In the last six months, researchers have engaged in countless studies to test therapies for treating COVID-19. Some have shown promise, but still nothing is a surefire solution. What if we are the answer? UNC experts from multiple fields are leading projects to understand how plasma and antibodies from people who contracted the virus might be used to prevent and slow the spread of the disease.
Employing wastewater epidemiology — proven useful in outbreaks of polio and opioid use — UNC microbiologist Rachel Noble is leading a state-wide collaboration tracking novel coronavirus outbreaks across North Carolina, gaining insight that testing individuals does not offer. Preliminary results have shown that by using wastewater, researchers can identify COVID-19 hot spots five to seven days before they are reflected by clinical testing results.
Baba Mass is a research technician in the Voruganti Lab within the UNC Nutrition Research Institute. He studies how genes and diet impact serum uric acid levels — a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Unhealthy amounts of uric acid can cause kidney and heart problems.
The number of middle and high school students that use electronic cigarettes rose from 3.6 million to 5 million in a single year, according to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Study. As a wave of vaping-related deaths were thrust into the spotlight last year, researchers at Carolina have become experts in all areas of the field from pulmonology to marketing.
Nehemiah Stewart is a junior double-majoring in chemistry and mathematics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. His research interests include how neurons survive and die in normal and diseased situations and developing methods to combat illnesses. In addition, he is a member of UNC’s JV basketball team and symphony orchestra and recently launched a university-based ridesharing app called Vector.
By the time she was 14 years old, Vaishnavi Siripurapu had already developed a passion for feminism and reproductive health. After working in a university biology lab in high school, she set her sights on a career that combined her love of science with that of gynecology. Now a sophomore at UNC, she researches ways to educate young people about sex and relationships.
Before 2001, the use of prescribed psychoactive medications in U.S. Army warzones was restricted. But an increase in mental health awareness, low recruitment numbers, and longer deployments during the War on Terror — the longest-running conflict in American history — has shifted the rules and regulations for military mental health treatment. UNC medical anthropologist Jocelyn Chua speaks with active duty service members, veterans, and health care providers to learn more.
Aya Avishai-Yitshak is a graduate student studying psychology and neuroscience in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on implicit processes, motivation, and health behaviors including exercise, eating, weight-gain prevention, and smoking.
Heart Healthy Lenoir teaches Lenoir County residents that paying attention to fat and carbohydrate quality can substantially reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.