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Research Faculty

Louise Henderson, PhD
Principal Investigator, Director

After graduating from the UNC School of Public Health with a doctorate in Epidemiology, Dr. Henderson joined faculty in the Department of Radiology at UNC Chapel Hill as Assistant Professor in July 2009. Dr. Henderson currently serves as Director of CMR and participates in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

Dr. Henderson has over 10 years of experience collaborating with physicians, research scientists, and statisticians in the areas of health services research, quality improvement activities, disease surveillance, and clinical trials. Dr. Henderson’s research interests focus on cancer screening and the application of linked cancer outcomes and Medicare/administrative data to assess patterns and outcomes of care. Dr. Henderson’s interests lie primarily in breast cancer screening and the performance of imaging technologies, comparative effectiveness research, and disparities in cancer screening and treatment.

Sarah Nyante, PhD

Dr. Nyante joined the Department of Radiology in 2014 after receiving her masters and doctoral degrees in Epidemiology from UNC-Chapel Hill and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Nyante’s main research interests include cancer heterogeneity, the role of hormonal factors in breast cancer risk and prognosis, and mammographic density. Past studies include analyses of change in mammographic density as a predictor of breast cancer prognosis among tamoxifen-treated patients; common genetic variation in adipokine and estrogen-related candidate genes and risk of breast cancer molecular subtypes; smoking and breast cancer risk; and risk factors for rare breast cancer histologic types.


Jessica Barbee, MPH
Research Assistant

Jessica Barbee began working with the department of radiology as a research assistant in May 2022. She received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degree in epidemiology from East Tennessee State University. She worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic, after which she transitioned to academic research at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Jessica’s position with the Carolina Mammography Registry includes supporting the principal investigators and team members with data abstraction, process review, and documentation.

Thad Benefield, MS

Thad Benefield received his MS in Biostatistics from UNC Chapel Hill in 2000. In March 2012, Mr. Benefield joined CMR as a statistician. Mr. Benefield’s primary duties include statistical modeling and creation of analytic datasets.

Katie Earnhardt, BA
Research Specialist

Katie Earnhardt joined the CMR in 2018. She earned a BA in Political Science from Appalachian State University in 2005. Ms. Earnhardt has worked in health research for a number of years, supporting projects in Behavioral Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and in Epidemiology at RTI and UNC. As Research Specialist for the CMR, Ms. Earnhardt is responsible for managing data abstraction and assisting with surveys, manuscript preparation, grant applications, and web design.

Yukie Kajita, PhD
Data Manager/Analyst

Yukie joined the CMR in April 2021. She works under the direction of CMR Co-Investigator, Sarah Nyante, PhD, and Project Manager Ley Killeya-Jones, PhD. Yukie manages the acquisition, storage, and documentation of study datasets, and conducts data cleaning and statistical analyses. Yukie has a Ph.D. in Biology, and more than 15 years of experience with data collection, analysis, and visualization. Prior to joining UNC Radiology, Yukie was a research assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and conducted multiple research projects ranging from quantitative ecology to population genetics. Recently, she completed a Data Analytic program through the UNC Charlotte to expand her data management and analytic skills to include programming (e.g., Python, SQL, and JavaScript) and visualization (e.g., Tableau, Matplotlib, D3.js).

Ley Killeya-Jones, PhD
Project Manager

Ley Killeya-Jones joined the Department of Radiology in 2018. She received her PhD in Social-Developmental Psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1998, and completed NIDA and NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowships at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy. She most recently worked as a Project Manager in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Prior to that position, Ley spent three years as the project manager on the Add Health study at the Carolina Population Center.

Christopher Lyu, MPA
Project Manager

Christopher Lyu has over 30 years of diverse research, project management, and business development experience. Prior to joining UNC-CH, he worked in the contract research industry for about 27 years (~4 years at Rho and ~23 years at Battelle). Prior to that, he worked at a Texas state agency for about 5 years. At Rho, Christopher served a dual role as a Principal Research Scientist and as a Privacy Officer. At Battelle, Christopher had multiple concurrent roles and responsibilities as a Research Project/Program Manager, Principal Investigator, Proposal Manager, a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the IRB Vice Chair, Associate Director and Acting Director of the Battelle Durham, North Carolina Operations. At the Texas state agency, Christopher served as a Research Program Analyst/Project Officer. He earned his MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and BA from Tunghai University, Taiwan. Throughout his career, Christopher has supported/managed more than 50 research projects (both contract and grant research), which included a wide range of subject matters, study populations, and project types.