In the past decade, the Cape Fear River has become more susceptible to algal blooms — a potential public health concern for more than 1.5 million people relying on the river as a drinking water source. UNC researcher Nathan Hall thinks droughts and slow flows are the culprit, and aims to predict when future blooms will occur.
Environmental education and research have deep roots at Carolina, but a lot has changed since the natural sciences came to campus almost 200 years ago. From the creation of a sanitary engineering department to relationships stoked by the internet, environmental study at UNC has evolved into a hotbed of research, education, and community outreach.
Capping off a semester of hard work, students in a biological oceanography class put their lessons to the test during a two-day, hands-on field trip to the Neuse River Estuary and the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.
Allison Duprey and Andrew Zachman experience new opportunities through hands-on fieldwork — right here, on UNC’s campus.
Jared Richards recalls childhood memories walking through the halls of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and the awe of all that surrounded him. A summer research internship made it possible for the Carolina undergrad to return and contribute to the world-renowned institution.
From the time he was a child, Bryan Reatini has always held an inherent fascination for the natural world. Now, as he pursues his PhD in biology, Reatini has the unique opportunity to collect data from one of the most distinct ecosystems in the world — the Galápagos Islands.
Senior Pranavi Sanka is an undergraduate researcher in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in biology and computer science, with a minor in chemistry. Her research focuses on developing new therapies for a subset of breast cancer. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school with the goal to become a primary care physician.
Senior Rukmini Deva is a SURF recipient and undergraduate researcher in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences majoring in biology, with a minor in religious studies. Her research focuses on monastic silence — a lifetime of voluntary commitment to silence and/or “stillness.” Last summer, she traveled to a Trappist monastery in South Carolina and a Yogoda ashram in India to explore why silence is used as a vehicle of deeper thought and spiritual experience.
Senior Blake Hauser is double-majoring in environmental health sciences and biology, with a minor in chemistry. In January, she received the Churchill Scholarship, a research-focused award that provides funding to American students for a year of master’s study in science, mathematics, and engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the continuum of care for mothers diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy and the implementation of antiretroviral drugs that can help suppress the virus.
Senior Kaitlyn Tsai is an undergraduate researcher in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in chemistry with a biochemistry focus and minoring in medical anthropology and biology. Her research involves conducting complex chemical reactions to better understand the chemistry behind biological processes such as cancer. After graduation this May, she will pursue a PhD at the University of California, San Francisco.