Health

Health: Conquering Physical, Mental, and Public Challenges

Finding Her Field

UNC–Chapel Hill prides itself on the abundance of opportunities available to undergraduate researchers. Even so, it can be daunting for students to make that first step into hands-on research. Autumn Tucker, a senior majoring in neuroscience, talks about working in the Leon Coleman Lab and how that has shaped her education and growth as a researcher.

A High-Tech Solution to Hunger

With a passion for technology, a drive to make a real-world impact in their community, and some help from UNC-Chapel Hill researchers, three local high school students created Pantry Patrol, a user-friendly application designed to help food pantries better combat hunger.

Divide and Conquer

Jason Mihalik and Johna Register-Mihalik — both exercise and sport science professors — have spent the past 17 years beautifully navigating the personal-professional divide at UNC-Chapel Hill. Not only did they meet and get married at Carolina, but they’ve since gained tenure and now oversee innovative and complementary research programs within the field of sports-related concussion.

Ganga Bey

Ganga Bey is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Epidemiology within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a fellow in the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. She studies how people’s beliefs about identity, worth, and ability affect their stress, aging, and susceptibility to disease.

Stopping Harm Before It Starts

Researchers at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center began studying the long-term effects of injury and violence well before they were recognized as public health problems. For 30 years, they have addressed vital societal issues including domestic abuse, car crashes, traumatic brain injury, home and workplace safety, and opioid overdose — and have worked closely with practitioners to change policies and save lives.

Running Interference

Nearly 4 million sports- and recreation-related concussions happen each year. About 300,000 of those occur in football. For a long time, such data didn’t exist because these injuries weren’t understood or taken seriously. Decades before he became UNC’s chancellor, neuroscientist Kevin Guskiewicz strived to create the playbook for preventing and treating concussions — and changed the game forever.

Paving New Paths to Choline

UNC Nutrition Research Institute assistant professor Isis Trujillo studies choline, an essential nutrient that is critical for brain development in the womb. A former postdoctoral researcher, she now runs her own lab and is exploring choline’s impact on gene expression to uncover how maternal nutrition influences fetal brain growth.

Julian Rucker

Julian Rucker is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and a fellow in the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. He studies beliefs about structural racism, perceptions of societal racial inequality, and motivations to rectify racial disparities.

A Cool Recovery

Before 2000, if a patient arrived at a hospital unconscious after undergoing cardiac arrest, their chances of leaving alive and with all their brain function intact was slim to none. Now, 50 percent wake up and go home thanks to a cooling therapy, brought to UNC in 2007 by emergency physician Larry Katz.

Kay Youngstrom

Kay Youngstrom is a sophomore and Chancellor’s Science Scholar double-majoring in chemistry and statistics and analytics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Through an internship with Med Aditus, she uses data analysis to address which of the company’s drugs are most accessible and least susceptible to counterfeits in Sub-Saharan Africa.