Imagine a tool that could cure thousands of genetic illnesses by replacing faulty strands of DNA. What if that same invention could enhance traits like height and intelligence in children through the manipulation of DNA in embryos? CRISPR, a gene-editing technology, is tricky business — and geneticists at UNC are addressing the ethics surrounding it.
When an archaeologist uncovers an artifact, while likely enthralled by the piece, they are more interested in what it can teach them about human behavior. Zooarchaeologists have a similar goal. UNC researchers Benjamin Arbuckle and Heather Lapham use ancient animal remains, texts, and iconography to understand how relationships with animals changed peoples’ lives and the world.
Professors Allen Hurlbert and Keith Sockman want their students out of the classroom as much as possible. Every other year, the UNC researchers lead an avian biology course that explores the physiology, anatomy, evolution, and behavior of birds. Throughout the semester, the class visits wildlife reserves across the state to see these lessons in the field.
David and Karin Pfennig have created a home away from home in the Arizona desert. For about five weeks every summer, the couple studies spadefoot toads. Long days and nights are filled with collecting specimen, conducting experiments, and recording observations. Not only do they bring along graduate students, but also a pair of special assistants — their daughters.
How can students strengthen their education by stepping outside their major and trying something new? Two professors — one in studio art and the other in biology — pose this question to undergraduate students in a course combining science and printmaking.
From surveying glacial melt to managing wildfires, there are endless ways drones can be used in research. Over winter break, UNC faculty and students completed a drone workshop — the first of its kind at the university — developing aeronautic expertise to apply to their research.
As a paleoclimatologist, Erika Wise studies climate trends from the past thousand years. Her methods of inquiry may be complicated — using microscopic crossdating and isotope analysis — but her research begins with something far more common: trees.
With nine shows in a season, PlayMakers Repertory Company is always bustling — staff often begin work on the next play before the previous one wraps up. From props to costumes and set design, every few weeks the theater’s technical production teams are charged with creating a new world for each show.
Seagrasses are vital habitats in North Carolina coastal waters, but their numbers have dwindled over the years. A team at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences is exploring what type of seagrass structure marine life prefer in order to best approach restoring these important aquatic environments.
After a 21-year career in the U.S. Army, John Bechtold is now a PhD student in UNC’s Department of American Studies, using photography as a means to discuss American public memory and cultural perceptions of war.