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Nancy E. Thomas, MD, PhD, was appointed the first Irene and Robert Alan Briggaman Distinguished Professor. The professorship is named in honor of Dr. Briggaman, who served as chair of the UNC Department of Dermatology from 1987-1999, and his wife, Irene.

Dr. Thomas joined UNC in 1992 as an adjunct faculty member and is now professor of dermatology. She is deeply involved in patient care and educational activities at the UNC Department of Dermatology and is listed as one of the 2012 Best Doctors of America.

She is co-leader of the UNC Lineberger Melanoma Program. Her current research focuses on genetic and behavioral risk factors for melanoma, survival issues, and defining molecular subtypes of the disease. Thomas is part of two large studies of melanoma: the international Genes, Environment and Melanoma (GEM) Study and the North Carolina Melanoma Study. The GEM study involved 3600 melanoma patient in the US, Italy, Australia and Canada. The NC Melanoma Study involved 300 melanoma patients in 42 counties.

Thomas is also a member of the UNC Melanoma Roadmap Group of physicians and scientists are collaborating on laboratory science projects with an eye to translating, when possible, their results to clinical use.

She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry (with honors) from the University of Chicago where she began her doctoral and medical school studies. She completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at Cornell University Medical College and Rockefeller University’s combined program, earning her doctoral degree in biochemistry at Rockefeller University and her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, both in New York City. She completed a residency in dermatology and a postdoctoral fellowship in dermatology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.