The Board of Trustees held their full board meeting this Thursday in the Carolina Inn. Although several BOT committees did not have updates to share this time, here are the highlights from the session:
Jessica Lee, chairperson of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Chapel Hill, presented on the practice of autotransplantation – replacing one part of the body with another. Lee’s staff used this procedure to help two little girls who lost adult teeth, one in a car accident, and one from abuse. Her team took less important, non-strategic teeth from one part in the children’s jaws, and moved them to the front. This procedure is very uncommon, she said, since the typical route would be to get an artificial implant. These implants are expensive, and interfere with a child’s growth process, which is why Lee hopes to continue using autotransplantation. No other university has embraced autotransplantation as the preferred method for dealing with lost teeth, Lee said, meaning UNC will be the first.
Jonathan Berg, associate professor in the Department of Genetics presented on precision diagnostics, or the use of genomic sequencing to help diagnose rare disorders. He explained how his colleagues helped cure a woman who had been unable to walk for the majority of her life by identifying a rare, but easily treatable, variant in her DNA.