Society

Society: Understanding Human Nature and Behavior

Rachel Woodul

Rachel Woodul is a PhD student in the Department of Geography within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and a research assistant at the Carolina Population Center. She uses geographic information systems to model infectious disease spread, with a specific focus on epidemics and pandemics.

Building Resilience for Storm-Battered N.C.

The record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season included 30 storms, and while North Carolina managed to dodge the 12 hurricanes that made landfall, that won’t always be the case in the future. A team of interdisciplinary researchers at UNC is combining their expertise in areas like human health, ecology, and urban planning to create a long-term holistic plan helping vulnerable communities prepare for the next generation of extreme weather events.

READDI, Not Reactive

For decades, scientists warned of the potential for a global coronavirus outbreak. But when SARS-CoV-2 emerged, no therapeutics, drugs, or vaccines were readily available. The Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI) — founded by researchers at UNC and the Structural Genomics Consortium — is not only finding solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also drugs and therapeutics for future viral outbreaks.

Research UNCovered, 2019-2020

Since Fall 2019, Research UNCovered has showcased the many faces of research at Carolina, from undergraduate students to faculty, across all disciplines. So far, the series has featured 54 researchers from 10 schools, three centers and institutes, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and UNC's research offices.

Daphne Klotsa

Daphne Klotsa is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She studies the physics of swarms — systems that exhibit emergent collective and cooperative behavior such as flocks of birds, schools of fish, and crowds of people — in order to engineer similar systems composed of moving parts, from self-propelled nanoparticles in solution to cars in traffic.

Mad About Media

Alice Marwick learned how to code when she was 11 and began working in the tech industry at 19. After the dot-com bubble burst, she realized she could combine her passion for technology with her love for social science in a graduate program. Now, the UNC communications professor researches disinformation and privacy, two of the most pressing issues in the world of media ethics.

Setting a Field Alight

With support from UNC student researchers, Benjamin Mason Meier has finalized a first-of-its-kind textbook integrating human rights policy into public health education — a guiding light to aid the next generation of researchers.

A Seat at the Table

State legislatures drive decisions about public education, social welfare, taxation, and infrastructure, so diverse representation within them matters. About 24 percent of North Carolina state legislators are women, 22 percent are Black, and zero are Latino — numbers that, if increased, could drastically change the way we make decisions that impact such groups, according to UNC political scientist Christopher Clark.

A Growing Divide

After the 2016 U.S. presidential race, America seemed more divided than ever. But the 2020 election has proven to be even more polarizing. UNC researchers are studying why this divide seems to be growing, analyzing polarization from a psychological and historical perspective.

Tackling COVID-19

As one of the first research facilities in the U.S. to receive a COVID-19 sample and begin testing for potential therapies, UNC’s response to the threat of the coronavirus was immediate and remains unyielding. While some of our researchers have been studying coronaviruses for years, many others have pivoted the focus of their research, refitted their labs, and are working collaboratively to better execute a holistic response to the pandemic.