Time and tenacity — two essential components for successful research endeavors at UNC-Chapel Hill. With more than 200 years of research under its belt, Carolina houses an ever-growing list of discoveries and inventions, many of which span several decades.

Digital illustration of an hour class with the world behind it and a timeline from 1989 to 2018.

Deep Rooted Data

The Carolina Population Center is in it for the long haul. The 52-year-old institution leads data-driven studies that span decades, enriching population research across the world.


Bryan Giemza, Chaitra Powell, Rachel Seidman, Steve Weiss, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and Malinda Maynor Lowery.

The South’s Time Capsule

Cherokee language resources. Dean Smith’s personal papers. A first-person account of an enslaved woman. For more than a century, UNC researchers have collected millions of southern artifacts and documents — making Carolina a hub for the study of the American South.


Alice Ammerman looks at cilantro along with four other people at the Carrboro Farmers' Market

Hometown Health Hero

Alice Ammerman is a powerful force for nutrition research and community-based health promotion. Her nearly 40-year career heavily influences her personal approach to public health; by establishing relationships with community partners and making an effort to understand the context of community health, she aims to form lasting connections and accomplish real change.


two men look up at the planetarium stars as they train to become astronauts

Eyes in the Sky

Ever since the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina has proudly proclaimed to be “first in flight.” Less well-known is Carolina’s connection to deep space — from the first astronomical observatory on a college campus, to the first planetarium in the South, to one of the first administrators at NASA, UNC scientists have long been connected to and inspired by the night sky.


a woman smiles at the camera

The Cure Code

When Fred Sanger figured out how to sequence DNA in 1975, the world changed — and so did UNC. As more and more scientists dove headfirst into the field of genetics, the university realized the need for a department dedicated to this cause. Since its founding in 2000, the UNC Department of Genetics has continuously made the top-five list of NIH program funding and has grown to include 80 faculty, who have taken the world of research and medicine by storm.


A woman and a man sit in an office type setting in the 1960s.

From Turmoil to Triumph

The major political events of the 1960s set the stage for the founding of the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which forever changed education research and practice.


Two adults play with a child.

The ABCs of Early Childhood Education

Smarter. Healthier. Better prepared for the world. Those are just a few of the benefits early childhood education can have over the course of a lifetime — benefits made evident by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s Abecedarian Project researchers, who have spent the past 45 years following up with their original research subjects.


Portrait of Dean Kemble that hangs in the UNC School of Nursing

The Nursing Pioneer

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting Elizabeth L. Kemble, founding dean of the UNC School of Nursing. After becoming dean in 1950, she recruited faculty, oversaw construction of a building and dormitories, and even handpicked the first class of students. She spent the next 18 years dedicating her life to this school, making it the first in the state to offer a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in nursing.


Portraits of James Turner Morehead, John Motley Morehead the third, Francis Venable, and William Rand Kenan, Jr.

Kings of Chemistry

How an unexpected discovery transformed the world and made Morehead, Venable, and Kenan household names at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Grad Student tests out the virtual reality headset.

Through the Looking Glass

UNC’s computer science department laid the groundwork for 3-D computer-generated graphics and continues to push the boundaries of virtual environments today.


Old image of a researcher sitting in a car, with a sign on the top of it saying "7; Driver Education. Captial Area Multi-Vehicle Laboratory"

Hedging High Stakes and Human Behavior

How the UNC Highway Safety Research Center changed America’s driving behavior — saving lives and making our roadways safer.


Portrait of George McCoy

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

UNC began treating blood disorders in 1947 — setting the stage for major breakthroughs in hemophilia and HIV.