the nursing community, in the discovery, interpretation, application, and management of genomic information, for the promotion of the public’s health and wellbeing.” Congrats, Dr. Santos!

Meet a new Tar Heel: Raven Smith (via

Raven Smith, incoming SON PhD student, is profiled on Smith’s research will focus on generational trauma and DNA methylation, or cellular-level manifestations of trauma that are passed down from generation to generation, specifically in minority communities. Read more.