6th Annual SWHR Medtronic Prize Winner Announced

Washington, DC (May 10, 2011) — The 6th annual Society for Women’s Health Research Medtronic Prize for Scientific Contributions to Women’s Health was presented to Dr. Denniz Zolnoun from the University of North Carolina at the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) 18th Annual Gala Dinner on May 9, 2011.

The SWHR Medtronic Prize is given to a female scientist in her early to mid career who has devoted a significant part of her work to sex differences research and has served as a role model and mentor for both colleagues and students.

Zolnoun is a celebrated researcher at UNC specializing in women and gynecological pain. She received her BS in Biophysics from the University of California, her MD from the University of Illinois, and her MPH in Health Care Prevention from the University of North Carolina, where she is now an Associate Professor and Director of the Vulvar Pain Clinic.

Zolnoun’s area of research is pain mechanism, especially gynecological pelvic pain. Although persistent pain affects millions of women across the U.S., little is known about it in women. Zolnoun discovered that sensory nerves, perception, and dysfunction are well described and traced in men but not in women. Even anatomy books lack descriptions of these nerves, their point of origin, termination, and clinical perception, as they pertain specifically to women. Zolnoun has dedicated her research to closing this knowledge gap. She now strives to identify how sex differences affect sensory nerves in order to help determine the cause of women's pelvic pain and important clinical implications of this work.

“On behalf of millions of women with intractable pelvic pain I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to SWHR for their support of sex difference research while championing a higher standard in women’s health,” said Zolnoun. “I am honored and privileged to be an SWHR Medtronic Prize winner and look forward to continuing my research into pelvic pain and closing the gender gap in medical research.”

Zolnoun has over 20 peer reviewed publications in journals including: The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Clinical Journal of Pain, and The Annual Review of Sex Research and has authored several book chapters. Currently, she reviews nine journals and serves on the North Carolina Medical Board as the Expert External Reviewer.

Along with the SWHR Medtronic Prize, Zolnoun’s research has been supported by grants from the National Vulvodynia Association, NC TraCS Institute, and the Center for Neurosensory Disorders.

SWHR congratulates Dr. Zolnoun on her accomplishments and her work advancing sex differences research.


For more information on the Society for Women’s Health Research please contact Rachel Griffith at 202-496-5001 or Rachel@swhr.org.

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