While the novel coronavirus has affected us all, it has drastically changed the lives of specific groups of people, from rural populations to long-term care residents to communities of color. Startling statistics among these groups have pushed UNC researchers from a variety of disciplines into action.
UNC virologists Timothy Sheahan and Ralph Baric have been working around the clock to develop new treatments and vaccines to fight the novel coronavirus. In this Q&A, Sheahan discusses current projects, new discoveries, and the challenges that come with studying a virus like SARS-CoV-2.
Food is so much more than what we eat, nourishing us beyond our bodies. This sentiment lies at the core of PhD student K.C. Hysmith’s research. She studies the deeply ingrained cultural meaning of food, unpacking how it affects class, gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
After Myron Cohen watched the first patient at UNC Hospitals die from AIDS in 1982, he knew it was a disease to be reckoned with. He spent the next 40 years helping to recruit the most promising infectious disease experts from across the nation to build a program that’s become a leader in HIV. Today, UNC excels in understanding all aspects of HIV, from prevention to a potential cure — expertise that is now being used to tackle COVID-19.
Seth Noar is a professor within the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and a researcher at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He studies how people can effectively use communication to change behavior and improve health.
June 1 marked the start of the 2020 hurricane season — and it’s slated to be an active one. In this Q&A, UNC researcher Rick Luettich talks about this year’s above-average hurricane forecast, the impact these storms have on inland populations, and how COVID-19 may affect vulnerable communities.
Since 1984, over 100,000 Karen refugees have fled their homeland of Myanmar to escape civil war. Since then, more than 40,000 have resettled in the U.S., and more than 5,000 live in North Carolina. Such displacement greatly affects lives, and even language — within just three generations their native tongue is barely spoken. Linguistics PhD students Amy Reynolds and Jen Boehm strive to understand this shift and hope to preserve the Karen people’s histories in the process.
Give Marc Callahan an opera and, in return, you’ll get an explosion of color, empathy, and sound — and a bit of mid-century flare snuck in for good measure. As the director of UNC Opera, Callahan teaches his students and audiences that this age-old art form offers so much more than singing on a stage: It’s a craft that requires creative research and a team of people to bring it to life.
As machines become more autonomous, humans must define the limits of their decision-making. UNC postdoctoral researcher Yochanan Bigman addresses this topic, suggesting where to draw the line when self-governing technology is required to make life-or-death decisions.
How do people distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong in the world of animal research? It’s not simple, says UNC bioethicist Rebecca Walker. Like most complex issues, this topic has a lot of gray areas — which Walker explores using the ancient philosophical approach called virtue ethics.