Alyssa LaFaro

On any given day, Alyssa can be found photographing the effects of climate change, digging up long-lost information in the University Archives, or writing furiously in her Bynum Hall office. As the editor of Endeavors, she’s mastered the art of “wearing many hats.” When she’s not behind a camera or a computer, she’s meeting regularly with communicators, students, and faculty from across campus to learn about the latest research projects and unlock new opportunities for collaboration.

Posts by Alyssa LaFaro:

An Editor’s Endeavors

To celebrate Endeavors’ 35th birthday, former editor Neil Caudle shares thoughts from his 15 years with the magazine, touching on the importance of research communication and his favorite moments at UNC.

Gut Instinct

Just 10 years ago, no one knew how to grow intestinal stem cells outside of the body, preventing scientists from uncovering the mysteries of the gut and the problems surrounding it. But in 2010, that all changed — when Scott Magness’s lab became the first in the United States to grow “mini-guts” inside a petri dish, using them to develop better treatments for human gastrointestinal diseases.

An Origin Story

Most theoretical physicists don’t see their predictions confirmed in their lifetimes, as it can take centuries to discover the physical phenomena that mark them true. But that hasn’t been the case for UNC's Laura Mersini-Houghton, who’s seen six of her predictions about the origins of the universe verified in the last decade — a feat that’s grabbed everyone’s attention, from documentary filmmakers to the late Stephen Hawking.

The Survivors

Heat-resistant. Cold-weather tough. Outer space savvy. If anything, tardigrades are survivors above all else. But what makes them so resilient? Thomas Boothby strives to figure that out and discover how these microscopic animals can be used to preserve biological samples like blood, human tissue, and vaccines.

Just Jump In

Kou Yang lets curiosity guide him into the research lab at the Gfeller Center, where he’s uncovered his desire to become an athletic trainer.

Coastal Connections

Liah McPherson accidentally got involved in research at UNC when she tried to enroll in a graduate class as a freshman — an experience that’s led her to new colleagues and fostered her love of dolphins.

Carpe Datum

Every day, humans create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. How do we protect, store, and transfer it all? A team at RENCI has spent the last decade developing the Swiss Army knife of data management, called iRODS, that does all those things — and it’s used by a variety of institutions across the globe.

Emotional Environment

When Meredith Emery photographed geography researchers conducting fieldwork, she couldn’t believe what she saw — a slew of litter along streambeds and forest lines. Now she’s sharing these images through a multimedia project blending art and science in an effort to change how the public relates to and thinks about the local environment.

The Modern Family

As the world changes and diversifies, so do family dynamics. But research on the topic is slow to move away from the ideas established 50 years ago. To bring it into the 21st century, a team of researchers from the UNC Center for Developmental Science have written nine papers that shine a light on the modern family and offer advice for parents on how to help their teens navigate today’s multicultural world.

A History Lesson for Teachers

For K-12 teachers, Carolina houses a goldmine of information like archival maps, photos, and recordings — but finding those materials can be difficult. The Southern Oral History Program and Carolina K-12 joined forces to bring educators to campus, helping them uncover resources for use in the classroom.